The National University Commission (NUC) has officially opened Hillside University of Science and Technology, Okemesi-Ekiti, a brand-new private university in Ekiti State.
Representatives from the government, religious and traditional authorities, as well as development partners from abroad and within the nation, were present during the opening ceremony.
Olaoye Jaiyeola, the university’s owner and CEO of the Nigeria Economic Summit Group, spoke during the event and explained that his idea for the institution’s founding was made necessary by his dedication to the development of the country’s educational system, particularly in the fields of science and technology.
According to Jayeola, graduates of the new institution will possess cutting-edge knowledge and expertise to provide precise answers to the numerous problems that face society and humanity.
The esteemed economist declared that the institution would serve as a catalyst for the socio-economic advancement of both the state and the host community, adding that government cooperation had been achieved with the aim of influencing society.
According to him, “In Ekiti here, we are a fountain of knowledge, and if we all stay in Lagos, that is why you will see an increase in migration to the cities. So, we think about how we can build our state and how we can create an environment for jobs for our people because I want to retire and live in this town. How can I ensure that everybody here at home is doing well? That is my drive for establishing this university.
“This university will do a lot in the development of our educational system, especially in the area of science and technology and solving societal problems. We have signed a partnership with the Ekiti state government to use technology to know what is happening not only in health but also in agriculture and the rest.
“A lot of the courses that the regulatory agency has approved are not just courses but contemporary courses. Part of what we are doing is preparing our people to be able to tackle the challenges now and in the future and make them contribute to the Nigerian economy, starting from my hometown.”
On the increasing numbers of universities, especially private ones, in the country, the proprietor said, “We don’t have enough universities; that is the fact. If you look at the number of people who seek admission every year, you will find out that we don’t have enough.
“Another thing I want us to bear in mind is the fact that we have a young population, and about 70 per cent of our people are under 30.Therefore, if you don’t spend time working on demand skills—skills that will be required—you won’t see anyone to solve our problems, and that is why I want the federal government to make our universities more entrepreneurial to prepare people for skills development for tomorrow’s job.”
Chris Mayaki, the Executive Secretary of NUC, expressed gratitude to the proprietor for his commitment to the nation’s educational progress and learning and said the commission would keep collaborating with people and institutions that further education.
The NUC head insisted that the commission will carry out its primary responsibility of guaranteeing sector progress in accordance with international best practises while being represented by Director of Human Resources Boniface Odum.
“The current number of universities can’t address our needs; we still need more universities, especially when you look at other countries in the Western world; we are still very far behind,” he said, rejecting the accusations made by some over the overabundance of universities in the nation.
The state governor, Biodun Oyebanji, expressed his happiness at the institution’s establishment, claiming that it will increase access to university education by drawing in a large number of applicants. He was represented by the secretary to the state government, Dr. Habibat Adubiaro.
He reaffirmed that the administration will continue to be dedicated to launching policies and initiatives that would draw greater investment into the state from all economic sectors and that the government is prepared to assist the institution in achieving success.