The weekly executive committee meeting of Nigerian governments, both at the federal and state levels, has become one of the key barometers of the commitment of governments to driving their respective campaign promises.
Several Nigerians always anticipate the outcome of these meetings, which dissemination is often left to the officials in charge of the information portfolio along with those whose ministries/parastatals are affected by the decisions of the meetings. These officials tell us what contract was awarded, at what cost and what new policies or progammes are to be embarked upon by the government.
In our state, the last ‘Exco Meeting’, was of great significance. It was one meeting where members of the executive council, under the chairmanship of Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed, spent the entire day pondering on issues that revolve around education in the state.
Spending an ordinarily unusual hours of almost a full day on education by the “wisemen” of the state was simply a practical expression of Governor Ahmed’s commitment to the education development of Kwarans, with an understanding that the youths, who mostly benefit from investments in education, hold the future of the state and must not be toyed with.
Thus, in the last meeting, decisions were made on various education-related issues. The first was the approval of funds for additional campuses of the Kwara State University (KWASU) at Osi in Ekiti local government area and Ilesha-Baruba in Baruten local government area. The two campuses were part of the original vision of the university and could have taken-off much earlier but for funds constraints.
Now with the good news of the approval of funds, and as explained by the Hon. Commissioner for Information and Communication , Alhaji Babatunde Ajeigbe, that the projects would be kicked-off in a few weeks’ time, there is every assurance that this again will become another promise kept under the continuity agenda of the incumbent administration.
The school’s main campus at Malete houses the College of Pure and Applied Sciences, College of Information and Communication Technology, and the College of Education while the Osi ampus would house the College of Humanities, Management and Social Sciences. The Ilesha-Baruba campus on its part will house the College of Agriculture and Veterinary Sciences.
And to complement the expansion in the educational sector, the council also approved the establishment of a School of Governance and Business, to be sited at Ilorin. Take-off cost for the three projects, according to Ajeigbe, is N3.2 billion, who also added that they would be executed under the PPP platform, using the IF-K that has become a noble and innovative way of financing pubic infrastructure development. The multiplier effect of the injection of these funds into the state economy could only be imagined as the funds would to be used for the construction of road networks, students’ hostels, staff quarters, electrical works etc. These projects are coming on board at a time the Vocational Training Institute in Ajase-Ipo is set for its take-off with the appointment of key officials to run the technical school.
Another important decision of the Exco meeting was the review of the report of the Visitation Panel on KWASU. The fact of government constituting a Visitation Panel on the university only speaks of a determination for transparency and global best practices. And the major highlights of the Panel’s Report were the approval of the appointment of two Deputy Vice Chancellors for the University, contrary to the current practice of having Coordinators under the office of the Vice Chancellor.
Government also approved the scrapping of two courses, Legal Administration and Portuguese Language from the courses currently being run at the main campus of the university situated at Malete. This move was to ensure KWASU is run along with its original vision, as the course, Legal Administration is not known to the Council of Legal Education in Nigeria while there appears to be no relevance in the studying of Portuguese. This decision, however, would not affect either past graduates of the school or current students since both courses are approved by the Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC).
KWASU, is the 77th university to be registered by the Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC) and the 95th university to be recognized in Nigeria, according to available statistics. It was established in 2009 by the administration of Dr. Bukola Saraki with a vision that it would be more than the typical Nigerian university. Hence the appellation of the institution as center for community service and entrepreneurship.
This idea was considered noble, according to online library source, Wikipedia which notes as follows: “In a country where the fundamental values of volunteerism and community involvement are yet to be fully embraced, The university recognises itself as a part of a community, and has the position of a Director for Community Development for the purpose of mobilizing the community, setting assessment strategies, and identifying the needs within the community so that lecturers can use their expertise to impact directly on the communities.
And just on the heels of government’s decision on the institution, the National Universities Commission (NUC) announced the approval or KWASU to start its Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering Degree programme. With this approval, KWASU has become the first Nigerian university to institute a degree programme in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering.
KWASU’s College of Engineering and Technology currently offers courses in Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Food, Agric & Biological Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering.
The administration of Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed has only recently completed the construction of an N800million Engineering complex for the university, which is part of the State government’s efforts to promote engineering education.
Rather than capitulate on the heels of current natural economic recession, Gov. Ahmed not only remains unwavering in his legendary efforts at sustaining the landmark success recorded by Dr Saraki but focuses on building the youths of Kwara State for tomorrow’s competitive world.
Well done, boss.