For Nigeria to keep pace with the technological revolution sweeping the globe, Ivory towers must soar above mediocrity by setting new standards for growth and exponential changes.
This must be done hand-in-hand with a critical re-evaluation of the cost of education at every level, expansion of access to tertiary education with a view to growing human capacity for national development as well as leverage on technology to keep pace with global trends.
This formed the core of the 53rd Convocation Lecture of the University of Lagos, delivered by the Managing Director/CEO of a technology solution-providing company, InfoGraphics Nigeria and Managing Partner, GrandCentral Africa, Mr. Chinenye Mba-Uzoukwu at the J. F. Ade Ajayi Auditorium on Tuesday, January 17, 2023.
Titled; “Finding the Boundaries of the Possible, Venturing Beyond”, the lecture which also formed part of activities marking the Diamond Jubilee of the University of Lagos, saw Mr. Mba-Uzoukwu paying glowing tributes to every alumnus and alumnae as well as successive managements of UNILAG for their commitment to sustaining the culture of all-round excellence over the decades, noting that UNILAG has stood the test of time in all spheres of human endeavour.
The guest lecturer and multiple award winner combed the history and evolution of university education right from 357BC when Plato founded The Academy as a place of discourse, its offshoots in countries like Tunisia (in 737AD), Morocco (in 859AD), Egypt (in 975AD) and Mali (in 989AD) to the establishment of the University of Bologna in Europe in 1088.
Quoting copiously from the 2012 survey conducted by the Committee on Needs Assessment of Nigerian Public Universities (CNANPU) which covered 61 Universities, Mr. Mba-Uzoukwu decried the state of tertiary education in Nigeria with regards to infrastructure, quality of manpower and the adverse effects of serial industrial actions.
He also described as abysmal, the number of entries into ivory towers in Nigeria especially when viewed against the backdrop of the manpower required to drive national growth and development.
While warning against gender discrimination, Mr. Mba-Uzoukwu expressed his displeasure over the sustained brain drain and the current wave of migration of Nigeria’s youthful population.
The Tech-Guru charged youths not to be discouraged or inhibited by the long list of challenges confronting every sector of the country but focus and draw from the abundant innate strength which he said, makes the Nigerian story the tale of overcoming all odds.
To the graduating students, the guest lecturer buttressed their indispensability in building a viable nation especially in view of contemporary challenges posed by culture, values, digital disruption, financial inclusion, educational attainment, employment and employability, gender, diversity, faith and economy.
Mr. Chinenye Mba-Uzoukwu says he does not see the sweeping negativity that is common to the popular discourse. “I believe our people are gifted with an indomitable will to win, an irrepressible call to become, an irrevocable capacity to confront adversity with an intention to overcome, and most important, an unquenchable thirst to attain height after height, after the height”.
He also tasked the graduating students and the entire alumni community to commit to raising the socio-economic well-being of their immediate communities by 10 percent over the next 10 years by looking inwards only.
Watch the Convocation Lecture below:
In his remarks, Chairman of the Convocation lecture, Mr. Fola Adeola, used the avenue to congratulate the entire University on its 60th Anniversary just as he applauded the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Folasade Ogunsola’s vision to grow the university’s finances, infrastructure, reputation and manpower.
The convocation lecture, according to him, would stimulate critical reasoning and promote further intellectual discussions which would help influence national re-orientation and development.
The convocation lecture, according to the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Folasade Ogunsola, FAS, gives a sense of direction to UNILAG under her watch.
She said the discourse will aid the internationalization, networking and aggressive automation drive as well as support efforts to groom enquiring minds and raise graduates with sound character who are ready for exploits in the nearest future.
The event featured the public presentation of a book titled: The History of the University of Lagos: The 6th Decade.
The 15-chapter book, according to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Development Services, Professor Ayodele Atsenuwa, is the third in its series and it covers the infrastructural development, academic growth, positive changes in administration, staff and students’ welfare as well as efforts to build bridges, responsiveness to national needs and aggressive internationalization efforts.