“Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish…”
------ Thomas Jefferson
Distinguished, permit me to begin this speech by first thanking the Faculty of Law exco, LASU Law Students’ Society, staff, and students’ union executives of this great citadel of learning for organizing this all important event, because at a time like this, it is expedient that we all have to be adequately informed.
I must say, I am indebted and humbled by the decision of the organizers of this talk forum for finding me worthy to give a speech on the subject matter of discuss.
Certainly it is not a misplaced priority as history holds it that I was, and still remain a genuine stakeholder of the LASU project.
I must also state that the decision to accept the responsibility of delivering this speech at this august gathering was daunting in many ways.
First, the invitation and notification to give this speech came at a time when we are committing our time resources to pressing state issues.
Nevertheless, I had little or no choice than to accept this responsibility given my great interest and love for the progress of this university ---- my Alma Mata.
My readiness to accept the invitation is also borne out of the desire to continue to contribute my own quota to the development of the best university, south of the Sahara, and north of the Limpopo.
The only university that produces unionists and students that are militant but reasonable, and continuously churn out great potentials that later become champions and icons of excellence in the larger society.
Ipso facto, I therefore wish to explore the theme of today’s event; THE RE-INSPIRED LASU PROJECT (TRI-LAP); A VISTA OF AMAZING POSSIBILITIES, in a manner that in my judgment, can modestly meet the expectations of all gathered here today.
LASU was established in 1983 by the enabling laws of Lagos State, for the advancement of learning and establishment of academic excellence.
As at the last count, the university caters for a student population of over 61,000 enrolled in full and part time programmes at the diploma, undergraduate and post graduates levels.
This university of amazing potentials and possibilities has produced great personalities that are classical cases of icons of excellence in all spheres of human endeavour, some of which include top rated actors and actresses and celebrities like Steve Onu (popularly known as Yoor), Desmond Elliot, Alex Lopez, Terra Fella Durotoye of the Nollywood fame, Rugged Man and D Banj, amongst others.
They are also there in the organized private sector. This school has also produced leaders that are excelling in government circle like Hon. S.O.B. Agunbiade in the Lagos State House of Assembly, a former president of the Lagos State University Students’ Union.
My humble self, now the executive chairman of Amuwo-Odofin LGA, is also a product of this school, to mention a few.
You will all agree with me that potentials abound in this school.
However, for many years in time past, LASU had to battle with image problems owing to inept leadership and the misdemeanor of some unscrupulous student elements.
This aspect of LASU’s history cannot be short changed no matter the attempt at escapism.
There was a time when some of the institution’s students are known for active participation in cult related activities, touting, armed robbery, gang raping, and prostitution, amongst other social vices.
On the academic front, it got so bad that LASU fell from the enviable height it occupied in the mid 80s and 90s to an unfortunate academic decrepit at a time when every Tom, Dick and Harry can gather people in their bedroom and claim its an affiliate of LASU.
The situation was so unfortunate that even the Nigerian University Commission (NUC) persistently threatened to discredit so many courses and departments in the institution.
However, all these were not to rub the institution of its glorious moments.
For instance, ‘LASU LAW’ used to be the bride of the nation’s legal profession.
LASU used to run the best law faculty in Nigeria in the 80s and early 90s; including other academic finesse recorded in other disciplines like in economics, et al.
On Student unionism, a subject I cannot help but talk about at any given opportunity, not just because of my attachment to it, but also given its significance in building an Ivory Tower, and advancing the society at large.
I am really perturbed and amazed that LASUSU have not been able to re- ignite the fire and consciousness synonymous with that student structure in the past.
It is surprising to hear, at certain time, of ban on student unionism on this campus.
That is strange to the union I used to know and served in as president. In any case it is comforting to learn that reasoning is been allowed to play a superior role in the matter.
But that should be a wake up call to students to assume their responsibility of establishing a formidable, independent, united platform, with a common agenda, to protect the interest of all.
Your approach must be civil enough to embrace superior opinions from mass consultation and intellectual discuss on all matters.
Dialogue and negotiation should also be seen as your potent tools for achieving your goals.
Having said that, after all this disturbing trend in LASU, it is instructive to state here that the governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN) has been able to concretize the ideas of the founding founders of the institution.
He has been able to restore the waning glory of the institution in pursuit of academic excellence through infrastructural development and strengthening of facilities.
I make bold to state that my era in this institution was oblivious of the structures dotting the nooks and crannies of this academic milieu today.
I am elated to see structures like Teslim Elias Building being upgraded to an acceptable standard, the Sports Stadium, MBA building, Convocation Building, amongst others.
It is an evident testimony that the visitor of the school means well. It is a sign that all hope is not lost.
Furthermore, I do believe that for LASU, my LASU and your LASU to be great again and be recognized as one of the best universities in Africa and beyond, the following should be considered, and necessary actions taken in the suggested directions.
Firstly, the academic staff should be encouraged to acquire more skills to be relevant in our contemporary changing world.
They should be encouraged and sponsored to seminars and conferences within and outside Nigeria.
Extensive and intensive academic research into new grounds to meet the demands and yearnings of our contemporary society, more so, in tune with changing times, should be embarked upon.
To compliment this on a general ground this time, our academic and non-academic curricular must be revised to accommodate our peculiar realities.
On the other hand, the non-teaching staff should be given a sense of responsibility and made to realize and understand their role in evolving a better LASU in the 21st century.
Secondly, at the Faculty of Law and other departments/ faculties that are cash-cows for LASU, priority must be on expanding educational facilities, like expansion and re-equipping the library, and establishing a conducive learning environment.
Generally, more students’ hostels should be built, enhance security, prompt issuance of results, amongst other things.
Finally, I want to submit that for LASU to be great again, we all as students and stakeholders must see ourselves as change agents.
This is the surest step to effecting the change we desire in LASU. It must start from within.
As I have always said the only thing that can defeat you is you. We must be ready to contribute our quota to the development of our collective heritage.
LASU is our commonwealth; we must protect and maximize it!
Once again, I say thank you all and God bless.
Aluta continua! Victoria ascerta!!
COMRADE AYODELE ADEWALE
EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN AMUWO-ODOFIN LGA