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Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has described the Yaba College of Technology (YABATECH) 50 Billion Naira Endowment Fund as an investment in the new Nigeria.

“Nigeria will be great again and YABATECH will be great,’’ Obasanjo said at the launch of the endowment fund which took place on Thursday night at the

Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos.

He was represented by Pastor Dotun Ojelabi. Obasanjo said that the project was a legacy that should be supported by all.

The former president praised YABATECH for the initiative.

“The YABATECH 50 Billion Naira Endowment Fund which we are launching today is an investment in the new Nigeria. Nigeria will be great again and YABATECH will be great.

“We are happy to be part of this event of trying to invest in the future which generations to come will applaud,” he said.

In his remarks, the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, said that the Federal Government would continue to look inwards to make more funds available for education.

Represented by Prof. Bola Oboh, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academics and Research Innovation) of University of Lagos, Adamu said that the ministry was proud of what YABATECH had done over the years.

He said that the number of students who graduated from the institution was a testimony to the value YABATECH had added to support Nigeria’s economy and  make the youth useful.

“It is gratifying that for 75 years, YABATECH has lived up to expectations of its founding fathers by providing requisite manpower and knowledge to the service of our great country.

“This is the reason I am enthusiastic about this launch of 50 billion Naira endowment fund for the institution.

“Increasingly, we have found out that government cannot do it alone,” he said.

Earlier, the Rector of YABATECH, Mr Obafemi Omokungbe, said that the college had many challenges, including decayed and inadequate facilities.

He said that the institution had space constraint for expansion and provision of staff offices.

Omokungbe added that YABATECH lacked adequate classrooms, workshops and laboratories as well as hostels.

“In the midst of these challenges and constraints is the pressure on the college to sustain its position as the ‘first and still the best’ polytechnic with respect to academic standards and environmental stability.

“The endowment fund project is our resort to alternative means of generating funds to improve infrastructure and introduce legacy projects to ensure continued existence as a global competitive institution,” he said.

The rector said that the initiative was a clarion call on alumni in Nigeria, diaspora stakeholders, industry giants, philanthropists and the general public to invest in the future of the premier tertiary institution.

“Invest in the future of a new generation of our youths, invest in technical and technology education, invest in the centre of excellence for polytechnic education and invest in technology advancement,” he said.

The Chairman of Governing Council of YABATECH, Prince Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), said that the target was to position the college as one of the topmost and reputable institutions within and outside Nigeria.

Fagbemi said that the initiative would further create an enabling environment for the college to consistently deliver on its mandate of providing quality technology education.

He remarked that, in spite of challenges, YABATECH was ranked as the number one polytechnic in Nigeria for the third time, by Webometric ranking in January.

The Group Executive Director of SIFAX Group, Mr Bode Ojeniyi, praised YABATECH’s management for efforts to improve the 75-year-old  higher institution through the endowment fund project.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Gov. Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State was represented at the event by his Special Adviser on Education, Dr Wunmi Ilawole.

A former Rector of YABATECH, 92-year-old Pa Gabriel Okufi, was also at the launch.