Tokunbo Wahab, special adviser on education to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who turned 50 on May 17, highlighted his achievements since the administration took off, part of which includes ensuring the smooth transition from the state polytechnic to university of science and technology; and from colleges of education to university of education, while ensuring that students have access to quality education. Reports by Funmi Ogundare
When Mr. Tokunbo Wahab, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s Special Advisor for Education, took office in August 2019, he had one thing in mind; to have a positive impact and leave no room for laziness and failure. Being his first time in public service, he had to get down to business.
Its motto, “everything worth doing, is worth doing well”, was used to change the narrative as it is encapsulated in the “THEMES” initiative of the administration and impact public schools from elementary to elementary with commendable projects.
Some of the projects among many others, in particular on the tertiary where it is expressed, include; ensure that Lagos State University (LASU) becomes a global brand.
Most recently, ensured the smooth transition of the Ikorodu, Isolo and Surulere campuses of the Lagos State Polytechnic to the University of Science and Technology, as well as the Adeniran Ogunsanya, Ijanikin College of Education and the College of primary education teacher Michael Otedola, Epe, at Lagos State University of Education. The aim was to ensure students’ access to quality education and to combat discrimination against NCE and HND graduates in the workplace.
Asked how the administration will be able to manage three new universities and whether it will not pay much attention to LASU, Wahab said that the government is already hiring the staff of the institutions to reclassify and redesignate them so that they can adapt to the purpose of operating. the schools.
“If you have four children, are you going to give up three? As a responsible father, you must pay attention to each of them. They have their unique needs. You will not give up for each other. Our starting capacity for the University of Science and Technology is around 66 PhDs,” Wahab explained. “For the university of education, it’s about 95 doctorate holders. They are already in the system. What we need to do is reclassify and rename them according to their purpose, because a lecturer does not fit into the university system. So it will start in the next few days or weeks. We’re already hiring them and I have the model.
He said unions would also be included in the committee to participate in the discussion on redesignation and what they should do, adding that applications have been received from around 30 professors who plan to do their sabbaticals at the institutions. . .
“For science and technology, we have 12. For Ijanikin and Epe, there are about 18. It’s like a university of knowledge to attract the best people across the country. Are we going to say that we let LASU behind us? No. LASU is still our first among equals, and we won’t leave the new babies behind. We’ll water them and feed them. I’m glad we have the infrastructure in place. The human capital is there, so we will work on what we have and improve it,” the special adviser added.
For the reclassification and redesignation processes, he said the technical committee and the boards of trustees would engage teachers one after another to determine the parameters and requirements they will need to become professors at a university.
“Now that they’ve submitted the teacher profiles, the technical committee and the boards are going to sit down and engage them one by one to find out where they stand. For example, we’re looking at a master of conference and tell him the requirements to be a professor at the university. We will determine the criteria, and I believe that once you have followed them, it will be an exchange. Our point of view has always been that we should not expel anyone We don’t want anyone losing their job as much as possible,” the Assistant Governor of Lagos added.
Wahab thanked Governor and Speaker of the House of Assembly Mudashiru Obasa and other lawmakers for the bill to establish the universities, ensuring it became law in February.
Despite the ASUU strike in some states and federal institutions, Wahab said LASU did not join the strike because the governor felt teachers’ needs should be taken care of. According to him, the heads of the institutions were taken abroad for a three-day capacity building workshop to expose them to new ways in which tertiary institutions are managed.
“We cannot continue to be a big fish in a small pond. We had to put them on a global pedestal and let them see it from that perspective. It is when you give them that exposure that you can call them to the task to whom much is given, much more is expected,” Wahab pointed out. “The way we did it was structured so that there was a second batch for the next level of training. For example, we went with Vice Chancellors, Deputy Vice Chancellors and Registrars. We did the same for Lagos State College of Medicine (LASUCOM).
Wahab emphasized hostel facilities and new university lecture halls, saying the administration will look at the infrastructure, namely the number of students, to make it attractive to developers.
“For LASU we have 8,272 bed hostels through a public-private partnership, but they told us in writing that would not be enough as freshmen and seniors outweigh that, so we’re going to have typical market strength. We can increase it and make sure we have the beds in service before the end of this year. We inherited a capacity of 460 amphitheatres in Epe. Now the entrepreneur is back on site. We can’t just give it up. They need to look at the issues to be ready for the new group of students who will enter the university from the next session which is September/October this year,” the Lagos official added.
According to him, the Lagos government will do the same for Ijanikin.
“We are ensuring that they have an amphitheater that will facilitate a suitable course environment for new students. For Ikorodu, we are constructing a world-class administration building which we hope to be operational by August,” Wahab said. “Ikorodu and LASUCOM also urgently need hostels, they got approval, and you need to make it attractive for developers.”
Highlighting the low tuition regime, especially at LASU, Wahab said the administration’s vision is to enable access to quality education for students, adding that it will not affect the quality of education. production.
“The board and the senate have their part to play in making sure they don’t drop the ball in terms of quality. People should know that higher education is not supposed to be so cheap. But we are still very emotional about it,” he noted. “We did a survey of all higher education institutions in the southwest. Ours is the lowest. So what we did was we asked LASU to raise, I think they charge around N57,000, and for stream two it’s around N150,000, and it’s oversubscribed . For the two new universities, we’re going to have an easy fee regime from the start so that we don’t shoot ourselves in the foot.
Asked what Lagosians should expect from his office, the special adviser replied: “more work”.
“It’s about impacting your space and impacting lives, people and leaving a mark. When we talk about human capital, we make sure that the greatest number of people in this space feel the impact of the policy that you have come to put in place. Did I enjoy? Yes. It was very difficult because we had to make tough decisions, but we thank God for everything,” Wahab said. “The Governor has done so much in this space, and I believe the full range is the benefits that we will start to see that he has invested in education. He increased operating costs from primary to secondary and invested in technical education.
The Lagos government has developed two new universities and invested in LASU’s infrastructure.
“During his two and a half years he ensured that the College of Nursing is now certified to award OND and HND in the Nursing Certificate. These are achievements you cannot ignore. The governor’s investment in education goes beyond what I can say enough. His investment in human capital is the future of Lagos,” he added. “It’s like planting a Chinese bamboo, it won’t sprout immediately, but after a few years, with patience and endurance, it will manifest. I thank him so much for believing in me and seeing me as one of those who could help realize this vision.
When asked what it was like to be 50, Wahab replied, “I lost my mother when she was 49. I hope to be 95 years old. I can’t be 95 if I’m not 50. It was a very unusual trip as we were orphaned in our twenties. I lost my father in my last year. But we never gave up on life and hope. I believe in God and I believe in myself, and I was a child of unusual grace and mercy. God gave me good health and wonderful family support. My wife and two children have been very wonderful,” Wahab added. “Looking back for me has been nothing but God. I thank him for his grace and mercy thus far and for standing by my siblings and I when we were orphaned. “to be a journey of thanks. It hasn’t been easy, and it has strengthened my faith in him beyond human comprehension. As I turn 50, I want to do things my way now, and I will continue to thank him.
He thanked the governor for trusting him.