Ekiti Targets Zero Percent Out-of-School  Children, Says Gov Oyebanji at EKSU Convocation

… as Chancellor announces N1billion agribusiness innovation fund for students, graduands

Ekiti State Governor, Mr Biodun Oyebanji, has restated the commitment of his administration to ensuring that every child in the state has access to quality and compulsory education, noting that education remains a weapon in ensuring social, political, and economic growth of any society.

Governor Oyebanji made this known on Wednesday at the 28th convocation ceremony of the Ekiti state university, Ado Ekiti just as the newly inducted Chancellor of the University, Dr Tunji Olowolafe, announced a one billion naira agribusiness empowerment fund for products of the institution as a way to boost agriculture and food security.

Governor Oyebanji who attended the EKSU convocation as the first alumnus of the school to become Governor of the state and Visitor to the University, said his government remains committed to ensuring that educational institutions in the state were capable of competing with their peers globally.

Governor Oyebanji said his administration has demonstrated commitment to development of education sector from primary to tertiary institutions which include renovation of more than 200 secondary schools, distribution of laptops to students across the state, disbursement bursary and scholarship to students of Ekiti origin in tertiary institutions of learning including Law School, increment of subvention to all state owned tertiary institutions, among others.

Recalling that Ekiti was recently ranked as the highest in school enrollment in the country, the Governor assured that his government would continue to ensure the state has zero percent out-of-school children across the country.

While appreciating the University’s governing council and management for being a partner in progress, the Governor called for more conscious, creative, ingenious and concerted development of strategies for generating additional funds so as to reduce dependence on government subventions.

Governor Oyebanji also urged the University management to justify the increase in their subvention by showing greater commitment to work, avoid incessant strike actions, and allow for smooth running of the academic calendar so that students were not unduly delayed.

While congratulating the graduands, Oyebanji charged them to always remember to give back to their alma-mata.

“We are gathered here today to celebrate scholarship, success, and the result of hard work. As we all know, education remains a weapon in ensuring social, political, and economic growth in any society. This is why we will continue to support the education sector. We are committed to ensuring our educational institutions are of the highest standards that can compete globally.

“A demonstration of this commitment can be seen in our various interventions in the sector from primary to tertiary institutions. It is, therefore, a thing of pride to note that Ekiti is ranked one of the highest in school enrollment in Nigeria and one of the states with the least out-of-school children with 2.5%. We are working hard to ensure we have 0% out-of-school children in our state.

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“Just a few months ago, we increased the subventions to all Ekiti State – owned tertiary institutions, including the Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital significantly. As much as the government is ready to continue to play its part in the funding of tertiary education of the state, the university must find ways and means of supplementing whatever the government is able to give. There must be conscious, creative, ingenious, and concerted development of strategies for generating additional funds so as to reduce dependence on government subventions”. The Governor stated.

Earlier, in his address, the newly inaugurated Chancellor of the University, Dr. Tunji Olowolafe, who appreciated the Governor for the opportunity to serve, pledged his unflinching commitment to the growth and development of the institution.

Dr. Olowolafe, a trained medical doctor turned businessman announced a one billion naira innovation fund to empower agro-technology companies founded by the latest graduands and current students of the institution.

This is in addition to the establishment of an endowment agenda to offer support and subsidies for up to 30 academic staff members so as to facilitate their participation in international conferences, training sessions, and research activities as well as creation of a platform for 100 of the brightest students from EKSU to engage in resourceful and sustainable work for skills acquisition and development.

Dr Olowolafe noted that it has become imperative for graduates and undergraduates in Nigeria to get actively involved in activities geared towards supporting food security , innovation and strategic entrepreneurship in the current circumstance.

He suggested that students take land lease arrangements for agricultural purposes adding that special awards could also be given to outstanding agriculture entrepreneurs in addition to academic honours.

“Mr. Vice Chancellor sir, as we give awards to best academic students, we can also give awards to best agro entrepreneurs on campus. Some can do grains while others do vegetables. Some can do poultry whilst others can do fisheries. Some can even do logistics whilst others do apps.”
He stated.

He urged the graduands and undergraduates to endeavour to take a needs assessment of their environments to see resources that could be tapped into emphasising that youths need to think wider than their narrow fields of study.

Dignitaries at the ceremony include the Speaker, Ekiti State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Adeoye Aribasoye; Commissioner for Finance, Mr Akin Oyebode; Secretary to the State Government, Dr( Mrs) Habibat Adubiaro; traditional rulers among others.

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