In the last few days, there has been contagious celebratory mood at the three campuses of the Lagos State Polytechnic (LASPOTECH) in Isolo, Surulere and Ikorodu.
At the campuses, the joyous mood underscores the institution's 40th anniversary of the great institution, the climax of which has been scheduled for November 22.
Of course, the management of the polytechnic led by Rector, Samuel Oluyinka Sogunro has every reason to celebrate the milestone age of the reputable institution of higher learning, giving its tempestuous experience at every turns and curves in the last four decades of its existence.
It's noteworthy that LASPOTECH has survived and emerged from myriads of challenges every step of the way to wax stronger and set the pace among its contemporaries in the country.
Established as Lagos State College of Science and Technology (LACOSTEC) via the promulgation of Lagos State Edict No. 1 of 1978 with retroactive effect from June 1, 1977, the institution commenced classes on January 3, 1978 at a temporary site (now the Isolo Campus) with five departments- Accountancy and Finance, Management and Business Studies, Insurance, Secretarial Studies and Basic Studies and later offered GCE 'A' Level courses in the Arts and Sciences.
On August 1, 1978, the School of Agriculture in Ikorodu was merged with the polytechnic and it became the nucleus of its present-day permanent site.
The lectures started with 287 pioneering students, but the impressive academic architecture and curriculum put in place over the years, led to a huge enrolment figure, currently standing at 20,000 full-time and part-time students, spread among seven schools- Agriculture, Communication and Liberal Studies, Engineering, Environmental Studies, Technology, Pure and Applied Sciences, Management and Business Studies; presently, the polytechnic runs 67 programmes at National Diploma (ND) and Higher National Diploma (HND) levels.
Perhaps, to give it a more robust outlook that could accentuate its status as an institution capable of offering management and social science courses, in 1988, the state government changed its name from Lagos State College of Science and Technology, (LACOSTEC) to Lagos State Polytechnic (LASPOTECH).
In addition, the institution's permanent site was proposed for 400 hectares of land acquired in 1977, by the state government at Ikosi, off the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
The permanent site was however moved to Ikorodu in 1985, following unabated encroachment on the Ikosi campus, while the relocation of the institution's seat of administration from Isolo campus to Ikorodu finally took place in May 2000.
It is instructive to note that despite the existence of others before it came on board, LASPOTECH, which has over the years assumed the toga of the Polytechnic of Excellence, has produced over 220, 000 students to date.
Many of the former students of the polytechnic are notable job creators in the country, and this validates one of the major objectives of polytechnics as job creators.
A good number of others are pillars in various sectors of Nigeria's economy.
The list includes but not limited to the immediate past Managing Director of First Bank of Nigeria Plc (FBN), Mr Bisi Onasanya; ex- Managing Director of Cornerstone Insurance Plc and NICON Insurance Plc, Mrs Funmilayo Babington-Ashaye; current Deputy Governor of Ogun State, Mrs Yetunde Onanuga, movie icon, Kunle Afolayan, Mr Rotimi Edu, Chairman, Quicklink Insurance, the late thespian, Aishat Mohammed; music star, Adekunle Kosoko aka Adekunle Gold; winner of African Movie Viewers' Choice Awards (AMVC), Tunji Afolayan and award-winning investigative reporter and Head of Crime Desk at The Nation newspaper, Olukunle Akinrinade.
In sports, LASPOTECH contingent has continued to dominate Nigerian Polytechnic Games (NIPOGA) in recent times, with haul of laurels in football, chess, table tennis, lawn tennis, volley ball and athletics.
At the 19th edition of NIPOGA held between April 25 and May, 2017 at the Federal Polytechnic, Nassarawa State,the polytechnic's team comprising 160 athletes emerged overall winner, out of 52 competing teams, with an aggregate of 48 medals- 16 Gold, 18 Silver and 14 Bronze medals.
The medalists got monetary rewards for their feat and high level of discipline displayed at the competition.
In the same vein, best graduating students in 2014/2015 session, Omosalewa Babalola, who finished with a Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 4.0 and Ejire Adedolapo Abdulazeez, who graduated with a CGPA of 3.83 in 2015/2016 were given automatic employments by the management of the polytechnic.
In recognition of its stoic strides in academic development, the institution's Department of Mass Communication was decorated as Center of reference in Journalism training by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
The no mean achievement has further led to the establishment of a radio station- 101.9 FM for the training of students and broadcast to the school community-the first of its kind among numerous polytechnics in the country.
In no distant future, the polytechnic might morph into a degree awarding citadel of learning as plans are underway to turn it into University Polytechnic of Technology, the fruition of which, again would make it the numero uno in the country.
It would nonetheless, still retain the polytechnic culture, redefine middle level manpower, need-oriented courses or programmes and rejig the curricula for best global training and practices.
Of late, the capacity development initiatives of the management has yielded fruits and transformed into increasing number of Ph.D holders on the academic staff roll call.
Currently, the polytechnic boasts over 40 lecturers with doctorate degrees, spread across established departments in the institution, while another 36 lecturers are rounding off their PhD theses.
The polytechnic has also hosted international conferences and seminars- the latest being International Conference on Infrastructural Development in Africa (ICIDA).
Despite being buffeted by limited resources, the institution has retained the core values of practical and innovative research-based training, which are the hallmark of polytechnic education, world over.
In sync with the practical training mandate, LASPOTECH collaborated with notable strategic technology- driven corporate and public partners including Julius Berger (which built the Engineering theatre/auditorium), Huawei Technologies, Chams Plc, AFRIFONE, International College of Aeronautics and Aviation Studies, Republic of South-Korea, just to mention few.
To be continued tomorrow
Kuye is Deputy Registrar, Public Relations & information, Lagos State Polytechnic, Ikorodu