Makinde, Falola, Others Laud Tech-U, Say University Critical To Nigeria’s Transformation

The First Technical University (Tech-U), Ibadan, has been commended for its focus on technology, entrepreneurship and development of students’ technical skills.

This commendation came during the university’s first Annual Distinguished University Lecture held last Thursday.

Speaking at the event, the Governor of Oyo State and visitor to the university, Seyi Makinde, lauded Tech-U for its unique brand of education and for blazing the trail in bridging the skills gap of young people in the country.

Mr Makinde, represented by his deputy, Rauf Olaniyan, also inspected exhibitions of products made by Tech-U students during the ceremony, adding that he was impressed by the various innovative products on display and charged the university to continually think out of the box.

While commending the lecture, he said that there is a need for the recalibration of the university system to meet up with the demands of a fast-paced knowledge economy.

On his part, the guest lecturer, Toyin Falola, also extolled the strides made by Tech-U since it debuted two years ago. Mr Falola, a professor said, “When oil finishes, Nigeria will fall back to products of the Tech-U. It is certain that this University will play a critical role in the transformation of both the city of Ibadan and Nigeria as a whole”.

Speaking on the theme, Technology, Culture and Society, Mr Falola noted that a tertiary institution like the First Technical University in Nigeria is long overdue in a country as big as Nigeria.

He said: “Saddled with the responsibility to develop our youths in preparing them to meet up with the prevailing challenges of the society, the University holds enough promises in grooming brilliant youths as a way to anchor our journey to technological revolution that will fill the spaces that were plagued with abandonment and catapult us to position of envy where we would enjoy the privilege of global competitions in solving problems.

“I must concede, ladies and gentlemen, that the offered courses in the First Technical University spell clearly their social and educational mandates and the roads to achieving these goals have been cleverly mapped out. Courses such as Mechatronics Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Food Sciences and Technology, Cyber Security, Computer Science, Software Engineering, Physics with Electronics, Petroleum Engineering, Industrial Chemistry and Statistics show exclusively that the University’s planners are in tune with the educational currency of the global community and are committed to making groundbreaking accomplishments in this respect. Coupled with the fact that they are combining intelligence with skill acquisitions, they are, as a result, paving ways for a generation of problem solvers and financially stable individuals who would compete well in globally dynamic markets”.

The professor, a Jacob and Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities at the University of Texas, also counselled that for Nigeria to be competitive in the global economy, the country needs to incentivize productivity. In doing this, he said, “the nation needs a level of national discipline to cultivate the habit of productivity through the appropriate use of technology that has become rampant to encourage local productions which will answer to our needs in every aspect”.

“We should, therefore, begin to consider how we can maximize the knowledge of technology to drive more economic growth to us collectively, by marketing our cultural resources to the global buyers. The fact that our sociocultural system harbours a wealth of cultural resources should be a convincing reason for us to take a giant step in our search for technological knowledge”.

Mr Falola urged the new government in Oyo and other stakeholders to see the university as theirs, saying “It deserves our full support. Its products – students, research, patents, etc – will transform the city of Ibadan and by extension, put Nigeria on the global map of technological advancing nation.”

Earlier in his welcome address, Ayobami Salami, the Vice-Chancellor of Tech-U, assured that the university is committed to projecting Oyo State into national and international reckoning as a strategic player in meeting human capital requirements in newly emerging and projected new work areas, notably in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

Mr Salami, a professor, noted that the university was conceived as a financially self-sustaining publicly-owned institution with a strong leaning towards the private sector practices for efficiency and sustainability.

“The University seeks to create a niche for itself in the Nigerian higher education emporium by training students to combine intellectual advancement with the development of innate and acquired technical and vocational competence in diverse work areas”, he said.