TEXT OF AN ADDRESS BY THE RECTOR, ALHAJI MAS’D ELELU, FNIM, FCSN, FCAI, MNIFST DELIVERED AT THE 25TH CONVOCATION CEREMONY OF KWARA STATE POLYTECHNIC, ILORIN.
I am extremely pleased and give gratitude to the Almighty Allah that spared my life to stand before this honorable gathering on this occasion of the 25th convocation ceremony of our reputable Institution. I shall always remain grateful to Allah.
On behalf of the Governing Council, Management, the Academic Board, Staff and Students of the Kwara State Polytechnic, most heartily welcome the visitor and the Executive Governor of Kwara State, Alhaji (Dr) Abdulfatah Ahmed, to the Polytechnic on this special occasion. Words will certainly fail me to fully express how appreciative this Polytechnic is for the unequal support we have enjoyed from His Excellency since your inception as the Governor of the State, without this unflinching support, we could not have gone this far. Once again, we are grateful, sir, similarly, may I welcome specially, the guest speaker at the convocation Lecture yesterday, who graciously accepted to be the guest speaker during this 25th Convocation. We acknowledge and appreciate the service and time you have spent to avail us your dignified presence here today.
The rich knowledge imparted through the juicy paper will certainly linger in our memory for a long time. We are most grateful ma.
We want to joyfully welcome the Right Honourable Speaker of the Kwara State House of Assembly, 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 Honorable Commissioner for Tertiary
Education, Science and Technology, Barr. Abdullahi Saad Alikinla and other Honorable 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 always.
However, it is imperative to publicly acknowledge the wonderful role of members of the Polytechnic Governing Council, ably led by our indefatigable Chairman, Alhaji Salihu Alhaji Musa, for their contributions to the smooth running of the Polytechnic since its inauguration about three years ago. We have enjoyed the cooperation and understanding of the council hence the sustenance of the tempo of development that is already on ground. We say thank you all Our Royal Fathers, most especially, His Royal Highness, the Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji (Dr) Ibrahim Sulu Gambari, CFR who have spared their tight schedules and precious time to rejoice with us today. We are grateful to you all.
POLYTECHNIC GROWING FAME
In my address at the Convocation Ceremony last year, I took pain 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, scientifically, technically, infrastructurally and in the area of peace and security. The Polytechnic has been able to break new grounds in the area of entrepreneurship skills
With particular reference to academic activities, 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 nine years, number of accredited ND and HND programmes, its relatively low school fees charges, peace and stability. We are determined to keep this outstanding feat by God’s grace.
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:
v Sustenance of Continuous peace on the Campuses of the Polytechnic
The Polytechnic has been able to sustain existing peace on the campuses of the Polytechnic. The 2017/2018 academic session successfully came to an end on the 30th September, 2018, without any conflict, friction, and disturbances from Students, Staff or the neighbouring villages.
v 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.
v Conduct of the 2016 Promotion Exercise
As part of the Management’s Staff welfare package, the Council at its 184th Regular meeting, held in April, 2018, approved the promotion of both academic and non-academic staff based on the recommendations of the Appointment & Promotions Committee (A &PC).
v 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 obtained loan to run the institution from any Organization.
v 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 five years running.
v Maintenance of a Stable Academic Calendar
Through the relentless efforts of the Council, Management and staff, the long existed stable academic calendar of the Polytechnic was maintained such that the institution was able to conclude the 2017/2018 academic session on 30th September, 2018. Thus our HND graduands of 2017/2018 have now been mobilized for NYSC.
v Inauguration 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 Kwara State Polytechnic. Furthermore, the NIPOGA Council was constituted and inaugurated on 14th September, 2018 with the Rector, appointed as its president. Hopefully, before or after the first semester, the Polytechnic will kick-start the NIPOGA games.
v Anti Corruption and Transparency Unit (ACTU)
The Polytechnic has been able to maintain a corrupt-free institution through the effort of the recently inaugurated Anti-Corruption and Transparency Unit. We pray and hope that this tempo is sustained.
v 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.
During the international conference, our academic presented papers and also participated actively. They also had opportunities of interacting with their conterparts from within and outside Nigeria.
v Training of Staff on Information and communication Technology
To have maximum productivity and efficient service delivery from staff, attention was paid to their training in the area of Information and Communication Technology. In view of this, the Polytechnic organized a 5 days training on ICT for some staff of the Polytechnic. This was done in collaboration with 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.
v Inter Institute Competitions
The Polytechnic also engaged students in extra-curricular activities such as inter-institute debate and Rector’s football competition in order to widen their horizons. This, apart from making students vibrant and able to compete favorably 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.
v Prompt Issuance of Students’ Certificates
The Institution has adopted a new policy of issuing certificates to all its graduates immediately after the completion of their programmes. This has made it easy for the Polytechnic to timely and promptly mobilize its HND graduands for the National Youth Service Corps.
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 has to surmount the attendant challenges in the course of its activities and operations. Indeed, the Kwara State Polytechnic has its fair share of these challenges. The following challenges, among others, are glaring:
Like any other Institution, the Polytechnic has problem of funding. However, through the prudence of the Council and Management, we have been able to cope in spite of the ever increasing financial commitments ranging from staff salaries to other recurrent expenses.
v Porosity of the Permanent Campus
The porosity of the Polytechnic permanent campus gives members of the neighbouring villages opportunity to come in and out of the institution unchecked. 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.
v 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.
v 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.
v Insufficient Hostel Accommodation
It was reported in my speech during the 24th Convocation Ceremony that an advert was placed for investors to partner with the Polytechnic to renovate the student’s 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.
v Illegal Occupation of Polytechnic Land
Entrance through the main gate of the Polytechnic presents a worrisome sight with unauthorized structures emerging particularly on the right side of the road. The presence of these 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 have always insisted that they were never compensated by the state government or that the compensation claimed to have been paid did not get the proper hands.
v 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.
v 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.
v Court Case
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 cases were handled by some of the Lawyers. This was quite unfortunate. However, we are happy to disclose that in the last six years, we have been able to stem this tide through engaging good and reputable legal practitioner who has been winning most of the inherited cases in court.
ADVICE TO GRADUANDS
At this point, may I warmly congratulate the graduands of today for the successful completion of 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 Certificate 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, emotionally and intellectually. Furthermore, I wish to remind the graduands of the fact 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 face 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 21st century, no nation can have a strong economy and 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 Polytechnic 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, etcetera 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 reason to generate wealth and create job opportunities. Skills competition has become an annual event which Nigeria has to key into. Recently, the Rector led a Nigeria 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 of 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 investment 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:
v Fencing of the Polytechnic
The porous nature of the Polytechnic was highlighted in the last 24th Convocation which 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.
v Radio Poly
The Management has succeeded in reviving and reinvigorating the Old Radio Poly. The operational frequency is 96.0. However, because of 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.
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 Brigade 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. Muritala 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 in 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.