LECTURE DELIVERED BY PROF. R. ‘Layi Fagbenle
Good morning ladies and gentlemen and thank you all for honoring the invitation of the our father the Owa of Igbajo, OBAADENIYIOLUFEMI OLALEKAN FAS AD E and his Council.of eminent Chiefs of Igbajoland, ably supported by the 17-member Board of Trustees of the Igbajo Polytechnic under the Chairmanship of Chief OlajideOyewole, the first Chairman of DHL Nigeria and our great benefactor for whom we thank the Lord God Almighty for blessing Igbajoland with such a wonderful Son. These two apex bodies are also ably supported by the 19-man Governing Council under the Chairmanship of Professor Olu Odeyemi, OFR, a great scientist of national and international repute and a colleague from my short 7-year post Ul-retirement stint as a staff of the Mechanical Engineering Department, Obafemi Awolowo University, lle-lfe, Osun State. Our paths had crossed much earlier while he was Rector of the then Esa-Oke Satellite Campus of The Polytechnic, Ibadan before Osun State was carved out of the then Oyo State in 1991.1 was appointed a member of the 1st Governing Council of the Campus, then renamed Osun State College of Technology, by Senator Isiaka Adeleke, the first Governor of the new Osun State from the old Oyo State in 1991 and further appointed Chairman Of the Accreditation Committee by that 1st Governing Council. These three apex bodies are ab|y supported by the management of Igbajo Polytechnic under the current Acting Rector, Dr. Akinola O. Olaolu.
2. IGBAJO POLYTECHNIC - THE HUMBLE BEGINNINGS
The humble beginnings of the Igbajo polytechnic project, succinctly captured in my 8-page Chairman's valedictory Report, appears as an Appendix to this Convocation Lecture for a major reason. Many similar communities have, in the wake of our obtaining the Federal Government approval to establish the Igbajo Polytechnic in 2009, approached me for assistance in guiding them to successfully undertaking such a community project. I am yet to get a feedback from any of them of their successfully replicating the feat of Igbajo Polytechnic, the 1st Federal Government-approved, Community-owned Polytechnic in Nigeria. Perhaps this attachment mentioned above will be of assistance to other communities in similar need of such information and guidance. Only a few key points from the 8-page Report titled as shown below will be highlighted here in this Maiden Convocation Lecture:
Community-owned secondary school in the colonial era, the Kiriji Memorial College, KMC, Igbajo, a veritable Secondary School which towered over the landscape of the old pre-Independence Western Region of Nigeria. KMC has produced at least one of the past Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, Professor Omoniyi Adewoye and very many men and women of national and international repute. The IDA purposed to replicate this feat at the Tertiary Education Level ! What daring lion-hearted Igbajo men and women !!! Incredible as it sounded then, six years later in October 2009, Igbajo Community received the Official Approval letter of the National Board for Technical Education, NBTE, from the head office in Kaduna for the establishment of Igbajo Polytechnic, Igbajo.
The Technical Committee on the Establishment of Igbajo Polytechnic was first constituted for the period of September 2003-December 2004 under the Chairmanship of Professor Layi Fagbenle.
The membership was as follow:
Three key people who were very knowledgeable and experienced about the procedure and requirements for establishing a new Polytechnic shortened our work immensely and I formally take this opportunity to register their names for posterity whenever the history of this project is written:
With the joint experience of these people and that of the other members of the Technical Committee, it was decided to begin the project in January 2005 while awaiting the NBTE Advisory Visitation, a decision ratified by the "Board of Shareholders" discussed below.
In the full report, other interesting key issues are discussed such as
the establishment of some bodies which were instituted (and some
scrapped within a few months) at different times to respond to
developments in our deep yearning for success in getting the project
established and off the ground. Among these were the various
Boards set up in a quest for the best instrument to get the desired
result. Among these are the "Interim Board of Shareholders", the
"Board of Subscribers", the "Board of Directors" and finally the
During this period, the Technical Committee work was funded through the "Board of Directors or Board of Subscribers" which was established by the Owa of Igbajo who called on a number of Igbajo sons and daughters to donate generously to the project. This Board was conceived to hold the project in trust for the community. This was my belief and I thought everyone else committed to the project thought likewise. To the credit of Oba Fashade, the Qwa of Igbajo, there possibly was no faster way to raise the close to N5 million required within that first year of the Technical Committee work with all the documentation required for submission to NBTE. However, its underlying intention soon became contentious and indeed a source of widespread mistrust and disaffection, increasingly being seen by many as a ploy to convert genuine community effort to personal benefit of the members of this Board only. This Board of Directors was eventually replaced by the "Interim Board of Shareholders" at a meeting of 10th March 2005, only to be finally replaced by the "Advisory Board" at a meeting held on Friday, April 14, 2006. Following a meeting of the Interim Board held on Friday, 24th February, 2006 at which Chief Olajide Oyewole addressed this contentious issue, the decision was taken to change the company registration status from that of a Limited Liability Company to that of a Company Limited by Guarantee with new signatories in order to dispel the erroneous''notion gaining wide circulation that This community project was in danger of being converted into a! private property.
That re-registration was still on-going in 2009, having been delayed by our inability to produce the Ministry of Education approval to establish the institution at the time of filing the application with the Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC. Mercifully, we were able to present this approval in October 2009 and the process of re-registration speedily continued, being actively followed up in Abuja by our prominent son, telecommunication engineer and one-time IDA President.
Following the inauguration of the Advisory Board in mid-2006, the financial problems faced by the Governing Council in running the institution eased considerably underthe Advisory Board Chairmanship of Chief Olajide Oyewole, ably supported by his Deputy Chairman, Chief Moses I. Aboaba. The' Governing Council was able to concentrate on the academic and administrative issues that needed to be in place for a successful NBTE Approval Visitation. God bless Chief Olajide Oyewole for his dedicating his life to the success of this project. I would like all hereby present to please stand up and join me in singing that old song, "Forhe is a jolly good Fellow" to Chief Olajide and Chief Mrs. Yetunde Oyewole. He came, he Saw and he conquered indeed. Praise the Lord God Almighty, Alleluia!!!
The 1st Igbajo Polytechnic Governing Council was inaugurated by the Owa of Igbajo on 11th December 2004 with the following membership:
The schedule appearing in Table 1 in the full report, abstracted from my personal records, indicates the high frequency of Council meetings in the formative years of the Igbajo Polytechnic project, beginning with the Inaugural meeting on 11th December2004. It is instructive to state here thqt NO Council member received ANY sitting or transport allowance throughout the life of the Council in 2005 - 2009. The same was true for the Technical Committee members, entertainment of which was borne Solely by its Chairman during all its meetings in 2003 and 2004. All Council members came to the Council meetings at Igbajo from their various locations in Lagos, Ibogun, Ibadan, Osogbo, llorin, Iwo, Kaduna, and Abuja under the above conditions. The Chairman came from all the way from Ibogun, Ogun State where he was undertaking a new project for the Olabisi Onabanjo University, OOU, Ago-lwoye, as the Founding Provost of the College of Engineering and Technology (COET) for OOU. Ibogun, as many would know, also happens to be the hometown of Baba Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, who kindly gave me the keys to one of the several chalets in his Ibogun residence for my use during the execution of the project for Ogun State government and OOU, Ago-lwoye.
The Council membership was amended from time to time, as circumstances warranted, e.g. through death of Professor A. A. Adeogun of blessed memory or through a change of Presidency of the IDA. The NBTE also required the representation of some professional bodies on our Council at a sometime in 2008.1 would like to thank the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), which I had the'privilege and honour to serve in the 1978 - 1988 decade in several capacities, and the Institution of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) for sending very worthy representatives to join our Council in the later years. Members living far away in Kaduna or Abuja understandably attended meetings infrequently. Schedule of attendance is available with the Registrar and Secretary to the Council.
Many have labored long and hard on this project. I would like to end this short history of the Igbajo Polytechnic project by naming only a few that strike me this moment of writing this message under intense time constraint, as I will shortly be on my way to Copenhagen, Denmark to represent Nigeria at the United Nations Climate Change negotiations at which over 60 Heads of States including United States President Barack Obamawill be present. I have already noted the distinguished, sterling role of Chief Olajide Oyewole. I must now pay great tribute to the following three Igbajo sons who lived and died believing in the Igbajo dream of collective responsibility and aspiration:
Next I would like to pay great tribute to two living Igbajo elders who have similarly encouraged us to no small measure by their dedication to the Igbajo ideals:
Are these all that need to be publicly acknowledged, appreciated
and thanked? What about our Igbajo sons and daughters in the
UK under the able leadership of Pastor Abiona, or those in the
USA (New York in particular), their financial and moral support?
And what of the thousands here in Igbajo contributing their
"widow's mite" and praying day and1 night for the success of yet
one more community endeavour? Not in any way so, but space
and time will not allow this. I therefore would like all of us to rise
up once more and sing: ' 1 "
"For WE are jolly good Fellows", emphasizing the "WE". Thank you all very much for your kind listening. God bless you all. Richard Olayiwola Fagbenle, FNSE, FSESN Ibadan, 4th December, 2009. '
IGBAJO POLYTECHNIC-THE JOURNEY SO FAR IN 2016
This maiden convocation of Igbajo Polytechnic is advertised as set for all the graduands of the institution from 2006/2007 to 2015/2016- 10 set of graduands- Praise the Lord God Almighty !!! From the Igbajo Polytechnic website. Iwas able to abstract the following a couple of days ago:
FACULTY & DEPARTMENTS
*FACULTY OF MANAGEMENT STUDIES
*FACULTY OF SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING
HND PROGRAMMES AVAILABLE
*SLT Microbiology Option *SLT Physics Electronics Option
*Computer Science *Statistics
*Accountancy *Business Admin & Management
Thus, the above publicly available information indicates that we currently have only two faculties with only two departments in the Faculty of Management Studies and five departments in the faculty of Science and Engineering. The publicly available information on the internet also indicates that there are six HND programmes available at Igbajo Polytechnic. I do hope that the authorities of the institution constantly update the information on the website for their own good and that of the curious visitor to the webpage.
Is the above a pass mark for an institution that has been in existence for the past twelve years and that has graduated ten (10) sets of graduands? YES, one would be tempted to say for a 100% Community-financed Tertiary Institution as Igbajo Polytechnic surely is. But the answer would be a categorical NO for a public tertiary institution financed by the public purse, be it State of Federal. One would have loved to see more than two branches of Engineering in the Faculty of Science and Engineering. ' In particular the common engineering basic courses in the first two years of any engineering programme are usually taught from the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Hence every effort needs be made to have this key department established, with well-equipped laboratories and workshops and of course well-staffed as' soon as possible. A Faculty of Education also should not be that difficult or expensive to mount at Igbajo Polytechnic and I should think that the both the clientele and the teachers wouldn't be that difficult to get.
WHAT IS A COMMUNITY TERTIARY INSTITUTION IN TODAYS NIGERIA?
A Community Tertiary Institution is one established by the conscious will of the people of such Community with no prompting or prodding by any third party - be it the government or other extraneous forces. Thus, all the financial and infrastructural liabilities fall squarely on that Community - be it a Village, Town or large City. Of course such a Community is free to seek help from third parties through, for example, the connections of its successful Sons and Daughters in the Society at large, industry, and commerce and government not ‘excluded. This is one key area that Igbajo Polytechnic heeds to explore fully. I thank all our Sons and Daughters at home and in the diaspora for their great support of the Igbajo Polytechnic Project1, just as they did in the much earlier establishment of Kiriji Memorial College of the 1940s -1950s. What we need now is a good Public Relations Department to reach out to donors, both local and international, through the development of a very professional document on the Igbajo'Polytechnic Project. Local and global entrepreneurs like Dangote,'Bill Gates, Bill Clinton, etc: would surely be interested in supporting the institution with Grants-in-aid and Research Funding based on well-structured document detailing the Institutional Profile and Research Vision and Goals.
IMPACTING THE NEIGHBOURING COMMUNITIES AND THE STATE AND NATION POSITIVELY IN MOUNTING RELEVANT PROGRAMMES INTHE ARTS, SOCIAL SCIENCES, ENGINEERING & TECHNOLOGY, EDUCATION, ETC.
The Kiriji Memorial College legacy and experience remains a living testimony to the possibilities that exist for Igbajo Polytechnic. Your Motto should proclaim your status as the First Government-approved Community-owned Tertiary Institution in Black Africa's largest country!!! That's a status no other Community in Nigeria can ever claim from you!!! That in itself is a saleable commodity easily in the hands of good Public Relations Organizations. The wonderful hilly yet greenery scenes around Igbajo and environ will endear any well-conceived document to donors and entrepreneurs as well as your potential students and staff. Your academic and research development programmes should be well structured in a professionally produced document that is targeted at the top brass of the society for funding drive purpose different from that aimed at your students and
TACKLING FUNDING ISSUES THROUGH RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT'(R&D) AND OTHER INTERNALLY GENERATED REVENUE (IGR) AVENUES
SOME SUGGESTED R&D PROJECTS FOR THE AGRICULTURAL SETTING OF IGBAJO POLYTECHNIC.
Your status as a Community-owned Polytechnic implies that you cannot have a laid-back attitude of government-owned tertiary institutions whereby annually they troop to the State Government or the Federal Government to present and defend their budget proposals. Funding is guaranteed from the nation's purse unless the nation goes bankrupt. Not so for a Community-owned Tertiary Institution. Innovative ways need to be constantly devised for sourcing funds and these must be such that the funds are used in a manner to produce more value than the money itself is worth.' This calls for Innovative Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) avenues to be devised and sustained, lessons should be quickly learned from similar tertiary institutions that have substantial IGR base to latch on to for tutelage.
With the current level of development of Igbajo Polytechnic with the Faculty of Science and Engineering having only the Department of Science Laboratory Technology (SLT) and Electrical Engineering as the only Science and Engineering programmes and HND SLT in Microbiology Option in the Faculty, I can only suggest the following
R&D in my inter&st area of Energy Technology:
Development of an Energy Biofuels R&D Programme at Igbajo Polytechnic. This R&D will involve the development of Ethanol for biofuels E10 to E20 gasoline blends from such crops as corn, sugarcane, etc. and Biodiesel plants from jatropha, rapeseed (canola) and sunflower seeds, etc. We also have several weeds in Nigeria that grow so fast as to be a good source of biofuels if only they are'found to contain a high enough proportion of oils. Such a plant is shown in the picture on the next page from my home garden in Ibadan.
A cursory look at the History of Igbajo Polytechnic has been undertaken in this Maiden Convocation Lecture of the institution about 10 years after its establishment and 7 years after its formal approval and recognition by the National Board for Technical Education, NBTE, as the 1stCommunity-owned Polytechnic in Nigeria, the largest African country. It was also noted that Kiriji Memorial College was similarly created much earlier in 1952 as a Community-owned Secondary School (the first such Community-owned school in the then Ifelodun Local government Area) also in the then Western Region of Nigeria. Thus, the streak already runs in the veins of Igbajo men and women, young and old! Please keep it up and make a great success of this project. You are gifted with a great scientist as the Chairman of your Governing Council and I am sure he will make all his wealth of experience and knowledge available to you on this developmental journey.
We examined What is a Community-owned Tertiary institution in Nigeria of today, as well as' modalities' for improved Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) as well Research and Development (R&D) programmes that could assist in IGR generation1 as well'as improving the R&D profile of Igbajo Polytechnic.
I rejoice with, and congratulate all the graduands at this Maiden Convocation as well as all your loved ones here to rejoice with you.
May God Almighty prosper all of you especially this year's graduands who will be freshly going into the employment market.
I also thank the Convocation Lecture Planning Committee for thinking
it fit for me to be invited to deliver this Maiden Convocation Lecture.
God bless you all.
I thank you all most sincerely for your presence, kind attention and interest in the Igbajo Polytechnic project. Up, up, up Igbajo Polytechnic.
Prof. R. 'Layi Fagbenle 13 November 2016.
The virulent weed that grows wildly in my garden at Ibadan, a possible Ethanol or Biodiesel plant which needs laboratory investigation.
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