The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Prof. Sulyman Age Abdulkareem, has solicited the support of the University Senate in his mission to move the institution to greater heights just as he maintained that the uninterrupted academic calendar, which is the hallmark of the University, remains sacrosanct. 

Prof. Abdulkareem, who made the appeal last Monday (November 6, 2017) in his address to the first Senate meeting he was presiding over, stressed the need to sustain and improve on the tempo of progress being witnessed in the University while building on the achievements of successive leaderships of the institution.

 In his address, entitled “Your Support is Our Victory”, Prof. Abdulkareem said, “Overall, the continued stability of this University is sacrosanct.  We have enjoyed it for the past 17 years, and it has given us an image that draws the largest number of admission seekers within and outside our country to us. It is one of the identities that make us different and better than the others in Nigeria. I will, therefore, oblige to negotiate anything else but the continuous stability of this great University will remain non-negotiable”.

Prof. Abdulkareem, who described his emergence as Vice-Chancellor as “a product of divine act”, noted that successive leaderships of the University “have been interpreting and implementing the spirit and letters of our statement of goal in different but equally remarkable ways”, saying, “This is why I must appreciate all my predecessors for laying solid foundation on which I can build and on which I must endeavour to improve.”

The Vice-Chancellor expressed his commitment to championing the drive towards ensuring that the University becomes more reputable for research outputs, which can change the world, adding that “this is also the dream of the Chairman of our Council, who had prodded us to aim at producing a Nobel Laureate within a short time.” He said, “This is achievable if we have a renewed energy, devotion, faith, attitudes and ethos that can rekindle our unique Unilorin spirit for attaining greater heights.”

Prof. Abdulkareem, who explained that he was committed to the promotion of staff and students' welfare as well as sustaining the infrastructural development of the University, highlighted strategies which he intends to adopt over the next five years. These, according to him, are re-orientation of staff and students' attitudes towards commitment and excellence and promoting healthy and effective collaboration and cooperation amongst Unilorin Team members to synergically solve societal and global problems.

“It is my intention to revive and review the practice of assessing lecturers' performance by students in order to make us more alive to our statutory responsibilities”, he said, explaining that “I am not unaware of the subjectivity that may be associated with the process. All the same, I have the conviction that we have astute professionals that can come up with a practicable, suitable and acceptable design”.

Prof. Abdulkareem stressed that “the success or failure of our cause rests on all of us”, adding that “on my own part, I will not fail in my responsibilities to you, and I will open my eyes, my doors and ears for your pieces of genuine advice.”

He told the University Senate members, “I will not deceive myself by thinking that I know the answers to all problems...In this hallowed chamber, let us be free to express our minds for the genuine purpose of generating consensuses that will lead us to our desired destination. You can be sure that I will always examine what is said rather than who said it.  I do not believe in bigotry and I will not promote it because it dwarfs the soul by shutting out the truth.

“There are still other thousand ways of making our University a vibrant university that is absolutely self-reliant, which, I think, are lurked inside each and every one of us, and which I will like you to willingly release to assist the leadership in achieving our common goal”, the Senate Chairman implored members.”

The Vice-Chancellor said, “I want to assure you that I will drive us all with the principles of justice, fairness, consideration and co-operation because I believe these are the values that can lead us to eternal peace and existential glory. In our operations and journey together, there will be dissents and disagreements, but such dissents and disagreements should not lead us to anarchy.”

Amidst intermittent applause by the crème de la crème of the University's egg heads, Prof. Abdulkareem said, “Let me remind you that we are on this bus together and we cannot afford to let it crash. We should all be involved genuinely in the Unilorin Project, even if there is a need to beg anyone for such genuine commitment to the larger goal of making the project work and succeed for us all. When there is a need to make compromises, concessions and negotiations, let us make it with genuine purpose for common good that binds us together”.