I wish to convey my very best wishes and sincere thanks to all of you as we wrap up an eventful 2014 and shift our attention to 2015. The past 12 months have been marked by noteworthy achievements and changes. Therefore, as we reflect on the past year, I believe that we have many reasons to have enormous pride in our accomplishments and look forward with enthusiasm and hope to achieving more in 2015.
Permit me to cite a few outstanding examples: (1) the new webometric ranking released in July 2014, by the Cybermetrics Lab of Spain, a world-renowned Research Council, and which was circulated round the world, again rated our University as the first and the best University in Nigeria. This was the first time that a Nigerian University would be so ranked four times consecutively; (2) Early in 2014, the University won an $8million grant from the World Bank to establish the OAU Knowledge Park (OAK-Park). The OAK-Park will create a world-class model for uptake and commercialization of research and technology. Also, the Centre will harness the innovative energy and skill of Nigeria’s teeming youth into entrepreneurial activities by using appropriate skill-enhancing trainings and mentoring models that will further stimulate creativity and excellence in research and innovation, and expand learning opportunities for staff and students and, indeed, other researchers within the West Africa sub-region; (3) In furtherance of my commitment to the deepening of ICT use in the University, wireless internet access (Wi-Fi) was extended to Faculties of EDM and Agriculture; Department of Local Government Studies; and Civil and Chemical Engineering Buildings. This year, concerted effort is being made to extend same to the remaining Faculties, Angola and Mozambique Halls, and a few Roads in the University Senior Staff Quarters in addition to the existing ones on Roads 7, 9, 23 and 24. Also, an ICT-driven Sanako Digital Language Laboratory with simultaneous interpretation machines in different languages was installed in Faculty of Arts; (4) The University held the 24th Edition of the NUGA Games and it was a glorious outing. Indeed it was adjudged to be the best NUGA games in the recent past especially in terms of its organisation, specifically the ability of the University in ensuring that all games were held within the University and (5) The welfare of staff and students continue to be of our utmost priority. In particular, many members of staff, academic, administrative and technical were promoted in the past year and many were sponsored for attendance at conferences, workshops and trainings both within Nigeria and abroad especially in the US, UK, France, South Africa and Ghana.
In the area of infrastructural development, I am happy to inform you that a number of projects that started at the inception of this administration were completed and commissioned during the last convocation in December, 2014. These are the Moot Court, Ecology Building, Pharmacy Phase II Building and Clinical Lecture Theatre. Prior to this, the new network of roads at the ultra modern Central Market, the International Olympic Size Swimming Pool and the 8-Lane IAAF Certified Tartan Track were all commissioned and put into use. It is also important for me to inform the Community that construction has commenced of a 10 storey new Senate Building (Jubilee House) that was fund raised by the present administration.
Our University also successfully hosted the President of our nation, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, on Friday 28th November, 2014. Also, the University 40th Convocation was held between Wednesday, December 10 and Friday, December 12, 2014. Both events were huge success.
However, to continue in this enviable direction, it is important that we do not forget the best institutional values and ethos which have made our University to be the envy of all. We should do this by avoiding, like a contagious disease, all forms of academic and administrative malpractices, which can erode our valued and cherished legacies as an institution.
On our own part, we will continue to be proactive in meeting the demands of a growing, dynamic and changing community of staff and students, as well as other stakeholders. No doubt, there are still needs to be met in the provision of sufficient classrooms, offices and laboratory spaces. The good news is that while we continue to judiciously expend Government subventions and capital appropriation for the projects that they are meant for, this administration will continue to vigorously network, solicit and cultivate men and women of goodwill, corporate institutions, alumni and philanthropists to continue to help develop our University.
I believe that our University, and all of you who are part of it, will continue to make us proud in 2015. We will maintain our momentum and actively work to shape our own future as one of the nation’s premier public research universities. This is a great University and we must endeavour to keep it as such.
Thank you for being part of it and thank you so much for helping to make the past year so memorable. I invite you to join me in this great task of taking the University to greater heights.
Thank you and God bless.
Professor Bamitale Omole