The Senate has approved that a Federal University of Technology and Environmental Sciences in Iyin- Ekiti Kingdom, Ekiti State be established with a mission to develop world-class technologists and human resources that can sustainably manage the country’s economy.
The red chamber gave its approval after a bill seeking the establishment of the new tertiary institution was extensively debated and unanimously ratified at the plenary on Thursday.
The senate, also presided over by Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Barau Jubrin, subsequently referred the bill to its Committee on Tertiary Institutions and Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) for further legislation and other considerations.
The bill, sponsored by the Leader of the Senate, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele, elicited the overwhelming support of senators across all political divides.
First initiated in the ninth National Assembly, the bill was brought back for consideration at the Senate Chambers on October 17, 2023 with specific focus on bridging knowledge gaps in technology and environmental sciences.
Speaking on the significance of the bill on Thursday, Bamidele specifically explained that the passage of the bill into law would develop world-class technologists as well as human resources needed to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Bamidele further explained that the purpose of the bill “is to create more access to university education in view of a large number of qualified candidates, who are annually stranded in their failed attempts in gaining admission into the university in the country.
“The objectives of the university are, first and foremost, to set up an ultra-modern institution that will develop world-class technologists as well as human resources that can sustainably manage our nation’s economy by providing technical and management expertise at the highest level.
“The university, when established, will further advance knowledge through research and nurture unique technological innovation, entrepreneurship and wealth management in its core area of interest.
“Mr. President, distinguished colleagues, the enactment of this bill will help in transforming the technological and educational fortune in producing the desired manpower and expertise that Nigeria is yearning for to exponentially speed up our economic growth and ensure sustainable development,” the senate leader submitted.
Among others, Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Barau Jubrin; Chairman, Senate Committee on Defence, Senator Ahmed Lawan; Chairman, Committee on Navy, Senator Gbenga Daniel; Chairman, Senate Committee on the Environment, Senator Seriake Dickson; Chairman, Senate Committee on National Planning and Economic Affairs, Senator Abdul Ningi and Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on Inter-Parliamentary Affairs, Senator Victor Umeh, three their weight behind the establishment of the bill on Thursday.
Lawan, also former President of the Senate, said: “This bill was passed in the ninth National Assembly. I wholeheartedly support this bill. The bill is worthwhile because technology and environmental sciences are very important, indeed crucial, for every country worldwide, especially in the 21st century.
“If we want to develop, like most countries are today, we have to move away from being extremely traditional. We cannot afford to continue with this basic thing. In most cases, outdated courses are taught in our schools or universities.
“This is the 21st century. And human beings, more appropriately human resources, should be the source of developing our country. We have had petroleum from the 1950s to date. We are still grappling with poverty, unemployment and so on. Some countries have nothing, but human beings. Yet they have made tremendous progress. A good example is Singapore.
“Aside, most countries are now embracing knowledge-based economies. I believe the time is right. When we establish a new institution, it should be an institution that will provide education and enlightenment for the 21st century development agenda.”
Also, at the plenary on Thursday, Umeh corroborated Lawan’s position on the bill, pointing out that the university, when eventually established, would focus on technology and environmental sciences.
Umeh, elected on the platform of the Labour Party, said: “In this country, Mr. President, time has come when we shall be establishing specialised universities to pursue certain areas and fields of knowledge.
“By focusing on the advancement of technology and environmental sciences, we are confining this university to these two important areas. When we produce graduates from this university, we will be thinking of graduates with excellent knowledge,” Umeh explained.