The National Universities Commission (NUC) last Tuesday recognised two additional Universities as approved by the Lagos State Government. The Universities presented were; University of Education (LASUED), Ijanikin and University of Science and Technology, LASUST, Ikorodu, following the passage of their laws by the Lagos State House of Assembly.
The new universities were created 39 years after the first State-owned University known as Lagos State University (LASU) was established at Ojo, Lagos, by the then Late Chief Lateef Jakande administration.
Presenting the certificates of recognition to the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, at the NUC new Board Room, the Executive Secretary, Prof. Abubakar Adamu Rasheed, said that Lagos State University of Education LASUED is now the 56th State University and 204th University in Nigeria, as well as the second University of Education in the country, while Lagos State University of Science and Technology becomes the 57th State and 205th University in Nigeria.
Prof. Rasheed commended the Governor for his vision and leadership for Lagos as a cosmopolitan city with diverse economy which had culminated in the rapid developmental projects embarked upon by his administration since its inception.
He recalled his first meeting with the Governor in 2018, at the convocation ceremony of the University of Lagos (UNILAG), describing him as someone with focus and tenacity in doing things right, especially in the recent appointment of a new Vice-Chancellor for LASU, which Lagos was privileged to appoint.
He also applauded Governor Sanwo-Olu for investing wisely in higher education, explaining that the existing state-owned University had enjoyed good governance structure and administration over the years with substantial funding and good leadership. This, he alluded, convinced the NUC to accept the conversion of the existing higher institutions to universities.
The NUC scribe stressed that the Commission, remained the only regulatory agency that oversees all Universities in Nigeria with over half of them being private universities. He stated that the country needs more Universities and that when State Governors approach NUC for more Universities, the Commission always carries out its due diligence on how the existing ones had been funded. He expressed his delight that.
He told the state Governor to ensure that the two Universities become Information Technology driven while they should also pay attention to quality because half-baked graduates could hardly help anybody. He further encouraged that more women should be engaged in the administration of the new institutions.
While reiterating that the Lagos State University of Education was the second State University in Nigeria after Tai Solarin University of Education, Ijagun, Ogun State, he highlighted that if properly supported it would support the economy of the State, especially with more focus on science and Technology Education. He assured the Governor of Lagos State after presenting the letter of recognition that, JAMB, TETfund and NYSC will be notified of the newly established Universities.
Responding on the recognition, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu commended the Executive Secretary for granting the operational certificates for the two universities, LASUED and LASUST. He said the creation of the two universities by his administration was not about being ambitious but doing what was proper for the people of the Lagos State.
He said Prof. Rasheed was someone that he admired due to his high level of humility and drive which had also helped him to take NUC to greater heights.
He also commended him for the great things he had done for Nigerian Universities.
The Governor commended the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa and his co-lawmakers for working with the executive arms of government and other stakeholders toward the passage of the law setting up the two universities. He also appreciated the leadership of the legacy tertiary institutions, formerly Michael Otedola College of Education, Epe and Adeniran College of Education, Ijanikin, Lagos State as well as the Lagos State Polytechnic, for their understanding.
On the road to the conversion of the two universities, the Governor stated that extensive stakeholder’s engagement and meetings took place before a final decision was reached to convert the Lagos State Polytechnic to Lagos State University of Science and Technology, while Micheal Otedola College of Education and Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education became University of Education. He said that the Lagos State was taking higher education to a level where everybody would be proud of the State.
He argued that education was the only way to take people out of poverty, describing education as the pillar of growth and prosperity, while Lagos had continued to be the home of millions of Nigerians.
Governor Sanwo-Olu explained that converting erstwhile Lagos State Polytechnic to a University of Science and Technology would bring about innovative engineering, science invention and other innovations that were critical to the development of Lagos State and Nigeria in general, adding that the conversion of Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education and Michael Otedola College of Primary Education into a University of Education was a proper and right thing to do, considering the demands and the needs of students of today.
The Governor emphasised that the operation of the two additional two universities would assist in meeting the demands and needs of the teeming youths who are craving for higher education to be future leaders and reference points not only for themselves and families but the nation at large. He said that his administration was doing its best to satisfy the teeming population of Lagos youths that usually seek for University education and that with Lagos, being the nerve and economic center of Nigeria, everybody must be given the opportunity to rise and realise their potentials.
He promised that the two Universities would not be left alone or be starved of funds as his administration will make resources available to make the Institutions the best and reference point in the country in the nearest future. He thereafter presented the strategic documents to the Executive Secretary of NUC.
The two universities, which were expected to kick-start operations, are in addition to the existing Lagos, State University (LASU), Ojo, established in 1982, making the state to now boast of three state-owned universities.
In a vote of thanks, the Deputy Executive Secretary NUC, Mr. Christopher Maiyaki thanked the Lagos State Governor for the bold initiative in establishing the Universities. He applauded the Executive Secretary for his courageous leadership and other members of the NUC management. He extended his appreciation to the Lagos team that accompanied the Governor, members of the press and all these who were present.
In the Governor’s entourage were the Special Adviser on Education, Mr. Tokunbo Wahab; Chairman Lagos State Polytechnic, Prof. Provost Michael Otedola College of Education, Epe. Prof. Nosiru Onibon; Provost, Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education, Ijanikin, Prof. (Mrs) Bilkis Okuneye; The Chair Board of Adeniram Ogunsanya College of Education, Prof. Nurudeen Olasupo and Chair Board of Michael Otedola College of Education, Alhaja Sekinat Yusuf. Others were Nurudeen Olaleye and Waheed Kasali, in the Governor’s Office.
At the presentation ceremony were all Directors of the NUC.