From Vision to Reality: Unveiling the Newest Hit Place on Campus, the Remodelled UNILAG Main Library Lobby and Makerspace

As part of activities towards preparing the University of Lagos (UNILAG) for the realities of the future, the University in collaboration with Alpha Morgan Capital Managers Limited has reimagined the UNILAG Main Library Lobby and Makerspace and transformed it into a space that transcends traditional boundaries and embraces technology to become a hub of limitless possibilities.

It all started when the University Librarian, Professor Yetunde Zaid, had the vision to redefine library services at the University of Lagos into a gateway to infinite horizons. With firm support from the University Management and several members of the university community as well as a generous donation from Alpha Morgan Capital Managers Limited, her vision was activated for actualisation.

On Tuesday, November 14, 2023, this vision was brought to life at the formal commissioning of the remodelled UNILAG Main Library Lobby and Makerspace. The Commissioning Ceremony which coincided with the Meeting of the Board of Directors, African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA), being hosted by the University, was witnessed by over fifteen (15) Vice-Chancellors from universities across Africa, staff and friends of Alpha Morgan Capital Managers Limited as well as the Management team, staff and students of UNILAG.

Just as John C. Maxwell, a leadership expert and author once said: “Vision without passion is a picture without possibilities”. The passion behind the realisation of the vision to remodel the UNILAG Main Library Lobby and Makerspace was second to none. Professor Zaid, while appreciating the team at Alpha Morgan Capital Managers Limited, noted their inspiring level of commitment to the project, particularly the regular visits of staff of the asset management and investment banking firm to monitor the progress of the remodelling.

She expressed her joy at the realisation of the vision during her time, and immense gratitude to the immediate past Vice-Chancellor, Professor Oluwatoyin T. Ogundipe, FAS and incumbent Vice-Chancellor, Professor Folasade T. Ogunsola, OON, FAS for giving her room to spread her wings.

Professor Zaid declared that the remodelled makerspace will be a student engagement centre where both lecturers and industry can meet with students to broaden their learning horizons beyond the conventional classroom setting. She pointed out that the space is fully equipped with relevant devices and software to give students an advanced learning experience.

According to her, “to ensure orderly use and maintenance of the space, users would be required to apply for its use ahead of time by scanning the QR code on the wall mural just outside the makerspace, and filling out an application form”.

From Keeping A Promise to Making Lasting Impact: GMD, Alpha Morgan Capital Pledges Unwavering Support to UNILAG

The Group Managing Director, Alpha Morgan Capital Managers Limited, Mr. Ade Buraimo who is also an alumnus of the University of Lagos, on behalf of the Group, pledged to continue to support the University of Lagos (UNILAG).

Speaking at the formal commissioning ceremony, he intimated the gathering of how Alpha Morgan Capital Managers Limited became a crucial part of the actualisation of the remodelling project.

He disclosed that the UNILAG library’s project was brought to his attention when the firm was about to hand over the upgraded Professor Adetokunbo Babatunde Sofoluwe Park on Thursday, October 20, 2022. He further stated that it was at that point he promised the Vice-Chancellor at the time, Professor Ogundipe, that Alpha Morgan Capital would also sponsor the re-modelling of the Lobby and Makerspace of UNILAG Main Library.

Turning to the incumbent Vice-Chancellor, Professor Folasade Ogunsola, OON, FAS, Mr Ade Buraimo expressed his sincere appreciation for her support of the vision when she assumed office. He stated fervently for the world to hear that Alpha Morgan Capital will also support all of Professor Ogunsola’s initiatives as the Vice-Chancellor of UNILAG, a great citadel of learning.

The GMD saluted the doggedness of the UNILAG Librarian, Professor Yetunde Zaid in ensuring the actualisation of her vision for the library. He also appreciated the university management and community for allowing him and his team to contribute to the advancement of the academic world.

Mr Ade Buraimo testified that the University of Lagos is home to him as he and his family studied at the university at different points of their educational sojourn. He noted also that Alpha Morgan Capital Managers Limited gives priority to graduates of the University of Lagos in their recruitment process without prejudice to graduates from other institutions.

Beyond the fulfilment of this promise made about a year ago, Mr Buraimo disclosed that his commitment to the University of Lagos remains firm as he had given immediate job appointment to Mr Patrick, one of the visually-impaired students of the university he met during his pre-commissioning visit to the library on Monday, November 13, 2023. According to him, the student would be placed on the pay-roll of Alpha Morgan Capital Managers Limited from 1st January 2024 for some stipend to support his education till he graduates in the next two (2) years and resumes fully as a staff in the Communication and Branding Department of the company.

The GMD, Alpha Morgan Capital also extended his appreciation to the Managing Director of James Boer Limited, Adm. James Boer (Rtd), who served as the contractor of the project. He thanked him for working closely with the University and Alpha Morgan team to achieve the desired results.

Speaking on the background of his company, Mr Buraimo highlighted that Alpha Morgan Capital Managers Limited has over the years become one of Africa’s fastest-growing asset management and investment banking firms as recognised by the Financial Times of UK and Statista. He also noted that the company is rated fourth (4th) in Nigeria and seventh (7th) in Africa. According to Mr. Buraimo, Alpha Morgan Capital is notable for providing expert advice and a wide range of financial products and services to grow wealth for its clients and to support the achievement of their financial goals.

At the end of his speech, Mr Ade Buraimo reverberated his assurance to the Vice-Chancellor and the entire University community of his firm’s continued support of projects and initiatives that encourage academic excellence, values and development in service to humanity and the University of Lagos.

“We must treat our students right so that they feel compelled and happy to come back and do their bit” – Professor Folasade Ogunsola

The Vice-Chancellor, University of Lagos (UNILAG), Professor Folasade T. Ogunsola, OON, FAS, while appreciating the magnanimity and commitment of the GMD, Alpha Morgan Capital, Mr. Ade Buraimo and his team, underscored the need to treat all students well during their sojourn in the university. She noted that the feelings of goodwill individuals attach to their experience in the university often motivate them to return with hearts overflowing with gratitude to give to their Alma Mata.

She expressed gratitude to everyone that made the completion of the project possible and voiced her expectations of the makerspace becoming one of the most engaged spaces in the University. She disclosed that part of the vision at the University of Lagos is to foster continuous engagement between industry and the University. She affirmed her belief that spaces like the remodelled UNILAG makerspace and lobby are fertile grounds for such engagements.

Subsequently, accompanied by the UNILAG Management team, Vice-Chancellors from various African universities, members of the university community etc., Professor Folasade Ogunsola and Mr Ade Buraimo proceeded to formally commission the remodelled University of Lagos (UNILAG) lobby and makerspace.

Detailed with Precision, Crafted by Its Very Own

A unique aspect of the remodelling of the UNILAG Library Lobby and Makerspace is the roll call of the hands that designed and built the spaces.

The Chief Architect of the project, Arch. Eshemokhai (Shemo) Akpene of Eureka Consults, is a 2003 alumnus of the Department of Architecture, Faculty of Environmental Sciences, University of Lagos. He was highly instrumental in breathing life into the dream of revitalising the University’s Main Library.

Through his keen eyes for aesthetics and a fusion of design and functionality, Arch. Shemo was able to create a serene ambience right from the entrance of the Library through the entire remodelled space. In functionality, the design of the ramp entering the Library has breaking points that rhyme with the staircase but also cater to serving as necessary friction for the wheels of students accessing the library in wheelchairs. The floor leading into the library has also been levelled to allow easy access to students with special needs. Similarly, the doors of the library are now sensor-enabled sliding doors that control the inward and outward flow of traffic without the need for students to make contact with door handles; a feature that is necessary for good hygiene.

On his team, Arch. Shemo had two current 400-level students of the Department of Architecture, University of Lagos, Miss Bamidele Ayomide Deborah and Miss Ifeoluwa Victoria Oyepeju who interned at the Eureka Consults and both made notable inputs in the design of the spaces. One of these brilliant young ladies was responsible for the dynamic design of the ceiling of the makerspace.

The list goes on to the countless number of Visual Arts Students and recent graduates of the Department of Creative Arts, Faculty of Arts, UNILAG, who painted the murals surrounding the UNILAG Main Library. These paintings not only give the Library a burst of colour but serve as a stimulating welcome to spark creativity in the minds of library users.

The visual artists are: Salami Azeez; Solanke Omotoyosi; Akinsola Kehinde; Akinwole Oluwashinaayo; Adebayo Moyosore; Odogwu Emanuel; Egualeona Charles; Olayemi Olamilekan; Nwoke Augustine; Anachuna Victor; Onyesoro Chubby; Adekogbe Adedamola; Adeleke Olufemi; Adelekan fortune; Akinsola Olamilekan; Ambali Omotayo; Olaonipekun Onafuye; Ebong Qeenette; Akinsemoyin Basit; Oluyide Alice; Oluwole Emmanuel Olushola; and Ogar Leonard.

The remodelled UNILAG Library Lobby features a coffee corner for students and visitors to purchase coffee, smoothies and pastries while taking a breather from their studying. The coffee shop, Coffee & Co is co-owned by Boluji Odufote and Damola Duke, an alumnus of the University’s Department of Architecture. The coffee corner will be adding soul to the aesthetics of the beautifully remodelled Library Lobby with the top-notch services.

The involvement of students and alumni in bringing these remodelled library spaces to life makes it more special to the University. It would forever be noted as a project that bears credence to the quality of products of the University of Lagos.

Built for the Students, Built for the Future

The endeavour of remodelling the UNILAG Library Lobby and Makerspace is not just about bricks and mortar but a commitment to shaping an environment that echoes with the aspirations and dreams of students, ultimately paving the way for the future of learning.

It is not just a physical space; it is a digital bridge that brings students together regardless of where they are. Through virtual hangout spaces, collaborative projects, and interactive forums, the lobby and makerspace is a vibrant hub for the exchange of ideas, creating a sense of community that transcends the limitations of physical distance.

The makerspace, is aimed at being a bastion of creativity, as it metamorphoses into a dynamic digital arena. The future of innovation is not confined to physical workshops; it thrives in the digital realm. Through virtual collaboration tools and cutting-edge software, students can continue to ideate, create, and innovate. The remodelled makerspace is not just a space; it is a launchpad for dreams, encouraging students to pioneer solutions that will define the future.

For every brick laid, every furniture fabric chosen, and every colour palette selected, the focus remains on the students and the future they will shape. These remodelled spaces are a reflection of the University’s commitment to providing an environment that nurtures not just academic growth but the holistic development of individuals poised to tackle the challenges of tomorrow.

When next you’re visiting the University of Lagos, be sure to stop at the UNILAG Main Library for an experience worth having!

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