BEING AN ADDRESS DELIVERED BY THE GOVERNOR OF ONDO STATE, ARAKUNRIN OLUWAROTIMI ODUNAYO AKEREDOLU, SAN, AT THE INAUGURATION CEREMONY OF MEMBERS OF THE GOVERNING COUNCILS OF THE FOUR STATE-OWNED TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS AND ONDO STATE LOCAL GOVERNMENT SERVICE COMMISSION, HELD AT THE INTERNATIONAL CENTRE FOR CULTURE AND EVENTS (THE DOME), AKURE, ONDO STATE ON TUESDAY, 13TH MARCH, 2018
I will waste no time in congratulating all members of the Governing Councils in the respective institutions of higher learning and the Local Government Service Commission in our dear State. Everyone present here, this morning, will agree with me that these two sectors occupy very important positions in the administration of our State. I join members of their families who have come to celebrate with them on this great occasion.
Any citizen chosen to serve in whatever capacity should consider himself/herself lucky indeed. This State is blessed with men and women of exceptional talents and erudition. The new members of the Governing Councils of the four State-owned tertiary institutions, our 3 Universities and the Polytechnic, and the State Local Government Service Commission must, therefore, consider their appointments, amidst the plenitude of highly educated, talented and principled personalities, a challenge for optimum performance. This Administration will expect and demand no less.
Our quest for advancement, as a society, must be anchored on realistic expectations. The education of our citizens is pivotal to the much-anticipated development. No investment should be considered as too much for the realization of the set objectives. Our curricula must, therefore, reflect, necessarily, the specific challenges encountered by the society. Anything short of this expectation will reduce education to what it is in most societies today, a deplorable process which, regrettably, culminates in the award of varying shades of certificates to individuals who lack capacity to apply knowledge to solve problems.
You will all agree with me that this system is not only unprofitable, but it is also, disappointingly, almost useless. We continue to churn out an ever-increasing army of ill-trained and, ultimately, confused youth. This frustration, arising, largely, from lack of capacity to appreciate issues, soon finds expression in unwarranted display of misplaced aggression.
A system which depends, almost irretrievably, on external elements for its development is doomed. A society which is laden with ill-educated citizens cannot aspire, realistically, to develop. If development is about the people who live in a given environment, our system of training must represent a proximate reflection of the yearnings and aspirations towards advancement. These expectations must be specific and localized. The education of citizens must be functional for justification of societal aspirations.
Being acutely aware of the gross deficit in the realization of set objectives in this sector, this Administration convoked a Summit last year. The assemblage of certain top notch personalities, among our people, made frank and useful recommendations to the Government on how to make the system responsive to the problems faced byour State. We intend to make use of these recommendations as deemed appropriate. We can no longer pretend that we are unaware that the current system is incapable of producing citizens who possess the capacity to contribute, meaningfully, to the development of the State.
The constitution of the Governing Councils of these institutions agrees with our determination to restructure the sector for positive contributions to the society.We cannot sustain an attitude which treats issues affecting the development of our youth with levity. We will be courageous in dealing with allidentified problems militating against the development in the sector. VisitationPanels were empaneled to look into matters affecting progress in these tertiary institutions. This Administration will implement, faithfully, all recommendations which will assist in the realization of the lofty objectives.
The ultimate purpose for this action was premised on the need to reinvigorate and inject virility into quality service delivery institutions that would make our children compete, favourably, in a progressively challenging and dynamic world. It is gratifying to reiterate that the members of the Visitation Panels brought their robust wealth of experience and came up with all-encompassing and resourceful reports.
I did promise during the presentation of the Reports of these Panels that our approach would be remarkably different. I want to appreciate the Honourable Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology and his team for working, assiduously, to review the voluminous reports and came up with concise issues enunciated in them for government’s necessary intervention.
It is important to note that the constitution of the Governing Councils should be a precursor to the implementation of the resourceful recommendations and observations catalogued in the reports of the Visitation Panels. The Governing Councils are, statutorily, veritable channels for implementing the bulk of the recommendations in the various reports. The Administration is, unflinchingly, poised to putting State-owned institutions on an enviable pedestal despite all visible odds and clogs in the wheel of their operations.
I, therefore, want to admonish all of you, our distinguished citizens, to live up to the reputation which commended you for this assignment. You are enjoined to shun all tendencies which may encourage rivalry, a veritable springboard for cleavages and retrogressive schisms. This Administration will not support any act which detracts from the mandates and vision of the founding fathers of these institutions.
You have been appointed to avail these citadels of learning your credible wealth of experience garnered over the years in your different careers and endeavours. It is expected that your activities, in a short while, will make our institutions beacons of hope and centres of excellence of international standard.You are required to discharge your responsibilities without fear. You are to shun primordial prejudices and bitter recriminations which militate against development. Accountability and transparency should be your cardinal principles.
It is our expectation that all the Governing Councils will give the desired directions and develop appropriate policies that will ensure academic excellence in these institutions.Your personalities convince us that you will not meddle, unnecessarily, in the administration of their various institutions.I also urge the Council members to evolve new strategies to further complement the efforts of the State Government, immediate past councils and the management of the institutions at making these three Universities and our Polytechnic the best in Nigeria. They should also be bold to jettison all practices and predilections towards profligacy and brazen corruption.
I admonish the Governing Councils to impact, positively, on our institutions by:
Improving the funding through endowment, grants and supports from both within and outside the country to finance programmes and execute more developmental projects in the institutions
Ensuring improvement in the academic standard of the institutions
Ensuring that admission into all programmes in the institutions are carried out in line with the laid down guidelines and regulations, and
Ensuring that appointments, recruitments and promotion of staff are conducted as appropriate.
Chairmen and members, let me remind you of the need to always lead by example and protect the rights of all in the academic communities, irrespective of their professional, ethnic, religious or political affiliations. You should also ensure fairness in the recruitment of staff and respect the rule of law, and, at all times, follow due process in handling administrative issues.
There is no doubt that the challenges and public expectations are indeed enormous. But let me assure all the members that the Government will continue to support these institutions to actualize the vision of making these institutions 21stCentury institutions. We shall provide all necessary support to enhance your performance.
We are undaunted, despite all odds, to give the best to the people of our dear State. We shall not relent in our avowed determination to transform the socio-economic landscape of our State for the better.
I congratulate you all on your well-deserved appointment. I urge you to justify the confidence reposed in you by the Government and the good people of Ondo State.
Ladies and gentlemen, it is my pleasure to inaugurate and welcome you on board of the new Governing Councils of the State-owned tertiary institutions in Ondo State. I, therefore, officially constitute the Governing Councils of the State-owned tertiary institutions.
In the same vein, I should like to congratulate the Chairman and members of the Ondo State Local Government Service Commission on their appointment to serve the people of the State at the grassroots. It is imperative that persons of proven integrity must be in the saddle at this level. The mandate of this Commission underscores its importance. We cannot continue to play politics with the destiny of our people at the grassroots level. The unpardonable state of underdevelopment is unacceptable.
Extremely conscious of the mandate of the Commission as, basically, a Personnel agency, saddled with the responsibility to superintend on issues of promotion, discipline, appointments, postings and conversion, among others, this Administration has been painstaking in choosing members who will serve conscientiously.
We are aware of issues of corruption and gross indiscipline at the Local Government. Of serious concern to us also is the issue of indolence and truancy. The integrity of the staff list is another matter which your Commission should look into, as a matter of urgency. You will be sending the right signal to all and sundry if the various complaints bordering on sharp practices are addressed and appropriate sanctions are applied, vigorously, against any erring staff. I have received reports on the criminal exactions on pensioners by some unscrupulous elements in the Commission. I enjoin you to use your good offices to ensure the speedy extermination of all aberrant attitudes which depict us as corrupt and wicked.
Promotion should only be based on merit. This Administration has commenced a process which seeks to address the injustice inherent in the system of elevating public servants. We insist that seniority and competence are the twin pillars on which excellent performance were measured in the past. Politics should have no role to play in the promotion and recognition of excellence. We implore you to use your appointment to address all wrongs, both perceived and real. Our people will be the direct beneficiaries of the services of a motivated public service.
I, therefore, charge all members of the newly constituted Governing Councils and Ondo State Local Government Service Commission to see their appointments as a call to service. Consideration of merit has been paramount in our decision to choose members to service in this capacity. It is our expectations that these appointments will translate to remarkable improvement in service delivery in these institutions and the hinterlands. We must build the capacity of our children to take responsibilities. The ultimate character of our socio-economic system for development should be indigenous.
All hands must be on deck.
I congratulate all of you and wish you a successful tenure.
I thank members of this distinguished audience for your patience.