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Durotoye tasks students on constructive unionism

A Motivational Speaker, Mr. Fela Durotoye, has charged students of the University of Ilorin to uphold the legacy of constructive unionism because it is the way forward in producing leaders that will make positive and significant impacts in the society, as well as bring about peace, stability and progress in the nation.


Mr. Durotoye gave this charge penultimate Saturday (July 8, 2017) while delivering a lecture on “Constructive Unionism, an Imperative for Visionary Leadership” at the 5th Leadership Summit and journal launch of the University of Ilorin Student Union. The event was held in honour of Senator Rafiu Adebayo Ibrahim, representing Kwara South at the Senate. 

The Guest Speaker pointed out that there are many universities in the country with destructive unionism rather than constructive unionism, which has resulted to the unwillingness of most parents to send their wards to Nigerian universities as destructive unionism affects everything about the campus especially the quality of education.

Underscoring the importance of good education in the country, Mr. Durotoye said, “The quality of education we have will determine the quality of graduates we produce and the quality of graduates we produce will determine the economic wellbeing of those graduates and their ability to give back to the society. When the alumni succeed greatly, the University will be acclaimed as one of the best in the world. A great University produces great alumni and great alumni validates that the University is great.”

The Motivational Speaker stressed the need to invest more in education because “the more people are able to learn, the greater their capacity to earn and any country that does not invest in education is already bankrupting its own economy”. He observed that because some people can afford to send their wards abroad, they are unbothered about the quality of education in the country forgetting that “individual success in the midst of collective failure will always lead to collective failure.”

 On what it takes to achieve transformational leadership, Mr. Durotoye stated that it takes a generation devoid of ethnic or tribal differences, a generation that decides to be empowered, a generation that will be guided by values and will not look at leadership as a position of authority but will understand “leadership as a mindset of ownership, accountability and responsibility not only to its own generation but to the coming generations.”

According to Mr. Durotoye, “Leadership is the ability to deliver the future of the country. The future is what we can be as a people but have not yet become. The future is anything we can do but have not yet done. It is everything we can have but have not possessed. The future of Nigeria is not ahead of us, the future is inside us and that is why the challenge that is there for our generation is to deliver the future and through constructive unionism, that great vision of building a new nation can be actualised.”

Emphasising that the economy of any nation should be concerned with the collective financial wellbeing of all the people, the Guest Speaker challenged the students to identify the brightest and best among them, those with the capacity to make the best decisions and negotiate with the University management without fighting, to be their leaders. He said, “Good governance will happen when we take politics out of government and put democracy into our political parties.”

Mr. Durotoye then commended the University of Ilorin for producing great alumni and for being the most stable institution in Nigerian history, adding that the University also enjoys a peaceful Student Union body.

Earlier in his address, entitled “Tremendous Progress”, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Prof. AbdulGaniyu Ambali (OON), described the theme of the Summit as “very apt and relevant” because, according to him, unionism is good when it is constructive and not destructive. He added that student unionism is a platform for the students to demonstrate leadership skills and contribute their quota to the development of the society.

Prof. Ambali recalled that “from being rated the most Aluta-conscious union in 1993 with its attendant disruption of academic stability and violence on the University community, the Unilorin Students' Union has evolved to become the Aloha-loving union. This shows that our students have transited from confrontational unionism to developmental and constructive unionism.”

The Vice-Chancellor observed that the result of constructive unionism is evident in the students in terms of scholarship, excellence, character and learning, including the publication of an annual academic journal, adding that “our students have recorded tremendous progress both qualitatively and quantitatively over the past one decade and the University is proud of them.”

Prof. Ambali then commended the Students' Union leadership for the initiative to organise the summit, noting that one major area lacking in Nigeria is leadership and in order to get it right, Nigerians must be committed to raising generations of leaders that will impart society positively.

On his part, the Students' Union President, Comrade Shobowale Lukman Olawale, pointed out that the Union's leadership summit and journal launch has become an enduring legacy, as well as an opportunity to evaluate the Union's leadership and proffer practical solutions, adding that “since leadership is the fulcrum of every development, every discourse that seeks to engender nation building must be prioritised.”.

Comrade Shobowale pointed out that the theme of the summit was designed strategically to identify how constructive unionism can be used to drive visionary and quality leadership because the Union is convinced that this can be achieved if properly explored.

In his address, the Dean of Student Affairs, Prof. E. A. Talabi, pointed out that the University of Ilorin and the Students' Union are committed to good leadership and that is one of the reasons the institution has never gone on strike for the past 17 years.

The honouree, Senator Ibrahim, who is the Chairman, Senate Committee on Banking and Finance, expressed appreciation to the Students' Union and the University for finding him worthy of recognition. He then supported the journal with N1 million.

Highlight of the occasion was the presentation of awards to some eminent personalities, including the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Ambali; the Governor of Imo State, Dr Rochas Okorocha; the Chairman of the Kwara State Internal Revenue Service (KWIRS), Dr Muritala Awodun, among others.

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