•Rector says future of education is bright


By Gabriel Dike

Chief Fanimokun performing groundbreaking ceremony of Folawiyo Entreprenurship Centre supported by YABATECH rector, Dr. Abdul, Pa. George Okufi and college management.


Former Permanent Secretary of Lagos State, Chief Tunde Fanimokun has donated a N3.5billion Folayiwo Entrepreneurship Centre (FEC) to Yaba College of Technology (YABATECH) to boost the study of Entrepreneurship in the 74 years old institution.


•Tunde Folawiyo, Dr. Abdul, Chief Fanimokun, displaying plaque presented to him by YABATECH, Pa George Okufi, Dr. Maragret Ladipo and other guests


The launch of the project in honour of the late business mogul, Chief Wahab Iyanda Folayiwo was part of activities to commemorate the 80th birthday of the donor, Chief Tunde Fanimokun.

The groundbreaking ceremony attracted prominent people including present and former principal officers of YABATECH led by the Rector, Dr. Ibraheem Abdul, first rector of the college, Pa George Okufi, two former rectors, three deputy rectors, immediate past registrar, former Lagos State Head of Service, Prince Segun Ogunlewe, former president, Old Boys Association of Methodist High School, son of Chief Folayiwo, Tunde Folayiwo, Fanimokun’s classmates and family members.

The date of the event also coincided with when he was employed as executive director project by late Chief Folawiyo and also the birthday of his daughter.

The four-story FEC building comprises four lecture theatres with seating capacities of 320 each, one lecture theatre with seating capacities of 500, 19 classrooms, offices for staff, numerous spaces for vocational activities and car parks.

At the epoch making ceremony, Tunde Fanimokun in his address noted, “today’s commemorative event is specifically in honour of, Alhaji Chief (Dr.) W. I. Folawiyo, the founding father of Yinka Folawiyo conglomerate. 

“Exactly 40 years ago in 1985, he initiated me formally into the twin subjects of entrepreneurship and philanthropy, I joined his business empire on a platter of gold exactly on April 9, 1985 as an Executive Director (projects). Ever since I have become a staunch advocate of entrepreneurship as most vital pillar for sustainable development and everlasting prosperity in Nigeria”.

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He continued: “I became greatly interested in this most vital subject-matter after my transition without any plan from the Lagos State Government public service at age 40 in 1985 and since then, I have become a strong advocate for the propagation and promotion of entrepreneurship at all levels, most especially, the young generations.  Before then, I learnt only informally about the subject matter under the first executive governor of Lagos State, Alhaji Lateef Kayode Jakande”.

Fanimokun said that diversification is the only remaining turning point for the Nigerian economy instead of excessive dependence of revenue from oil and gas as a mono-cultural economy, over dependence on importation as well as stagflation, youth unemployment, criminal neglect of agricultural production and conspicuous absence of visionary leadership with lack of development.

The donor recalled a major project he handled in the Folayiwo conglomerate was the diversification assignment with a 400 million pound budget, an equivalent of N681billion today in Nigeria.

According to him, he became a staunch advocate of entrepreneurship as the most vital pillar for sustainable development and everlasting prosperity in the country.

He acknowledged that the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo made entrepreneurship compulsory in Nigerian universities and other tertiary education institutions.

Fanimokun said his 50 years working life should serve as a case study in the entrepreneurship for further necessary action in the proposed Folayiwo Entrepreneurship Centre, which would start operation by April 9 in the 2025/2026 a academic session.

In his remarks, the Rector of YABATECH, Dr. Ibraheem Abdul said he was filled with immense pride and optimism for the future of education in Nigeria as the ceremony marks a groundbreaking moment in Yaba College of Technology’s history, the beginning of a new and exciting chapter.

Abdul added that the proposed Folawiyo Entrepreneurship Center will be more than just an academic building but a vibrant hub symbolizing the college commitment to excellence, progress, and nurturing future generations of successful entrepreneurs who will contribute to the nation’s development.

The rector described endowment as a powerful avenue for institutions to attract additional funds, stating, “they ensure a dependable source of funding for generation of students, departments, research and programmes.”

He revealed that YABATECH has a history of endowments, which include the 98-acre of land donation at Odoragunshin by former Lagos State governor, Sir Michael Otedola and a N50billion endowment fund launched in September 2022.

Abdul said the event exemplifies the college unwavering commitment to providing the best resources, environment and support for YABATECH students and staff.

“I believe this new endeavour will not only enhance the quality of education, research and innovation at YABATECH, but also serve as a beacon of progress for the broader community. With the centre, the quality of education will improve and boost the quality of research in the college,” he noted.

The son of the late chief Wahab Iyanda Folawiyo, Barister ‘Tunde Folawiyo was full of gratitude to chief Fanimokun’s accomplishments and desire to honour his late father.

He said chief Fanimokun contributed immensely to the great height of success of the Folawiyos’ dynasty and he is a man that is always focused in achieving his set goals, stating that the family was not informed of this magnitude stride of honouring his father.

Barrister Folawiyo eulogized Chief Fanimokun and expressed the family’s gratitude to him.

In goodwill messages, some old students and guests acknowledged Chief Fanimokun’s contributions in handling major projects and grooming the youths on entrepreneurship.