Friday, December 16, 2011

My Thoughts On The Increments in LASU Fees

As much as I am of the opinion that quality education costs a lot more than currently obtains in Nigeria, I must say that the LASU model is idealistic - so idealistic that it may be termed 'insane'.
Quality education is the only way to truly transform Nigeria over the long run, and it needs to be made as affordable as possible so that we can reach a wider base of people... Think Awo and free education, and how that has put the South West on an educational advantage relative to the rest of the country.
Before you go on and make Universities an elitist institution, there needs to be adequate funding and representation for various technical colleges, polytechnics, and schools of Agriculture - with an attendant rise in the standard of living of graduates of such institutions.
An artisan, such as a Carpenter, should be able to afford a good life - live in a good house, send their kids to a good school etc. As long as Nigerians are of the opinion that it takes a University degree to make anything out of life, there will be an undue strain on the University system.
In this particular case, I think the administration is being too hurried in their drive to revolutionize the school. You cannot take a 'LASU', and expect to turn it into an 'OAU' or a 'UI' in one day, or one year - even when you throw money at it. Achieving lasting greatness takes time.
The fees should have been increased gradually and in small increments. For every increment, students and their parents should be made to see the direct consequences of their paying more. That way, it becomes easier to want to pay the next increment.
Just my thoughts though... I am not the Governor of Lagos State - but if I were...

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Last Word From A Class Representative

In retrospect, one of the most important decisions I made in Ife was choose to run for Class Representative.

Over the past three years – since taking over from Henry, I have been privileged to work with and represent some of Ife’s finest – courageous, strong, disciplined, and talented young men and (two) women.

As I write this, memories stream through my mind. The fun we had, the many joys we shared, the seasons in the sun. Different scenarios struggle for first-place in my mind: the mid-night (8pm – 4am) AutoCAD classes in Part Three; shouts of “what did you do, what did you do... you know how to weld?”; “Young man, I’m afraid! want to eat your pounded yam as yam”; “Ah! You must learn all these diagrams fa!”

From the impish behaviour of Shegzy to the seeming care-freeness of La Face (Kunle Aminu); from shouts of “Players wait behind” and diagrams of our 4-3-3 formation by Coach to shouts of “One thousand five hundred naira” by Erons – this class has been a fun place for me – a home of sorts. As I do not believe in coincidence – I would say this was a class assembled in heaven.

Also strong on my mind is the realization that this phase – fun though it was – has come to an end. I will never again ask you to please wait behind after a class, or send you a bulk SMS reminding you of an assignment deadline. There will be no going to ‘Subsidy’, no mass protests against assignments we deem unfair. There will be no classes in MDL, no stories of a certain Ibidun who did not wear makeup and who wore slippers to class – presumably because she had no shoes.


In the long run, these memories will be all we have left of this time – and then even they will fade from constant re-use. We will move on, make new friends where we go, and make the most of our lives – I believe.

In the end – Subsidy, MDL, Whitehouse, Spider – the specifics of what we did in Ife will not matter as much as what we learnt here. Mostly, our day-to-day experiences will not matter as much as the courage, strength, and discipline Ife brought out in us.

I have read many books professing to contain keys to success – some of them one, others as many as 21. However, I have come to learn that achieving success basically comes down to getting out there and ‘just doing it’ – taking care to take along with you the courage to make tough decisions, the strength to stand by them, and the discipline to keep going through difficult times. AND like I said during our last prayer meeting as a class, learning to hear God is the sure way to find out what the ‘it’ is.

I have no doubts that we will do great in life, but I must stress something here. Do not allow yourself to ‘settle down’ into a good life when you can have a great one. We all have the potential to achieve greatness, if only we are willing to go that extra mile that differentiates ‘great’ from ‘good’.

We might never be complete in one place again (even at our convocation, or at my wedding... LOL); we will never experience the thrill of eking out a win over Chemical Engineering’s football team again, and we will never sit down together in CEGLT and laugh at Igwe’s (Falade Oyewale) imitation of a lecturer – but as we go on, we will remember all the times we shared together.

Lastly, I ask that you try to stay in touch – knowing that this will get harder with time. The older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young. Remember MESA/NiMechE, and be nice enough to give them money when they bring proposals for MESA week to your office down the line – because they will. Certain lecturers have touched us and changed our lives – for me, Dr. Koya comes to mind – come back when you can and show some love.

My strength fails, tears fill my eyes. What more can I say?

Congratulations, my colleague and friend.

God be with you till we meet again.