The desire for good governance in Nigeria has received a boost with a royal father’s blessing in the form of a N250m endowment of a professorial chair at the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State.
Speaking at an international press conference in his palace, HRM the Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba (Dr) Sikiru Kayode Adetona, CFR explained that he wants to see Nigeria take giant strides in the area of good governance stemming from quality education, research, mentorship and community engagement.
“Education has a pivotal role to play in the quality of governance. So I decided to lend my little support in this area, being a royal father. So I make this move with high hopes that it will help the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye start a production-line of leaders who will be molded for good governance,” Oba Adetona revealed.
While thanking the Awujale for the kind gesture, the Vice Chancellor of the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Prof. Saburi Adejimi Adesanya, expressed the view that the endowment is in sync with the Institution’s philosophy of seeking to “give useful learning to its students who will be encouraged to cultivate a worldview that facilitates not only the continuous pursuit of academic and moral excellence but also developing competence in reducing the society’s disease.”
This philosophy might have added to endear the school to the royal father. The university has earned the Awujale’s respect because of how it has impacted on the public since it came into existence in 1982, hence, his willingness to support the university to do more. “I have followed with keen interest the impact the university has been making since inception in 1982 and strongly feel that this endowment will help them achieve more to the benefit of mankind,” he said.
On his interest in western education as custodian of culture, Oba Adetona highlighted that this was a move with the times. In his words: “Time was when governance, as it is known today, resided with royal fathers and traditional institutions. With the times we are in, people still expect us as royal fathers to exert some form of influence on the political class, whereas there is no provision in the constitution empowering us to exercise direct control over them. So I reckon that the best way to make this influence effective is through constructive institutional engagement, mentorship and research. These are areas I am convinced this endowment can be very impactful.”
With this initiative, HRM hopes to lure the best brains from across the world to the university to fertilise the university community, with a view to achieving a level of cross-fertilisation that would impact positively on the larger community. “I am confident that the university will make the most of this opportunity and attract the best brains in good governance, corporate and political leadership to fertilise the students, staff and indeed the entire university community with a view to raising and unleashing good governance champions on the Nigerian community,” he said.
The Vice Chancellor pledged that the university will strive conscientiously to live up to the desires of the founding fathers now reinforced by the Awujale’s support. “The university shall be rooted in its community and act, at all times, as a beacon and symbol of the spirit of the community. Therefore, we will strive to fulfill the expectations of the Awujale with efforts to cultivate a distinct tradition and character that reflect those values that would give our host and national communities distinctive identity in quality leadership,” said Prof Adesanya.
In the same vein, Oba Adetona is optimistic that Nigeria would benefit from the initiative and enjoined other well-meaning people to lend their support to a good cause. The inaugural lecture for the endowment is billed for Thursday, March 10, 2016, at the Oriental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos. It is gathered that Prof Akin Mabogunje would analyse the Issues and Challenges of Governance in Nigeria at the lecture, while an elite panel of discussants including former president of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo GCFR, and the Sarkin Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II CON are already confirmed for the occasion.
Olabisi Onabanjo University was established on July 7, 1982 through the efforts of the then civilian governor of Ogun State, Chief (Dr) Olabisi Onabanjo. As a mark of honour to him, the name of the University was changed from Ogun State University to Olabisi Onabanjo University on May 29, 2001. The legal basis of the University is the Ogun State University Edict No. 2 of 1987.
The University opened its door to the first set of students numbering 500 on January 31, 1983 while the first set of provisional admission into faculties of Arts, the Social and Management Sciences, Natural Sciences (including first year Medicine and Agriculture) and Education were published in November, 1982.
Since its inception, Olabisi Onabanjo University had had the privilege of ranking among the best Universities in Nigeria. Many Nigerians could still not believe that this unique University is a State University. The reason for this misconception is not far-fetched; the products of the University are known to be better products than many of several other Universities with the arrays of financial supports opened to them.