ADDRESS OF THE VICE-CHANCELLOR, PROF. ABDULLAHI BALA ON THE OCCASION OF THE 33RD MATRICULATION CEREMONY FOR THE 2019/2020 ACADEMIC SESSION HELD ON THURSDAY, 20TH FEBRUARY, 2020
I welcome you all to this epoch making occasion. On behalf of the Council, Senate and members of the University Community, I would want to in particular welcome and congratulate you, the matriculating students, for being the newest members of the FUT, Minna community. I especially congratulate you for excelling in all of your qualifying examinations for you to gain admission into the University.
Your journey to FUT, Minna started with you having to pass your Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE) with credit in five subjects, including English and Mathematics. Then you had to sit for, and pass JAMB, with the minimum cut-of scores for the University. This was then followed by the University Pre-Admission Screening Exercise (UPASE). Scaling these hurdles in itself was no mean achievement. However, you also had to contend with the stiff competition from other candidates that also applied for admission into the University. Out of the total number of 10,128 candidates that were qualified for admission, only 5,023 were successful in getting placement. As at today, a total of 4,519 of you have registered with the University and have taken your oath of matriculation.
By undertaking the matriculation today, you have been formally admitted into the University. It also marks a new phase in your life. For many of you, this is the first time that you would be living on your own or be away from your parents for any length of time. You are now forced to take decisions on your own without the prompting of your parents. The choices you make will large define how successful you are in progressing through the University and ultimately graduating a few years from now.
As new members of the University Community, it is important that you know who we are, what we stand for, our strategic thrust and achievements, our expectation of you, and yours of us.
The Federal University of Technology, Minna was established in 1983 by the Federal Government of Nigeria to put to effect the nation’s desire for self-sufficiency in Science and Technology. Our vision as a University is to be a World-Class and Nigeria’s leading University recognised for its excellence in capacity building and service delivery. In order to achieve this vision, we have as our core values integrity, excellence, resilience, diversity, inclusiveness, entrepreneurship and innovation. Consistent with these Values and Vision, the University has grown from its modest beginning into a colossus especially in the Nigerian University System. We have developed a unique brand that every member of the FUT Minna community is proud to associate with.
As a pointer to this brand, FUT Minna is, for all intents and purposes, the only University of Technology in Nigeria north of the Niger as opposed to the three that were established in the 1980s. It is one of the most, if not the most, cosmopolitan universities in Nigeria and is consistently in the last seven years globally ranked among the top ten Nigerian and top one hundred African Universities. It is also the number 1 (one) University of Technology and number 1 specialised university in Nigeria. The University is, among other feats, the first to establish a School of Information and Communication Technology, the first to establish a Department of Cyber Security, one of only two universities with A+ rating in the one and only institutional accreditation ever conducted by NUC and the only University in Nigeria with 5-star SRVICOM rating for service. Above all, FUT Minna is ranked among the top four universities in Nigeria by employers of labour on the quality of graduates. So if you were wondering whether you are in the right place, I want to assure you that you could not be in a better university.
In terms of your expectation, the University is committed to providing you with a safe, secure and multi-cultural environment devoid of an atmosphere of hate, rancour or intimidation; an atmosphere conducive for learning and an environment where you would develop new and long lasting relationships. We shall provide you with top quality curriculum delivered by a core of qualified, competent and committed staff.
As a student, whether living on-campus, or off-campus, you shall be guided by the rules and regulations of the University, which are enshrined and well spelt out in the Students’ Handbook, a copy of which everyone of you would have been given by now. I urge you to thoroughly and carefully go through it and ensure that you have a good comprehension of its provision.
I would particularly draw your attention to a few issues which you must take cognisance of at all times. Firstly, avoid like a plague the company of people of questionable character or those that tend to distract you from attending to your academic activities, such as lectures, tutorials, assignments and examinations.
Secondly, do not involve yourself in any kind of examination misconduct or acts that are injurious or constitute a threat, harassment or intimidation to yourself, your fellow students, staff or other members of the University community. Such unsavoury acts include, among others, fighting, assault, rape, illicit drugs consumption or drugs dealing, membership of illegal associations, cultism, fraud and financial racketeering.
Thirdly, be security conscious, both for your safety and the safety of others. Do not move about alone especially under dark, always draw the attention of security personnel if you notice anything suspicious or alarming and always display your identity cards publicly.
You should take good care of your health and ensure at all times good sanitary and healthy practices. While I urge you to take your academic work seriously, you should also spare sometime for exercise and physical activities. According to the University’s policy, Wednesday afternoons are for sporting activities and are lecture free. I urge you to use the opportunity to engage in one kind of sport or another.
If you are ill or incapacitated from attending normal academic activities, ensure that your Head of Department is formally informed of your ailment and resulting absence. This is important as long term absences, without formal notification of the department could lead to Voluntary withdrawal of the student.
In terms of your academic endeavours, the grade point average (GPA) and the cumulative grade point average (CGPA) are two terms that you must be conversant with and mindful of as they define your academic performance. The CGPA has a scale of 1-5 and the better your academic performance, the higher is the CGPA. As a general rule, you must ensure that you maintain a minimum CGPA of 1.0 to avoid being withdrawn or prematurely exiting the University. For the students of Engineering, however, you must have a minimum CGPA of 2.0 and must have passed 10 credit units in Mathematics, 8 in Physics and 8 in Chemistry at the end of your 100 level for you to continue your studentship in the School of Engineering.
The Students’ Handbook provides detailed explanations on these and I expect that further clarity would have been brought to some of these facts during your orientation programmes. Otherwise, you can seek further explanations or guidance on any matter from your Level Advisers. If not, the Heads of Departments are there to address your concerns. We also have various units in the University that can address your challenges especially of psyco-social nature. The Students’ Affairs Division provides for guidance and counselling, the University Health Service will attend to your health needs, while the SERVICOM Unit and the Directorate of Quality Assurance and Productivity can attend to your needs that border on poor service delivery. We also have an Anti-Corruption and Transparency Unit to handle matters of extortion or fraud.
Rest assured that the University Management always has uppermost in our priorities the welfare and comfort of students. We shall keep on working hard to ensure optimum comfort for our students although there may be occasional challenges. The University has a student population of about 20,000 but, in the interim, we can only provide accommodation for less than 4,000. This is a major challenge which we are working to address. As part of our campus renewal plan, the existing students’ hostels are undergoing renovation and shall be ready to be occupied by students in the next 3-4 days. I urge those of you that have been successful in getting hostel allocation to exercise some patience.
We have also set up a taskforce to work on the campus lighting especially the street lights and other security lights. This project will be complimented with repairs and upgrade of our lecture theatres and classrooms. You may also have experienced difficulties in transportation especially between the Gidan Kwano and Bosso campuses owing to the aging fleet in the University Bus Service. We had in the past relied on support for supplementary service from the Niger State Transport Authority but they are also suffering from aging fleet and are, therefore, unable to provide the kind of service we desire. I want to plead for your patience for some of the inadequacies observed and I assure you that the University Authorities are working hard to comprehensively address them.
I cannot conclude this speech without drawing your attention to the fact that most of you are resident off-campus and, therefore, in daily contact with members of the University’s host community. I urge you to be of exemplary conduct in your interactions, live in peace with them and do your possible best to command their respect, confidence and understanding. Respect their values and traditions at all times.
Finally, I once again congratulate you on your admission and implore you to use your time wisely and be compliant with your Matriculation Oath. Use the facilities and services at your disposal well and seek help when in need. You should also maintain the University’s tradition of peaceful co-existence and commitment to excellence for achievement of a common goal.