State of the campus address delivered by the Provost, Adeyemi College of Education, Prof. Olukoya Ogen to the College community and other stakeholders on Monday 02 November 2015

The College Registrar, Mr. F.E. Aderinboye

The College Bursar, Mr. G.O. Abdul

The Ag. College Librarian, Mr. R.A. Awoyemi

Members of the College Academic Board

Deans, Directors, Heads of Departments and Units

Other Members of the College Community

Invited Stakeholders

Gentlemen of the Press

Great Arbicans

Ladies and gentlemen

Last Friday, 30th October 2015 marked exactly one year that I first stood before this distinguished academic community. This was during the occasion of my formal inauguration as Provost by the immediate past Governing Council of this great institution. It is therefore with total reverence to the awesome powers of God Almighty and with utmost humility that I am standing before you today to give an account of my stewardship in the last one year. It is hoped that this interaction would enable Management fine tune new policy objectives and deliverables for the year ahead. It will also lay the foundation for Management’s actions during the last one year. Thus, in this address, I will be highlighting major challenges and achievements experienced since my assumption of office. This address is therefore a veritable way of informing and involving all stakeholders in the agenda of the coming year.

 

It is very rhapsodic to be destined as it were to be the very first alumnus Provost of the College, and also on its 50th anniversary. Thus, by sheer providence, I constitute the bridge linking the past, present and the future of this institution, a living symbol of the collective aspiration of the over 50,000 alumni spread across the globe, the current student population of about 15,000 and the many more yet-to-be-admitted individuals waiting to join us. While this is an achievement in itself, it is also a substantial score for every staff of this institution because my modest academic successes and laurels can neither be totally nor partially alienated from the excellent education that I received right here on this campus; a training that gave me hope, purpose and has kept me going over the years. Understandably, this institution has the right to look upon me proudly as a craftsman would regard his finished fine piece of art. My emergence as Provost is the collective achievement of all past, present and future staff of Adeyemi College of Education.

I wish to salute the founding fathers of the College and to acknowledge the great works of all past Principals/Provosts and their management teams. I particularly wish to acknowledge and place on record the outstanding contributions of the immediate past Provost, Professor Adeyemi Idowu to the massive infrastructural and intellectual uplift of this institution during the 8 years that he served. He was also instrumental to the massive injection of funds into the College from the Federal Government during his tenure.

 

During my inauguration address to the College community last year, I made it very clear that I was coming into office with a mind-set that is averse to mere sitting on our laurels and basking in the euphoria of past glories. I did identify the following as our major challenges; the absence of a full university status, inadequate funding; inadequate deployment of IT in governance and research; weak research base; inadequate national and international linkages; students and staff welfare issues; abandoned projects and infrastructural deficits; erratic power and water supply and irregular academic calendar, etc.   

 

I believe in the saying that ideas rule the world. If there is anything an administrator or a leader needs, it is the flow of ideas and in this past year, I have put that to great use for the benefit of the College. Permit me to say that it has been a very rough year inundated with lots of challenges and upheavals on all sides. I cherish the core values of sincerity, modesty, humility and selflessness because positions of authority are mere opportunities to serve.

When I assumed office, our indebtedness was almost hitting the roof and funding from government was insufficient to even pay the salaries of all our members of staff. Serious augmentation has to be made from other sources. Indeed, we could not meet our financial obligations to contractors. Outsourced services especially the College private security outfit and our cleaning contractors with a combined monthly payment of almost ten million naira were the worst hit. The situation is still precarious and the last time this category of workers was paid was in April 2015.

 

Reports of external auditors for 2012, 2013 and 2014

One of the first major accomplishments of the current administration was that it succeeded in engaging a renowned firm of external auditors, Omogoroye Okin and Company to carry out an up-to-date audit of the College finances. It should be noted that this critical and statutory exercise was last carried out in 2011. The reports of the external auditors were quite detailed, comprehensive and revealing. From the reports, I was pained to learn that the College, after 50 years of its existence had its students’ data managed solely by a third party on an outsourced basis without any proprietorship right to the College. E-portal web services on student records, conduct of Post UTME, internal examinations for large education courses and the fees payment portal of the College were all outsourced and remotely managed. Apart from the issue of confidentiality and the fact that the College has no immediate control over such data, the cost of this service to the College for the years ended 31 December 2012, 2013 and 2014 according to our External Auditors amounted to about N46m, N60m and N63m respectively. Similarly, up till the end of last session, students of the College were still using Optical Mark Reader (OMR) answer sheets for examinations involving large classes. The service provider that processes the results of these examinations charges about N500 per answer script. The cost of processing these results runs into millions of naira when multiplied by the number of scripts every session. The bill recently submitted for the 2014/2015 Harmattan semester OMR examination is over N7 million.

 

Furthermore, it is interesting to note that up to the 2014/2015 Academic Session, students of the College paid their fees via the purchase of scratch cards at designated banks. These scratch cards were supplied by an external body. I found this method not only out-dated but also exploitative, and consequently discouraged the use of scratch cards for payments. For instance the lop-sided sharing formula between the College and the service providers is summarized in the table below:

S/N

CARD TYPE

SHARING FORMULA

1

Proceeds on sale of Internet Access Card

College - 30%

Service Provider - 70%

2

Commission on each card sold

Bank - N120

College - N140

Service Provider – N240

3

Post UTME Registration and Post UTME Result Checker

College - 50%

Service Provider - 50%

4

Admission Status

College - 30%

Service Provider 70%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Current Liquidity Situation

The expenditure of the College is normally based on the grants received from the Federal Government and internally generated revenue. The table below for 2014 speaks for itself:

 

Description

Grants

Expenditure

Surplus/(Deficit)

N

N

N

Capital Items

371,152,733

531,472,309

(160,319,576)

Staff Emoluments

1,824,913,513

1,900,612,819

(75,699,306)

Pension & Gratuity

149,991,993

102,583,175

47,408,818

Overheads

65,143,097

687,440,181

(622,297,084)

Total

2,411,201,336

3,222,108,484,

(810,907,148)

 

 

 

 

Internally Generated Revenue (IGR)

 

 

568,215,050

 

 

 

 

Balance

 

 

(242,692,098)

 

From this table, it is obvious that there was deficit in all the expenditure heads highlighted except Pension & Gratuity. In spite of the increase of about 20% in the internally generated revenue from N458m to N568m between 2013 and 2014, there was still a huge deficit of about N242m. The implication of this whooping indebtedness is that the College has not been able to meet its obligation to contractors and service providers as and when due. Additional funds that should have been expended on students and staff welfare also nose-dived.  Given this unpalatable situation a sizeable portion of the grants and IGR for the 2014/2015 was spent in settling outstanding liabilities. Hence, the College has been going through serious liquidity stress. The strategy we have adopted is to bring under serious control our overheads in order to be able to carry out routine transactions and meet necessary financial obligations as and when they fall due. For new fiscal year we intend to put in place a simple budgetary control system in line with new Treasury Single Account policy of the Federal government.

 

Recruitment of Staff

Shortly before my assumption of duty, additional members of staff numbering close to a hundred were recruited to boost the population of the College workforce. Admittedly, this is a positive development but incidentally, there was no prior budgetary provision or approval by the budget office before the engagement of these fresh hands. Consequently, we have been borrowing to augment our monthly personnel grant in order to pay staff salaries and other emoluments. We have also had to look inwards in order to pay promotion arrears and annual increments. This has made it extremely difficult to engage more hands in the last one year.

 

Over-bloated student population

Apart from the above, we were also confronted with the challenge of managing an over-bloated students’ population, the 2013/2014 and 2014/2015 academic sessions were merged and for the very first time over 7,000 students were admitted in one fell swoop. The attendant effects on our inadequate physical and intellectual resources are better imagined. 

 

Physical Projects

Closely related to the twin problem above is the fact that several contracts were awarded between 2013 and 2014. Some of these projects have been completed while some are on-going. The implication is that we have been trying to pay the College contractors from our available meagre resources. This explains why we have been reluctant to award fresh contracts. Incurring expenditure without cash backing is classified in the 2000 ICPC Act and by the Anti-Corruption Academy of Nigeria as public sector corruption. This is one of the major reasons why Management has been trying to be careful not to violate this extant regulation. Nevertheless, I am happy to announce that construction works that will eventually culminate in the asphalt-laying of the road behind the newly completed Sports Pavilion up to the School of Vocational and Technical Education have commenced in earnest courtesy of the recent release of the second tranche of our capital grant for 2015. The main road linking our Demonstration Primary and Secondary schools is also under construction.

 

As mentioned earlier, we have tried to complete all inherited projects including the multimillion naira Sports Pavilion which will be commissioned soon. Given the successful completion of this project, the door is now open for accessing the over half a billion naira 2013 and 2014 Merged TETFUND Normal intervention projects fund. Some of the projects already pencilled down include the construction of an ultramodern medical centre, additional lecture theatres, furnishing of existing offices, procurement of laboratory equipment, beautification and landscaping of the campus environment, etc. We are also approaching TETFUND for a Special Intervention grant to put in place a befitting and an iconic new Library Complex as well as an Entrepreneurial and Vocational Training Centre for our students. We are also embarking on the construction of 10 modern toilet facilities across campus to take care of the teeming population of our students during school hours. A special task force in charge of road maintenance under the chairmanship of the Director of Physical Planning, Works and Services has been set up for the renovation of all College roads and the construction of drainages using direct labour. In this era of dwindling revenue we need to develop our own local capacity for the regular maintenance of our roads.

 

Accreditation of programmes

I assumed duty at a time when our programmes both at the NCE and Degree levels were due for re-accreditation. Indeed, five of the newly introduced degree programmes were awaiting resource verification by the National Universities Commission (NUC). Resource verification and accreditation of programmes entail heavy investment in both human and material resources and we have since set the machinery in motion for the re-accreditation of all our programmes. As a matter of fact, a team from the NUC were with us last week. Members of the team visited the Departments where the five new programmes are housed and interacted with members of staff. I will like to use this medium to congratulate the Deans and HODs of the five departments as well as the entire College community for a job well done. The official briefing after the exercise indicated that we did excellently well in virtually all the parameters. Of course, this visit is a necessary precursor to the planned re-accreditation of all our degree programmes by the NUC early next year. I cannot but publicly appreciate the Chairman and all members of the College Accreditation Committee who have been working tirelessly to ensure that all our programmes enjoy full accreditation status.

 

The 2015/2016 admission exercise

The admission exercise for this academic session is almost over and I am aware of the enormous pressures on our members from parents seeking admission for their wards. Management has done everything possible to make sure that the National Universities Commission and JAMB increase the quota for our degree programmes. We were initially given 671, this has now been raised to 1,000. As a stickler for regulations, I will not be support any attempt to go beyond our approved quota without official authorisation, no matter the pressure on me. However, let me reassure this gathering that admission requests from members of staff for their biological children would be accorded high priority and considered. A major innovation, as far as this year’s admission exercise is concerned is that Deans and HODs now have a say in the selection and shortlisting of candidates that would be admitted into their respective departments. Now that supplementary admission is about to commence, admission slots will be given to every School, Department and Unit in the College. Principal Officers, Deans, Directors, Heads of Departments and Units are enjoined to be fair in the redistribution of the admissions slots that would be allocated to their respective units.

 

ACE IT revolution

From the beginning, Management has observed and bemoaned the almost comatose state of our IT infrastructure. Considering the fact that my association with leading universities abroad has given me a full grasp of how we can solve most of our administrative, academic and developmental problems through the deployment of digital technology, I considered an IT revolution as the framework upon which other achievements would be built. This prompted Management to immediately embark on a total overhaul of our IT infrastructure. The solution we opted for was all-encompassing, cutting across the following:

Ø  a Scalable Network Infrastructure with a state-of-the-art optic fibre andwireless IP network across campus

Ø  a Data Centre housing all the network devices and application servers within the college, and a befitting new interactive website for the College.

Ø  an IP Surveillance and CCTV System to provide adequate security on campus.

Ø  a Biometric Access Control System using fingerprint/Iris access identification systems.

Ø  a STABOARD - Virtual Learning Environment that gives students continuous accessibility through their computers or mobile devices.

Ø  an Electronic Revenue Collection and Accounting System which makes collection of revenue from different sources through the online portal very easy.

Ø  a Student/Staff Record Management System that will provide data collection and record management services for the entire campus.

Ø  an Integrated Hospital/Clinic Management Solution that will provide vital digital information storage and retrieval covering the gamut of the hospital system

Ø  a Project and Price Monitoring System which provides prompt and greater access to price and project information with its robust price database.

 

To achieve this, the Governing Council awarded a N130million contract to Staunton and Lycett which submitted a very realistic proposal and one which captured the scope of our vision of bridging our IT gap. One other interesting thing is that the contract was awarded on a BOT (Build, Operate and Transfer) basis since the College was not buoyant enough to finance such a multi- million naira project. Since its debut, we have been gradually moving to become an e-College with our avowed commitment to the acquisition and dissemination of IT-driven skills and the institution of a paperless administration. Our College Management Committee and the College Academic Board meetings are now paperless. This on-going meeting with the College community and other stakeholders is also paperless. This address is live on our website and could be accessed by any interested person throughout the world. Copies were also sent to staff and students email addresses this morning. Imagine what we would have spent on papers, toners and maintenance of photocopiers if this meeting were to follow our usual traditional method that most of us are still unwilling to move away from. More significantly is the fact that we are demonstrating our avowed commitment to the principles of a Green campus by focussing on environmental sustainability and the protection of our climate for the present generation as well as generations yet unborn. The IT project which is now at a very advanced stage of completion has been central to the College’s achievements and great feats in the past one year. A few examples will suffice;

 

Conduct of post UTME

The College successfully conducted its post UTME CBT examination internally without recourse to any third party or external body thereby saving millions of naira that it would have expended on such an exercise as was the case in the past. At the last count, for the two post UTME examinations the College made a whooping sum of N56 million naira. We also deployed our technology to assist the newly established University of Medical Sciences in the conduct of its own post UTME CBT examination. We only asked the university to provide modest honoraria for our IT personneland to pay for power supply as a demonstration of our support to the rapid growth of the institution. Prof Friday Okonofua, the Vice Chancellor of the Ondo State University of Medical Sciences in his letter of appreciation to Management has this to say ‘‘The staff of the University of Medical Sciences were truly overwhelmed with the high level support and solidarity shown by all staff and students of your institution. It is now on record that this is the first of such support that our University is getting from any institution since its establishment. No doubt, this has opened a vista of cooperation that will open a firm bond of friendship between the two institutions for all time’’

 

Establishment of a laptop, thin client and tablet assembly plant

During the inauguration of the newly elected Students Union Government Executives, I announced that the success of the e-voting electoral system has been attracting the attention of critical development partners from the IT world. Interestingly, Management has received and has given an approval-in-principle for a partnership proposal for the construction of a laptop, thin client and tablet assembly plant right here on our campus. The project is to be jointly financed by Quinion Ltd, a leading computer manufacturing firm, Watergate Limited, a global institutional investor and Staunton and Lycett, our IT infrastructure provider. It is the intention of the three participants to invest the sum of N600 million in the first two years of operation. The take-off of the plant would boost the IT drive of the College, create employment opportunities, boost our IGR and place our College on the world map of global IT driven institutions.

E-Voting: One of the fallouts of our robust IT infrastructure that left mouths agape across the nation’s educational landscape is the introduction of electronic voting system during the last Students’ Union Election. The novel idea engendered the most peaceful SUG election in the College’s recent history. Only few years ago, the College had witnessed a union election that required the presence and intervention of the State Commissioner of Police and other security agencies before a winner could be declared. Other features of the initiative were the posting of candidates’ manifestos on the College website and on YouTube where students and anyone with access to the internet across the globe could watch and access the different contestants before the election as well as the generation of usernames and passwords for all our students, which they used to log in to the e voting portal to vote for contestants of their choice. The results which came barely an hour after voting ended were unanimously accepted by all parties. The Registrar of JAMB, Prof Dibu Ojerinde, publicly acknowledged this feat during his visit to our campus last September and recommended its widespread adoption. Interestingly, neighbouring universities and professional bodies have started requesting for our assistance in the deployment of such electronic voting template in their respective institutions and indeed, the Guardian Newspaper in one of its articles published on Monday July 20, 2015 recommended that the ACE e-voting framework should be adopted as a national template. For the records, it is interesting to note that the election took place simultaneously with the writing of the rain semester examination by students. See http://www.ngrguardiannews.com/2015/07/when-students-election-becomes-national-template/

Deployment of 1200 corps members: Management has been receiving accolades on the successful mobilisation of the over 1200 prospective Batch B Corps members of the College who had lost hope of being mobilised for the National Youth Service Corps, thereby preventing a sponsored planned demonstration that could have turned violent leaving the fate of the affected students hanging in the balance. But what actually did the magic was our robust IT infrastructure which ensured that our MIS unit and the Student Affairs Office were able to digitally connect to the NYSC server in Abuja for the exchange of necessary software and the uploading of the data of the affected students without recourse to any third party institution. Set against the background that it took almost a week to mobilise less than 250 students using the resources of a sister university, the fact that this College succeeded in mobilising over 1200 students within five hours speaks volume of the state of our IT infrastructure and its significance.

Digital security: Given the current spate of insecurity in the country, we are fully aware and conscious of the security threats that daily stare us in the face. Cases of cultism, raping, kidnapping, stealing, harassment, molestation and bullying perpetrated by some of our students have been reported. Apart from the traditional methods of dealing with these vices such as arrests, investigation and prosecution; innovative, creative and practical approaches are urgently required to address our security challenges. Management has therefore adopted an innovative approach of curtailing the activities of our criminally-minded students, we have developed a special database for suspected cultists and our criminally-minded students and have been taking their biometric information. The implication is that once a student is tagged as a suspect, this information will be displayed at all police / military formations, airports, banks, passport / licensing offices and anywhere where biometric information is required. In addition, CCTV cameras have been deployed in strategic places on campus and our Counselling Centre is being empowered to provide counselling services for this category of students. Once, we are convinced that a suspected cultist has publicly renounced his or her membership of such an unlawful organisation and turned a new leaf, his or her name would be taken off the database so that he or she can enjoy normal life once again. Rest assured that this new semester will witness the deployment of more additional digital security devices for effective policing on campus. Appropriate dress code and the wearing of approved means of identification would also be fully enforced.

 

Relationship with the unions

I must place on record the wonderful understanding, maturity and cooperation that I have received from all our unions. For instance, we have been paying the arrears of promotion and other staff entitlements in batches subject to the availability of funds because the total arrears of promotions and annual increments which we are yet to receive from the federal government since the 2011/2012 promotion exercise is over N69 million. Again, we have just succeeded in paying the final tranche of the 2014 learned conference allowance which has been due since last year, and finally, the first tranche of the Teaching Practice allowance was only paid last Monday, three weeks after the commencement of the exercise. Ordinarily payment of TP allowance should have been made before the commencement of the exercise. Thus, I cannot but appreciate and reciprocate unions’ gentlemanly understanding of our present financial predicament by redoubling my commitment to making staff welfare one of my topmost priorities.

 

Prudence and integrity

From the outset, I have made it known that the culture of profligacy and impunity in financial matters, which unfortunately has permeated the fabric of all sectors of our national life, would not be encouraged during my tenure. I have always advocated, encouraged and applauded prudence in money matters so much that I oftentimes have denied myself statutory rights for the good of the College. Instances to support this assertion are actually very rife but particularly, upon assumption, I was told that I could spend up to three months in the hotel so that the College would have enough time to complete the renovation and furnishing of the Provost Lodge. However, in a rare demonstration of prudence and exemplary leadership, especially when I realized the heavy financial implications of hotel accommodation, I decided to move into the Provost’s Lodge in its unfurnished state, after spending just one week in the hotel. The Provost Lodge is still yet to be furnished. Similarly, on several occasions I have had to reduce my approved official allowances as well as that of my Management Team. Even as Chief Executive, I have refrained from flying business class in all my local flights in order to save money, and I have never taken a kobo from the College for all my international trips.

 

Given our avowed zero tolerance for corruption, I am happy to announce that the National Anti-Corruption Institute has recently chosen our College as a zonal centre in the south west for the dissemination of government’s anti-corruption agenda. Indeed, ICPC will be coming for the inauguration of the members of the College Anti-Corruption and Transparency Unit this November. It is high time that we start feeling the impact of ACTU because it is better and cheaper to prevent corruption than to prosecute offenders. Let me reiterate the fact that Management’s commitment to maintaining integrity is non-negotiable.

 

New partnership with corporate organisations and development partners

A major policy thrust of this administration is to re-define of our relationship with corporate organisations, contractors and service providers. This category of stakeholders have more often than not feasted on the College for the profits they can make without looking back thereby neglecting to perform their corporate social responsibilities (CSR). Several overtures to get friendly with Management so that this socially irresponsible behaviour could continue have been stoutly rebuffed by this administration. I am happy to inform this distinguished gathering that the new orientation has started yielding positive dividends. A few examples will suffice; Abytech Ventures, a major contractor with the College was told in clear terms that the only way to justify its 15 year relationship and continued partnership with the College would be for the company to fulfill its CSR. Abytech immediately responded by donating 300 pieces of classroom furniture worth N5.6 million naira to the College.  DMG Consultants donated half a million naira and Ayomidele Ventures gave us N250,000 to support the planned beautification and landscaping of the campus. Kapital Insurance donated 15 computers. ECOBANK has deployed two ATM machines on campus and the ATM plaza of Zenith Bank is nearing completion. Furthermore ECOBANK has just delivered the first batch of the 100 laptops it promised for the use of the College Academic Board members and the bank has also just submitted a letter of intent to finance the construction of students hostels and staff quarters under a BOT framework. An alumnus of the College, Dr Oladokun Olatunde also single-handedly donated a library to the Department of History to mark his fiftieth birthday early this year. ­­ According to Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, all investors must decide whether they want to be future makers or future takers. You are a future taker when all you are interested in is to find a way to compromise Management so that you can maximise profit. You are a future maker when you fulfil your corporate social responsibility and give back to the community some of the profits you have made.

Still on public private partnerships, I took over the mantle of leadership with the mindset to depart from the overdependence on government for funding. I have endeavoured to woo investors from home and abroad to invest in our College and provide the much-needed infrastructure. Hostel development and additional staff quarters are major areas where we have ventured. There have been series of meetings and consultations with companies interested in such ventures. It is our hope that the results of the many meetings that have produced three MoUs already will soon begin to materialize.

 

International partnership and global outreach

At its inception in 1964, our College benefitted immensely from linkages and international collaborations from such agencies such as UNESCO as well as the Ohio State University International Cooperation Administration Project. We are presently exploring new possibilities for international partnership with the World Bank, USAID and other agencies and institutions around the world.

We have added a touch of global academic refinement in our approach to governance. We have leveraged on our international connections and goodwill to garner international support for the development of the institution. In a bid to making Adeyemi a global institution and a point of reference for excellent teacher education, I have exploited my international professional connections and warm relationships with Central State University, Wilberforce, Ohio, Franklin University, Columbus and Indiana Purdue University, Indianapolis, etc., to create a partnership between these institutions and our great College. The primary goal of these latest efforts is to create a robust international student and staff exchange programme as well as the acquisition of American degrees at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels under ‘a split site’ arrangement. International partnership with foreign institutions has the tendency of placing our institution on the global map. Such global acclaim brings awareness, intellectual exchange and many mutual benefits to the partner institutions.

Thus, from the University of Birmingham, the College has appointed Insa Nolte, as Visiting Research Professor to Adeyemi College of Education. Just some few weeks back, an international workshop, sponsored by the Economic and Social Research Council of the United Kingdom took place on this campus. Many of our academic staff warmly participated and benefitted from the workshop. It was the first of its type in any College of Education in Nigeria. Professor Bessie House-Soremekun, an African-American Professor from Indiana University-Purdue University (IUPUI) Indianapolis, USA was also recently appointed as Visiting Research Professor to our institution.  She was in the College last July and succeeded in presenting two seminars before her departure. She is presently trying to facilitate the speedy processing of our grant application with our partner institution, Ohio State University. It is also gladdening to note that one of the most brilliant young Africanist scholars in theUnited Kingdom, Dr Rebecca Jones, will be visiting the College this month to present a special seminar and interact with our colleagues on possible areas of academic collaboration.

From 13-15 December 2015, the campus will be agog to welcome Africans living in the diaspora from all over the world. This is because we have just been granted the right to host the 2015 African Diaspora Conference courtesy of the US-based African Innovation Institute and our own Green Institute. The proposed conference which has Prof Byron Price of the City University of New York as keynote speaker will further facilitate the realisation of our vision for global exposure and partnership, research opportunities in diasporan and developmental studies, funding from USAID and World Bank Diaspora Programmes, academic collaboration and staff exchange programmes, enrolment of our colleagues in the Africa Diaspora Fellowship programme and the launch of the Mara Mentors and Diaspora Entreprenuership Centre in conjunction with Adeyemi College of Education and other Global Partners.

 

Synthetic phonics training programme for ACE lecturers

50 of our academic staff would be selected to participate in the implementation of a special international training scheme with SUBEB to improve the teaching and learning of literacy skills of primary school pupils in south west Nigeria using the world renown  synthetic phonics methodology. By so doing, our College is set to join the league of University of Uyo, University of Calabar, Federal College of Education, Osiele and Tai Solarin University of Education that have earlier benefitted from this scheme. The Programme will be co-funded by Jolly Learning of the United Kingdom. Since literacy is interdisciplinary, all our lecturers can participate in this. It is not at all restricted to English or language. Scientists are welcome as are creative artists. In addition, further training would be provided in research, monitoring, evaluation and current research advances in the developed world. All the data that would be gathered during the monitoring exercise would also be made available to the lecturers for paper writing and publication. This scheme represents a green area for lecturers because Jolly Phonics training has now been made compulsory in all states of the federation. I wish to appreciate the immediate past HOD of the Department of English, Mr Clinton Adebiyi who linked us with Dr Eshiet of Jolly Phonics in the United Kingdom.

 

ACE scholars making waves in the international arena

It is important to acknowledge the efforts of some of our scholars who have done us proud in the international arena. The quality and originality of the doctoral thesis of Dr Bridget Itunu Awosika of the Department of Home Economics has started receiving international acclaim in the US and the United Kingdom. Just last week Prof Ann O’Hear indicated her interest to keep a copy of the textile materials that she used for her PhD in the folder on O’Hear Collection at the University of Leeds International Textiles Archive. Dr Awosika is also to be named as a major research source in the public online record and on the section dealing with research carried out by non- University of Leeds academics on the Leeds University website. All these will also be available at the University of Hull under the Ann O’Hear’s digital collections. Housed in St Wilfred’s Chapel on the Western Campus of the University of Leeds, the purpose of the archive is to collect, preserve and document textiles and related items from many of the textile producing areas of the world for the benefit of scholars, researchers and the general public.

Dr Omotola Babajide has recently been admitted as a member the prestigious Climate Reality Leadership Corps under the Chairmanship of former US Vice President Al Gore. Her admission as a member of this elite body ensued after a week-long training in Miami, Florida between September and October 2015.While in the US, she also ably participated and represented the College well in the series of discussions that are ongoing between our College and Central State University, Wilberforce, Ohio (CSU) regarding the floating of a split site M.Ed programme in education that will be awarded by CSU.

During the Fourth Annual Green Campuses Conference recently held at the University of Western Cape in South Africa from June 28-July 2nd 2015, Miss Adenike Akinsemolu of the Department of Integrated Science and Initiator of our Green Campus Initiative bagged two international awards for the College, namely, the Distinguished Green Award (Silver Category) for Green Campus Activities and Gold Category Award for the Best New Comer in 2015. She also recently won the Nigeria Energy Award because of her advocacy for renewable energy and was consequently appointed as a member of the National Steering Committee of Nigeria Sustainable Energy Group (NSEG) under the Ministry of Power and Steel.

Similarly, Mr Adenegan is presently working with Douglas Butler of the United Kingdom on the modalities for organising an Autograph training programme for our staff in the Department of Mathematics and its allied disciplines. Autograph is a dynamic, interactive, informative and educative scientific and mathematical tool for teaching and learning basic mathematical concepts which will be very useful for both teachers in practice, teachers in training and lecturers. As at today in Nigeria, no institution or school uses autograph in teaching.

 

Update on our $30million World Bank/USAID grant proposal

The World Bank/USAID has been involved in supporting select higher institutions devoted to the teaching of agricultural education in Africa. The ultimate objective is to turn such tertiary institutions into the agricultural hubs of their respective regions. This initiative has been successfully carried out in Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia. Between 19th and 20th November 2014, negotiations and preliminary talks between the Provost, Dr Collins Awosika of the Centre for International Development Assistance, Hanover Park, Illinois, on the one hand and World Bank/USAID representatives as well as the proposed US partnering institution, Ohio State University, on the other, commenced in Chicago and Ohio respectively. At the end of the talks, Adeyemi College of Education was asked to prepare and submit a proposal for a $30 million agricultural development assistance grant. In order to produce a winning proposal, Council approved the appointment Prof Femi Balogun as a Consultant. His choice was informed by his impressive credentials as a foremost Professor of Agriculture with one of the best commercial farms in the country and for being one of the most successful Vice-Chancellors in the history of the Nigerian university system. As a renowned agriculturist, he has also won several international research grants and academic awards.

He headed a team of agricultural experts made up of six other prominent Professors to package a proposal which was submitted to our partnering institution, Ohio State University. The proposal was adjudged ‘very good’ and the second round of meetings in the US took place last August between the project facilitators and the Provost. A four-man team from Ohio State University is scheduled to arrive on campus before the end of the month to inspect our facilities and assess our state of readiness to judiciously utilise the grant.

 

Sustaining a stable academic calendar

Since inception of this administration, I have been able to ensure, against all odds, that the academic calendar remains undisrupted. It has always been my mantra, in line with global standards, that the hallmark of an educational institution is the sanctity of the academic calendar. In spite of the soaring population of students in the College, this administration has successfully managed them. In January, 2015, the College matriculated about 7,386 students for the merged 2013/2014 and 2014/2015 academic sessions. The introduction of such a large number into a population usually has serious disruptive social implications but with tact, wisdom and the cooperation of several staff and students we were able to successfully complete the 2014/2015 academic session without any major disruption of the academic calendar.   

 

Acquisition of 13 brand new vehicles

A leadership that is devoid of selflessness and personal sacrifice is not worth the exalted office that it occupies. In view of the critical financial situation of the College, it is noteworthy that for more than six months the Provost could not be provided with a befitting official vehicle. He was driven around in a branded Hilux pick up vehicle. Eventually, when it was time to purchase a befitting vehicle for the office of the Provost, Management merely deposited the sum of N13 million naira which could have been used to purchase just one vehicle, under a vehicle-leasing arrangement with ECOBANK as part financing. Invariably, we succeeded in bringing in 13 brand new vehicles for the use of Chairman of Council, the Provost and other Principal Officers, Deans of Schools and a bus for our students. This was upon Management’s observation that Deans had no official vehicles and the Principal Officers’ vehicles were old and needed replacement. These cars have provided a certain degree of ease and comfort to Management, dignified the exalted offices of the beneficiaries and boosted the corporate image of the College. Plans are underway to extend this goodwill to our Directors in due course.

 

Staff assessment, promotion, training and other welfare issues

Staff promotions and assessments have also been accorded high priority by this administration. Management has strictly been guided by fairness, objectivity and transparency in the discharge of this very important assignment. We have shown compassion and supported both staff and students with health challenges by offering prompt support. This administration has focused much on the development of human capacity since humans are at the core of any development. Investing in the training of teaching and non-teaching staff has been of paramount importance. I have ensured that staff applications for TETFUND sponsorship and other such endeavours were treated with utmost urgency. Over ten of our colleagues have obtained their PhDs since I came on board and more than 20 other colleagues are presently pursuing their doctorates, some in Nigerian universities and others in foreign institutions. Scores of our staff both teaching and non-teaching have been sponsored to attend workshops, professional meetings and seminars since the inception of this administration.

 

Deployment of alternative sources of energy

A major challenge that I have been battling with since the past one year is the erratic power supply and the exorbitant cost of providing electricity via our numerous petrol and diesel generators. The College spends over 100 million naira annually for the provision of electricity. This figure excludes the amount spent on buying these generators and the costs of their maintenance. It is an eyesore that virtually every office has a generator and there are many pending requests for the purchase of generators. The noise as well as air pollution that we are subjected to on a daily basis has become worrisome and unbearable. In the new year, Management has resolved to explore alternative sources of energy, especially solar and biomass from the massive waste dump along Laje Road. Specifically, we have visited and will be partnering with the Richard G. Lugar Center for Renewable Energy at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, for the deployment of sustainable energy solution across campus. The Lugar Center for Renewable Energy develops integrated renewable energy solutions, and has a strong focus on applications suitable for college campuses, rural remote villages, factories, and farms.  Our preliminary discussions with the staff of the Centre have been very encouraging and the major areas of interests are solar, waste-to-energy (WTE) and biomass plus gasification. In the interim, we will be starting with a pilot scheme at the Health Centre and some of our hostels. Apart from building local capacity, by deploying renewable energy across campus, other institution of higher learning would see the need to embrace alternative energy and recognize ACE’s leadership role in establishing such a capability.

 

Entrepreneurial and vocational education

Institutions of higher learning in the developed world have for long been actively engaged in facilitating the employability of their graduates by establishing Career Services units providing invaluable support to their students. Such a unit will create opportunities for skillsand entrepreneurial development, new venture creation, linkages with employers, work experience and part time work which will be highly relevant in the Nigerian environment as a possible tool for stemming the growing trend of graduate unemployment. With the implementation of this kind of initiative, Adeyemi College of Education stands in a unique position to enhance the employability of its graduates. The unit will assist in building relationships with employers of labour, the College will become more attractive to prospective students and the unit will enhance the setting up of viable businesses within our catchment area thus improving the economic viability of the host community and setting the pace for other Nigerian higher institutions to follow. In order to realise this objective the College has received a proposal for the setting up of this unit from a UK-based consulting outfit with the active involvement of the Newcastle University. We have also submitted a proposal to TETFUND for N500,000 million special intervention fund to establish a Centre for Entrepreneurship and Skills Acquisition.

 

Demonstration nursery and secondary schools

I wish to salute the Management and staff of our Demonstration schools for the high quality products they have been churning out over the years. Impressed with this lofty achievement, Council has approved and even constituted a Committee saddled with the establishment of branches of these schools across the three senatorial zones of the state. This is with a view to further contributing to the educational development of Ondo State and as a way of boosting our IGR. A lot of restructuring is currently going on regarding appropriate placement and redeployment of staff in these schools in order to comply with the decision of the Federal government on the fate of workers in the schools. A Committee comprising the representatives of Management and all our unions is about submitting its report on this very important assignment. 

 

Price monitoring and intelligence unit

In order to achieve probity, accountability and transparency, Management would be putting in a place a Price Monitoring and Intelligence Unit under the office of the Provost. This important unit is long overdue considering the yearly expenditure of the College on capital development, utilities, contract-based and overheads items running well over N3.5 billion. My observations in the last one year has revealed that the College is not insulated from the possible risks of over-pricing, purchase fraud, purchase of inferior or sub-standard items, and contract over-pricing which presently characterize the procurement processes in the Nigerian public sector. This ugly menace remains unabated despite the enactment of the 2007 Public Procurement Act. Therefore, the regular savings that will be accruing to the College from the surveillance and monitoring activities of this Unit from time to time provides enough justification for its establishment. The deployment of the ePPMS software would guarantee prompt and greater access to price and project information with its robust price database and effective project monitoring tools, it would also make the procurement operations more transparent, thus reducing the opportunity for corruption. 

 

Information flow

In order to bridge the communication gap between the office the Provost and members of staff and discourage rumour mongering, a special gsm line has been dedicated for prompt response to your enquiries on any issue that has to do with the progress of the College. For any issue that needs immediate clarification from the Provost kindly send an ‘sms’ to this number (09082780060 SMS ONLY) with your question, your name and Department/Unit. Management will also be introducing a weekly online news bulletin that will serve as a recap of the activities of the previous week and which will outline the major events lined up for the new week. It will be sent to staff email addresses every Monday and will also be archived permanently on our website.

 

Major administrative restructuring

Since we came on board we have relied basically on the governance structure that we met on ground in terms the existing composition of statutory committees, directorates, schools, etc. This is a clear demonstration of our liberal approach to governance and that the Provost is a tolerant team player. Having spent a year in the saddle, it is ripe to inject new blood and reinvigorate the governance structure by way of major administrative restructuring. In the next few weeks, a new Deputy Provost will be announced, along with other necessary administrative changes for better service delivery.

 

ACE suspended university status

I have reserved this aspect to the last moment because it is the dearest thing to my heart as far as my vision for this College is concerned. I have always had on top of the list of my vision for this College the upgrading of the College to a university. I have put a lot of energy into this objective, with periods of sleepless nights and strategic planning. The age-long aspiration became a reality with the Federal Executive Council’s pronouncement of Adeyemi College of Education as a university alongside three other Federal Colleges of Education on Wednesday 20th of May, 2015. At the risk of sounding immodest, I can say that there is no gainsaying the fact that my resilience and the tactics employed in pushing this desire were instrumental to that historic pronouncement. This pronouncement came only a week after the College was adjudged the best among 99 colleges of education in Nigeria. However, in a dramatic twist, the Federal government decided to put the new status on hold on the 7th of August 2015. This development has generated a lot of rumour, rancour and ill feelings in several quarters as some persons within and outside the College have gone about spreading the notion that some individuals worked against the university status.

For anybody who is familiar with the nature of official bureaucracy in Nigeria and the developing world, it is obvious that the decision to put our hard earned university status on hold could have been taken weeks before the official letter came out. To me the implications of the lies, mischiefs and intrigues that reared their ugly heads during the month of August regarding the University status will forever make that era a dark month in the history of this institution until we permanently achieve our objective as Adeyemi Federal University of Education (AFUED). That is why I like to quote the immediate past Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC) Prof. Peter Okebukola from his interview with the Guardian Newspaper of Thursday, September 3, 2015, Prof Okebukola argues, “I think we should interpret the presidential directives correctly. ”Put on hold” does not mean, “cancel”. Put on hold means, suspend implementation until what should have been done in the first place is done and due process followed.” MAY I ASSURE THIS DISTINGUISHED GATHERING, AND I AM SAYING THIS WITH EVERY SENSE OF RESPONSIBILITY GIVEN THE INFORMATION AT MY DISPOSAL, THAT OUR UNIVERSITY IS ALIVE AND WELL AND THAT VERY SOON THIS TEMPORARY HOLD WILL BE RELEASED.

 

Conclusion

I have successfully experimented with a humane and liberal approach to governance where the welfare of both students as well as staff is highly prioritized. I have tried to put in place a quintessential academic tradition where nobody is intimidated or harassed by demystifying the office of the Provost. Everybody, including our worst critics, is breathing an air of freedom. We have given voice to the voiceless and hope to the hopeless. The dignity of every worker here no matter how lowly placed is of paramount importance to this new administration. For me, this new orientation represents our greatest achievement so far. Indeed, my emergence on the 50th year of the College establishment as Provost did not just happen by chance, please permit me to cite a Biblical reference to what jubilee entails: ‘And you shall consecrate the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants…’ (Leviticus 25:10). And the great Mahatma Ghandi has this to say about any leader who is a liberator or reformer ‘First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.’ Please mark my words; we are surely going to win.

Since I started this address by acknowledging the awesome powers of God, I cannot end this talk without appreciating the Almighty Father, the giver of life, positions and every human accomplishment. The last one year has been extremely turbulent but God has been faithful. Indeed, it can only be God.

 

I deeply appreciate everyone who has made it a point of duty to be here today, I welcome your questions.

 

Thank you and God bless.

 

Professor Olukoya Ogen

Provost