Today, we are all gathered to celebrate a man of distinction, Professor Folabi Olumide, the foundation Vice-Chancellor of our great Institution, the Lagos State University. It is often said that unless a capacity for thinking is accompanied by a capacity for action, a superior mind will exist in torture. Professor Folabi Olumide had not just the courage to confront the fears that the future usually portend for every fresh initiative, he was also enamoured with ability to act in pursuit of the vision of the founding fathers.
Take a step back in time, 38 years ago, the great sage Alhaji Lateef Kayode Jakande (who to Lagos State is a living legend) conceived of the need to establish the Lagos State University. Through the efforts of great minds like late Dr. Femi Agbalajobi and the then Dr. Abisogun Leigh and few others, the Lagos State University was established in 1983. Professor Folabi Olumide was 47 years old at the time and he was in charge of the young University. The Institution started-off with Faculties of Law and Humanities, Education and Science. It had 55 academic staff, 37 senior administrative and technical staff and a student enrolment that stood at 375 undergraduates.
Together with his team, he planted seeds of expectation and anticipated achievements. Permit me sir to recall such great names like S. B. Salem, J. O. Odusanya, E. A. Bamgbose, D. O. Williams, T.A.B. Seriki, Prof. I.A.B Balogun, Prof. S.A.B. Giwa, and Prof. P.A.I. Obayan. These are some of your able lieutenants. Sir, you have every reason to be proud. From one campus, the University now operates three major campuses; seven Faculties; three Schools; one College; seven Academic Centres and a Postgraduate School; over 23 thousand students; and close to 2,700 academic and non-academic staff. To date, we have graduated close to 200,000 graduates. These alumnus and alumna have continued to excel and do our Institution proud. History has demonstrated that the most notable legends usually encountered heartbreaking obstacles before they triumphed. The Alumni is telling you today that you have indeed triumphed and that your team and your goodself are their legends.
Today, we look at the logo and the colours of our Institution with especial pride. Same with the imposing wood carving that is a historical feature of our old Senate Building. We thank you for laying our foundations. We have your good self and your great team to thank for making it possible for all of us to sit here today and picture ourselves as one intergenerational family. The Honourable Minister of State for Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, we cannot thank you enough for identifying with us. I thank our Guest Speaker, Professor Leis (Provost of the College of Medicine, University of Lagos) for making out time to honour us. The Chairman Board of Trustees, President and members of our great Alumni, we thank you for working so hard with this administration to make a difference.
On behalf of our Governing Council, the entire Lagos State University community and our Alumni Association, particularly the Lagos Branch that is the host of today’s event, I heartily welcome you all to our beautiful campus, and enjoin you to enjoy this maiden Folabi Olumide Annual Alumni Lecture.
Professor Olanrewaju Fagbohun, SAN
11th April, 2019