By Gabriel Dike
The vice-chancellor, University of Lagos (UNILAG), Akoka, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, may have achieved academic feat in the Nigerian University System (NUS) with the graduation of 53,420 students over the last four years.
Prof. Ogundipe, who received a standing ovation when he announced at the 52nd convocation that it was the last convocation he would preside over because he had about 10 months left of his five-year tenure.
His words: “At the end of the convocation ceremonies, we would have successfully graduated 53,420 students during this administration, having graduated 12,639 at the 49th convocation, 12,811 at 50th convocation, 15,753 at the 51st convocation, and 12,217 at the 52nd convocation.’’
He said the 52nd convocation was the last in his capacity as the 12th VC and used the opportunity to recall his UNILAG agenda and achievements in the past four years.
According to him, the university, under his watch, improved the landscape of UNILAG in many facets, infrastructure, research, entrepreneurship, open access to education, community service, staff and student welfare, improved ranking, transparent leadership and internationalization of the university.
Speaking on the last day of the convocation, with the theme “I wish I can see you,” said Ogundipe: “I am certain that the next 10 months of this administration will witness even more accelerated progress for the university.”
Ogundipe said on the third day of the event the university would graduate 4,418 higher degree students, made up of 145 PhD, 410 postgraduate diploma and 3,863 master’s degrees.
The VC announced the awards to include Dr. Chinyere Joy Umudu, Mathematics Pure, as overall best PhD thesis, who also emerged as the best in science, while the best PhD thesis in humanities went to Osa Abraham Ehiorobo (Management).
“The University of Lagos, under my watch, has been a research powerhouse. I am convinced that, long after I have left the saddle, this culture of research excellence and impact will continue to the advancement of the UNILAG brand and the development of our country and continent,” he said.
Ogundipe observed that research has become a major currency for academic staff and this can be attested with the university submission to different international organization and the TETFund National Research Fund (NRF).
He disclosed that UNILAG was the highest recipient of TETFund NRF in 2019 as 14 members of staff received grant of N419, 600miliion and in 2020, 16 staff got N419, 400 million as grant from the fund.
The outgoing VC announced that UNILAG would clock 60 years and that activities have been lined up for the celebration on October 3, 2022, which is the founder Day.
He congratulated the graduating students, adding “We release you into the sure hands of God for His continued guidance of your path. We are confidence in the tradition of excellence by which you have been groomed. What we now expect to hear about you is the good news of your triumphs and positive impacts out there in the world.”
Ogunidipe commended President Muhammedu Buhari, Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, UNILAG Pro-Chancellor, Senator Lanre Tejuosho, his management university Senate and others for the support he enjoyed from them in the past four years.
In her valedictory speech, overall best PhD graduate, Dr. Umudu, described their journey as one filled with anxiety, pressure, struggle to meet up with clear cut research goals and impossible deadline.
She appreciated the VC, Prof. Ogundipe, Dean, Postgraduate Studies, Prof. Alabi Soneye, his supervisors Prof. J.O. Olaleru and Dr. A. A. Mogbademu, for pushing the frontier of excellence for the university.