Written By Dr. Joel Ademisoye
Posted By Admin
I say kudos to the Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his policy advisors on Science and Technology for the political will in taking this bold and giant action to transition its state polytechnic to a University of Technology (Source: Adenike Omotunde Boyo, “Transition of Lagos Polytechnic to a University of Technology, “ The Guardian, 18 February 2022). Here, I am not inclined to do a comparative analysis of the Lagos State Government with our dear Ondo State, because it is like comparing ‘an apple and orange’ in the sphere of needs assessment for technology knowledge, revenue capacity and the demand for scientific and technological benefits for the highest urban population in Nigeria (over 15 million people and at the apex of the process of urban growth, development and Centre of all commercial activities in Nigeria). Nonetheless, I would draw references, where it is applicable and useful for my analysis purpose and information benefits of the reader.
Based on the above stated factors, I think the Lagos state government is making a rational, appropriate and right policy decision Not a political one, to upgrade the polytechnic to the University of Technology for the common good of the Lagos residents (the development of human capital).
Plus, I believe that the Lagos State Government is financially buoyant to undertake the transition from a polytechnic to a university in the benefits of the tax payers in the state. In my view, the higher education policy makers in Lagos State are guided by the realities of the prevailing economic, social and technological conditions of the state. As a part of these realities, is the important role of Lagos in the country’s National Development. Also, a compelling factor, is the realization of the global knowledge/Digital economy, moving toward or already a Knowledge/Digital, it is imperative that Lagosians are prepared and positioned to effectively participate in and be beneficiaries of the new economy of the 21st Century.
So, in many ways, arguably, the Lagos State if measured by many variables or parameters, is quite different from Ondo State vis-a-vis our beloved Rufus Giwa Polytechnic Owo. I would take the position that Lagos State, is unique in Nigeria, because of its City-State size, nature and status within the country’s economic viability and the hierarchy of urban systems in the country. Remember, Ogun State factor as a contiguous state, it has become a co- joined -twin – Urban System in Nigeria, whereupon the Ogun State is acting and serving as a sub-urban system to its principal- Lagos State. In fact, Ogun is a ‘feeder state’ to Lagos. Some urbanists refer to the Ogun State as a ‘Bedroom State’ for the workers and business people, who commute daily to Lagos and retired after the office hours, to the towns like Abeokuta, Ikorodu, Sagamu in Ogun State. One can see and understand the economic linkages and connection between the Lagos and Ogun States. But, Ondo State doesn’t have nor enjoyed this type of a strong economic relationship/threshold/base and locational advantage of being transportation node as a port city, international airport and a tourist center for foreign visitors, making it to generate strong employment opportunities and internal generated revenue (IGR), to depend on its economic wealth in upgrading and expanding the Rufus Giwa Polytechnic Owo, to a full blown university (a reality check factor).
However, the hope of upgrading Rufus Giwa Polytechnic Owo isn’t lost, it would take a different form- restructuring, smart and sustainable approach to a higher educational reforms in the state. This strategy involves the re-arranging, merging and consolidating all the 3 universities into the Ondo State University System – bearing in mind, the poor revenue generating capacity of the state and to make the management of the universities more cost efficient, reducing the costs academic delivering and repositioning the universities for a national and global competitions. From this perspective, the philosophy of a higher education in Ondo State needs to go beyond just building infrastructure, it must include the re-tooling, developing and delivering of cutting-edge competitiveness in its academic programmes, specialization, research, innovative science and technology, etc. To attain the goal of a sustainable higher education for the students and people of the state and to attract the students from outside the Ondo State, there is the need for a restructuring and repositioning the present Ondo State higher educational institutions-by creating the Ondo State University System to consist of the current 3 Universities, making the Adekunle Ajasin University (AAUA) its headquarter and flagship university while the University of Medical Sciences Ondo City (is made the College of Medicine and Allied Health); 2. Ondo State University of Science and Technology Okitipupa ( is reconstituted and merged with Rufus Giwa Polytechnic Owo as the new State University of Science and Technology, while it maintains 2 campuses in Okitipupa and Owo respectively). As part of the fundamental re-structuring and reforms of the higher educational institutions, Rufus Giwa Polytechnic Owo is merged with the Ondo State University of Science and Technology Okitipupa, thus building a better performance, innovative Technology, that has the academic, technology capacity and resources capable of attracting international donors and support for the development of a modern technology and engineering laboratories in the universities in Ondo State.
However, RUPO becomes a satellite campus of the university of science and technology in Okitipupa. Unequivocally, the creating of the Ondo State University System provides a numerous quality opportunities and benefits and savings of the state scarce financial resources, such as having the current 3 Vice Chancellors as the academic and management leaders of these institutions, the government can appoint a Provost to be in charge of the management of each campus, answerable and accountable to the Vice Chancellor at AAUA. In a nutshell, the VC of AAUA is at the helm of management structures and with the primary responsibility for its efficient functioning of the Ondo State University System.