By Obinna Amaobi
It was an exciting Tuesday afternoon for Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu as the National Universities Commission (NUC), gave Lagos State Government clearance certificates of operations for the two newly approved State-owned universities; Lagos State University of Education (LASUED), Ijanikin and Lagos State University of Science and Technology (LASUST), Ikorodu, 39years after the first State-owned University, Lagos State University was established.
The certificates were handed over to Governor Sanwo-Olu by the NUC Executive Secretary, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, at the official recognition and collection of certificates for the two new Lagos universities held at the Commission headquarters in Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja.
With the Clearance Certificates of Operation by NUC, Lagos State University of Education is now the 56th State University and 204th University in Nigeria, as well as the second University of education in Nigeria while Lagos State University of Science and Technology is 57th State University and 205th University in Nigeria.
The two Universities, which are expected to kick start operations any moment from now are in addition to the existing Lagos State University (LASU), Ojo, established in 1982 by the first Civilian Governor of Lagos, late Alhaji Lateef Jakande. Lagos State now has three state-owned universities.
It would be recalled that Governor Sanwo-Olu last week assented to the bills transmitting Lagos State Polytechnic, Ikorodu to the University of Science and Technology as well as Adeniran Ogunsanya Colleges of Education, Ijanikin and Michael Otedola College of Primary Education, Epe to Lagos State University of Education.
Speaking at NUC headquarters, Governor Sanwo-Olu, who commended the Commission for granting the operational certificates for Lagos State University of Education and Lagos State University of Science and Technology, said the creation of the two universities by his administration is not about being ambitious but doing what is proper for the people of Lagos State.
He commended the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa and state lawmakers for working with the executive arms of government and other stakeholders toward passage of the law setting up the two universities. He also appreciated the leadership of the legacy tertiary institutions for their understanding.
Governor Sanwo-Olu said converting erstwhile Lagos State Polytechnic to a University of Science and Technology will bring about innovative engineering, science invention and other innovations that are critical to the development of our country and our State, adding that the conversion of Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education and Michael Otedola College of Primary Education into a University of Education is a proper and right thing to do given the demands and the needs of students of today.
He said operation of the two additional Universities will assist in meeting the demands and needs of the teeming youths who are craving for higher education to be future leaders and reference points not only for themselves and families but for the nation.
“It is about the future of our citizens. It is about the future of our youths, who truly believe in us to do the right thing. It is about our commitment to taking tertiary education to a level that all of us would be proud of. It is all around ensuring that we give hope and opportunity to our teeming youths that believe in us to do the right thing.
“We are giving a commitment that what we have done in LASU, we will also replicate it in the two universities. We will ensure that the two great children that we are giving birth to today are not left alone. All of the various development infrastructure; human and materials that are required to make the universities one of the best in the country, Lagos State would make those resources available for them.
“We say this with every sense of responsibility, knowing fully-well what we are doing in LASU, the level of infrastructure we are putting into erstwhile polytechnic and colleges of education, we would double up those efforts at ensuring that they can turn into great citadels of higher learning and universities that would be reference points in the years ahead,” he said.
Governor Sanwo-Olu said his administration in the last three years has been investing extensively in the institutions in the State, noting that one of the legacy institutions currently has almost 60 P.hD holders as lecturers.
He said: “Education and Technology are in our economic agenda. So, it is not something that we just fell into overnight; it was something that we thought out. It is something that our people deserve and we plan that in four years, we are going to deliver to them. We thank all the stakeholders, the House of Assembly and all the various communities where these institutions would be cited and all of our other players in the private sector who are looking forward to this.
“There are over 20,000 schools in Lagos that are in a private institution that are looking for teachers; teachers in science education and other curricula of education that have university degrees. It is a ready market that we are trying to fill. So, we are excited and proud that we can take it back home today.”
Speaking earlier, the Executive Secretary of NUC, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, pledged the commission’s total support to the two universities and urged Lagos State Government to take full advantage of the professional and technical advice that the commission would provide to the state government for the establishment and operation of their universities.
He said: “We congratulate the governor on his efforts and initiative. We congratulate your team on the vision of moving Lagos State forward. We particularly congratulate you on your decision to invest wisely in higher education.
“The Lagos State University of Science and Technology certainly would be a benefit to the position of Lagos as the hub of industries and technology in this country and West Africa. And if properly supported, this is a university that can help Lagos State’s determination to transit into a knowledge economy.
“Lagos as a state can move ahead of others based on investment in education. I know that the economy of Lagos alone is the fifth in the entire African continent. The economy of Lagos alone is more than the entire economy of Ghana and Ivory Coast put together.”
The NUC boss also disclosed that Joint Admission Matriculation Board (JAMB), Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) and National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) had been fully notified about the operations of the two universities.