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: RECTORS SPEECH AT 24 TH CONVOCATION

TEXT OF AN ADDRESS BY THE RECTOR, ALHAJI MAS’UD ELELU, FNIM, FCSN, FCAI, MNIFST, DELIVERED AT THE 24TH CONVOCATION CEREMONY OF KWARA STATE POLYTECHNIC, ILORIN ON 8TH NOVEMBER, 2017- CELEBRATION OF 8 YEARS UNINTERRUPTED ACADEMIC CALENDAR
Courtesies
It is with great delight and gratitude to the Almighty Allah that I stand today before this unique congregation on this occasion of the 24th Convocation Ceremony of our dear Polytechnic.

Precisely, on Saturday, 17th December last year, during the 23rd Combined Convocation, I stated openly that the institution will no longer defer or combine its convocation ceremonies.

I am grateful to the Almighty Allah who has granted our prayer and made this ceremony possible today.

I therefore wish on behalf of the Governing Council, Management, the Academic Board, Staff and Students of the Kwara State Polytechnic, to most heartily welcome the Visitor and the Executive Governor of Kwara State, Alhaji (Dr.) Abdulfatah Ahmed, to the Polytechnic on this special occasion.  About three years ago, Allah guided His Excellency to approve the renewal of my appointment as the Rector of this citadel of learning.  Through the grace of Allah, the encouragement and support of His Excellency, we have kept the flag flying and raised the banner of academic excellence higher than we met it about eight years ago.  We give all the glory to Allah. 

May I welcome specially, the Honourable Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, who is ably represented today by the Director, Tertiary Education of the Federal Ministry of Education, Mr J. S. Ojo. I also warmly welcome my brother and friend, the former Rector of Sokoto State Polytechnic and current Secretary to the Government of Sokoto State, Professor Bashir Garba, MFR, who graciously accepted to be the Guest Speaker during this 24th Convocation.

The lecture, with the topic, “Science and Technical Education in Nigeria: An Antidote to Contemporary Socio-Economic Challenges”, was well delivered yesterday.  Indeed, scholarship and wealth of experience in both academic and administration were articulately displayed.  The rich knowledge imparted through the juicy paper will certainly propel both staff and students to crave for greater heights in scientific and technological attainment. We are indeed grateful to the Professor.

We want to  specially recognize the unique role and contributions of the Right Honourable Speaker of the Kwara State House of Assembly, Alhaji (Dr.) Ali Ahmad, the Chief Judge of Kwara State, Alhaji Durosinlohun Kawu, the Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Isiaka Gold, the Head of Service, Mrs Susan Modupe Oluwole, the Chief of Staff, Government House, Alhaji Yusuf B. Abdulwahab, the Honourable Commissioner for Tertiary Education, Science and Technology, Dr (Mrs) Amina S. Ahmed, the Permanent Secretary of our Ministry, Alhaji J. A. B. Haruna and other Honourable Commissioners, Permanent Secretaries, top government officials from the state Civil Service-Ministries, Departments, Parastatals and Agencies (MDAs) who are present today.  We appreciate you all for being by our side at all times.

Similarly, it is pertinent to publicly acknowledge the wonderful role of members of the Polytechnic Governing Council, ably led by our amiable Chairman, Alhaji Salihu Alhaji Musa, for their contributions to the smooth running of the Polytechnic since its inauguration about a year ago.  We have enjoined the goodwill, cooperation, and understanding of the Council hence the sustenance of the tempo of development that is already on ground.  We say a big thank you to them all.

Certainly not the least, are our Royal Fathers, led by His Royal Highness, the Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji (Dr) Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari (CFR), who have spared their scarce and precious time to rejoice with us today.  We are grateful to you all.

GROWING FAME OF THE POLYTECHNIC

In my address at the Convocation Ceremony last year, I took pains to chronicle the achievements of our administration since its inception in June, 2009.  Needless to say, the institution has continued to grow in all ramifications, scientific, technical, technological, entrepreneurial, infrastructural and in the area of peace and security.

With particular reference to academic, the institution has maintained its position as one of the top ten Polytechnics in Nigeria in terms of patronage by admission seekers.  Partly responsible for this, is the regular academic calendar the institution has maintained consecutively for over eight years, its relatively low school fees charges, peace and stability.  We are determined to keep this outstanding feat by God’s grace.

ACHIEVEMENTS WITHIN THE LAST ONE YEAR

Without having to repeat our previous achievements, this administration, through the support of the State government, the Council, Management, Staff and Students, has added many feathers to its cap in the following highlighted areas:
Sustenance of Continuous Peace on the Campuses of the  Polytechnic
The Council contributed immensely to the sustenance of the existing peace on the campuses of the Polytechnic. The 2016/2017 academic session successfully came to an end in August, 2017, without any conflict, friction, disturbances from Students, Staff or the neighbouring villages.

Sustenance of Regular Payment of Salaries by 25th day of every month
We have been able to sustain the payment of staff salaries on or before the 25th day of every month. The Polytechnic is not owing any of its staff.  This has been possible through sacrifices, prudent management of resources and re-ordering of priorities.

Conduct of the 2015 Promotion Exercise
Immediately after the inauguration of the Council, the Appointment and Promotion Committee (A & PC) was constituted. This was done in line with the staff welfare vision of the Council. The Council also directed that the A & PC should swing into action immediately with a view to submitting its report on the 2015 promotion exercise.
Accordingly, at its 184th Regular Meeting, held on 6th June, 2017, the Council approved the promotion of both academic and non-academic staff based on the report of the A&PC.

Running a Debt-free Institution
Through the support and goodwill of the Council to the Management, the Polytechnic Authority is able to run a debt- free institution. We have not taken any loan till date. 
Accreditation, Re-Accreditation and Resource Inspection of  Courses by the National Board for Technical Education

The institution went through accreditation, re-accreditation and resource inspection of some of its academic programmes by the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), from 15th to 18th January, 2017. The breakdown of the affected programmes is as follows:
i) 26 Existing ND/HND Programmes 
ii) 6 Programmes for Resource Inspection
It is gratifying to note that all the 26 programmes presented were accredited.  Furthermore, the following were fully accredited:
National Diploma, Transportation, Planning and Management
National Diploma, Welding and Fabrication Engineering Technology
We are proud to say that the Polytechnic has complied fully with 70:30 ratio in favour of Science/Technological/Engineering to Humanities as  
          recommended by the National Council on Education.
Sustenance of Zero – tolerance for Cultism and other Social Vices
The Polytechnic enjoys the support of the state government in its policy of zero tolerance for cultism and other social vices. To achieve this, the Management partnered with Security Agencies and the neighbouring Communities to adequately beef up the security of the Polytechnic environment.  These efforts have resulted in a cult-free Polytechnic for over two years running.
Maintenance of a Stable Academic Calendar 
Through the relentless efforts of the Council and Management, the long existed stable academic calendar of the Polytechnic was maintained such that the institution was able to conclude the 2016/2017 academic session in August, 2017.  Thus our HND graduands of 2016/2017 have now been mobilized for NYSC.
Commission and Inspection of Projects
During the year, the Executive Secretary of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) visited the Polytechnic to commission the under listed TETfund projects:
i. Block of Offices for Principal Lecturers
ii) Professor Sheu Ahmed Jimoh Library Complex

The Executive Secretary also inspected all the ongoing TETfund projects in the Polytechnic such as a modern 500 Capacity Auditorium, Centre for Research and Information Technology (CRIT), and Stadium Complex. The Executive Secretary was very impressed with the standard and quality of both the completed and ongoing projects. 

During the visit the Executive Secretary’s team was conducted round the Institute of Technology (IOT) to see various fabrications and technological breakthroughs by staff and students of the Polytechnic. At the IOT, some of our innovations which were inspected include pyrolysis oil mini plant, locust bean dehuller, plantain pulverizer, palm kernel cracker and separator, pounded yam machine, moveable cold storage system, biogas digester, multipurpose shelling machine, multipurpose cutting machine, hammer mill pulverizer, green house, rainfall simulation, fueless generator, solar inverter among several others.

Inaugural of NIPOGA Council
The Polytechnic actively and successfully participated in the 19th NIPOGA Games at the Federal Polytechnic, Nasarrawa. The Chairman of Council and the Rector were also on ground to encourage our delegates.

Kwara State Polytechnic delegates won 2 gold, 3 silver and 3 bronze medals after the programme. As the proposed host of the 20th edition of the game in 2018, the NIPOGA flag was handed over to the Rector of the Kwara State Polytechnic. Furthermore, the NIPOGA Council was constituted and inaugurated on 14th September, 2017 with I, the Rector, appointed as its President.
Anti Corruption and Transparency Unit (ACTU)
Challenged by the high level of corruption in the public service, the Management, in collaboration with the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), established the Anti- Corruption and Transparency Unit (ACTU) in the Polytechnic to sanitize the entire system and entrench transparency in the institution.  The Unit was inaugurated on 19th September, 2017 by a team from the Commission led by a representative of the Honourable Chairman of the ICPC. We therefore pledge to give full support to the unit.
Polytechnic Research Foundation
The first Conference of Nigerian Polytechnics’ and Monotechnics’
Chief Lecturers, Deans, Academic Directors and Chairmen of Publications Committee was hosted in the Polytechnic. The theme of the Conference was, “Research Excellence and Quality Framework”.  It was an important conference aimed at deliberating on research integrity among academic staff in Tertiary Institutions.

Partnership with other Organizations
The Polytechnic received a team from the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA). The team came with the objectives of exploring the available home grown technology to possibly collaborate with the Institution. No fewer than 14 fabricated tools of Kwara State Polytechnic were later adopted and up-scaled by the Institute.  This visit, no doubt, will go a long way in exposing the technological ability of the Polytechnic to the entire world.
Training of Staff on ICT
To have maximum productivity and efficient service delivery from staff, attention was paid to their training in the area of ICT. In view of this, the Polytechnic organized a 5-day training on Information and communication Technology (ICT) for some staff of the Polytechnic. This was done in collaboration with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC). This could not have come at a better time than now when the ICT knowledge is increasingly on high demand in our daily affairs.
Inter Institute Competition
The Polytechnic also engaged students in extra-curricular activities such as debate in order to widen their horizons. This, apart from making students vibrant and able to compete favourably with their colleagues elsewhere, it has also prevented students from engaging in any form of social vices that could distract them from their primary aim of being in the Polytechnic.
Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) Special Marshal
During the year, a unit of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) Special Marshal was inaugurated in the Polytechnic to assist in the area of traffic control on the high way leading to the Polytechnic. The representative of the Sector Commander, FRSC Kwara State Command, DCC Udeme Bassey Eshiet, was present to inaugurate the unit named “RSA point I unit 33”. The Rector was also kitted and inducted during the inauguration.
Prompt Issuance of Students’ Certificates
The Institution has adopted a new policy of issuing certificates to all its graduates.  This has made it easy for the Polytechnic to timely and promptly mobilize its HND graduands for the National Youth Service Corps.


Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) against Lassa fever 
The Polytechnic has assisted some of its host communities in the War against Lassa Fever through timely campaign on the deadly disease and fumigation of over 80% of the communities.  In a related development, the Polytechnic also extended its services in the Clinic to cater for the villagers in order to ensure a healthy environment that can enhance peace and security in the institution.
CHALLENGES

Gratifying as the achievements may be, the institution is not without some constraints. Challenges are necessary parts of life. For any organization to be said to have succeeded, it must have been able to surmount the attendant challenges in the course of its activities and operations. Indeed, the Kwara State Polytechnic has had its fair share of the challenges right from the commencement of this administration.  The following challenges, among others, are glaring:
Funding
Since the stoppage of the monthly subvention by the State government more than three years ago, the Polytechnic has been finding it difficult to cope with the ever increasing financial commitments ranging from staff salaries to other recurrent expenses.

Porosity of the Permanent Campus
The porosity of the Polytechnic Permanent Campus gives the neighbouring villages opportunity to encroach on its lands.

Nevertheless, to forestall the breach of security because of the porosity, the Polytechnic expends huge amount of money in partnering with various Security Agencies which are providing security services on daily basis.
Externalization of Official Matters
Matters that are best addressed and resolved officially within the Polytechnic are often externalized by staff. In the process, official channels of communication are ignored. This is not healthy enough for the institution.
Accreditation of Programmes
Quite a huge sum of money running into millions of Naira is needed each time the Polytechnic faces accreditation or re-accreditation of its National Diploma and Higher National Diploma programmes.

The Team from the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) had always insisted on meeting the minimum requirements in order to sail through each accreditation exercise. How to meet this financial requirement is always a serious challenge to the institution.
Insufficient Hostel Accommodation
It was reported in my speech during the 23rd Combined Convocation Ceremony that an advert was placed for investors to partner with the Polytechnic to renovate the students’ hostels through Renovate, Operate and Transfer (ROT) arrangement. The contractors have signified interests and the qualified ones have been shortlisted. The Memoranda of Understanding are currently being processed by the Price Intelligence Unit (PIU) in conjunction with the Ministry of Justice.

We use this forum to appeal to philanthropists, Banks and well meaning Nigerians to come and invest in the building of hostels on our campuses. Doing so will not only help to solve this problem, it will also generate income for the investors. 

Illegal Occupation of Polytechnic Land
Entrance through the main gate of the Polytechnic presents worrisome sight with unauthorized structures emerging particularly on the right side of the road.  The presence of illegal structures poses a great challenge to the security of the Institution.  While the Management had challenged the illegal occupation in the Court of Law, the villagers had always insisted that they were never compensated by the State government or that the compensation claimed to have been paid did not get to the proper hands.

Ageing Nature of the Structures
Most of the buildings in the Polytechnic are very old; as old as the institution itself.  Although renovation takes place from time to time, lack of fund makes it difficult to carry out a complete and comprehensive renovation and rehabilitation of the obsolete structures.
Students Indiscipline
Examination malpractice and indecent dressing are some of the areas where students have manifested disrespect to the institution’s Rules and Regulations. Consequently, the Authority has constituted appropriate Committees to deal with these issues. In the last two years, quite a number of students have been appropriately sanctioned for contravening the Rules and Regulations made to instill discipline in the institution. 
Court Cases
Due to industrial unrest, staff indiscipline and failure to follow established procedure, the Polytechnic was plunged into unnecessary court cases in the past.  In most cases, the institution has always been on the losing side due to the way the cases were handled by some of the Lawyers.  This was quite unfortunate.  However, we are happy to disclose that in the last five years, we have been able to stem this tide through engaging good and reputable legal practitioner who had succeeded in winning most of the inherited cases in court.
Students Impatience
Most times, students displayed immaturity and impatience in their approach to issues.  This became worsened particularly when their leaders, Students’ Union Government Executives, were arrogant and indisciplined.  A recent instance is the immaturity displayed by some miscreants, who are never students of our institution, on the false allegation of school fees increase when in actual fact, there was no increase at all. Sometimes they hurriedly carried their protest to the Government House, House of Assembly, Ministry of Tertiary Education, Traditional Rulers, the Media or Politicians in town. We plead with these bodies to always be patient to  find out the facts.

ADVICE TO GRADUANDS
At this juncture, may I warmly congratulate the graduands of today for the successful completion of your academic programmes in this great institution. You have laboured hard, toiled tirelessly and burnt the midnight oil that have culminated into this joyous event today. No doubt, your dreams have been fulfilled and you have become the pride and glory of your parents and guardians. On behalf of the Management, the Academic Board, staff and the students of the Polytechnic, I congratulate you all.

Meanwhile, I wish to remind you of the fact that the National Diploma and Higher National Diploma Certificates in your possession are very precious. They are confirmation that you have proved yourselves worthy in character and learning to earn them. Therefore, you must continue to be disciplined and responsible citizens of the country wherever you are. You should remain good and exemplary ambassadors of this noble institution which has imparted so much into you morally, mentally, emotionally and intellectually.

Furthermore, I wish to remind the graduands of the fact that the country is going through a period of economic recession. Yet there is hope. Life swings like a pendulum; today looks bleak but tomorrow will be brighter and better. What you need is to take life head-long, confront it with courage drawing from the practical training and entrepreneurship skills you have acquired while in the Polytechnic to establish yourselves as self employed graduates and job providers. It is pertinent to stress at this juncture, that in this 21 Century, no nation can have a strong economy and experience sustainable development without a skilled workforce.  Nigeria needs to revitalize and galvanize its technical schools.  We therefore call on the Federal and State governments to review their policy on technical education by breathing more life to technical schools.  Individuals who have the technical hands-on are more needed now to provide the necessary “basic raw materials” for positive engagement of Polytechnics products.  The Technical Colleges can easily plug into the Polytechnic system than their counterparts from Secondary or Grammar Schools.  If our dream to invent, innovate, fabricate tools and equipment which would ease our operations is to be realized therefore, we need more of Technical Colleges now than ever before.
On our part, we shall network with local Masons, Artisans, Craftsmen, Printers, Painters, Motor Mechanics, Builders, Fashion Designers, Shoe Makers/Cobblers, GSM Phone Repairers, Wrist Watch Makers, Welders, Vulcanizers, Soap Makers, Cosmetologists, et cetera in order to tap from their possessed skills and also feed them with the required knowledge in their domains, improve on their attitude so that they can excel, attract, sustain patronage and ultimately contribute meaningfully to the national economy.
The world is treading the skills highway for obvious reasons- generate wealth and create job opportunities.  Skills competition has become an annual event which Nigeria has to key into.  Recently, the Rector led a Nigerian delegation to the World Skills Day in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirate.  The lessons drawn from the event would be replicated in Kwara State Polytechnic.  Certainly, if we want an assured future, we must develop the skills of our teaming youth. In this regard, Kwara State Polytechnic, Ilorin has indeed come a long way.  Our products are everywhere.  We implore the Alumni of Kwara State Polytechnic to partner with their Alma mater in the provision of infrastructure for the Polytechnic.  They have an obligation to come to the aid to the institution.  We are going through a difficult phase, they cannot afford to fold their arms and feel indifferent.  They are all men and women of goodwill; they ought to come to the aid of their Alma mater.

To parents, guardians and well-wishers that are present here today, on behalf of these happy and lucky celebrants, I wish to joyfully congratulate you all. May you live long enough to reap the fruits of your labour, sacrifices and investments over the lives of these wonderful graduands.

APPEAL FOR ASSISTANCE AND SUPPORT

Indeed, the Polytechnic has tried its utmost best within the resources available to keep the Institution going.  Having gone this far, we open our arms appealing for assistance and support in the following areas:

Fencing of the Polytechnic

The porous nature of the Polytechnic accounts for the major challenges we are facing in the area of security. We therefore use this forum to make an appeal to the Government, Philanthropists and Alumni Association of the Polytechnic to come to our aid in constructing a fence round the Polytechnic campus. Although this may not be possible at a go, we can start from somewhere through your assistance.
Radio Poly

The Management has succeeded in reviving and reinvigorating the Old Radio Poly. The operational frequency is 96.0. However, due to financial constraints, the transmitting capacity is limited to the permanent site due to the inability of the Polytechnic to procure the standard equipment and be fully registered with the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).

In this regard, permit me to use this medium to make a passionate appeal to communication organizations and other information lovers to come to our aid financially and in terms of equipment donation.
Security
We have tried our best to keep the Polytechnic campus very peaceful using all available and official means of security and agencies. These efforts have yielded fruitful results. However, we still need the encouragement and support of the government, the neighbouring villages, security agencies and the public to sustain the present peaceful atmosphere. The criticism and complaints against the use of certain security agencies from some quarters are motivated and masterminded by disgruntled elements that are bent on destabilizing our campuses. The government should not listen to them.

GRATITUDE TO WORTHY PERSONS AND ORGANISATIONS

Your Excellency and distinguished guests, permit me to use this period to express appreciation to persons and organizations who have been giving us tremendous support that have culminated in the success we are celebrating today.

First among our eminent personalities who have spared no efforts to help the Polytechnic is Your Excellency, our amiable Visitor. Without your support, we would not have succeeded in these onerous assignments.

We also appreciate a Fellow of the Polytechnic in person of Barrister Yusuf O. Ali, SAN, for his generous donation towards the success of this ceremony. Similarly, the Institution of prizes by Chief (DR.) Joshua Olukayode Olatoke, SAN, and Barrister J. S. Bamigboye SAN, are acknowledged and greatly appreciated.

The Kwara State Police Command, the Divisional Police Officers of both Oke-oyi and Adewole Divisions, the Brigadier Commander of the Nigeria Army, Sobi Cantonment, the State Director of the Department of State Services, the Commandant General of the Nigeria Security & Civil Defence Corps, Special Anti-Robbery Squad and of course, the students Man O’ War, the Cadet Corps and the Boys Scout are greatly appreciated for their tremendous contributions.

In the same vein, I wish to whole heartedly appreciate the financial assistance we received from First City Monument Bank (FCMB), Tuyil Pharmaceutical Limited,  Kamwire Industries Limited and Fortunate Bread holdings.

At this juncture, I wish to publicly appreciate the Kwara State Internal Revenue Service (KW-IRS) under the dynamic and visionary leadership of Dr. Mustapha Awodun for the cash donations to outstanding Higher National Diploma (HND) Graduates.  We deeply appreciate these gestures.

Finally, but certainly not the least, are members of the Academic Board through whose guiding hands these students have developed in the past two years. You have done an excellent job investing your time and intellectual abilities on them.  We are very glad it has culminated into this great and unique success today.  To you all, I say thank you and congratulations.
In the same vein, I wish to appreciate all other staff, academic and non-academic, for their support and cooperation that have resulted to this glorious occasion.  As we all continue to work together, diligently, sacrificially and honestly, we shall achieve our collective goal of taking the Polytechnic into greater heights in no distant future.

On this note, I want to conclude my address by thanking Your Excellency, and all distinguished guests, parents and guardians, well wishers, and students who have made today a great one. We deeply appreciate your patience and presence with us.  God bless you all. 

ALHAJI MAS’UD ELELU, FNIM, FCSN, FCAI, MNIFST
RECTOR.