I want to start by expressing my profound gratitude to the Unilag Faculty of Engineering Alumni Association under the able leadership of Engr. Dideolu Falobi for this lecture that was organized in my honour to mark the end of my tenure as Dean, Faculty of Engineering. The situation we are witnessing today is a case of a small beginning that has experienced a huge transformation within a short space of time.
On assumption of the Deanship position in our Faculty on 1st August, 2016, I had a strong desire to establish the Alumni Association for our Faculty because I know that around the world Alumni play key roles in the development of their Alma maters. A Committee, headed by the Dean, was set up to work out the modalities for setting up the Alumni Association. No sooner, we set our minds at the take-off of the Association than the representatives of Engineering Class 1969 to 1972 (ULES 69-72) came to interact with me on their previous unsuccessful efforts to establish the Alumni Association. When I briefed them about the effort that the Faculty was then making in carrying out the same assignment, it became a case of “two like minds” set to accomplish the same goal. All hands were then put on desk towards the actualization of our dream. The efforts resulted to the inauguration of the Association on 16th March, 2017 with Engr. Titi Omo-Ettu as the Chairman. Then the Board of Trustees (BOT) for the Association was put in place with Engr. (Dr.) Oye Eribake as the Chairman for the overall management of the Association. The Alumni Association has impacted the Faculty positively both physically (Provision of facilities) and intellectually (staff and students).
We have established the Alumni Newsletter to showcase the developments in our faculty and to celebrate our Alumni who have made contributions to Nigeria, their organizations or personal upliftments in their areas of callings. Three editions have been produced (2018, 2019 and 2020).
We also initiated the Alumni Lecture Series. The lecture series was established to bring together the Alumni of our Faculty and well-wishers to discuss on contemporary issues of interest including national discourse. It is supposed to provide a platform for networking among the Alumni and others. We have had three Lectures delivered by our notable Alumni. The first one was delivered in 2017 by Engr. Aladewolu, Chairman/CEO TECO Mill and Steel Work Limited; 2nd Lecture was delivered in 2018 by Engr. Dideolu Falobi the Managing Director, Kresta Laurel Nigeria Limited and the current Chairman of our Association while the 3rd Lecture was delivered in 2019 by Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the Executive Governor of Lagos State.
In order for the Faculty to properly link up with the industry, a Committee chaired by the Dean was set up. It was the effort of the members of this Committee that led to the establishment of Industry Advisory Board (IAB) for our Faculty. The membership of the Board was drawn from engineering and non-engineering organizations. The IAB is chaired by Engr. (Dr.) John Erinne, an Alumnus of our Faculty. The members of this Board have worked tirelessly to identify and fill-in some gaps in our curricula especially in the areas of soft/professional skills that are of high demand from our students in the industry.
On 21st July, 2020 a tripartite Zoom meeting of these three groups namely Board of Trustees, Executives members of the Alumni Association and members of the Industry Advisory Board was held under the able leadership of the Chairman of the BOT Engr. (Dr.) Oye Eribake. Among other resolutions, the three groups agreed to meet twice annually. This will optimize the gains of the Faculty because their programmes will be harmonized.
Within the period of my deanship, the alumni of our Faculty have intervened individually and collectively in these areas:
(i) A state-of-the-art Webinar Room was supported by 1999 Engineering Graduates (UL- ESSET 1999)
(ii) Faculty of Engineering set 1995 Graduates
– Installed Burglary Proof on the door and windows in the Engineering Library
– Donated 3 Desktop Computers
– Digitalised and archived all students‟ projects in Library
(iii) The 1988 Set of Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering donated Equipment worth N11,500,000.00 (Eleven Million, Five Hundred Naira) to Public Health Laboratory
(iv) Jointly, Metallurgical and Materials Engineering Students cutting across different sets donated equipment worth $6,765 to the Department
(v) The 1988 Set of Department of Surveying and Geo-informatics donated Geomatics Research Laboratory worth N42 Million Naira. The Laboratory is tagged „Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu Geomatics Research Laboratory‟.
Currently, the Alumni Association does not have an official office. On assumption of office, the former Chairman, Engr. Titi Omo-Ettu and his team promised to assist the faculty in the provision of more offices for staff to alleviate the problem of shortage of offices. This informed the vertical extension project. The vertical extension of the Dean‟s block was meant to accommodate the Alumni office. However, paucity of funds made it impossible to achieve this. It is desirable that the project be executed soonest so that the secretariat of the Alumni can be established within the Faculty for better engagement.
Apart from the proposed projects that were presented by Prof. Ikponmwosa, there are other projects that are not connected to the Alumni.
⦁ Marine Platform Limited has undertaken to give a building and a jetty to the Faculty for the take-off of a programme of Masters in Subsea Engineering.
⦁ National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC) has promised to donate to the Faculty a Solar Powered Vehicle Battery Charging Station. No doubt, this will complement the Vice-Chancellor‟s project.
⦁ The Vice-Chancellor has challenged the Faculty to design and construct a Zero-Emission Vehicle. This project is almost completed. When completed, the ultimate goal is that the team on the project, using the principle of constructing the vehicle, will convert all the commercial vehicles in Unilag to Zero-Emission Vehicles. This is the way to go.
The success achieved during my tenure was not solely due to my effort, it was as a result of God‟s grace and the support of persons who have taken it upon themselves to render selfless service to the Faculty. These men and women are listed and properly acknowledged in the 23-page report of my stewardship in the Faculty.
Three weeks ago the Chairman of our Alumni Association, Engr. Dideolu Falobi informed me that the Executive members of the Association would like to meet me and my family in my office. We agreed for Friday 24th July, 2020. It was indeed unbelievable what my family and I witnessed. It was a send forth ceremony with presentation of a plaque and an unexpected superlative gift that can only be imagined by this audience. On behalf of my family, I sincerely thank the Alumni Association of our great Faculty for this great honour. The uniqueness of today‟s lecture cannot be overemphasized. This is the 4th Alumni Lecture but first to be delivered online and by a Consulting Engineer who is also practicing as a Project Manager. I thank Engr. Bayo Adeola for his excellent presentation, God bless you Sir. May the Almighty God continue to promote you in all your endeavours.
Again, on behalf of my family, I sincerely thank the Faculty of Engineering Alumni Association for this great honour you have given me; I pray that Almighty God will honour all of you IJMN. I pray that our Faculty will grow from strength to strength.
I thank you all for your time. God bless you.
Prof. Funso Falade