“…………….80-year old Pa Amodu becomes Nigeria’s oldest graduate”
By Saidat Alausa
Out of a total of 27,087 graduating students that were recently conferred with various categories of degrees at the 17th convocation of the Lagos State University (LASU), Ojo, 41 made First Class. The Faculty of Social Sciences dominated the prestigious class with 13 students, Engineering had 10, Communication seven, Management Sciences five, Education three, Social Science two, while Arts recorded one.
A breakdown of the graduating students includes 22,034 first degrees, 438 diplomas while 4,615 graduated with postgraduate diplomas and higher degrees. Forty were in the doctorate (Ph.D)
Governor of Lagos state and visitor to the institution, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, who drew attention to current efforts by the university management to address the problem of the back log of certificates, commended the Vice Chancellor for his “good work.”
The Vice chancellor, Prof John Oladapo Obafunwa who was appointed in September 2011, also noted that the institution’s management, with the support of the pro chancellor, senate and governing council members, recorded ” modest achievements” in the past few years. His words: ” LASU has been able to pursue new academic initiatives and collaboration with overseas institutions. The most recent is the bilateral agreement with the University of Chicago Medical Centre, United States of America (USA) for a collaborative research on cancer of the breast”.
According to him, another pact has been signed with the University of Nebraska (US), for collaboration in the establishment of a College of Agriculture. “The University intends to leverage on these and other future linkages for the benefit of staff and students, by way of exchange programmes, collaboration on research and other ancillary benefits. New programmes are being initiated, prominent among these is the proposed College of Agriculture and this college, when established at Epe campus, will add impetus to the agricultural development of Lagos state in particular and Nigeria in general,” he said.
He also explained that other new professional study programmes such as Aeronautical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Architecture, Estate Management, Marine Engineering and Taxation Law would soon be mounted to enhance the University’s contribution to the manpower needs of the country
Obafunwa, who was conducting his first convocation since he assumed office as Vice Chancellor, explained that efforts are being made towards the provision of facilities and human resources, to pave the way for the re-accreditation of courses that were denied accreditation by the National Universities commission (NUC).
He said the bulk of the University’s external system students (13,130) were part of the graduands, assuring that their certificates were ready for collection upon completion of their clearance procedures. He declared that the era of missing scripts, missing results and difficulty in accessing results “is now a thing of the past, as no LASU students will have to wait till final year before they can access their results.”
Eighty-year-old Pa Alimi Olanrewaju Amodu, who graduated from the Department of Sociology expressed his desire to become a lecturer some day. “This is a great achievement and the first step because I am going for my master’s after which I will go for PhD. I want to be called Dr. A.O. Amodu”.
He continued: “I was born in the village and my journey to get a degree started in 1945. My father gave a condition that I have to go to the farm before I go to school. It was not easy, but the brain is here. I spent only three years in primary school before I moved to town. The first school I attended when I got to the town was St. Paul’s Ibadan, where I met brilliant teachers. I spent two years there, then moved to St. David’s, one of the best schools established by the colonial administration. By that time, there was what we call standard and I got a very good foundation from the primary school”.
Pa Alimi, who has never been deterred by his age in his quest for education, also recalled how he mixed up with students of his grandchildren’s age. “There is no age limit in learning. Some people think that they are old, no. The more you read, the more your brain will be functioning” he affirmed.