I am most delighted to be part of this 27th graduation ceremony of the Lagos State Polytechnic. On a personal note, I consider it a great honour and privilege to be in your midst today, as this is the first time I am participating in this memorable occasion in my capacity as Governor of Lagos State and Moderator of the Polytechnic.
Permit me to acknowledge the positive and supportive roles played by the Management of the Polytechnic, under the able leadership of the Rector, Mr. Samuel Sogunro, in sustaining the institution’s rich culture of academic excellence as handed down by the founding fathers. The quality of the students graduating today is testament to the hard work that has gone into moulding them in knowledge and in conduct.
I commend the professional manner in which the Polytechnic Management has been fulfilling its twin mandate of widening access to and improving the quality of higher education in the State.
Deserving of mention in this regard is the 100% success in the accreditation of sixty-six (66) programmes, including the institutional accreditation of the Polytechnic, by the National Board for Technical Education.
This administration will continue to give maximum support to the Polytechnic and other State-owned tertiary institutions with a view to ensuring that the current high standards are maintained and improved upon.
We have tried to make employment opportunities available to our young people, especially through the Ready-SetWork Program. This is an employability and entrepreneurship program aimed at preparing final year higher education students for immediate entry into the workforce as employees and employers of labour. For the 2020 edition, the State Government has scaled up its target to accommodate 5,000 students drawn from nine tertiary institutions in Lagos State.
With specific regards to the Polytechnic, I am pleased to note that the State Government has approved the construction of Perimeter fencing on the Ikorodu Campus to put a stop to further encroachment of the Polytechnic’s land. In the same vein, the Ikorodu Campus will very soon get a befitting Administration Block and a mini Fire Station.
The welfare of Polytechnic Staff is also a priority for our administration. Towards resolving the crisis over the implementation of CONTISS 15 migration, the State Government had inaugurated a Visitation Panel to look into the remote and immediate causes of the crisis, and recommend a fair and satisfactory course of action. I therefore urge all the parties to the crisis to follow the path of peace and await the Government’s position on the matter.
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, education is the greatest weapon for social, political and economic engineering of any society. No society develops without good investment in the education of its citizen, or without the enabling environment for innovative and progressive ideas to blossom.
Here in Lagos State we are cognizant of this fact, and are investing heavily in the provision of affordable and qualitative education in all of our public schools. Let me remind you all that Education is one of the cardinal planks of our governance vision, known to all and sundry as the T.H.E.M.E.S Agenda.
On the education landscape, Polytechnics occupy a very important role, as the bastions of technological innovation and development. You are all aware that Nigeria is striving to join the league of industrialized nations. Federal and State Governments realize that industrialization is a veritable path towards job creation, poverty alleviation, and sustainable economic growth.
Developing industrial capacity also means that we will be able to offer to the world goods and services that are of greater economic value. We will be able to offer processed agricultural goods, we will ramp up our exports and earn foreign exchange, and we will be in a position to benefit from the increasing shift of global manufacturing capacity from Asia towards Africa.
Our Polytechnics must therefore be properly positioned for these opportunities. Technical education must never be seen as playing second fiddle to University education; both must be seen as equally-placed alternatives for young people on the journey to a productive future.
Let me assure that the Government will not allow the Lagos State Polytechnic to lag behind in any way. Our vision is to catalyze the development of a world-class tertiary institution that will produce graduates who know and are confident of their place in the demanding world of the 21st century.
We will also support the teaching staff of the Polytechnic to develop their skills and stay abreast of developing global trends and technologies.
Let me at this point share a few words with today’s graduating classes. First I congratulate you on the successful completion of your learning. You have paid your dues and are now being rewarded with certificates that attest to what you have gained here in terms of knowledge and skills.
But you must see this education as more than just a certificate. You must see today as a challenge to you to go out there into the world to prove, in practical terms, what you have learnt. This is a beginning, not an end.
For some of you, further education awaits. For some, it is the job market. And for others, you will be looking to the world of entrepreneurship. I urge you all to follow your dreams while keeping an eye on the opportunities around you.
Be mindful of the fact opportunities often lie in the midst of challenges and difficulties. Many of the things people complain about contain opportunities for enterprising people to make a difference.
Apply the same dedication you have demonstrated in your studies to your life endeavors, because your attitude will go a long way in the realization of your dreams.
Character and Integrity are also vital; you will not go far in life without them. Resist the temptation to cut corners, and in the work that you do strive to deliver the highest levels of quality. Finally, self-development is critical. Stay hungry for knowledge; never rest on your oars.
As you step out from here into the world as graduates, I encourage you to be good ambassadors of the Polytechnic.
You are now partakers of an enduring legacy and it is your responsibility to sustain this legacy and take it to the next level.
I thank you for listening, and congratulations once again to the graduating students, your families, friends and wellwishers, and to the Management and Staff of the Lagos State Polytechnic.
Long Live Lagos State Polytechnic
Long Live Lagos State
Long Live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu
Governor, Lagos State.
March 12, 2020.