Owelle Oscar Udoji, Chairman of Governing Council, and Prof. Eyitope Ogunmodede, Vice-Chancellor, Unveiling the OAU at 60 Celebration Emblem in Ile-Ife Photo: OAU

OAU at 60: The commitment to advancing frontiers of knowledge, research and development

*Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Nigeria, commemorates its 60th Anniversary, and restates its commitment to promoting academic excellence across fields of learning with lots of breakthroughs in research and development progammes and projects for the benefit of society

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, in Osun State, has ended its week-long activities marking the foremost academic institution’s 60th Anniversary celebration Friday, June 11, 2021, on the University campus.

ConsumerConnect reports Prof. Eyitope Ogunbodede, Vice-Chancellor (VC) of OAU, has said the University, fondly called ‘Great Ife’ by the students and the institution’s admirers in the country and globally, is committed to promoting academic excellence across fields of learning.

The Vice-Chancellor at a recent press conference heralding the University’s anniversary celebration noted though the leading institution has lots of breakthroughs in the area of research and development, it will not relent in ensuring that it churns out quality research results for the benefit of society.

Ogunbodede said: “One of the core values of the University is the defence of the rights of individuals and groups in the society.

“It is why our students and products have a reputation for standing for human rights, equity and justice.”

Advancing frontiers of knowledge after 60 years

A series of activities marking the golden jubilee, according to the programme of events, had commenced June 6 with Christian interdenominational service at the All Soul’s Chapel, OAU, followed by the unveiling of the anniversary logo Tuesday, June 8.

Obafemi Awolowo University Senate Building

There were also a novelty march slated for Wednesday, June 9, and a Jumat service at the University central mosque and various college/faculty activities, which would be climaxed with the 45th Convocation of the university December 2021.

Earlier in his address at a press conference on the University campus Tuesday, Prof. Ogunbodede went down the memory lane by relating that the University was established June 8, 1961.

The Vice-Chancellor said the institution began classes October 1962 as the University of Ife before the Federal Government renamed as Obafemi Awolowo University May 12, 1987, in honour of the late sage and first Premier of the old Western Region of Nigeria, Chief Obafemi Awolowo.

Earlier in the buildup to the activities commemorating the 60th Anniversary, Obafemi Awolowo University (@OAUniversity May 31, 2021, tweeted the Vice-Chancellor recalled “OAU started with 244 students and 64 academic staff and 15 Senior Staff.

“Today, it has more than 25,000 students with over 4,000 staff.”

He as well disclosed that “roughly a 3rd of all Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) are products” of the University.

Ogunmodede also noted that the “first separation of Siamese twins in sub-Saharan Africa was carried out in OAU Teaching Hospital” in Ile-Ife.

Besides, the Vice-Chancellor stated the institution “pioneered kidney transplants in Nigeria.”

OAU Research and Development programmes, projects

In connection with the institution’s plan to activate and deploy its own electricity for the benefit of the University community and neighbours, the Vice-Chancellor said that Nigeria’s Rural Electrification Agency (REA) 8.03Megawatts (MW) power project for the supply of electricity to the University is ongoing and almost completed.

According to him, this project will enable OAU to generate its own electricity as it will no longer depend on the national grid, and it is the first University to do so in the country.

The University, therefore, has processed and obtained from the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) the Marketing Licence as an Electricity distributor, the first Nigerian University to enjoy the privilege, he said.

On the strategic significance of the power project to the University, Ogunbodede stated that the aim is to reduce the economic burden of high power tariff and ensure regular electricity supply to enhance its various academic activities.

He noted that the University currently “pays N80million per month for electricity and additionally, over two million Naira per month on Diesel to power generators.”

The Vice-Chancellor said such a huge amount of money being expended on electricity alone could be diverted to more challenging ventures when the ongoing power project in is completed.

L-R: Prof. Eyitope Ogunmodede (l), a dignitary, and Engr. Wale Olaleye, President of OAU Alumni Association Worldwide, at a press conference to mark the OAU 60th Anniversary Celebration at Radisson Blu, Lagos

The facility will facilitate regular power supply and reduce economic burden on the institution, he emphasised.

Meanwhile, Engr. Wale Olaleye, President of the OAU Alumni Association Worldwide, has urged all alumni of the University across the world to step forward and support the great institution of learning.

ConsumerConnect recalls that Ogunmodede, at the biennial conference of the African Institute for Science Policy and Innovation July 2019 at OAU revealed that the institution would complete its power generating plant, which was started in 2017, in order to generate, distribute and supply 24-hour electricity.

The academic institution is working with REA to provide a gas-powered turbine with which to generate 8.03MW of electricity for the University.

According to the Vice-Chancellor, the University’s daily energy need is below six Megawatts, and when the plant is completed, the facility will power the institution’s Teaching Hospital (OAUTH), while the institution’s neighbouring communities would also benefit from the excess energy the new electricity plant would generate.

He enthused: “We will be generating our own electricity on campus and will no longer be depending on the national grid.

“OAU will enjoy 24-hour power supply and that is exciting. It will enhance our research output among other developments.

“We also have our dam. It is currently being renovated. We will be generating our own water and our own electricity.”

Interestingly, aside from the electrification projects, the University’s Chief Executive also said the other ongoing development efforts include the airstrip project; construction of Phase 3 hostel for students; staff housing scheme; Aeronautical Engineering Department; International Student Exchange Centre; Student Affairs Building; the “Jubilee House”; and a 10-storey Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Building among others.

“OAU is going to be the first Federal university to have an Aeronautic Engineering programme. The building is under construction…,” disclosed the Vice-Chancellor.

Owelle Oscar Udoji, Chairman of Governing Council, commends University at 60

The Chairman of the Governing Council of Obafemi Awolowo University, Owelle Oscar Udoji, has applauded the founding fathers of the University for their foresight on the occasion of the institution’s 60th Anniversary celebration.

Welcome to Great Ife

Owelle Udoji said the challenges facing the public university system in Nigeria demand collaborative effort of all stakeholders.

The Governing Council Chairman intoned: “There is no doubt that the public university system in our dear country is at a major crossroads.

“I know that we would all want a better public university system; the type that is well-positioned to train world–class manpower for the country with cutting-edge of teaching and learning.

“We would want a public university system that is at the forefront of responding to, and tackling the myriad challenges of national development.”

Udoji noted that to achieve this is as much a responsibility of government as it is that of every citizen.

He added: “I dare say, permit me, that the challenge of revamping the University system in Nigeria to make it responsive to the changing imperatives of the 21st Century is too important to be left to government but certainly also too dangerous to be left in private hands unregulated.

“My belief is that all stakeholders, government and citizens alike, would rise up to the task of pulling our universities back from the brinks.”

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