Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, I welcome you to this press event, which marks the formal commencement of activities scheduled for the 38th Founders’ Day and 30th Convocation ceremonies. The purpose of our gathering here today is to present to members of the press, representing both the print and electronic media, as well as members of the University Community and the public, detailed highlights of the programme of events for the Founders’ Day and Convocation ceremonies. In our midst today are the representatives of the University’s media outfit, Search Media, which comprises the Community Radio, SearchFM as well as the newly inaugurated television wing called SearchTV. Today’s event is the first official outing of SearchTV and it is my honour and privilege to welcome them to this occasion and to congratulate the leadership and team of Search Media for this bold initiative and for venturing into the television arena.
Programme of Events
Tomorrow, Thursday, 27th January, 2022 will usher in the closing ceremony of the Chancellor’s Cup Competition at the Sports Centre, Gidan Kwano Campus. This is the third edition of the Chancellor’s Cup organized in honour of the Chancellor of the University. The Competition serves as a platform for members of the Host Community to join and participate in the University’s ceremonies. This year’s Competition has male football teams from eighteen (18) Secondary Schools in and around the Minna metropolis locking horns for laurels and having to play a total of forty (40) matches for a winner to emerge. Unlike previous years, there are also eight female Taekwando teams participating in this year’s events. The opening ceremony and kick-off for both the Football and Taekwondo competitions took place on Monday, January 17, 2022 at the University’s Sport Complex, Gidan Kwano Campus.
On Friday, 28th January, 2022, the Vice-Chancellor’s Students’ Award ceremony will hold at 10:00am at the University Auditorium, Gidan Kwano Campus. The award ceremony is designed to honour our students for outstanding academic performance and for winning laurels for the University at different academic, research and extra-mural competitions. A total of 270 students from 200 to 500 Levels that fall in First Class range, represented by a Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 4.5 and above will be offered partial scholarships, while 10 winners of gold, silver and bronze medals at various national and international competitions will be given various cash prizes in appreciation of their efforts and as a means of motivation for future outstanding performances. All the awardees will also be issued with certificates by the Vice-Chancellor.
Later in the day, we will observe special Juma’at prayers at the Central Mosques of both the Bosso and Gidan Kwano Campuses at 2,15 pm. Special interdenominational church services for the convocation will also be held on Sunday, 30th January, 2022 by 8:30 am at the Chapel of Grace, at Bosso and Gidan Kwano Campuses.
The activities will continue on Monday, 31st January, 2022 with the commissioning of TETFund Projects at 10 am. The Executive Secretary TETFund, Prof. Suleiman Elias Bogoro, will lead a high-powered team comprising Management Staff of the Fund and some members of the National Assembly for the commissioning. The Executive Governor of Niger State, His Excellency Dr Abubakar Sani Bello, is also expected to commission two projects at the occasion. A total of twelve projects will be commissioned that day. These comprise the following:
• The Postgraduate School Complex
• The School of Agriculture and Agricultural Technology Phase III Building
• The Cyber Security Science Phase II Building
• The School of Information and Communication Technology (SICT) 250 Capacity Lecture Theatre
• The Centre of Excellence for Technology Development Building
• The Department of Chemistry Building
• The Department of Physics Building
• The Department of Geography Building
• The Department of Geology Building
• One unit 500 kVA Transformer
• One unit 750 kVA Transformer and
• The School of Physical Sciences Water Works.
Later by 1:00 pm on Monday, 31st January, 2022, the University’s Scientific Research Exhibition, which is taking place at the Suleimanu Kumo Convocation Square, Gidan Kwano Campus, will be declared open by the University’s Pro-Chancellor and Chairman Governing Council, Prof. Olu Obafemi, NNOM. The Exhibition is meant to showcase to the general public and prospective investors the products of research endeavours and to celebrate the research prowess of our staff and students.
This is to be followed later that day by the Convocation Lecture titled, “Energy Transition and Energy Accessibility – The New Paradigm”, to be delivered by the Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (GMD/CEO) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Ltd., Malam Mele Kolo Kyari, The Lecture will be delivered at the University Auditorium, Gidan Kwano Campus, at 4:00 pm. The Chancellor’s Cocktail in honour of the Convocation Lecturer will take place later at 7.30 pm at the Vice-Chancellor’s Lodge.
Ladies and Gentlemen, in view of the numerous activities involved and in order to manage crowd size considering the COVID-19 Pandemic, this year’s Convocation is staggered to hold in two days at the Suleimanu Kumo Convocation Square, Gidan Kwano Campus. The first day, Tuesday, 1st February, 2022, will be dedicated to the investiture and conferment of honorary degree to the University’s new Chancellor, His Imperial Majesty, Aladetoyinbo Ogunlade Adelusi, Odundun II, Deji and Paramount Ruler of Akure Kingdom, as well as the award of First Degree and prizes. The event will commence at 11:00am.
The first Convocation ceremony will be immediately followed by the commissioning of another set of TETFund projects by a team expected to comprise the representative of the Visitor to the University, the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, the Executive Secretary NUC, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed as well as the Chancellor of the University. The projects to be commissioned consist of:
• The School of Innovation Technology (SIT) 250-capacity Lecture Theatre
• The Prof. Femi Odekunle Complex (School of Life Sciences, SLS)
• The SLS Laboratory Complex
• The SLS Twin Lecture Theatre each of 250 capacity
• Two units of 500 kVA Transformers and
• A 500 kVA Generator
On day two of the Convocation, Wednesday, 2nd February, 2022, there will be the commissioning by honorary degree awardees of mainly projects funded by the Needs Assessment Fund for the Revitalisation of Public Universities. This event will commence at 10:00 am and the following projects will be commissioned:
• The School of Physical Sciences (SPS) Administrative Block
• The Department of Mathematics Complex
• The Department of Statistics Complex and
• SPS Twin Lecture Theatre each of 250 capacity (funded by TETFund)
The commissioning will be followed by the second Convocation ceremony, which is expected to commence at 12 noon. During this event, graduands of Postgraduate programmes will be conferred with Higher Degrees and Diplomas. There will also be the award of Honorary Degrees to four eminent Nigerians.
A total of 5,049 (Five thousand and forty nine) graduands will be awarded degrees and diplomas. Of this number, 3,892 (Three thousand eight hundred and ninety-two) will receive first degrees, 200 (Two hundred) will be awarded Postgraduate Diplomas, and 836 (Eight hundred and thirty-six) Master’s Degrees, while 121 (One hundred and twenty one) graduands will bag doctorate degrees.
Out of those graduating with First Degrees 58 (Fifty-eight) obtained First Class degrees, while 948 (Nine hundred and forty-eight) are in the Second Class Upper Division. A total of 2047 (Two thousand and forty-seven) are in Second Class Lower Division, 801 (Eight hundred and one) in Third Class while 38 (Thirty eight) are graduating with Pass degrees.
Honorary Degree Awardees
Gentlemen of the Press it is my pleasure to also announce that we shall be conferring honorary doctorate degrees on four (4) eminent Nigerians in recognition of their contributions to national development. The distinguished Nigerians are Gen. Abdulsalami A. Abubakar, GCFR, Former Head of State and Commander in Chief, Federal Republic of Nigeria; Alhaji Abdul Samad Rabiu, CON, founder and Chairman, BUA Group; Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, CON, President, African Development Bank and Malam Mele Kolo Kyari, Chief Executive Officer and Group Managing Director, NNPC Ltd. The University considers these eminent Nigerians as role models worthy of emulation and, hence, the decision to so honour them. I would like to congratulate them for this feat.
The Learning Environment
It is worthy of note that the projects that will be commissioned over a three-day period consist of buildings for offices, classrooms, theatres and laboratories that will enable the University to relocate in a few weeks’ time three Schools from the Bosso Campus to the Gidan Kwano Campus. These are the School of Life Sciences, the School of Physical Sciences and the Postgraduate Schools. I cannot conclude this speech without thanking and appreciating the TETFund, NUC and the Ministry of Education for the provision of funds and supporting the construction of these edifices.
I am also proud to note that, in line with our tradition, graduands will collect the original copies of their certificates immediately after the Convocation ceremonies. In addition, beginning this year, graduands will also be able to collect students’ copies of their transcripts on request immediately after the Convocation ceremonies.
The University has demonstrated in the past four years how valuable our students are to us and how they lie at the heart of our decisions, policies and programmes. In order to deepen and mainstream in our daily routine this regime of care, we have developed a Students’ Support Services Policy which the Governing Council approved in May, 2021. We have also created the Students’ Support Services Unit with the immediate past Registrar of the University, Mrs V. N. Kolo, appointed its pioneer Coordinator.
The latest ranking of Nigerian public Universities by the National Universities Commission (NUC) places FUT Minna in First position with a score of 97.57 in terms of efficiency, that is, in terms of the rate of retention and graduation of students. We are able to achieve this feat because of the due care and diligence we attach to the needs and interests of our students. In order to sustain this feat and ensure that no student of the University is forced to drop out of the University on account of financial difficulty, the University, on 29th November, 2021, launched the University’s ‘Benevolence Fund’ for indigent students. This is our initiative at providing financial succour to every bright but indigent student so that they are able to continue with their studies up to graduation.
The University Students’ Financial Aid Committee, which was established to manage the Fund, has a prominent Nigerlite and an eminent Nigerian, Malam Mahmud Abubakar Magaji, SAN as its Chairman. I am using this occasion to call for support and donations from all and sundry for the Fund so that we can join in building a future for our brilliant students that are unable to financially support themselves.
This year’s Convocation will be my last as the Vice-Chancellor of the University. A new Vice-Chancellor would have been appointed by this time next year. In the last four years, I have had the honour and privilege of working with numerous wonderful people whose cooperation, support and goodwill enabled us to make substantial progress in the growth and development of the University. Given that they are too numerous to mention, I would want to use this opportunity to thank all and sundry who in various ways contributed to the success of my tenure as the Vice-Chancellor. Specifically, I appreciate and thank members of the Governing Council of the University, Senate, staff and students as well as members of the Host Community. I also especially thank all those that have contributed to the success of today’s Press Briefing. Your presence here has no doubt added colour and glamour to the event.
I thank you all for your kind attention.
Prof. Abdullahi Bala, FSSSN, FNIMechE
26th January, 2022