The desire for good governance in Nigeria has received a boost with a royal father’s blessing in the form of a N250m endowment of a professorial chair at the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State.
Announcing this at a press conference at Ijebu Ode, the Awujale of Ijebuland, Sikiru Adetona, explained that he wanted to see Nigeria take giant strides in the area of good governance stemming from quality education, research, mentorship and community engagement.
“Education has a pivotal role to play in the quality of governance. So I decided to lend my little support in this area, being a royal father. So I make this move with high hopes that it will help the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye start a production-line of leaders who will be molded for good governance,” Oba Adetona said.
While thanking the Awujale for the kind gesture, the Vice Chancellor of the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Saburi Adesanya, said the endowment was in sync with the Institution’s philosophy of seeking to “give useful learning to its students who will be encouraged to cultivate a worldview that facilitates not only the continuous pursuit of academic and moral excellence but also developing competence in reducing the society’s disease.”
The Awujale said the university earned his respect because of how it had impacted on the public since it came into existence in 1982, hence, his willingness to support the university to do more.
“I have followed with keen interest the impact the university has been making since inception in 1982 and strongly feel that this endowment will help them achieve more to the benefit of mankind,” he said.
On his interest in western education as custodian of culture, Oba Adetona said that was a move with the times.
“Time was when governance, as it is known today, resided with royal fathers and traditional institutions,” the monarch said. “With the times we are in, people still expect us as royal fathers to exert some form of influence on the political class, whereas there is no provision in the constitution empowering us to exercise direct control over them. So I reckon that the best way to make this influence effective is through constructive institutional engagement, mentorship and research. These are areas I am convinced this endowment can be very impactful.”
With this initiative, Oba Adetona said he hoped to lure the best brains from across the world to the university to fertilise the university community, with a view to achieving a level of cross-fertilisation that would impact positively on the larger community.
“I am confident that the university will make the most of this opportunity and attract the best brains in good governance, corporate and political leadership to fertilise the students, staff and indeed the entire university community with a view to raising and unleashing good governance champions on the Nigerian community,” he said.
Oba Adetona said he was optimistic that Nigeria would benefit from the initiative and enjoined other well-meaning people to lend their support to such good causes.
The vice chancellor pledged that the university would strive to live up to the desires of the founding fathers now reinforced by the Awujale’s support.
“The university shall be rooted in its community and act, at all times, as a beacon and symbol of the spirit of the community,” Prof Adesanya said. “Therefore, we will strive to fulfill the expectations of the Awujale with efforts to cultivate a distinct tradition and character that reflect those values that would give our host and national communities distinctive identity in quality leadership.”
The inaugural lecture for the endowment is billed for Thursday, March 10, 2016, at the Oriental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos.
Prof Akin Mabogunje would analyse the Issues and Challenges of Governance in Nigeria at the lecture, while an elite panel of discussants, including former President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo, and the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II would further dissect the topic.