Again, UN HABITAT Launches Report at CU to Honour Chancellor at 60
For the second time in the history of university education in Nigeria and indeed Africa, Covenant University has played host to the launch of the UN Habitat Global Report on Human Settlements. This time around, the 2013 report was launched at the University in honour of the Chancellor, Dr. David Oyedepo’s 60th birthday celebration.
It should be remembered that Covenant University was the first educational institution in Africa to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the UN body on July 19, 2011, and the first to launch the report in Africa on October 18 of the same year. The University was also the third in the world to host the launch of the report after the London School of Economics, United Kingdom and Colombia University in the United States of America.
This second launch of the report on Thursday, September 25, 2014, according to the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Charles Ayo, was symbolic to the University in a number of ways, among which was to flag off the 60th Birthday of the Chancellor and Chairman Board of Regents for both Covenant and Landmark Universities.
It was also to honour the celebrant whom the Vice-Chancellor described as, “a distinguished personality; a life-coach to many (men of God and political leaders); a mentor; a Visionary and Transformational leader; an astute manager of human and material resources and a quintessential administrator.”
On the report, Professor Ayo noted that Covenant University was committed to strategic partnerships with global institutions for the purpose of furthering research in endeavours that would improve the quality of life. He added that the report offers insights into the transportation and mobility challenges and a road map for stakeholders in Human Development to follow with a view to improving the quality of life in the cities.
He promised that the University would organize a special workshop on the report for its immediate implementation.
Presenting the report titled Planning and Design for Sustainable Urban Mobility, the Special Guest and Director, Monitoring and Research Division, UN Habitat, Professor Oyebanji Oyelaran-Oyeyinka, noted that the report highlighted the transportation challenges experienced in cities all over the world, and identified examples of good practice from specific cities of how to address such challenges.
According to him, the report also provided recommendations on how government at all levels and other stakeholders could develop more sustainable urban mobility through improved planning and design of urban transport systems.
“The report provides some thought-provoking insight on how to build the cities of the future in such a manner that the ultimate goal of urban transport- namely enhanced access to destinations, activities, services and goods– takes precedence over ever-increasing calls for increased urban mobility. The aim of mobility is not to be on the road but to get to where you are going faster and safer”, he remarked.
Professor Oyeyinka said that the role of Covenant University in this was to organize workshops around the report in order to train stakeholders.
In a goodwill message, the representative of the Corps Marshal, Federal Road Safety Commission, Assistant Corps Marshal Godwin Ogaga-Oghene, called for establishment of government’s presence in other places outside the cities to reduce human and traffic congestions. He noted that the Commission was working in line with the UN report and would soon launch a campaign for the use of bicycles in the cities.
Also in his goodwill message, the Lagos State Commissioner for Transport, Mr. Kayode Opeifa, stated that the State Government decided not to see problems but opportunities, which gave birth to new policy on transportation that involved Public Private Partnership and establishment of Bus Rapid Transport (BRT).
He also informed that the State Government would, in the second quarter of 2015, introduce parking fees to discourage those who want to drive to work and encourage the use of public transportation. In addition, the government, he said, would introduce a new Taxi transport system with a reduced cost in line with the UN report.
The Chancellor and celebrant, Dr. David Oyedepo, noted that time is the most valuable asset of humans, “Therefore, whatever robs people of their time rubs them of their accomplishments”, he said.
He charged the educational institutions to be up and doing in providing solutions to the myriad of challenges confronting the continent. He also enjoined policy makers to engage the educational institutions in order to provide solutions before formulating policies. This, according to him, would make the institutions more relevant.
While appreciating the UN-Habitat for the launch of the report at Covenant University for the second time, Dr. David Oyedepo expressed hope that it would steer up debate that would enrich the approach to providing lasting solutions to African challenges.