The Technical University, Ibadan, which is the first of its kind in the country, has matriculated 190 pioneer students, in a ceremony that coincided with the installation of an oil magnate, Chief Tunde Afolabi, as the institution’s first chancellor and chairman of council.
The ceremonies, including the turning of the sod for the proposed AMNI Energy and Petroleum Training Institute for the university, being championed by Afolabi, were performed by the Governor of Oyo State and Visitor to the institution, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, at the university complex, on Friday.
The university, which was the brainchild of the Ajimobi-led administration as a public-private partnership, had begun academic activities in January 2018 with 150 students, with 40 more students enrolling on the eve of matriculation.
In his address at the occasion, an elated Ajimobi said that the matriculation of the first set of freshers of the university was a dream come true, given the initial cynicism of some citizens about the possibility of establishing the university.
The governor expressed gratitude to Afolabi for honoring the call to serve humanity by taking up the role of chancellorship, stressing that his exceptional background and international network would enhance the growth of the university.
Ajimobi said, “To say this ceremony is epochal is, to say the least. We are today witnessing history, as the idea that was conceived by our administration with full commitment of notable individuals is here birthed today.
“A good leader will not only take his people to where they want to go, but to where they ought to be. I salute the commitment of the committee that worked to give birth to this glory, led by Prof. Oladapo Afolabi, a former Head of Service of the federation.
“If this were to be a pregnancy, today is its delivery. If it were to be an idea, today is its realization. With Chief Tunde Afolabi in the saddles, I foresee this university taking its pride of place not only in Nigeria but in the international arena.
“I went to a public secondary school and my parents were not financially buoyant, but today, I am the governor. With this advantage you have today, you are expected to be at the forefront of leadership in our country and the world tomorrow.”
He challenged the pro-chancellor and the council members to hit the ground running by seeking immediate and effective partnerships within and outside the country for the benefit of the students and especially for the self-sustenance of the institution as a PPP.
The governor called on the council and management team of Tech-U to recruit first class academics to equip students with requisite technical and managerial skills that would stand them in good stead in the global market.
Ajimobi admonished the pioneer students to take advantage of what he called a lifetime opportunity by being serious with their studies to ensure that they became future graduates with technical ability to stand on their own.
In his remarks, Afolabi appreciated the governor for appointing him to the role of piloting the ship of the new university, with a promise to do his best to make the institution a household name in the nearest future.
He announced his readiness to establish AMNI Energy and Petroleum Training Institute at the university, which he said would take immediate effect as well as an annual lecture that would attract professionals of international repute.
The turning of the sod for the proposed institute was performed as part of the ceremonies by the governor.
In his address, the VC said that the university had already discovered about ten inherent vocational skills among the first set of students for which an enabling environment for honing of the skills were being provided.
Salami added that French language was being taught as a second official language to boost foreign opportunities for the students after their academic programmes, with a promise not to relent in his efforts at accelerating development in the institution.
He said, “I therefore wish to assure the stakeholders in this venture that as the pioneer VC, I will not spare any effort to accelerate the pace of development at this university, so that we can leave an unmistaken and indelible impression about the uniqueness of this university among its peers in Nigeria and beyond.”