The Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Professor Abubakar Rasheed, has averred that peace and stability are major pre-requisites for the success of the ACE Project and, indeed, any great university. He made this assertion during a high-level visit to the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife’s ICT-Driven Knowledge Park, (OAK-Park).
While commending the restoration of peace and tranquillity to the University, the Executive Secretary reiterated the fact that peace, like war, must be waged and nurtured. He noted that the biggest success of the University, in the last eight months, was the appointment of Dr. Yemi Ogunbiyi as Chairman of Council. He stated that OAK-Park is unique and one of a kind, among the ACEs and should, therefore, be supported. The Executive Secretary charged the University to take ownership of the Centre, to ensure its sustainability, beyond the lifespan of the Project.
Welcoming the team, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Eyitope Ogunbodede, thanked the Executive Secretary for his support for the University and the Centre. He assured him of the University’s continued commitment to the growth and success of OAK-Park.
Highlighting its major achievements at an interactive session that was attended by Dr. Ogunbiyi, the Vice Chancellor and other Principal Officers, Deputy Centre Leader, OAK-Park, Professor Sola Aderounmu, said that considerable progress had been made in student enrolment, particularly with regard to foreign students. The Centre, so far, had a total student enrolment of 198. Of this number, 43 are PhD students, while 155 are registered for MSc programmes. OAK-Park, he said, boasts of 38 regional students (35 male and three female) and has 160 national students, 112 of whom are male and 48, female. For the next academic session, the Centre already had applications from 48 regional students, 38 of whom had been offered admission.
The Centre has also recorded some progress with students’ internships, with about 40 of its enrolees having completed or at various stages of their internships in relevant organisations. To date, OAK-Park has graduated three PhD and 43 Master’s students and has also offered short courses to a total of 238 regional and 208 national participants.
Another major achievement, the Centre Leader said, was the establishment of three start-up companies, one of which was led by a student in the Department of Economics.
The NUC delegation also had the Director, Executive Secretary’s Office, Mr. Chris J. Maiyaki; Director, Corporate Communications, Mr. Ibrahim Yakasai, ACE National Coordinator, Dr. Joshua Atah and ACE Project Communications Officer, Mrs. Adebukola Olatunji.