Caverton boss donates ultra modern lecture theatre to LASU
• Ambode, Babalakin, Oyebode Charge Others To Emulate Him
Education no doubt is the solid rock of any society as it catapults a nation from obscurity to a developed world that commands respect among the committee of nations. Against this backdrop, the private sector, corporate organisations and individuals have been charged to join hands with government to move the nation’s education sector to greater heights.
This remark was made by the Executive Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, at the inauguration of a 500-seater ultra-modern lecture theatre donated by the Chairman of Caverton Offshore Support Group, Mr. Aderemi Makanjuola, to the Lagos State University (LASU) to mark his 70th birthday. The governor expressed the state government’s gratitude to Mr Makanjuola, a philanthropist, for building such exceptional edifice, saying that government needed more of this kind gesture from individuals and corporate organisations to address infrastructural deficit in the education sector.
He noted that while it was a fact that education was the bedrock for national development, running a qualitative educational system is capital- intensive. He stressed that with the competing demands of different sectors of the economy, coupled with the scarce resources, government needs the support of individuals and corporate organisations to provide adequate infrastructure for public schools. “Whatever we need to do in terms of endowment we need to start thinking about legacies that we will leave behind for posterity,” he added.
The donor, Mr. Makanjuola, said his desire to give back to the society, especially LASU, was borne out of his involvement with the institution having been part of the governing council since the late 80s. “Education is important and I believe if we have good environment for education, students will excel. I felt that I should do something because when you help people, you are helping yourself. Again, anything for Lagos should be the best. I went to University of Leicester in United Kingdom and I felt that Lagos, the Centre of Excellence, deserves the best; that I must give back.”
Makanjuola seized the opportunity to publicly thank his guardian since childhood, Alhaji Jimoh Gbadamosi, for his support. His virtues and values, he said, have made him to become who he is today. He thanked his wife, Yoyinsola for her support in raising the children. On the building, he said the governor did a lot to ensure that the building was erected. The crop of lecturers were committed and it helped to complete the building within six months. Makanjuola ended his speech by encouraging all to be of help to mankind and be forward-looking. “Opportunities are there and that is why we should encourage the younger ones. I remember when we started Caverton nobody gave us a chance. But today here we are.”
In his opening prayer, Chief Missioner, Ansa-Ru Deen Society of Nigeria, Sheik Abdulraham, commended the business tycoon for his heart of kindness. “He is a man of means who places posterity above prosperity by deciding to invest in education and donate a lecture theatre to LASU. This is a selfless service to humanity. I don’t know him to be a politician. He is a man who believes in today and tomorrow by investing in the youth. If we have people like Aderemi Makanjuola, there is hope in this country. God will continue to enrich him with good health.”
In his remarks, Vice-Chancellor, Lagos State University, Prof. Olanrewaju Fagbohun expressed appreciation to the Lagos State Government for giving the university a face-lift. The kind gesture, he said, boosts the confidence of both students and teachers of the institution and even made the Alumni proud of the beautiful citadel of learning.
Elated Fagbohun described Makanjuola as a benefactor and hero. “Since the establishment of the institution, it has produced eminent people who have gone out to shape both social, political and economy of the nation. Today, the 500-seater lecture theatre is standing tall and it has changed the landscape of LASU. The name Remi Makanjuola has now become part of the legacy of LASU.”Babalakin, Chairman of Bi-Courtney Group in his brief speech also canvassed more funds for higher institutions. He said it is a self-protective policy to spend more on the education sector. “If we fail to develop our universities, we will face the consequence in the future. So, we must meaningfully invest in Nigerian education for the sake of posterity.”
Speaking further, Babalakin said that Nigeria’s education sector was at the crossroads and needed more funds to perform effectively. “Education is at crossroads today in Nigeria and if we don’t find a solution early enough we will all regret it. If we don’t spend a lot of money on education from all sources, government, public, private, and donor and so on alumni we have a long way to go.”
In his commemoration lecture titled: “Town and Gown: Giving in the Age of Scarcity”, guest lecturer, Prof. Akin Oyebode called on university management to seek other means of generating funds outside government subvention in order to have adequate funds to run their institutions. “From every university in Nigeria, from the greatest University of Ibadan to the newest, they need more funding. So anytime anyone thinks of university by provision of bursaries, scholarships or whatever, we are happy because we are improving the situation of our universities.
“Governments alone cannot undertake development projects required in our universities. Facilities cannot be enough. So, governments cannot do it alone. We are not in universities to make money. We are in it to improve the stock of human capital. So we need more funds in our universities,” Oyebode said. Praising Makanjuola for his gesture, the retired professor said the likes of Makajuola is rare. “There is no way we can write the history of LASU without mentioning Aderemi Makanjuola. He is not a politician. He does not want a vote from us. But he simply built this lecture theatre to add value to LASU and humanity at large. The rich should take a cue from him to build facilities for our higher institutions.”
In his goodwill message, Oba Rilwan Akiolu of Lagos commended Makanjuola as an incredible man who decided to leave a legacy. “Funding of education is very important because it is the only catalyst that can change the society. Remi Makanjuola is somebody that is dear to my heart. I am not surprised at what he has done today. His father too was a generous giver. I know this will not be the end of his kind gesture in providing infrastructural projects for education.”
An ally of the celebrant, Mr. Akin Kekere –Ekun has this to say. “Remi Makanjuola is a man of integrity, upright, honest and impeccable character who dabbled into a terrain once reserved for the expatriates, Aviation. Today, he is a success story. Makanjuola I know he is a committed man to his God, family and society. “This is not the first time he would be committed to LASU. He donated money for research at Lagos Medical Institute. He is a man who is very much in line with education because he believes education is a gift of life. Beyond Nigeria, his alma mater, Leicester University in the United Kingdom had also benefitted from his milk of human kindness as he has contributed generously to the institution.”
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