Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Thursday personally gave the best graduating student of Lagos State University (LASU), Miss Aminat Imoitesemeh Yusuf a cash prize of N5 million for her brilliance.
Governor Sanwo-Olu also announced an additional prize of N5 million from the Lagos State Government to reward the 23-year-old fresh Law graduate’s unprecedented feat.
Miss Yusuf graduated from the Lagos State University (LASU) as the institution’s best student of all time, with a Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 5.0 on a scale of 5.0, becoming the school’s valedictorian at its 26th convocation held at Ojo campus on Thursday.
The graduation ceremony also marked the 40th anniversary of the establishment of LASU during which ex-Lagos Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola; Chief of Staff to the President, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila; former Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, and First Lady of Lagos, Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, were conferred with honorary doctorate degrees alongside seven eminent Nigerians.
Speaking during the ceremony, Governor Sanwo-Olu hailed Lagos State University for being steadfast in its commitment to providing high quality graduates and skilled manpower to meet socio-economic needs of the State and the country, noting that LASU had recorded a catalogue of achievements and recognition both locally and globally.
The Governor commended the school leadership team led by the Vice-Chancellor (VC), Prof. Ibiyemi Olatunji-Bello, whom he described as “a competent, administration-savvy academic”, for maintaining uninterrupted academic sessions, and also for promoting research and teaching in line with global best standards.
He said: “Attaining 40 years of excellence is no mean feat for a university that has uninterruptedly pursued rigorous academic research and teaching in line with global best standards. I congratulate the university for remaining steadfast in its commitment to the provision of a high standard of education which has produced highly skilled men and women over the years. This becomes more significant as the convocation coincides with the 40th anniversary of this great institution, which has continued to live up to the expectations of its founding fathers.
“I congratulate all the graduating students who chose LASU as their institution of choice and have gone through a robust academic training. Today’s occasion is a milestone achievement in your career and a sacrifice, which demonstrates your eagerness to positively impact and contribute meaningfully to the growth and development of this great nation. I urge you all to be worthy ambassadors of this great citadel of learning, while also enjoining you to establish your resilience in the face of the challenges you will experience. I have absolute conviction that you will make us all proud.”
Sanwo-Olu said his administration was not unaware of the need to continually improve on quality benchmarks set by the school, assuring more support for the university towards sustaining the standards and improving its academic profile in order to compete on a global stage.
The Governor pledged his commitment to the aspirations of the school’s founding fathers, promising more financial commitment to surpass the past gains and set a new narrative for the institution.
Sanwo-Olu also disclosed that legacy projects his administration initiated on the campus were at different stages of completion. They include university main library, Faculty of Education annex, Faculty of Management Sciences building, Lagos State University Technology Hub and modern hostel facilities.
“It is important to note that, beyond churning out graduates from the university regularly, the essence of education is to meet societal needs.
“I charge the management to ensure that the school keeps its curriculum at par with best international standards and challenges students with fresh ideas. If all institutions adopt this, we can reverse the negative effect that the scourge of education tourism is having on our young ones and our development,” Sanwo-Olu said.
For Prof. Olatunji-Bello, it was the second convocation to be held during her tenure as the Vice-Chancellor.
The VC described the occasion as “symbolic”, which, she said, gave the graduands a sense of fulfillment and pride after being found worthy in character and learning.
Prof. Olatunji-Bello said: “It is another privilege for me to address this ceremonial occasion today marking the 26th convocation and 40th anniversary of the university. Today’s ceremony does not just wrap up the convocation, it is also a symbolic occasion of fulfilment and pride for the students who have been found worthy in character and learning to be conferred with the highest academic degree of this great university.”
The VC said the tertiary institution had fulfilled the founding principles of its establishment 40 years after, stressing that the university had made its mark on education and had reason to be proud of its accomplishments over the last four decades.
“Regardless of the challenges of the past, LASU has fulfilled the vision of its founding fathers to provide Lagos State with required human capital, helping in the strategic transformation of the industrial capacity of the State in particular and the country in general,” she said.
The school graduated a total of 10,966 students in disciplines across its 12 faculties, with 282 students bagging a First Class, 3,375 graduated with Second Class (Upper Division), 5,311 got Second Class (Lower Division) and 1,105 finished with a Pass.
One hundred and thirty-three candidates were awarded doctorate degrees, while a total of 1,801 got Master’s degrees and post-graduate Diploma certificates.
Elegushi of Ikateland, Oba Saheed Elegushi, became the first alumnus of the university to be conferred with honorary doctorate degree. Oniba of Iba, Oba Sulaiman Raji, also received Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters in Grassroots Development.
Former Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, was presented with an appreciation award by the school for her support and contributions to the development of physical infrastructure in the university.
At the occasion, the university also exclusively conferred a title of “Distinguished Professor” on two academics, Prof. Dapo Asaju and Prof. Babajide Elemo, while the late LASU pioneer Vice Chancellor, Prof. Afolabi Olumide, was honoured with a posthumous award.