Ogbomoso University: Dream to Positive Affirmation – Now The Real Deal, How To Raise N5b
The dream of Ogbomoso people in Oyo state to have a private university to be named “Ogbomoso University” finally crossed the Rubicon Saturday, as an education summit was held successfully to mobilize indigenes towards the goal.
The historic event held at Ogbomoso Recreation Club saw speakers after speakers expressing optimism at its feasibility and desirability.
The summit, organized by chief promoters of the project, Ogbomoso Academics and Ogbomoso Community Youth Forum (OCYF), explored its possibility, under the theme, “The Ogbomoso University: The challenges and prospects,” with various discussants harping on the need for everyone to rally round for its actualization.
At the end, a wave of excitement spread as hope surged that the dream is taking shape and flesh.
But inspired with hope the real test begins now, which is the hard part, making one to wonder – can the city pull it off considering the enormous resources required and quantum of procedures involved? It is revealed a minimum of N5b (five billion naira) liquid cash is needed for the project, to acquire the right location (minimum of 100 hectares), provide infrastructures, setting up the university, for capital and recurrent costs, hiring lecturers, obtaining accreditation from JAMB (the Joint Admissions Matriculation Board) etc. As a starter, there is need for a deposit of a surety of N250m in hold for the university, to stand as guarantee for the university in case of default in payment of staff salaries. It is a challenging task indeed.
Prof Rasaq Rom Kalilu, Acting Vice-Chancellor, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, LAUTECH, Ogbomoso, speaking on “University and its types,” through Prof Musbahudeen Abdul-Hammed, of the Department of Pure and Applied Chemistry, LAUTECH, stressed the purpose for establishing a community owned private university is to provide sound education to indigenes and Nigerians at large.
“The reason for the creation of a private university owned by Ogbomoso is mainly to give sound education to indigenes of Ogbomoso and Nigerians in general.”
Prof Joshua Ogunwole, Vice Chancellor, Bowen University, Iwo, dwelling on “University administrative structure,” emphasized the necessity of taking entrepreneurship as priority in a school setting especially in an higher institution.
Engr. Abu Salami, chairman of Ogbomoso Community Foundation, said hearing the various submissions at the summit dissipated the pessimism he initially had over the project in view of the “arduous task involved and its financial requirements.”
Dr. Saka Balogun, a community leader, remarked that “only hard work, determination and full support of the people” can help in actualizing the dream.
President of Ogbomoso Community Youth Forum (OCYF), Rev’d Peter Olaleye, saying “The idea of the founding of a privately-owned university in Ogbomoso is incontrovertibly an idea whose time has come,” averred that aside other benefits, the university would “further entrench the name Ogbomoso in the global educational map and more importantly unfolds greater opportunities for our young ones to receive university education aside offering a broader source of employment.”
Rev’d Olaleye in addition stated, “With it materializing, our beloved Ogbomoso will never remain the same. My conviction and belief in the project soars high and I see it as a feasible proposal. If it is not feasible the idea wouldn’t have been conceived and birthed. That we conceived it and triggered its realization is enough assurance that it is within the realm of achievement.”
He continued, “It is a task that must be done, it is a duty imposed inescapably on this generation of Ogbomoso indigenes; I see it as “our mandate,” “our destiny” which we dare not recoil from. Each generation from the time of our forefathers has had its accomplishments: a generation pioneered settlement in this former jungle making it an attractive habitation; another generation welded it into a town entrenching a 1000 year dynasty; another safeguarded it with the last drop of its blood to prevent it being taken over by rampaging invaders from the north; yet a generation facilitated its civilization and modernization all combined; and a succeeding one opened it up for infrastructural development and many more which we savour today.
“Ogbomoso is the famed city of the valiant remarkable for extraordinary feats. This is this generation’s extraordinary feat beckoning. It is a daunting task but we must not shirk it if the baton of bravery Ogbomoso is known for will not break. When Ogbomoso people passionately go after a mission we accomplish it, only on very few occasions did we fail. We will not fail in this, I am confident. I want to charge us, let’s see this project as a project that must be guided to fruition. When we see it in that perspective then it is 50 percent accomplished. There is a saying that “whatever the mind perceives and believes can be achieved.” Let us believe this, let us breathe it, let us visualize it and the pathway to achieving it will gradually unfold. It is enormous but in the face of strong unshakable faith we will accomplish it.
“It will better be done when we all think as one, when we mobilize ourselves to achieve it, when we bring many people on board to see the possibility. Let us cast ourselves in the mould of Nehemiah and not in that of Tobiah, Samballat and Geshem. With faith we will accomplish it. The destiny of Ogbomoso is to be ahead of its contemporaries, this has manifested several times we want to see it manifest in this our time again. But it requires our sacrifices, efforts, financial cum moral commitment and belief.”
Prof Kayode Oyewumi, Dean of Faculty of Physical Sciences, University of Ilorin, Ilorin, gave a comprehensive lecture on “Multi-campus system: Advantages and disadvantages,” concluding that whichever is chosen has advantages and disadvantages which he painstakingly highlighted, even as the possibility of a multi-campus system is being considered for the Ogbomoso University.
In their presentations, Prof Alice Jekayinfa and Dr Adeniyi Adetunji exploring the “challenges ahead” and “the funding needs” respectively also affirmed its feasibility.
Speaking with newsmen after the event, Justice Afolabi Adeniran (rtd), president of Ogbomoso Parapo Worldwide and chief host at the summit, who earlier spoke on “The Ogbomoso University and the development of Ogbomoso: An Appeal to the Ogbomosos,” pointed out that establishment of the university would lead to economic development and draw more people to the community.
Going down memory lane Adeniran recalled it likewise took Ogbomoso many years compared to its contemporaries before it could have a secondary school, but that a meeting like the one just held led to the establishment of Ogbomoso Grammar School in 1952. He thus exuded confidence that the goal would be realized.
“Don’t you think it is not right for Ogbomoso as large as it is not to have a private university? Well, it is a very good idea and we have been mulling the idea for a long time.
“Even previously, up till 1952, there was no secondary school in Ogbomoso. Just like we met today, our people met at that time too and that led to the establishment of Ogbomoso Grammar School. So, in the same way, we want to have a university of our own.
“The university we have here belongs to Oyo state government… we should have our own university like so many other places; Oyo, very near here, has four private universities, Offa, in Kwara state has its own private university and so many towns.”
Maintaining it is realizable he stated, “The journey of a thousand miles starts with a leg, we are starting and it will develop. Afe Babalola started his own and it is now a full-fledged university recognized internationally. So, when we start, we move.”
The former Chief Judge of Oyo state asserting it would be wholly owned by the Ogbomoso community posited, “You know the benefits of university education and you know the benefits of siting a university in a particular place. The advantages that Ogbomoso derives from LAUTECH are unquantifiable. So, if we have another university it will expand the educational system and there are other benefits – the traders, the artisans and so on will get quite a lot of benefits.”
He had no doubt on the dream materializing as he said, “I don’t foresee any bottleneck. I don’t foresee hindrance. The only thing you can talk about is money and our people will contribute, if you listen to the meeting, we are going to contact various individuals; we have people who are rich in this town. They do say Ogbomoso is home to valiant people, when Bowen University was to be established, an Ogbomoso man, L.A. Gbadamosi, put down N250m, so, the funding will not be a problem.”
In the same vein, the chairman of Ogbomoso Academics and host of the summit, Prof Timothy Olagbemiro, who was Vice Chancellor of two universities at different times (Bowen University, Iwo and Edwin Clark University, Kaigbodo, Delta state) for over 19 years, building on his previous presentation borderung on “Journey so far,” expressed optimism that the idea is within reach.
Olagbemiro submitted, “We have started a journey, we have not yet reached any milestone, what we only obtained from government are just the forms, we paid for the forms, the onus is now on us to do our own job, to get a place, to get the structure ready and so on, and get approval from the NUC (National Universities Commission), and they must give approval otherwise we can’t start the university.
“It is required you get the land, all facilities required ready, invite them, make your deposit, they will come. So far so good we have started well, about six years ago, we actually started Ogbomoso Academics. We just decided let’s call everyone, get others involved, we opened a website, people just got in, so we have been doing very well so far.”
It was mooted during the summit that September 2024 is proposed start date for the university, and so when asked if the date was sacrosanct, he affirmed,
“That is our plan, but it depends on how much money we can raise. If we raise about N3b or N4b we can start. But definitely for you to start a university you need about N5b. You know you have to pay salaries and other costs of operations. We need some money in hand, we must raise the money. If you can’t raise the money you can’t start a university. Our people have told us they can raise the money. But we must do our own part. So, we will reach out to chairmen of all socio-cultural organisations in Ogbomoso. We will look for individuals who will assist us. Then, we go to the general public.”
Prof Olagbemiro, who reportedly had leased his private school, Pine Valley High School, in Ogbomoso as take-off site, informed 50 hectares of land had also been secured at Orile-Aipo in Oriire local government area of the state.
Though not a fundraising event the joy it stimulated made some people including those who followed its livestreaming to announce various donations, monetary and land, as a few traditional rulers also made known their intention to make available lands in their domains.
To raise the required fund is the next now on the agenda – a minimum of five billion naira!