The heartbeat of the Chancellor, Landmark University, Dr David Oyedepo, for exhibiting excellence in human endeavors is palpable. His well-articulated ideas towards achieving the excellent feat are golden and as convincing as ever, notable of his erudite mien. Mistaken his passion for the transformation of humanity in alignment with the precept of God.
He is frantic in his commitment towards creating platforms for generating solutions that are requisite for improving the educational landscape of Nigeria and the continent of Africa. His quest for redeeming the image of the black race via development of leadership capacity and spearhead- ing of an agricultural revolution led to the establishment of Landmark University with a highly competitive learning environment for all students, who are groomed through the custom built program mes such as Total Man Concept, Towards a Total Graduate and Entrepreneurship packages, the unique selling points of the University.
Dr Oyedepo’s huge investments and impacts in this regard have offered students and Faculty ample access to the top-notch teaching and re- search facilities in the University that keeps receiving great accolades in her drive for a world class status. In this interview, the Chancellor bears his mind on why the Core Values of the University have essentially remained a remarkable force to be reckoned with globally and the undying quest for the realization of the University’s agrarian mandate.
Interviewer: The seven Core Values of Spirituality, Possibility Mental- ity, Capacity Building, Integrity, Responsibility, Diligence and Sacrifice have remained major at- traction to the parents who have willingly sent their children and wards to the University. How do you plan to sustain these values in a changing environment that uni- versity education is facing with strong regulatory environment under which universities operate?
Chancellor: The Core Values were drawn from the background of the need to raise changed people who will change their world. We are poised to bring back to the fore the character dimension of learning at the University level, like we usually say they are found worthy in character and learning. There has been zero attention to character when we came on board, so we needed to create a platform that helps enhance the character aspect of learning and it is showing today.
For instance, the Nigerian graduate report publication ranked Covenant University Number One in the list of Nigerian Universities with the most employ- able graduates having 90% employ- ability rate. That is the effect of the Core Values, it helps to equip our students on the pathways of life so that they can be relevant to the so- ciety and I think we are achieving that.
There is a university in America where they have 16 of our graduates undertaking postgraduate stud- ies and when Professor Okebukola went there on official functions, they said we have 16 Nigerians here and they are unique, their packaging, commitment and intelligence is unique, they said they are from one Covenant University, he said oh I am not surprised I am part of that University too. He was very proud of those children.
He gathered them together and had a chat with them because of the quality of training. The whole essence of what we are doing is to raise world changers who will first need to experience the changes themselves. Leave God behind, you are empty, throw integrity to the trashcan, you are finished, lack sacrifice, you can- not be a successful leader; a sacrifice gives his best and beyond his best to lead a cause in which he believes.
All those things are there to help equip the student to be relevant because relevance is key. You cannot be relevant and not be significant. What we are trying to do is to ensure that platform is created overtime and the same thing is taking place in here, Landmark University. Most institutions to- day now have Core Values.
They did not have any before, you just live anyhow and finish anyhow, if you finish, that is what we do with the Core Values. Examination malpractice culminates in summary dismissal from our system, we cannot be raising people who will deal with corruption and are corrupt themselves.
Examination malpractice at 500 level, no mercy! We are convinced that he has been doing it since 100 level otherwise there would not be need to do it at 500 level, and we have a psychological basis for that.
There is no way you will go for examination malpractice at 500 level in Engineering, if you have been passing your exams since 100 level. So we are also out to sanitize the intellectual platform of our nation.
I must say this; Governors have come to pick their children from our campus. The daughter of our first Vice-Chancellor was rusticated from the University for one year, my adopted son was thrown out for one year at Covenant, so there is no white cow in the system and that makes everybody shake and fear.
If I must mention it, one of our former Presidents had a relation that had a son rusticated and called me, I said I am sorry, I do not get involved, please talk to the Vice- Chancellor. He said can I have his number, I said no and we are still friends. Because the moment you make rules and you abide by the rules yourself, everybody is forced to follow, and that is what we are trying to do.
We are in dire need of leaders in our country and we will be wishing till death until we start raising the kind of leaders we want by taking them through the principle of this kind of training so that they can be there to effect changes.
Interviewer: A major indicator of success in the University administration is the degree to which it can at- tract and retain high quality Faculty. What plans are on the way to achieve this feat in Landmark University?
Chancellor: The plans are obvious, let us maintain conducive atmosphere for learning and research.
Let us generate good comfort for faculty and staff. There is no system that does not have staff turnover; the rate may differ from one place to the other.
We are sensitive to the need of faculty and staff, so when they bring forth their needs we see which one can be addressed per time. We are committed to excellence; if you know how much your university spends on power, then you will know we are doing our best to keep life comfortable. We believe in retaining faculty and staff because it empowers continuity and helps to encourage those who are coming behind that there is something good in the land that they can be partakers of.
Interviewer: We appreciate your commitment to the provision of first-class infrastructure in Landmark University. Considering the maintenance culture in Nigeria, what strategies are in place for the sustainable maintenance of these infrastructures?
Chancellor: We are not new as an organization to infrastructural development. One of the comments that NUC made in Lagos when they came for the verification visit for Covenant University was that they have been around for a week and they cannot pick a piece of paper on the floor, can this be Nigeria? We were in the slum as it were in Alimosho Area, Raji Oba.
I used the public toilet that they use there when I am having a program, you find it intact. We are committed to continuous first-class maintenance of our infrastructure.
At Covenant, we just invested about #380 million renovating staff housing that was completed last year. We are known for quality maintenance culture, you can be in Nigeria and not of Nigeria.
If you come to Faith Tabernacle on Sunday by 5pm you will not know anybody came there for worship with that multitude because the sanctuary keepers have invaded the whole place and tidy up every- thing, it looks like nobody has ever used the place.
We are very used to it and we want to continue to improve on it particularly on the approach. Poor workmanship is a major problem in our country and when the workmanship is poor, it tells on the maintenance.