Yaba College of Technology (YABATECH), weekend, held a special pull out ceremony in honour of its outgoing Rector, Mr. Obafemi Omokungbe who spent a five-year tenure at the institution.
The programme, which began with a special academic session headed by the rector, witnessed cases of examination malpractices and sanctions for students culpable, for the first semester full time 2021/2022 academic session, being read out by some dean’s of faculties.
At the end the session, Omokungbe who handed over the staff of office to the Deputy Rector (Admin), Mr. Uduak Inyang-Udoh, urged members of the academia to cooperate with him.
In his remarks, Iyang-Udoh thanked the management for making the outgoing rector’s exit a success.
The Chairman of the Governing Council, Prince Lateef Fagbemi highlighted some of the outgoing rector’s achievements including renovating the Yusuf Grillo’s hall, physical development of two of the college’s campuses, ensuring uninterrupted academic calendar.
He thanked members of its academia for supporting him all through his tenure.
” For the first time, we have an alumnus mounting the saddle as rector and we saw the need to appoint someone who has proved his worth, ” he said.
The programme also witnessed the launch of a book titled,’ Beginning from the End’ written by Omokungbe and reviewed by a lecturer in the Department of English, University of Lagos (UNILAG), Austin Nwagbara.
Speaking with journalists, Omokungbe expressed excitement about the honour, saying that he is happy about the opportunity to serve the college , and that God has being the source of his strength.
He said when he came in to the college about six years ago, moving from the gate of WAEC to the college ‘s gate took about 40 because the roads were bad and most of the buildings were dilapidated with no improvement.
He stated that during his one month stay, he was almost calling it quits, but God gave him the courage to face and tackle the challenges through the development of a strategic plan for the college, coupled with the support he got from colleagues.
According to him, “It’s a team work and. I went to my colleagues to seek for their cooperation and I got it and I am very proud of them.”
The rector stated that the college during his administration, did not witness any strike action , adding that it had a stable academic calendar despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We were the first public institution to go online to complete that session,” he said.
The college which recently marked its 75 years of establishment, Omokungbe noted needs care and that as part of his strategy,, most of its faculties and students hostels, were renovated.
He expressed optimism that with the strategic plan he has put in place, the next administration should be able to complement on it.
Asked what next after his tenure, the rector said, “I am going to rest. In the last five years, I have not gone on leave, so I intend to go on the accumulated leave and I would go on sabbatical for another one year and then come back to the school system because I have not reached the retirement age.”
On what inspired him to write the book, he said his experience in 2008 when he was sacked from the college because he was the Chairman of Academic Staff Union of Polytechnic ( ASUP).
“We went on genuine strike that year and the management decided that they needed to keep me quite so that we will not ask for.our rights. So they decided to throw me out and I went to court and I spent five years getting to ensure the litigation was sorted out and I won.”
He noted that his rights and privileges including outstanding salaries and position were given back to him .
Omokungbe said he went back to the system in 2013 and became the rector, adding that if not for God he would have become something else.
“This was what inspired me to write the book,” he said.
Asked if he has any regrets, he said, ” that is why we had a strategic plan, one of which was the endowment fund in 2022 because we know that government itself cannot fund education alone, so we needed to think outside the box. When you look at what is happening around the world, an endowment fund is what schools like Havard, Yale, are using, which I brought to the drawing board. We were to launch it in 2020, but the COVID-19 didn’t allow us. If we had done it then, we would have gotten so much. No problem, it’s a seed that we have planted and I believe that it’s going to germinate.”
He advised the youths to be serious, hardworking and courage saying that without it, one cannot manage an institution like YABATECH .