Fifty years in the life of any human being or institution, it is generally agreed, is not a mean feat and it is, to all intents and purposes, worthy of recognition and celebration. It is for this reason that the management of the Kwara State Polytechnic, Ilorin, in conjunction with the institution’s Alumni Association, had on Thurs- day May 11, 2023 rolled out the drums to celebrate, with great fanfare, the golden jubilee of existence of the premier tertiary institution in the State of Harmony.
Interestingly, the polytechnic has since its establishment been living up to the billing of its founding fathers in specific objectives set for it, including the production of self-employable technicians with proper work orientation, who would in turn assist in accelerat- ing the industrial, agricultural and commercial development of the state and the nation at large. Celebrated with the theme: “Raising The Bar For Greatness And Excellence”, the Kwara State Polytechnic, established in 1973, has, without being immodest, come a long way to become one of the leading polytechnics in Ni- geria with a rich history of academic prowess and commitment to producing graduates who are adequately equipped with the skills and knowledge to contribute meaningfully to so- ciety, having churned out thousands of graduates who are making waves across the globe in their various areas of endeavour. College of Technology It would be recalled that the Kwara State Polytechnic formally started as a College of Technology in 1973 on a temporary site with the School of Basic Studies, which offered Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics, English, Religious Studies, Geography and His- tory, as well as registered candidates for Advanced Level Cambridge GCE examinations in these subjects.
In his address, the Rector, Engr. (Dr.) Abdul Jimoh Muhammed, was elated that the Kwara State Polytechnic has maintained its enviable position as one of the top 10 polytechnics in Nigeria, in terms of patronage by admission seekers, partly because of the regular academic calendar the institution has maintained over the years, number of accredited programmes, 31 for Nation- al Diploma (ND) and 25 for Higher Na- tional Diploma (HND), relatively low school fees, peace and stability, among others. He said: “We are determined to keep this outstanding feat by God’s grace. So far today, the polytechnic has grown in size and status; producing thousands of graduates for the growth of the economy, annually. Indeed, my joy knows no bound today as the polytechnic community, over the years, has been witness- ing great strides in various facets. “To have maximum productivity and ef- ficient service delivery from staff, attention was paid to their health through free medical screening for all polytechnic staff. Health status This was basically to evaluate the health status of the Polytechnic workforce and pro- vide preventive counselling and interventions where necessary.
The 2023 free medical screen- ing is under process and staff will soon be in- formed of the schedule for screening. “Staff training and re-training was given paramount attention through TETFUND sponsorship and more than one third of the staff have benefited from this. In addition, staffers are always encouraged to upgrade their professional membership, as the poly- technic, within its limited resources, has spon- sored and is still sponsoring staff for training. Qualified non-academic staff that are willing to convert to Academic Cadre had also been considered after following due process.” To make teaching and learning conducive for the students, the Rector said the manage- ment embarked on total renovation of all the institution’s abandoned hostels and allocated them for the usage of the students, adding that amenities such as 24-hour internet connectiv- ity, solar-powered water borehole, solar street lights, among others, were provided, while the management also got the nod of Governor Ab- dulRahman AbdulRazaq’s administration to complete the hostels abandoned 20 years ago through the intervention of the Tertiary Edu- cation Trust Fund (TETFUND).
Renovation He added: “Determined to expose students to practical experience, the management em- barked on reviving many machines which had been down for years. These include: The power guillotine which has been down since 2014, the rolling machine, which worked last in 2010, 1,000KVA generator which has been down since 2016 and washer-making ma- chine which has been down for more than 10 years, aside from the complete renova- tion of offices, including the entire Central Administration Building and the Medical Centre.” Aside from the construction of a state- of-the-art Medical Diagnostic Centre to create a healthy environment for the polytechnic workforce as well as mem- bers of the neighbouring communities, Dr. Muhammed said the management also decided to establish the Kwarapoly Micro- finance Bank to shore up the institution’s internally generated revenue, among other investments. He, therefore, appealed to the Alumni of the institution to assist in facilitating approved licence for the Kwarapoly Mi- crofinance Bank through their various influences and connections in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), adding that delay in getting the licence approval had held down appointment of staff for the bank and revenue generation for the institution. He said: “All necessary steps have been taken towards the take-off of the project. We have opened an account at Keystone (the parent bank for the MFB) and at pres- ent, our application for operating license awaits Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) approval. “The Polytechnic Bakery which has commenced operation on a commercial ba- sis is now one of the delights of Kwarans. In fact, the bakery can compete favourably with other commercial bakeries in town. The management of the bakery is by Pub- lic Private Partnership (PPP).”
Constraints Rosy as the picture of the strides re- corded by the Polytechnic might have appeared; the Rector said the institution is not without some constraints, noting, however, that challenges are necessary parts of life. He said: “For any organisation to be seen as successful, it has to surmount the at- tendant challenges in the course of its activities and operations. Indeed, the Kwara State Poly- technic has its fair share of these challenges.” Aside from the problem of funding, like in any other institution, to meet the ever in- creasing commitments of the institution, the polytechnic boss identified the porosity of the Permanent Campus of the polytechnic as a source of major concern. According to him, the porosity gives members of the neighbour- ing villages an opportunity to come in and out of the institution unchecked. He said: “To forestall the possible breach of security owing to the porosity, the polytechnic has expended huge amounts of money on part- nering with various security agencies in the area towards providing security services on a daily basis.” According to the Rector, the polytechnic land has been terribly encroached upon, and the permanent solution, he said, is the con- struction of perimeter fence round the insti- tution, appealing to the state government, the Alumni Association, well-meaning individuals and corporate bodies to come to the aid of the institution because of the huge financial cost in providing this. He lauded Kwara State Governor, Abdul- Rahman AbdulRazaq, who is also the Visitor to the institution, for his administration’s support to the polytechnic, and like Oliver Twist, say- ing: “We need more,” while also acknowledging members of the alumni association for their untiring support to their Alma Mater.
Alumni association Also speaking, the President of the Kwarapoly Alumni Association, Engineer Abu Salami, emphasised the role of the poly- technic in promoting technical education and creating a skilled workforce, which, he noted, had substantially contributed to the growth and development of the country. “The institution has continuously evolved over the years, keeping pace with the changing times and needs of society and providing op- portunities for students to excel in their various fields of study. “As we reflect on the past 50 years of the Kwara State Polytechnic, we must recognise the importance of nurturing the next genera- tion of leaders and innovators. The Alumni As- sociation has an important role to play in this regard and we are committed to supporting the polytechnic in its efforts to provide quality edu- cation and training to the students,” he added. Engineer Salami also disclosed that the Alumni Association would perform the ground breaking of the N150 million Alumni Village inside the polytechnic campus during the cel- ebration, adding that it would house a guest house, a conference hall, worship centres, office complex, and recreational areas, among others. In his speech, the Guest Speaker, Otunba Olusola Adekanola, who spoke extensively on the topic: ‘Post Retirement Lifestyle and Invest- ment Options’, commended the vision that led to the establishment of the Kwara State Poly- technic, while also giving kudos to successive managements of the institution for not only ensuring the longevity of the institution, but also for ensuring that it remains one of the topmost institutions of technical education in Nigeria, lamenting that most institutions don’t