James, Michael Igiri
Prof. Olukayode Amund has charged the alumni body of the University of Lagos to rise and take charge of the university as no outsider can make such concerted efforts towards repositioning Unilag among the world best centres of higher academic learning.
He stated this on Sunday while playing host to the University of Lagos, Alumni (Lagos State chapter) at his residence on the university’s main campus.
In an opening remark, president of University of Lagos alumni, Lagos chapter Dr. Lukman Adeoti thanked Prof. Amund for hosting the meeting while stating that, it was a third in the series of attempts by the state chapter- since it resolved at an Annual General Meeting (AGM)- to bridge the gap between “its town and gown”.
According to him, the University for a long time had not maximised its opportunity in terms of alumni involvement in core development activities until recently. “This was what prompted our resolve to have our executive meetings hosted by illustrious members of the university alumni both in the university and outside,” he said.
In his own remark, Prof. Amund said he was pleased that the Lagos State alumni had found his home worthy of hosting its meeting. He berated the level of decay in academic activities at the university and said it was time the University of Lagos reclaim its lost glory.
Relating his personal experiences, Prof Amund revealed that amid the regular practice of upgrading students results which has seen a lot of students graduate with undeserving grades, it was clear the level of academics had deteriorated.
“We know that the standard is falling. When I was Dean of Student Affairs, I would visit the hostels and classrooms. I made sure of visiting the hostel common rooms and comparing what I saw with those of the reading rooms.
“Although the university has grown in terms of infrastructure physically, it is just the body that you are looking at; no engine. If you don’t do a good job there’s no way you can compete favourably. And that is why we do not have any ground breaking inventions or patents.”
The don who made it known that Nigeria was not making adequate investments in education also stated that much of what hampers innovative developments in the nations citadels of learning is hinged on a lack of infrastructure. He compared the system in Unilag to that of the University of Kent.
“For instance, anytime I went to Kent, it is a norm that I was conducted round the school to see their new equipment and other infrastructure which they so religiously changed every five years. That for me is a university that understands the value of research and scholarship,” he began,
“While I was a master student there, the electron microscope I used as a master student at the University of Kent in 1979 has been changed up to five times; first in 1985 and subsequently every five years. Now, how many of these changes have you ever heard of in Unilag? Yet, we say we are doing research, and publishing; producing first class and PhD, but is that the truth? For our PhD students to do research which can compete globally, we have to send them abroad. And that is the only way they could publish in highly rated journals.
“So our university needs to be properly equipped. And why I am saying this is because this is our school and no one an fix or reform it except us. It is our job, and our duty to tell ourselves the truth, rally round to see the best possible ways to put our great university in good shape.
The onus is on us all to rise to the challenge. And in this regard, I would like to thank the Lagos chapter of the university alumni body for the good work you are doing. I believe that you are going to achieve good and remarkable success to the glory of God.
So I welcome you to my domain; whatever the situation is I am an alumnus and will remain one,” he concluded.
Other speakers at the meeting included Profs. Mathew Ilori, Adesina Badru, Drs. Andrew Akala, National Secretary of Unilag Alumni Barr Tunde Fadahunsi and other principal members of the state executive body. They were all unanimous in their call for a strong alumni involvement in revamping the University of Lagos.