OPINION: Prof. M.M Akanbi: One-Year Scorecard as KWASU VC. by Abdulrazaq Sanni
"The heights by great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight, but they, while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night."
The above quote by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, an American poet, succinctly outlines the journey to success recorded in space of one year by the administration of Professor Muhammed Mustapha Akanbi SAN as the second substantive Vice-Chancellor of the Kwara State University (KWASU).
The Vice-Chancellor, who assumed office on 1st April, 2020, immediately set machinery in motion to consolidate on the foundation laid by the previous administration, sustain the vision and mission of the founding fathers of the University and chart a new course for greater achievements.
A good team player, the Vice-Chancellor, alongside his Principal Officers and Management Staff of this citadel of learning, instantly hit the ground running, leaving no stone unturned in the quest to imprint good and indelible legacies in the state-owned ivory tower.
Like the popular saying by the Late Ex- Prime Minister of United Kingdom, Winston Churchill, that "the price of greatness is responsibility", thus, the Prof. Akanbi- led administration worked assiduously to entrench academic excellence and administrative standard in the institution through well thought-out strategies/plans, which are being carefully implemented.
Though not a jolly ride to success, the feats came with attendant challenges, which were, however, surmounted and consequently paved way for gains of the pains endured.
Nevertheless, the giant strides made by the administration is all-encompassing, towards taking KWASU to greater heights. These include, but not limited to:
The importance of infrastructure cannot be undermined in the education sector, as conducive teaching and learning environment is crucial to students' academic performance. Hence, the Management of KWASU paid premium attention to providing high-quality infrastructural facilities during the period under review.
The Master Plan and Memorandum of Agreement(MOA) for the construction of Students' Smart City expected to accommodate more than 20,000 students in the first instance, have been concluded. This is a step towards providing decent hostels and addressing the accommodation challenges faced by students.
The administration also attracted 100 kW solar power system donation from the Government of the Republic of Lithuania to boost power supply on campus.
Another landmark achievement is the establishment of e-learning support hub at the KWASU Business School (KBS) to boost the technology-driven teaching and learning process.
Other achievements in this area include, renovation of lecture halls, procurement of laboratory equipment and ongoing rehabilitation of campus streetlights.
A jinx was broken with the induction and indexing of Medical Laboratory Science (MLS) graduates and the completion of accreditation exercise of the Law programme of the University by the Council of Legal Education.
In line with COVID-19 protocol, the University Management embarked on the restructuring and virtualization of all GNS courses. In addition, seamless academic calendar has been attained despite challenges of COVID-19 pandemic, which culminated into the mobilisation of graduates for the NYSC Batch B 2020.
Internal Revenue Generation (IGR)
One of the foremost tasks undertaken by the Prof. Akanbi-led- administration, was the setting up of the IGR Board to coordinate activities, block leakages and drive revenue inflow of all IGR Centres. Also, one of the University's commercial ventures, KWASU Water, was scaled up from 300bags to 1,200 bags production capacity daily.
Various interventions, collaborations and affiliations have launched KWASU to higher pedestal for sustainable development of Infrastructure and human resources. These include, KWSG-AUDA-NEPAD-KWASU Sustainable Agriculture Project Initiative for farm settlement scheme to be located at KWASU -Ilesha Baruba campus; CBN Needs Assessment intervention in the construction of Central Research Laboratory in KWASU; TETFund Special Intervention for the construction of KWASU Senate Building; collaboration with Kwara State Government and local investors on tourism/hospitality initiatives and collaborations with ASCON, National Tourism Board, Arogunjo Farms, Angel Travels, Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS), Kursi Investment, Geological Society, among others.
Likewise, the administration has been able to attract fund for research in crop production from the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA),Ibadan.
In addition to the guidelines for the resumption of academic activities, the University facilitated motorized modular fumigator donation from the Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II.
As a University renowned for community development, KWASU has made its impact felt on the host community and its environs, through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
Therefore, in line with the blueprint of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to achieve better and more sustainable future for all by 2030, the University through the Centre for Community Development (CCD) made interventions for neighbouring communities in the areas of free health and legal services, provision of clean water, energy and infrastructure among others.
The University has also adopted Malete Primary School as part of its intervention in the area of quality education, in pursuance of Goal 4 of SDGs.
Other achievements in this category include youth empowerment through agricultural skills transfer in Malete as well as the completion of the transfer process of the Moro Local Government donated building to the University.
Furthermore the University rebranded KWASU Entrepreneurship model to incorporate hands-on activities in 16 areas of technical and vocational skills.
Conscious of the importance of staff and students as the bedrock of any institution of learning, the Vice-Chancellor in consonance with his mandate, has continued to prioritize their welfare.
Towards achieving this end, the University Management undertook the following steps;
*Fine-tuning and standardizing promotion guidelines/protocols for both teaching and non-teaching staff to ensure that they operate at world class standard
*Sustaining the tradition of prompt payment of salaries, honorarium and allowances inspite of the economic crunch and COVID-19 challenges
*Expansion of water reticulation project on Campus and provision of 24-hour solar power supply to the University Clinic
*Setting up of KWASU Consultative Forum to promote peaceful co-existence among stakeholders in the University community.
The Vice-Chancellor hosts bi-monthly media parley, in order to maximize significant positive media coverage of the University, and help build its profile and reputation.
The Prof. Muhammed Akanbi-led administration at KWASU has so far shown commitment towards sustaining the vision and mission of the founding fathers of the great citadel of learning in the areas of teaching, research and community service.
It is, therefore, evident that this administration will not rest on its laurels, but rather consolidate on the modest achievements recorded through concerted efforts at promoting academic excellence in the ivory tower for global relevance.
Director, University Relations