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As Nigeria’s premier institution, Yaba College of Technology (YABATECH) launched a N50 billion endowment fund, prominent Nigerians have emphasized the need for private support intervention for a sustainable higher education sector.

This was the submission of ex-President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, the Vice-President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu and Governor Rotimi Akeredolu on Thursday at the launch of an N50 billion endowment fund by the Yaba College of Technology (YABATECH) in Lagos.

The Vice-President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo said higher institutions’ as a proven ground for research, learning and best ideas require all support that can be mustered to make them centres of excellence.

According to him, research and inquiry might lead to a revolutionary discovery or lead nowhere depending on commitment, saying such requires adequate funding.

“How do you fund world-class, relevant, cutting-edge higher education sustainably? The question has even greater resonance in Africa, where public resources are low and the poverty levels put access to quality education beyond the reach of many.”

The VP, who canvassed support for the 75-year-old college, explained that the N50 billion ambition of the endowment fund captured the vision for the institution and demonstrated the keen awareness of management about what was truly at stake.

He described Yaba College of Technology as one of the best institutions to use as proof of the concept that could, indeed, develop world-class higher institutions for innovation and research using both private and public-sector finance.

“We must augment government’s finest intentions with our individual and collective desire to see us do better, to see Africa do better; to see our children step into global arenas of enormous and unprecedented opportunities.

“One thing is clear, young Nigerians will always rise to the stature of the challenges the world presents them, and even beyond if we continue to provide a platform for them to stand on.

“The total value of Harvard University’s endowment in the 2020 fiscal year was 42 billion US dollars. Yabatech is a great institution imagined to be at the forefront of producing the technical talent needed to drive the industrialization of a nation confidently coming into its own. And this is a responsibility that we have been taking shoulder for decades,” he added.

The Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, represented by the

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic and Research), Professor Bola Oboh, likened the 75-year-old institution to an adult that will need additional care to continue to deliver on its vision and mission of its founding fathers.

He assured that the federal government would continue to invest in interesting technology, that is most appropriate for breeding the future and technical workforce needed to transform the economy at the state and federal levels for appreciable development in all spheres of life.

He added, “Considerably, the present administration under the able leadership of President Mohammadu Buhari has taken the bull by the horn with the introduction of skills and innovation in tertiary for students in institutions, to enhance their creative thinking and develop the potential for solving life-threatening problems”.

He commended the vision of the principal officers of the College and by extension the entire management for the project and encouraged all and sundry to contribute generously to the success and upliftment of the premier college of technology.

The Rector of the College, Engr. Obafemi Omokungbe said the need to revitalise learning infrastructures at the college has become imperative, saying it is now a burden on this current generation of its management.

“The College is replete with decayed and inadequate infrastructure, growth beyond existing facilities particularly space constraint for expansion and provision of staff offices, classrooms, workshops and laboratories as well as student hostels and other academic activities, resulting in restricted research ideas, delays in the take-off of new programmes, not too conducive environment for learning and teaching, reduced inventions and upgrades of existing inventions, etc.

He added, “The Acquisition and development of a second campus at Epe to solve the problem of space in the main campus is also hampered with inadequate and sometimes lack of funds”.

Though the Rector acknowledged the worthy rescue rendered by the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, saying, “It is hardly sufficient to solve the problems of the College. It is a known fact that adequate funding for technical and technological education in particular has been a serious challenge to the federal government, thus our resort to alternative means of generating funds to improve infrastructure and introduce legacy projects to ensure the continued existence as well as a globally competitive institution, Yaba College of Technology”.

He said the endowments will encourage the College to make commitments for the future, knowing that the resources to meet commitments will continue to be available.

Pa Gabriel Majekodunmi Okufi, a 92-year-old former Rector of the College supported the project with N200, 000 and commended the management of the college, the Chairman of the Governing Council led by Prince Lateef Fagbemi for a good job, saying he was not so lucky with the Council during his tenure from 1975 to 1985 as Rector.

In his contributions, Prince Fagvemi (SAN) added, “The dream of the Governing Council of Yaba College of Technology is to position Yabatech as one of the topmost and reputable institutions (within and outside Nigeria) that consistently deliver on their mandate of providing sound

and quality technological education”.