Bells University and Ojediran’s difference
Bringing creativity into leadership is an art itself, the science of which is driven by the unfailing principles of vision, character, commitment, courage, compassion and the will to win, against all odds. Other facilitating factors include honesty of purpose, humility and being a team leader of a group of people who share similar attributes, or vision with the pilot in question. Together, they can weather any storm.
These perhaps, encapsulate the persona and more so, the moving mantra of Prof. Jeremiah Ojediran (R.E.(COREN),MNSE), who took over the reins of office at Nigeria’s premier private citadel of technology, Bells University of Technology, Ota some two years ago. The former Deputy Vice Chancellor of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomosho has never ceased to appreciate the fact that he was lucky enough to have taken over from his predecessor, Prof. Isaac Adeyemi who had laid a solid foundation, upon which his own administration could build a stable academic edifice, in line with the institution’s lofty mission.
Said he: “I’m fortunate because I met on ground, a very solid foundation. Academically, all our programmes are accredited, which is a very good place to start from. In terms of administration, I inherited a very robust administration on ground. Well structured. Environmentally, we are doing well also.” That was back in October, 2016 months after he took over the mantle of leadership. He was right!
And he hit the ground running, as he ensured that the university’s courses were designed to support relevant ICT-driven and transferable technologies. The salutary aim of course, is to provide cutting edge training in the various programmes offered. What more, several faculty members and various non-academic units are all involved in rich, robust and much-needed researches and interactions with the outside world.
With the restructuring of the Colleges (faculties) into four well articulated programmes such as that of Natural and Applied Sciences (COLNAS), Management Sciences (COLMANS), Environmental Sciences (COLENS) and that of Engineering (COLENG) it was a great step forward that the National University Commission (NUC) gave the needed nod for the commencement of postgraduate programmes back in 2013/2014 academic session. Currently, PGD and M.Sc courses are offered in areas including Microbiology, Applied Physics, Computer Science, Food Science and Technology, Biotechnology, Estate Management, Electrical/Electronic and Mechanical Engineering. Others are Architecture, Transport Management and the newly introduced Mechanical Engineering, as well as Information Technology, both under the Ojediran dispensation, to mention but a few.
Interestingly too, PHD courses offered include architecture, building science, project management, electrical/electronics engineering, estate management, and biotechnology. What makes these relevant courses more appealing is the fact that the university boasts of well-heeled academics and one of the best libraries available in the country, equipped to optimum value for excellent scholarship.
All the aforementioned and more, fall in tandem with Ojediran’s virile vision to ensure that the students, quality staff and services in the university are propelled by ICT-compliance. Said he at the beginning of his tenure: “My focal point is to make sure that the University becomes e-compliant, that is, everyone should be ICT-compliant, both the students and staff, and everything we do should be in that area, even the library which is an e-library for now has to be upgraded such that the students can use it from the convenience of their rooms.”
So good to note that two years down the line, Ojediran has exhibited the great trait of a pragmatic leader who walks the talk! Even while confessing that he “inherited a lot of good things” he however, stressed the need to upgrade them. That is exemplary leadership for you-to fulfill promises made- as Trust remains an enduring element that binds the led to their leaders, as ideas and actions evolve with time.
So far, the new initiatives are taking solid shape, as he promised at the outset. It is therefore, gratifying to note that new programmes such as Information and Media Technology, as well as Theatre and Arts Technology have come on board. Also, the academic horizons of students are being improved upon as they have been encouraged to obtain professional certificates. It is in that wise that fruitful partnerships have been formed between the university and New Horizons, Nigeria which already has a Centre in the campus. There is also a link with Kortext Digital Text Books platform. With it, digital textbooks are made available in various disciplines, to staff and students.
Furthermore, the university has expanded the scope of the highly commendable Skills Development and Resource Centre (SDRC) inherited from the previous administration. It currently caters for a wider spectrum of courses, whereby apart from certifications in ICT fields, graduands from Bells University of Technology, Ota especially in Management Sciences also obtain certifications from relevant professional bodies.
Another piece of sweet story to tell is that a Tripartite Collaboration has been worked out between the University, NIDO-Germany and the Youth Development Centre, Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (YDC-OOPL). The noble concept is a Youth Empowerment Project with the focus on trainings in Renewable Energy. When extrapolated to the wider perspective, it would no doubt become part of the solution to the lingering, intractable power challenge that has been a cog in the wheel of our national socio-economic development.
Of a similar, exciting prospect is the establishment of the University Journal of Applied Science and Environment. It publishes peer reviewed, original research articles, reviews and short communication in the areas mentioned. This and the Memorandum of Understanding, MOU signed with the San Diego State University, U.S. to equip and reposition Bells university to make its mark on the educational history of Nigeria, Africa and the world at large would always stand it in good stead.
For a young university, which emerged first in the Annual National Computer Programming contest organized by and held at the National Mathematical Centre Abuja, also first in software development and IT Quiz competitions organized by Ogun state Chapter of Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) in 2012 and eventually won the 2012 Don Etiebet Award for Best ICT-based Final Year Project by NCS, Lagos Branch there is a lot to cheer about.
Good enough, Prof. Jeremiah Ojediran’s human face policy that spreads payment of fees by parents over three affordable installments and the unflinching support from the Bells University Parents Forum (BUPF) and the active engagements from the strong Alumni Association, the Mission of the University is well on its way to fulfillment.
And that is, “to be a world-renowned institution, committed to the development and transformation of society through environmentally-friendly technology and other innovations”. Indeed, as its slogan goes, Only The Best Is Good For Bells.
Baje is a media consultant to Bells University of Technology, Ota, Ogun State.