BY TIMOTHY AGBOR, OSOGBO
The National Universities Commission, on Thursday officially approved the establishment of University of Ilesa by presenting Letter of Recognition for the official take off of the institution to the state government.
The presentation of the letter gives birth to the successful completion of the formal documentary process into the establishment of the university from its formal operation as College of Education.
By the recognition, the University becomes the 60th State University and 220th University in Nigeria.
The letter conveying the recognition was personally received from the NUC Executive Secretary, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed by the Osun Governor, Gboyega Oyetola.
Speaking, the NUC Executive Secretary lauded the governor for the initiative, noting that the establishment of the university remains one of the most important legacies of Governor Oyetola.
He added that the governor established the university in the “right place, with the right people. I am sure the people of Ilesa will not allow it to go under.”
In his remarks, Governor Adegboyega Oyetola reiterated his administration’s commitment to ensuring that the establishment of the university will not in any way put unnecessary financial burden on the State.
Oyetola said the event has further laid credence to his commitment to upgrading the 44 years old College of Education to a University.
Oyetola who described education as the bedrock of socio-economic and political development, said the establishment of the University would go a long way to address palpable deficit in university education, particularly in the State and beyond.
According to him, the University would further help to train and equip a diverse group of youths with professional skills, entrepreneurial ability, and innovative insights, especially in agri-business, mining and health.
He noted that since higher education is central to the creation of future wealth, better socio-economic attainment, efficient agro-economy and mining technology in the current dispensation of the knowledge economy, hence the quest to upgrade the College to a full-fleged University.
“The establishment of the University of Ilesa is necessitated by the massive gap between qualified candidates and available space in existing higher institutions within the State, as education remains the primary industry in Osun. The yearning is considerably insatiable, and as responsible leaders, we cannot ignore these needs.
“Our commitment is to contribute to developing the human resources needed to drive growth in Osun and Nigeria. Higher education worldwide is a veritable driver of human development, innovation, technological advancement, and resource exploration.
“The new University of Ilesa shall focus on Agriculture and Agri-business to address food insecurity; mining technology, building on the abundant gold deposit in Ijesaland; and Medical Sciences to enhance the human resource need in the health sector.
“We are very deliberate in our approach as we seek to contribute to the diversification of our economy and wean it away from over reliance on oil.
“In anticipation of the take off, we have identified credible candidates for the Governing Council and Principal Officers, ready to be appointed and hit the ground running.
“The outgoing College of Education facilities are more than sufficient to conveniently accommodate the University in the first phase of its development. We have made adequate provisions for the students of the College of Education to complete and better their careers as the life of the College of Education comes to an end.
“I wish to put on record the sincere appreciation of the Government and people of Osun to the National Universities Commission (NUC) for your cooperation and support in bringing the LAUTECH issue between Oyo and Osun states to a win-win close.
“We recall your promise to support the Government of Osun should it decide to set up another university. Today’s exercise opens a new chapter in this regard, and we look forward to continual support.
“Let me once again reiterate that the proposed university has been carefully conceived as a thoroughly entrepreneurial and innovative institution that would be funded through a mix of sources such as the government, community, industry, and other stakeholders without exerting unnecessary pressure on the finances of the State,” Oyetola added.
Among those present at the brief ceremony were former Osun Governor, Chief Bisi Akande, Emeritus Prof. Olu Aina, Speaker of Osun House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Timothy Owoeye, Chief of Staff to Osun Governor, Dr. Charles Akinola and former Health Minister, Prof. Isaac Adewole among others.