Oyo State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi and his wife, Florence, have separately offered scholarships to indigent students of the Ajayi Crowther University, Oyo, where the first lady bagged the honorary doctor of science in Public Administration, on Friday.
The Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi and a philanthropist, Chief Tunde Afolabi, were also honoured with the institution’s honorary doctorate as part of its 9th convocation ceremony, which also witnessed the award of first and post graduate degrees.
The governor announced the scholarship award in his remarks at the event, while his wife had earlier in her acceptance speech promised to sponsor ten indigent students on full scholarship as part of her contributions to the education of the youth.
In response to an appeal by the Vice Chancellor of the institution, Prof. Dapo Asaju, the governor’s wife also promised to procure a power generating set for the Information Communication Technology centre she recently donated to the university.
She said, “I want to thank the governing council of this university for the honour done to me. I stand here this afternoon with a promise to continue to engage in activities that will advance the course of education.
“Ajayi Crowther University has done well as it has turned out brilliant graduates that are making waves all over the world. This is the best period to renew my pledge and commitment to the service of humanity as well as service to the less privileged.
“I will install a generator to provide power to the ICT centre that I donated to this university few months ago. In addition to this I will give scholarship to ten girls to study Business Administration from next session as part of my contributions to the education of the girl-child.”
In his remarks, the governor said that he would also sponsor the education of undisclosed number of students, while he called on parents, institutions, and public-spirited individuals to assist in funding education at all levels.
Given the parlous state of the economy, Ajimobi said that it was no longer realistic to expect the government to solely fund education because of many competing demands.
He said, “The story of Ajayi Crowther University has confirmed that well-meaning Nigerians can come together and promote a noble cause that will have multiple advantageous effects on the society.
“We are today empowering our younger ones to be productive to the nation by unleashing the new graduands to go and make better changes for our country.
“This is an institution that does not take subvention from anybody and it is producing quality products yearly. I can tell you that Ajayi Crowther University is an epitome of quality.
“This is a clarion call to parents, guardians and the rest of the society that we should not leave the education of our children to government alone. Everybody must participate to bring back the glory of the yesteryears in education.”
The vice chancellor advised the graduating students to be good ambassadors of the university when they mixed with the outside world, exuding confidence that the young graduates had been found to excel in character and learning before being unleashed on the society.
He criticized the omission of private universities from the list of beneficiaries of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND), which the Federal Government established in 2011 to manage the disbursement of funds to government-owned universities.
Asaju said, “Private universities are facing daunting challenges in the area of funding. We want to appeal to the FG to also consider private universities in the disbursement of TETFUND. The money belongs to all of us and we should also be part of the largesse.
“I want to assure you all that any fund given to this university is being prudently managed. Nobody can misapply any fund here. I’m therefore soliciting the assistance of governments, institutions and individuals in funding this university.
“We have produced many students who are making waves around the world today. I know some of them don’t like me when I tell them that boys should not be seen with girls after 7pm or that students should retire to their hostels by 9pm. But, today, I set the graduating students free to go and enjoy themselves.”