After months of speculation and uncertainty, the Lagos State Government announced that the Lagos State Polytechnic, Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education and the Michael Otedola College of Education (MOCPED) have merged to produce the University of Education, Lagos (UNEDLAG).
It goes without saying that the long-awaited merger echoed as a welcome development and a major victory for the Epe Division and the entire spectrum of Lagos State.
In large parts, the development was indicative of the power of unity in view of the concerted efforts from traditional institutions, political institutions as well as as the common gentry of the society that eventually made the merger a reality.
On the traditional front, there was Alara of the Ilara Kingdom, Oba Olufolarin Olukayode Ogunsanwo, as well as a slew of Royal Fathers. They prevailed on the Lagos State Government to launch itself on the wave of global best standards in education that has characteristically seen many Polytechnics and Colleges of Education phased out to pave room for the creation of more Universities with the prerequisite standards needed to groom young minds to weather the storm of an increasingly competitive labour market.
Credit also goes to the political juggernauts – Hon Wale Raji, Hon Mustain Abiodun Tobun, Hon Sketel Ogunkelu, and a host of others who used their good offices to advocate for meaningful change that will now benefit generations of Epe youths yet unborn.
There is also the factor of the Provost, Dr Nosiru Onibon, who has spearheaded MOCPED’s meteoric rise as a college and has laboured unremittingly in the race to secure University status for the college.
Due to his unwavering commitment to advocating for the establishment of a University in Epe Division, a dream of a lifetime is finally being fulfilled. Congratulations to Dr Onibon and the entire staff of MOCPED on this well-deserved elevation.
Indeed, it is a victory for all, from our indefatigable pressmen who have answered every call, plunging face-first into the unknown in service of the truth above everything else, to all sons and daughters of Epe – market women, artisans, okada riders and the entire social fabric of the community.
Also colossally involved in this historic achievement is the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, a native son in every sense of the expression whose untiring efforts in securing the future of unborn generations of Epe youths will serve as worthy vestiges of his commitment to the community long after we are all gone.
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This development, without doubt, adds another feather to the cap of the Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu/ Dr Obafemi Hamzat administration, an administration that has continued to demonstrate its commitment to ensuring that developmental projects across the state are evenly spread, in the spirit of inclusion and equity.
I had been gearing up to lead a protest to the Deputy Governor’s residence for this cause, but, in his characteristic, natural leadership savviness delivered on public expectation without any cause for any unwarranted noise-making.
The developmental strides experienced in the Epe division did not come in a vacuum but rather a product of conscientious, deliberate and total resolve of the citizenry to divorce itself from the dichotomy that has hamstrung the division and impeded any meaningful development in the past.
It has also been a function of an unbroken chain of quality representation from our political class, particularly our MHR, Wale Raji, who, in addition to his impeccable legislative duties, had become a builder of schools and hope for the generation unborn, with so many roads, schools constructed during his tenure.
It is this progressive mentality that has produced the first female Chairman in Epe who has hit the ground running with regenerative initiatives that have taken the Division to the next level.
Her passion for culture and tourism, in many ways, has contributed to drawing national and international attention to the Division’s immense potentials.
In the light of the recent events, one can say, without mincing words that the hierogamy between the political class and netizenry of the Division has now placed it on the launchpad to unprecedented developmental strides.
With this landmark achievement, there is a high sense of expectation of further bolstering the tourism potentials of the Division since infrastructural development is the bedrock of tourism.
Without a doubt, the fragmented pieces of our collective existence as a people are being pieced together by an elite class of traditional and political leaders to produce the kind of history our progenitors could not possibly have envisaged in their wildest of imaginations.
As stated earlier, the move by the government to merge the three institutions of higher learning reverberates global best standards in education, especially in view of new and emerging realities that has bedevilled the sector in recent years.
The journey to the Epe Division of our dreams may not have moved with the pace of a sprinter; however, it has been a solid and measured stride towards the fulfilment of our potentials after several false starts.
As a matter of fact, this unhurried and measured pace at which our development as a community has taken might even be considered a blessing in disguise, with much attention surrounding topical concerns as clean energy, climate crisis, and generally the deterioration of our ecosystem, one does not necessarily need to be clairvoyant to understand the immense advantages Epe Division now has, comparatively speaking.
At this point, the quest towards the realisation of our true capabilities can no longer be considered a pipe dream. With the existing framework of amenities like its good road networks and rapid infrastructural development, the citification of Epe Division can almost be likened to the rapid urbanisation of Lagos State itself between the 1970s to the 1980s through the 1990s.
Add the enormous natural environment such as its water bodies and agricultural/food production potential; then, you have the composite accoutrements to build a mega-city within a mega-city.
Given its immense aquatic potentials, good coastal roads, a seaport, the free trade zone, as well as other developments in the offing like the proposed six-lane expressway, an airport in the pipeline, the proposed toll gate and a trailer park, there is no gain-saying in asserting that Epe Division, without doubt, is primed for an industrial revolution.
With this consequent conversion of the Michael Otedola College of Education to a university to complement the University of Lagos and the Lagos State University, Ojo, there is an air of optimism that the idea of Epe Division’s strategic importance to the future of Lagos state with regard to its continued evolution to a smart mega-city will be largely dependent on the untapped potentials of a Division that is replete will an abundance of promise.
To all sons and daughters of the Epe division, grab your champagne and wine glasses and toast to a new dawn, a new beginning that will mark a glide ride to the Epe Division of our dreams.
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