- Vice Chancellor Ologunorisa unveils Maritime Academy to boost blue economy
By Banji Ayoola
About 982 graduates of Olusegun Agagu University of Science and Technology, Okitipupa, OAUSTECH, between the 2014/2015 and 2019/2020 academic sessions will be awarded first degrees at the institution’s maiden convocation this Saturday March 25.
They include Miss Dimehin Adebisi who recently graduated with a First Class Degree in Chemistry and was admitted for Ph.D in Chemical Engineering at the University of Cincinnati, USA without passing through a master’s degree and another.
Some of the graduates are already Ph.D holders from leading Universities in the United States, U.K, Germany, South Africa and Nigeria.
Giving the breakdown at a press conference in the university’s main campus on Monday, the Vice Chancellor, Prof Temi Ologunorisa, said that 26 made First Class scoring from 4.5 GPA and above; 307 Second Class Upper Division; 488 Second Class Lower Division and 161 Third Class.
He said that at the ceremony, Doctor of Business Administration (Honours Causa) will be awarded to the university’s Chancellor and the Olugbo of Ugboland, Oba (Dr.) Fredrick Obateru Akinruntan “in recognition of his success stories in the global business environment which he traversed scientifically with regal success.”
Another major highlight of the ceremony is a Convocation Lecture to be delivered by a former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, Emeritus Prof. Olufemi Bamiro, titled: “Transforming the Nigerian University System for Graduate Employability and Socio-economic Development”.
Established as Ondo State University of Science and Technology in 2008 by the administration, it was renamed Olusegun Agagu University of Science and Technology, OAUSTECH, in 2019
Ologunorisa said that the university, which started with one School, the School of Science, and two additional Schools – School of Engineering and Engineering Technology, and School of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources – in 2017, now has five Schools including: School of Science; School of Engineering and Engineering Technology; School of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources; School of Management Sciences; and School of Earth Sciences.
He added that in the next academic session, 2023/2024, the School of Basic Medical Sciences will take off in the next 2023/24 academic session running courses in BSc. Nursing and BSc. Public Health; while the BSc. Applied Geology programmes will also commence in the same session in the School of Earth Science.
According to the Vice Chancellor, another new School – School of Maritime Transport and Logistics – is being built by the Ondo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (OSOPADEC) at Ugbo Nla, in Ondo State southern senatorial district.
He said that the Maritime Academy will train the critical skilled manpower necessary to drive maritime industry and ultimately the blue economy of the state, and it will run courses in BSc. Nautical Science; BSc. Maritime Transport and Logistics; BSc. Marine Engineering; BSc. Shipping and Port Management; BSc. Marine Economics and Finance; and BSc. Maritime Security.
Ologunorisa praised the Visitor to the university and Ondo State Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu for injecting N500 million to complete the Senate Building, Auditorium and the University Library apart from building the link road to the university, which he said had been abandoned for eight years before he assumed office as governor.
His words: “For eight years before he came in, it was abandoned, it was an abandoned warehouse. He brought N500 million for the completion of this Senate Building, Auditorium and the University Library and construction of the road that leads to this university.
“From that point, he commandeered the management under the leadership of Prof Sunday Roberts Ogunduyile to move the university to the permanent site. That was a major breakthrough for the university.”
On the abandoned projects that still litter the university’s premises, which he described as unfortunate, the Vice Chancellor said that N350 million has been earmarked for the completion of abandoned projects while the university management is making efforts looking for donors and friends of the university and appealing to those already with abandoned projects including NDDC, and OSOPADEC among others to come and complete them. Also it is looking for donors that can help complete the School of Science.
He said notable people have also donated projects like the lecture theatre under construction; while a Foundation is building a 300 capacity lecture theatre.
Ologunorisa said: “This university was also enlisted in Tetsfund in 2020 or so courtesy of Mr Governor. Arakunrin enlisted this university in Tetsfund. Through that we have the School of Agriculture, School of Health Sciences. Even now we have the School of Management Sciences. It is coming up in the next nine months.
“Right now we have just got a N500 million intervention for students’ hostel. Part of our vision is to make this university residential so that we can build the culture of research and teaching into the university so that the normal university culture can be entrenched. Now we are running off campus system. We want to make the university residential. Our vision is that in the next three years, 50 percent of our students live on campus.”
Noting that the institution, just like the whole of Ondo South Senatorial District, has challenges with electricity, he assured that the institution is moving to solar as the contract has been awarded saying “We would do it in phases. We would make it hybrid – solar and gasoline or diesel.”
His words: “We have also awarded the construction of 2.5 kilometres of road. You can see the road network in the university. So the government presence here is very high, and that is why we are moving very fast. We were crawling, we want to run now before we begin to fly. That is why you can see the level of progress.
“Before the end of the year, two new faculties are coming on board – the School of Physical Sciences and the School of Maritime Transport.
“We are in a hurry to move because we have lost grounds. We want to recover lost grounds. We are very ambitious to ensure that this university fulfills the vision and mandate.
“In this university in the last two years because of our financial constraints, staff were paid half salary. But in the last six months, we have changed the narration. We now pay full salary to our staff. And what is the magic. We have blocked all loopholes, all the leaking pipes have been blocked in this university.
“We were unable to harness 60 percent of our IGR before; now we are able to harness our IGR 100 percent. The era of half salary is gone. As at now we are only owing one month salary. Salary for January will be paid today (Monday). We are changing the narratives. We are also exploring other areas.”
On the planned Maritime Academy, he said: “This blue economy needs direction to evolve. The programmes we are going to run are unique to us. Apart from the marital -, there is no university in the country that is running this kind of programme, and we have an advantage.
“We have signed an MoU with the Caribbean Maritime University in Kingston, Jamaica and that is a leading maritime university in the Caribbean and Latin America. Our students would spend three years in Nigeria on this programme and one year in Jamaica. The President of Caribbean University was in this university January 12 or 14.
“I want to appreciate OSOPADEC under Mr Sam Erejuwa. He has been able to key OSOPADEC into our vision and that is the vision of the blue economy. This university has a direction. We want to make a name in the area of blue economy. That is the area we are going to have comparative advantage.
“Our research agenda is around the blue economy. OSOPADEC is also giving us students’ hostel for the new school. I have taken time to study the secret of American education system. We are using that to turn this university around.
“This university has also signed collaboration, partnership with key universities around the world. We are turning this university from teaching university to research university. We have collaboration with Obafemi Awolowo University Ile Ife on the use of satellite to conduct research. We are using the South African model for development of the university– triple elites: university collaborating with the government and the industries. We have a 10 year strategic plan for the university – 2023 – 2033.”