I am very delighted to be here this morning to witness the first Convocation Ceremony of the University of Medical Sciences. It’s indeed a great achievement and a great moment, for which I am grateful to the Almighty God for giving us the wisdom and the wherewithal to commence this important asset for the State. I am particularly grateful to my predecessor in office, Dr Olusegun Mimiko who thought it wise to begin this project in a State that before then had no institution for the training of medical doctors and other health professionals.

I have always said that administration is a continuum. As such, I had no hesitation when I came on board to continue this excellent legacy without which the State would not have been able to move its health promotion agenda forward.  Despite the temptation to do otherwise, I am pleased that we have been able to position this University as a great innovation for which the entire people of Nigeria are proud.  Ondo is a State where people love education, and where education is the number one industry of most families.  Therefore, the Government under my watch will not hesitate to add value to the educational aspirations of our people by supporting the best ideas for moving the State forward in this sphere. Indeed, our hope and vision is to see Ondo State become the number one State in the Country that has the best and most modern infrastructure for educational development.

I wish to assure everyone present here today that we will continue to do our very best to support the University of Medical Sciences and all State tertiary institutions that have been so well distributed across the three senatorial districts of the State.

At this point, let me congratulate the Council, Senate, staff and students of UNIMED for this milestone development. It’s due to the hard work that you all have put in that we are witnessing today’s event. I do hope you will continue in this manner to ensure even greater successes for the University. I also congratulate the graduating students, their parents and guardians, who must be very happy that what began as a small anecdote only a few years ago, has now transformed into a big success for their wards and families. I pray that the good Lord will continue to reward you abundantly for this investment you have made for the development of Ondo State and our Country.

The graduating students must also know that the degree they are getting today is only a small seed, which they should make bigger and stronger in their quest for personal development. They must continue to work harder and with greater forcefulness in order to position themselves to be able to make significant contributions to the development of the State and the Country in general.

However, it has to be said that to whom much is given, much is expected.  With the investments the State Government is making on education especially for institutions such as the University of Medical Sciences, it would be expected that the resources provided would be used judiciously for the purposeful development of the institutions. For a University such as UNIMED, although progress has been made, we are conscious of the fact that the best is yet to come. Therefore, I hereby enjoin the Council and Management of the University to ensure that they pursue the purposeful development of the University rather than their own self-interest, and that they are accountable in the use of the meager resources of the institution following “due process”, transparency and accountability.

Today, it’s no longer news that many of our Nigerian Universities at all levels are not doing very well. While the global standards for measuring the performances of Universities are now well known, it’s unfortunate that this Country has not made significant progress in these measurements, despite the increasing number of Universities. The answer to this challenge must lie in our ability to rethink the whole management process for Universities, and to be accountable and strategic in the use of resources.  Only in that way can our Universities match those from other parts of the world in terms of ranking in academic excellence.

I therefore wish to call on UNIMED and indeed all Universities in Ondo State to ensure that their management infrastructure is strong and that senior management officials are appointed with consideration for merit, track records, integrity and strong University management experience. As the Visitor, I will continue to monitor the trends in order to ensure that only the very best personnel that buy into the vision and mission of the State for educational development will find places in the management of our tertiary educational system.

On this note, I wish to once again congratulate the staff and students of the University of Medical Sciences for this milestone achievement, and to wish them well in their future endeavors.

I thank you all for listening.

A speech by Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, Governor of Ondo State. Read more speeches

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