The Kwara State Governor, Alhaji (Dr.) Abdulfatah Ahmed, has commended the University of Ilorin for its giant strides in national development over the years.   

Alhaji Ahmed gave the commendation while delivering a goodwill message at the 34th Convocation Ceremonies of the Better By Far University last Tuesday (October 22, 2018).

The Governor, who is also an alumnus of the University, disclosed that he was always very proud of Unilorin for its meaningful contributions in making him what he is today ..

Governor Ahmed praised the University for consistently being the nation's most patronized University and for running an impactful, smooth and consistently productive academic calendar in the last two decades which, he said, has positioned the University to repeatedly churn-out highly-trained and competent manpower who are glowingly contributing their quotas to human progress in various spheres of life.

He also expressed delight with Unilorin for simultaneously producing two Senior Advocates of Nigeria in a single year. He pointed out that the uncommon development has gone a long way in re-establishing the incontrovertible status of the University as a true center of academic and professional excellence, which type is rare to come across among its peers. 

 The Governor assured members of the University of Ilorin community of the commitment of his administration to continue to partner with the institution in making life more abundant for the students and staff of the University and their host communities as exemplified in the erection of solar-powered streetlight from the University gate into the town among other developmental efforts.

As the 2019 general elections approach, a former United Nations Under-Secretary General, Prof. Ibrahim Agboola Gambari (CFR), has appealed to Nigerians to insist on and work for a peaceful, free and credible contest that will eventually engender good governance.   

Prof. Gambari, who is also a former Minister of Foreign Affairs, made the appeal in Ilorin last Tuesday (October 23, 2018) while addressing guests at the 34th Convocation Ceremony of the University of  Ilorin.

 The consummate diplomat, whose address was entitled "Education for Peace, Democracy and Development", called on the Federal Government and all stakeholders to support the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and other relevant institutions to organise impeccable elections that will be devoid of crisis and which will promote the global image of Nigeria as a democratic nation.

Prof. Gambari advised Nigerians "to rise above parochial and exclusionary situations in our growing democracy", stating that the electorate have a lot of role to play in building an enduring democratic governance through their dispositions and organizational ability which, if properly channeled, will compel those who are entrusted with political power to offer qualitative leadership.  

    He added that Nigeria should do everything not to disappoint members of the international community who are now focusing their rapt attention on the country, not only because they believe that the Nigeria has what it takes to occupy a respectable position in international politics but because of the imaginable cost the disruption of peace in Nigeria would inflict on the Western World, particularly, Great Britain, where more than two million Nigerians hold citizenship.

   Prof. Gambari, who was also the longest-serving Nigeria's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, contended that for the country to experience all-round development, there is the need for proper and adequate political education of the citizenry for them to appreciate their inalienable rights and duties to the State. He added that this admirable condition can only be brought about when the voting population is given sound education through adequate and relevant tutelage right from the school.

 The renowned diplomat expressed the conviction that peace and development will only be firmly rooted in the polity when political power is entrusted in those who possess sophisticated knowledge of the hitherto and recurrent internal and global dynamics in governance, politics, peace-building and socio- economic environment.

The former Minister of Foreign Affairs paid glowing tributes to the authorities of the University of Ilorin for their cumulative contributions, which effectuated in the glittering heritage of the University as a peaceful "place of excellence and great achievements", which turns out finest products on annual basis and who are doing very well in their various callings.

While commending the University for establishing the Centre for Peace and Strategic Studies (CPSS) and sustaining the academic programmes of the Centre, Prof. Gambari enjoined the graduands and youths across the country to embrace the culture of peace and "never allow yourselves to be used to do bad things”.

 He said that no effort should be spared by the concerned stakeholders to avoid the repeat of the conflagrations which followed the 2011 general elections during which several lives and property worth millions of Naira were destroyed in certain parts of the country.

No fewer than 17 newly completed projects were commissioned at the University of Ilorin last Tuesday (October 23, 2018) as part of activities marking the grand finale of the institution's 34th convocation ceremonies.

The projects commissioning by the Visitor to the University, President Muhammadu Buhari, (GCFR), who was represented by the Director of Quality Assurance at the National Universities Commission, Dr. Noel Saliu, was witnessed by dignitaries who attended the convocation ceremonies.

Among the projects commissioned were the Faculty of Engineering Laboratory, Lecture Rooms and Laboratory for the Institute of Education, Workshop and offices for the Department of Educational Technology, Workshop for the Technical and Entrepreneurship Centre (TUC), 400-seater Lecture Theatre each for the Faculties of Agriculture and Arts, as well as Electrification Projects for the Faculties of Veterinary Medicine and Agriculture among others. 

Commissioning the projects, President Buhari commended the management of the University of Ilorin for conceiving and ensuring the completion of the projects and urged the University to ensure that the projects and equipment there-in are properly utilized as they would go a long way in adding more value to research, teaching and community services, which are focal points of the ivory tower. 

The President assured Nigerians that the Federal Government would not relent in its efforts to ensure that university education attracts utmost attention at all times in order to facilitate quality education that will generate high quality manpower needed to accelerate national development.

Among the dignitaries that witnessed the project commissioning were the Sarduna of Katsina, Senator (Dr.) Ibrahim Ida (CON), who represented the University's Chancellor and Emir of Katsina, Alhaji (Dr.) Abdulmumini Kabir Usman, (OFR); the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the University Governing Council, Dr. Abdullah Jibril Oyekan; members of the Governing Council as well as members of the University management team, led by the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Sulyman Age Abdulkareem.

One-day convocation: Abdulkareem breaks a jinx

…VC hails Ceremonials Committee for successful outing

Against deep-seated anxiety among stakeholders about the feasibility of holding the convocation for all 15 Faculties and the Postgraduate School on a single day, the University of Ilorin has delivered yet another very successful convocation ceremony.

Last Tuesday (October 23, 2018), the grand finale of the 34th Convocation Ceremonies was held amidst pomp and pageantry inside the main bowl of the University Stadium Complex. It was attended by an unprecedented large crowd of people.

It was a carnival of sort as the graduands, their parents, friends, and well wishers turned up in large numbers, colourfully dressed to savour the successful completion of a crucial stage in their wards' academic pursuit.

The elements were also on the side of the University management, as the weather was very conducive, neither too sunny nor threatened by rain.

The presence of a large array of dignitaries from all walks of life  from government, business leaders, the royalty, the academia, and the professions also added colour to the event. 

The Vice-Chancellor of the University, Prof. Sulyman Age Abdulkareem, has commended the members of the Ceremonials Committee for midwiving a successful convocation ceremony despite the earlier expressed doubts and apprehensions from many stakeholders over the decision to collapse the ceremony into a one-day affair. 

At a post-convocation meeting with members of the Prof. Abdulrasheed Adeoye-led Committee at the University's Auditorium basement last Thursday (October 25, 2018), Prof. Abdulkareem said that the successful outcome of the 34th Convocation Ceremonies was a big relief to him, pointing out that the Ceremonials Committee had really come to his and put to rest the doubt in the minds of many “as the ceremonies ended with successes and accolades from major stakeholders in the industry”.

The Vice-Chancellor, who thanked Allah for the committee's belief in him, said, “When I introduced the idea of holding the convocation ceremony in one day, people were concerned and worried with different excuses that it won't work. In fact some said what if it rains and I said but it also used to rain when we have our convocations in the open at the old convocation arena. Then we stopped for a while for the rain to subside and later continued. But I thank Allah that I have all of you to bail me out of the possibility in holding one-day convocation.” 

Prof. Abdulkareem, who was full of appreciation to all Principal Officers, staff and students of the University, for the show of love, support and right training received, further disclosed that “the only people that I can thank are those in front of me” (the Ceremonials Committee members).

Acknowledging some of the challenges identified, the Vice-Chancellor, however, urged the committee “to look at what have gone wrong, and see them as what can be improved upon against subsequent ceremonies. We have made what was unbelievable done and got pass mark for that. I thank you all.” 

In his remarks, the Chairman of the Ceremonials Committee, Prof. Abdulrasheed Adeoye, also commended all members of the committee for delivering on their mandate and making the University proud.

Prof. Adeoye disclosed that he had started collating some areas of the ceremonies' organisation that need to be improved upon, adding that these would be discussed at a later meeting.

The United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. William Stuart Symington, has stressed the need for Nigerians to show more patriotism to their country instead of egoism and indifference to national development as the nation prepares for the 2019 general elections. 

Mr. Symington gave the admonition while presenting this year's Convocation Lecture of the University of Ilorin last Monday (September 22, 2018) at the University  Auditorium.        

The US envoy, whose lecture was entitled "Citizen, Leadership and the Link Between Economic Diversity and Democratic Good Governance", described Nigeria as a nation destined for true greatness in view of its amazing diversity, innumerable resources and huge market that is not only second to none in Africa but "the 7th largest integrated market in the world".    

He explained that he was usually amazed with the magnitude of courage and industry an average Nigerian is imbued with but expressed the belief that Nigeria will only attain full greatness if ordinary citizens and leaders of the largest black nation in the world can submerge the appalling spirit of self-interest for that of corporate emancipation. He counselled that the inimical concept of "I" should be replaced with that of "us".

Ambassador Symington regretted that in spite of the love of Nigerians for their diversities and complexity, it is only when they are abroad that they see themselves as one and always think about the country and appreciate its greatness. 

Welcoming guests to the thought-provoking Lecture, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Prof. Sulyman Age Abdulkareem, described the Convocation Lecturer as a versatile global citizen, a seasoned diplomat, and an accomplished statesman.

Prof. Abdulkareem noted that the topic was not only topical but apt considering the nexus between the quality of leadership and economic prosperity and the need for a paradigm shift in our political orientation. He added that there is no better time for the topic than now with the general elections slated for next year.

The well-attended lecture was graced by dignitaries from all walks of life including the Chancellor of the University and the Emir of Katsina, Alhaji (Dr.) Abdulmumini Kabir Usman (OFR) who was represented by the Sardauna of Katsina, Senator (Dr.) Ibrahim Idah (CON) and the Chairman of the Governing Council of the University, Dr. Abdullahi Jibril Oyekan as well as Prof. Ibrahim Agboola Gambari CFR, a former Foreign Affairs Minister and Pro-Chancellor and the Chairman of Council of the Bayero University, Kano. 

`Others include the Vice-Chancellor, Kwara State University, Malete, Prof. AbdulRasheed Na'Allah; and Justices Idris Abdullahi Haroon and S.O. Mohammed who are former Grand Khadis of Kwara State; the Founder of the Al-Hikmah University, Ilorin, Chief AbdulRaheem Oladimeji OFR; and the National President of Egbe Omo Igbomina, Engr. Timothy Niyi Adebayo, as well as management, staff and students of the University.

…lauds Unilorin on stable academic calendar

President Muhammadu Buhari has challenged Nigerian academics to devote greater attention to innovative research in order to add true value to the nation's economy and galvanise the development of the citizenry. 

The President, who gave this marching order last Tuesday (October 23, 2018) at the grand finale of the 34th Convocation Ceremonies of the University of Ilorin, said that no nation achieves greatness without contributing to human development through innovative research. 

Represented by the Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, President Buhari said, “I want to strongly advise Nigerian academics to shift the focus of their research endeavours from mere quest for the enhancement of their career progression to the need to add real value to the nation's economy and the citizens' well-being”. 

The President, in his address, read by the Director of Quality Assurance of the NUC, Dr. Noel Saliu, pledged the support of the Federal Government through its relevant ministries and agencies in order to “achieve this national mandate.”

Commending the University of Ilorin for taking a lead in this regard, the President urged the institution “to come up with more research on contemporary issues and challenges especially in the areas of health and agriculture”. 

He expressed happiness at the desire of the Governing Council of the University “to produce Nobel Laureates in many fields of academic endeavour soonest”, saying, “The nation is waiting anxiously for the accomplishment of that lofty dream, which might come to pass earlier than expected.”

While challenging the NUC to critically re-examine the curricula content of the nation's tertiary education institutions “in order to engender an education system that is more responsive to the emerging situations and dynamics of a growing economy, President Buhari noted that “the world is anticipating the emergence of Nigeria in the community of advanced nations and I look forward to our universities taking the lead in this drive for the nation's greatness”.

He said, “I am aware that the University of Ilorin is already making some efforts in the field of functional research and I am also aware that these efforts have begun to yield some positive results in the form of several patented products.”

While lauding the University for maintaining a robust academic tradition and a stable academic calendar for close to two decades now, President Buhari appealed to university-based unions in the country to “exercise restraint in their agitation for better working conditions.”

The President said, “This Government is, and would remain, a listening one”, pointing out that “our doors are always open for negotiations and positive collaborations.” 

He said, “We should abhor the closure of our universities for any reason, because when universities are shut at the time students are supposed to be in school, we are indirectly telling the world that we care little about our future. Closure of schools imposes negative impact on students, parents as well as the system and government in so many ways”.

Advising other institutions of higher learning in the country to emulate the University of Ilorin by keeping their gates continuously open for learning, President Buhari said, “All hands must be on deck to reduce the impact of needless brain drain, which is keeping more than 15 million of our compatriots outside the country, out of whom 23,000 are Nigerian academics in foreign universities. We should all remember that we have no other country we can truly call ours besides this beautiful nation. Let us work together to build this blessed country to what we can all be proud of”.

Congratulating the graduating students for successfully going “through the crucible of rigorous training in intellect and morals”, the President charged them to “vehemently resist the temptation to be used as agents of destabilisation and destruction by politicians who do not mean well for our democracy and our dear nation” as the 2019 General elections approach.

Pointing out that government alone cannot provide all the required funding for education, the President urged institutions of higher learning “to look inward and devise legitimate means of raising more funds to augment government subvention”. 

He also advised universities to be more efficient and effective in fund management to avoid loopholes and wastages”.