A media icon and prolific writer, who has lived all his working life in Journalism, Chief Dare Babarinsa, has advocated effective information management as a major tool for effective university administration. Chief Babarinsa, one of the Founding Editors of TELL Magazine and Chairman, Gaskia Magazine stated this while delivering the 11th Registry Annual Lecture of the Federal University of Technology, Akure. The event held on Thursday, September 23rd in the university auditorium.
Going down the memory lane and citing several examples of unrest in the university system occasioned by improper utilization of information by management, he said “one thing that is overshadowing the reputation of most public universities is the annual festival of strikes and industrial disputes. This has led to serious disruption in the lives of students and the expectations of parents. Some students, in the wake of these serious disruptions, may end up spending eight years for a four-year course. I am sure this may not be the intention of those who are declaring industrial disputes.”
The media guru, who spoke on the topic Information Management and Effective Governance of Tertiary Institution, said “a university ultimate fate depends on its reputation. It can only acquire this reputation by working not only through the works of members of its faculties and the collective endeavours of its alumnus, but ultimately on the quality of information it transmits to its public.”
Speaking on information hoarding, he said “the modern reality we have to deal with is that information has become the product of the proletariats, thanks to the internet and its democratization of access to information. Since the dawn of the Information Age, rumour has taken on a new scientific meaning. Therefore, tertiary institutions, especially the frontline ones like our own FUTA, cannot afford to allow any falsehood go without being refuted. Those who are managing the system must be vigilant to the antics of mischief makers and even those who are out with malicious intent to score personal scores. The truth must be pursued with vigour and relentlessness.”
He commended FUTA’s effort in reputation management saying “this university has managed its reputation with consummate skill and excellent result. It has given Akure a good reputation. The challenge of the future is to stay on the straight and narrow path. If there is information that may be of public interest, the university should not hesitate to give it out. It is by building a reputation for honesty and openness that the university would continue to maintain its good standing with its host community, Nigeria and the world.”
The Guest lecturer acknowledged the role of information management in crisis management. He said “the university system cannot afford to be outflanked in the management of its information. It should not hoard information about its activities in the faculties and news that required explanation in the public realm. At FUTA, there are many positive news to share with the public. These are news that confirm that this institution is indeed, a citadel of excellence and learning. FUTA is indeed an institution of global relevance. Many members of faculties and alumnus are putting this great institution on the world map through commendable researches and global honours. Many alumni of this institution are carrying the banner very high. Among them are John Olawale Olukunle, a professor of Engineering, Ekekwe Ndubuisi, an inventor, author, entrepreneur and professor of engineering and Professor (Mrs.) Ibiyinka Fuwape who won the African Union Kwame Nkrumah Regional Award for Scientific Excellence, amongst others.”
In his welcome address, the Chief Host and Registrar, Mr. Adeyinka Arifalo said the goal of the annual lecture was to celebrate excellence, not only in FUTA, but in the registries of tertiary institutions in Nigeria. He described this year’s lecture titled Information Management and Effective Governance of Tertiary Institutions apt in this era of Information and Communication Technology.
He said “we are all conversant with the challenges institutions of higher learning in Nigeria has faced, especially in the interactions between Higher Institutions Administration and other stakeholders in the governance of these institutions. Most of these challenges come from misunderstandings that arise from the ways and manners information has been managed and disseminated. On many occasions, misunderstanding and misgiving between Higher Educational Management and Unions could be traced to inefficient ways of disseminating information or even lack of it. In this regard, information dissemination is a critical factor in matters relating to funding, stakeholders’ involvement, policy, enabling environment and personnel. Hence, for effective governance of the tertiary institutions, the place of information management cannot be over emphasized.”
Mr. Arifalo commended the University management under the watch of the Vice Chancellor, Professor Joseph Fuwape for always supporting the Registry to bring out its best and appreciated members of the Local Organizing Committee for an excellent planning. He commended the commitment of all Registry staff towards the growth and development of the university.
In the same vein he gave kudos to the Guest Lecturer, Chief Babarinsa for excellent delivery of an “educative and impactful lecture” and the Secretary to the State Government of Ondo State, Princess Oladunni Oni, who bagged the 2021 FUTA Registry Award , for her contributions to the development of education in Ondo State and her record of public service.
The Vice Chancellor, Professor Joseph Fuwape, who chaired the event in his address, said “information is knowledge. Information is critical and pivotal to any decision that a manager of any organization would take. The challenge of information management has been doubled by the social media phenomenon. Information is critical to maintenance of peace and tranquility and progress of any organization. Thus, effective processing and management of information is imperative for seamless operation of university administration.”
While thanking the Guest Lecturer for an enriching lecture, Fuwape also appreciated the awardee, Princess Odu. He said “Princess Odu has distinguished herself by serving meritoriously under three governors of Ondo State at different times, as Honourable Commissioner for Women Affairs; Chairman, Ondo State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB); and currently as Secretary to Ondo State Government. She has made indelible marks in governance, philanthropy and grassroots mobilization.” Professor Fuwape equally congratulated the Registrar, Mr. Arifalo, the LOC and entire registry staff for a successful outing.
Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN), represented by his deputy, Mr. Lucky Aiyedatiwa commended the leadership of FUTA for various strides attained in every stratum of tertiary education which has placed the institution on the globe and by extension, Ondo State. Commending the Guest Lecturer, Chief Babarinsa, Mr. Aiyedatiwa said “the lecture is a topical one, very apt and educative. Decisions are always taken based on information at one’s disposal. Proper information management is critical for effective service delivery.”
Congratulating the SSG, Princess Odu, Aiyedatiwa said “you are being watched by people. This informed your choice by FUTA because of your pedigree. You did so well in the state as Commissioner and Chairman, SUBEB. Please keep the good job and flag of Ondo State and Nigeria flying.” He promised the government’s support to the university, saying the state indigenes have benefited immensely from the institution either as students or staff.
Responding to the award given her, Princess Odu, who dedicated it to the state governor, Arakunrin Akeredolu said “I deeply appreciate this recognition and award. I want to place it on record that I got this award on merit. The university didn’t ask me for a dime.” Commending the quality of the lecture, she said “we have lost history, but history replayed itself today through this lecture. Information is critical to effective management whether in the university system or in government. We are worried about the negative effect of social media, but thanks to the FUTA registry for this kind of lecture. Passing the right information to staff and students will produce less crisis. I commend FUTA management for enjoying crisis free atmosphere. This is because of having proper information.” Princess Odu commended the Registrar, Mr. Arifalo and the entire staff of the registry for organizing such a wonderful and educative lecture.
The Chairman, Local Organizing Committee, Mr. Adegbenro Adebanjo, expressed his delight in the quality of the lecture and commended the University management for the support given toward the lecture. He specially appreciated the Guest Lecturer, Chief Babarinsa, the award recipient, Princess Odu and Ondo State government for supporting the progress of the university. Similarly, he commended all members of the LOC and his colleagues in the registry for organizing a befitting annual lecture which has become an envy of many institutions of higher learning in Nigeria.
The lecture brought together registrars and registry staff from sister institutions in Nigeria, heads of institutions, traditional rulers, information managers and key stakeholders in the education industry.