It is my pleasure to be here today to mark the twenty fifth (25th) Convocation Ceremony of the Lagos State Polytechnic. I am happy to share the joy of this occasion with the graduating students and members of the Lagos State Polytechnic family.
This institution has justified the 40 years of its existence as demonstrated by the pride of place it occupies among State-owned Polytechnics in Nigeria. This is by no means saying that the Polytechnic has achieved the desired objective which is to become a true centre for excellence in technological education and research. As an emerging mega city, our institutions and services must be of acceptable global standards and be agents of development.
Lagos State Polytechnic must rise to the challenge of meeting the technical manpower requirement of both the public and private sectors in not just Lagos State but in the whole nation. We must rise above just providing education for the sake of acquiring a certificate to providing knowledge which will empower our youth to become champions of their generation, to chart their own course and establish enterprises that will create jobs and generate wealth for all.
Education is high on the priority list of this administration, and a significant portion of the State budget every year is allocated to education. We recognise the fact that a citadel of learning is as good as the quality of its learning environment in terms of infrastructure, academic and administrative faculties. Our government has invested massively in upgrading the infrastructure and other learning tools in all our tertiary institutions, including this institution.
The ultimate goal of this investment in tertiary institutions in Lagos State is beyond meeting the requirement for the accreditation of courses; it is to ensure that tertiary education in Lagos State becomes a bench mark in Nigeria, ranking comparatively with global institutions and producing the leaders of tomorrow.
In this institution, we have just completed the construction of Block “A” in the School of Technology. Approval is being given for the equipping and furnishing of the building immediately. I have also granted approval for the recruitment of additional 89 academic staff as recommended by the Governing Board to take up appointments in the various Departments of the Polytechnic.
The Light Up Lagos project has also been extended to the Lagos Polytechnic to ensure the safety and security to lives and properties within the campus environment. A major face-lift has been approved for the upliftment of the academic environment. This must be completed this year.
As another demonstration of our commitment to education, we have increased the subvention of tertiary institutions this year and supported strategic initiatives to increase the financial viability of the institution. These activities have, in turn, enabled institutions to gain necessary accreditations and improve academic standards.
Beyond academics, we are determined to promote education as a development tool to boost employability of our students and improve the livelihood of Lagosians. In 2016, the Ready, Set, Work program was conceived as a capacity building initiative, targeted at final year students in Lagos State tertiary institutions with a vision to ensure our graduates emerge as ready candidates for the increasingly competitive labour market, and more importantly, as job creators. Two hundred (200) students from Lagos State Polytechnic participated in the program and 86 of them gained internship or apprenticeship placements in companies across the State.
We are building on the success of 2016 by expanding the programme from 500 final year students to 2000 students, and LASPOTECH has been approved as a second Center for the program. In addition, ten thousand (10,000) students in their penultimate year will have the opportunity to participate in Ready.Set.Work Academy online.
On a more comprehensive scale, Lagos State is changing the approach to vocational training to make it a more integral part of the education system. As an institution positioned to develop a pool of highly skilled and technically competent candidates for the workforce, Lagos State Polytechnic will be on the front-lines in driving forward this initiative.
In conclusion, I wish to commend the Governing Council and Management of the Lagos State Polytechnic for their vision and efforts so far in leading this institution.
To our graduating students, I congratulate you. There is no doubt in my mind that all of you have the potential to transform our State and our nation by putting to use and continuing to develop the training and experiences which you have garnered over the years. I implore you to be good ambassadors of the Polytechnic and our State. You are the pivot upon which the hope of this great nation revolves. Chase your dreams; Believe in Yourself; we believe in you.
Thank you all.
Itesiwaju Ipinle Eko, lo je wa logun!
Governor of Lagos State,
9th March, 2017