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Triple literary shots for Olu Aina at 80

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To celebrate Professor Olu Aina, who turned 80 on October 24, some academics across different tertiary institutions in the country came up with Festschrifts on the don known for his advocacy on business, technical and vocational education.

Professors Siyan Oyeweso, Sola Akinrinade, Tunde Aworanti and Olutayo Adesina edited the three publications titled, Technical and Vocational Education and the Challenge of Development in Nigeria; Reflections On Traditional Institutions, Community Leadership and Development; and Perspectives On Higher Education And Good Governance In Nigeria.

The books were presented to the public yesterday at the don’s 80th birthday colloquium with theme, The Place and State of Education in Nigeria’s Development: Imperative and Urgency of Reform,” held at WOCDIF, Osogbo.

Professor Peter A. Okebukola, who wrote the foreword of the Perspectives on Higher Education and Good Governance In Nigeria disclosed that Professor Aina is a distinguished and highly renowned academic, an anti-corruption crusader of distinction and a global icon of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET).

He said a more careful analysis of the don’s personal life and career would reveal his progression in three different, but socially oriented areas in which Nigerians will continue to appreciate his sacrifices. These areas he noted to include, higher education; technical and vocational education; and the anti-corruption fight, saying a Festschrift for him at the age of 80, is a befitting acknowledgement of his contributions to the nation.

Okebukola disclosed that the octogenarian has at different forums stressed that technical and vocational education is not just the major panacea for poverty reduction, but also an avenue for making education services relevant to both urban and rural dwellers. He noted that the don has been consistent in his position for Nigeria to achieve positive and sustainable national agenda on education and government. He called for its agencies to adopt a strong strategic approach in recruiting and retraining quality teachers.

The chairman, National Board for Technical and Vocational Education (NBTE), Prof Modupe Adeola Adelabu, who wrote the forward of the Technical and Vocational Education and the Challenge of Development in Nigeria: a Festschrift for Professor Olu Aina @ 80, disclosed that Prof Olu Aina was head of the panel that produced the subsisting blue print on Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) in Nigeria, adding that the don has consistently demonstrated that TVET is vital for poverty reduction, economic recovery, youth engagement and sustainable development.

He said: “Prof Olu Aina as a consultant assisted the Education Trust Fund (ETF) to focus on, and succeeded in diverting attention and resources to TVET. As a result, the Polytechnics and Technical Colleges throughout Nigeria evidently got new lease of life, and the impact is still being felt till date.”

Prof. Adelabu noted that Prof Aina has consistently canvassed for attention to be paid on technical education, saying TVET is still the most strategic option and the strongest winning gateway to alleviate poverty, engender entrepreneurship and stimulate sustainable economic growth.

He observed that the books, whose contributors have special interest in technical and vocational education and drawn from universities and polytechnics across the country are significant scholarly contributions to the existing plethora of literature on TVET in the country and Africa.

The Ooni of Ife, Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, who wrote the forward on Traditional Institutions, Community Leadership and Development: a Festschrift for Prof. Olu Aina @ 80, said the publication is very apt as the nation is facing serious security challenges, adding that the role of traditional institutions in nation building is not by happenstance, but has been a thing that has always been part of our existence nationally and globally.

“Every government in the world needs traditional leadership to survive. The traditional leaders are the closest to the people. They operate at the grassroots level and are quite knowledgeable about the nooks and crannies of their territories. Traditional leaders understand their people more than government. In fact, the traditional institution was actively involved in governance during the colonial period and in the First Republic, until the military incursion into Nigerian politics. We will continue to insist that constitutional role be fashioned out for traditional rulers for peace, equity and justice to reign in our land,” he said.

Commending the editors, the monarch disclosed that the books have succeeded in making a valid case for the restoration of traditional institution to its pride of place.


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