The Chairman of the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of the non-teaching staff unions at the University of Ilorin, Comrade Muhammed Jimoh Akanbi, has applauded the intervention of the Federal Government and the University management in the part-release of the much-awaited earned allowance for the non-teaching staff of the institution.

In a chat with Unilorin Bulletin last Wednesday (January 3, 2018), Mr. Akanbi, who is also the Chairman of the Unilorin Branch of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), said that the release of the money is a thing of joy and a mission accomplished for the three concerned unions in the University: SSANU, the Non- Academic Staff Union of Universities and Associated Institutions (NASU) and the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT).

The Union leader attributed the eventual release of the money to the collective efforts of the three unions and the Vice Chancellors of the concerned universities including Prof. Sulyman Age Abdulkareem of the University of Ilorin.

The Bursar of the University of Ilorin, Mr. Saka Abiodun Yusuf, had earlier confirmed to Unilorin Bulletin last Tuesday that a sum of N207, 586,734 had been released to the University from the Accountant General of the Federation's Office for the payment of the earned allowance of the non-teaching staff of the University.

Mr. Yusuf said that the University management is making arrangements, in conjunction with the union leaders, to pay the money to the staff as soon as possible.

The Unilorin JAC Chairman commended the Vice Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Prof. Abdulkareem, for playing a vital role in the struggle for the release of the money, saying that the Vice-Chancellor had to travel to Abuja several times to ensure that the money was released by the Accountant General's Office.

"Last week Thursday (December 28, 2017) when we were holding a meeting with him, he got a telephone call from the Accountant General's Office that the money had been paid and he immediately passed the message to us. We commend him for that efforts and we hope when next we have a similar problem, he would come to our aid", Mr. Akanbi added.

Speaking on the modalities for the payment of the released money to the beneficiaries, the JAC Chairman disclosed that a committee, comprising members of the three unions and the management of the University, would  be set up, saying that the committee would come up with a sharing formula.

Mr. Akanbi hinted that the circular that followed the money indicated that the payment will capture July 2009 to December 2012, promising that the would-be beneficiaries would start receiving the alert between the end of this week and next week.

He added that during the cause of the struggle, the unions had been asked to compile the list of staff that fall in the category of 2013 to 2016 and submit them at the Accountant General's Office for consideration, adding that this had been done.

The Union leader said that the ongoing strike was not targeted at fighting the management of the University of Ilorin, adding that the struggle is between the Unions and the Federal Government.

"This struggle we are into is not between us and the management of the University of Ilorin, but between the unions and the Federal Government and until the government addresses the situation on ground, the strike continues. The payment has nothing to do with the ongoing strike.

The immediate past Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Technology, Prof. Y. A. Jimoh, has been described as an honest, humble, energetic mentor and father whose tenure brought tremendous progress and successes for the Faculty. 

The Dean of the Faculty, Prof. D. S. Ogunniyi, made this observation last Thursday (December 21, 2017) during a get-together organised by staff members of the Faculty in honour of Prof. Jimoh at the Unilorin Lake Side Resort.

Prof. Ogunniyi, who noted that one good turn deserves another, said that every member of the Faculty was a witness to the fact that the celebrant, during his period in office, rendered exemplary leadership to the Faculty and the University at large.

The Dean pointed out that it was during Prof. Jimoh's tenure that the Faculty won large grants including the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) grant that was used to build the gigantic Engineering Laboratory complex. 

Prof. Ogunniyi also appreciated the celebrant for the mature manner with which he handled the Faculty.

In his response, Prof. Jimoh acknowledged the support he received from every member of staff, especially the Sub-Deans, the Professors and other senior and junior staff members of the Faculty, which he said contributed immensely to the success e recorded.

The honoree also solicited the support and cooperation of the staff for the current Dean, saying that the success of that Faculty is the success of all members.

Prof. Jimoh said, "Success cannot be achieved by one person as well as failure. Nothing can be achieved without the cooperation of other people. I am happy because God has used all of you to make me a success story in the Faculty.

"I acknowledge the Sub-Deans because they were the workforce in the Faculty. They would always do any assignment to the best of their ability to the satisfaction of everyone. The Professors in the Faculty were also of great support with their honest pieces of advice. When people are honest with you, anything you do would always be successful. Without your cooperation, joyful acceptance of assignment and steadfastness in executing them, the story would not be the same today. 

"Please, the support and cooperation you gave me should be transferred to the current Dean because the success of that Faculty is the success of all of you, either you are an academic or non-academic member of the Faculty". 

In a goodwill message, the Vice-Chancellor of Crown-Hill University,who is a former Dean of the Faculty, Prof. J.A. Olorunmaye, expressed happiness that Prof. Jimoh, who took over from him as Dean, made a great success of his assignment.

Prof. Olorunmaye said he became happier and more successful because his successor has a very good successor himself. He then solicited the cooperation of all staff members for the current Dean to successfully pilot the affairs of the Faculty to the next level.

On his part, a former Sub-Dean of the Faculty, Dr K. R. Ajao, described the celebrant as a sincere, honest, transparent and very accountable individual who believe in justice and fairness to all.

On his part, Dr J. K. Odushote said that the former Dean was still able to mentor and supervise Master's and PhD students despite his appointment as the Dean of the Faculty. 

He opined that this feat is what other young staff of the Faculty should emulate, adding that holding an administrative position should not be a reason for one to abandon his primary assignment, which involves teaching and mentoring the young ones.

Other dignitaries on the occasion include Prof. Y. A. Adediran, Prof. B. F. Sule, Prof. A. G. F. Alabi, the Sub-Dean, Dr T. K. Ajiboye; Dr J. O. Olaoye, all the H.O.Ds of the Faculty, and other members of staff.

The Vice Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Prof. Sulyman Age Abdulkareem, has commended the officials of the SERVICOM Unit of the institution for putting in their best towards ensuring efficiency and productivity among the staff of the University.

Prof. Abdulkareem gave the commendation last Thursday (December 21, 2017) during the official launch and presentation of the new reflective jackets to the University Principal Officers and members of the SERVICOM Committee.  

The Vice-Chancellor, who was represented on the occasion by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Prof. N. Y. S. Ijaiya, said that the SERVICOM Unit has lived up to the expectation of the University management.

He said, “Our SERVICOM Committee members are very proactive and dedicated to their monitoring job towards ensuring absolute sanity in every unit of the University. They have been working round the clock to ensure that everybody is doing the right thing at the right time”.

Prof. Abdulkareem commended the leadership quality of the Chairman of the Unilorin SERVICOM Committee, Prof. A. Y. Abdulkareem, who is also the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Management Services) and other members of the committee for a job well done.

He explained that the establishment of SERVICOM by the Federal Government was never a misplaced priority, considering the vital roles it is playing in bringing about effectiveness for the attainment of overall common goal of an organisation within which it operates. 

The Vice-Chancellor said, “The role of SERVICOM is very important to the Federal Government and to the University of Ilorin. Their invaluable contributions to effective service delivery in all organisations are enormous and are worthwhile”.  

Earlier in his address, the Chairman, Unilorin SERVICOM Committee, Prof. A. Y. Abdulkareem, assured the University of the Committee's continued frantic effort towards the progress and development of the institution.

Also speaking on the occasion, a member of the committee, Dr (Mrs.) Foluke Aliyu-Ibrahim, thanked the management of the University of Ilorin for the assistance given to the committee at all times. She also expressed sincere appreciation to the University authority over the confidence reposed in them to serve the University in that capacity. 

The Centre for Ilorin Studies (CILS), University of Ilorin, has reconstituted its Central Working committee. The Committee is saddled with the responsibility of organising the various events hosted by the Centre. 

Inaugurating the reconstituted committee recently at the CILS Board Room, the Director of the Centre, who is also the Chairman of the committee, Dr. I. A. Jawondo, said that the committee consists of both old and new members that cut across the University community.

The committee members, who were drawn from both the academic, non-academic staff, the Ilorin Students Union and the Ilorin Emirate Development Progressive Union (IEDPU), were presented with letters of appointment.

They include Prof. B. O. Yusuf, Prof. A. S. AbdusSalam, Prof. Y. O. Imam, Dr. M. A. Adedimeji, Dr. A. L. Azeez, Dr. (Mrs.) S. S. Abdulbaqi, Dr. Muritala A. Tukur, Mallam I. M. Tijjani, Dr. (Mrs) A. I. Abdulkabir and Dr. A. B. Ambali.

Others are Mr L. A. Mukhtar, Mr. M. M. Abubakar, Mr. B. O. Atanlogun, Mrs. S. O. Akingbade, Mr. I. A. Sulaiman, Mr. A. I. Jimba, Mr. Abdulquadir Ridwan, Mr. Abdulrazaq Abdukodir, and a representative of the IEDPU. Mrs. T. Folorunsho will serve as the Committee's Secretary.

Dr. Jawondo charged the committee members to be punctual during meetings, alive to all responsibilities assigned to them and to make meaningful contributions to the development of the Centre. 

The appointments, which take immediate effect, are for a period of one year.

The University of Ilorin is blazing a trail in entrepreneurship education to ensure the production of graduates that would be job creators.

The Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Sulyman Abdulkareem, disclosed this at the University Auditorium last Tuesday (December 19, 2017) while declaring open a sensitisation workshop organised by the Unilorin Technical Entrepreneurship Centre (TEC) on the introduction of the practical skills acquisition course (GSE301) for 300 level  students of the University.

Prof. Abdulkareem, who spoke through the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Management Services), Prof. Adedayo Abdulkareem, said, “I am indeed happy that this workshop is holding to finalise the mode of delivery of the practical skills acquisition course for the 300 level students. This is the best way to proceed to ensure a seamless and objective driven delivery of the course for the ultimate benefits of the students, the community and Nigeria at large”.  

  The Vice-Chancellor said, “When the NUC enforced entrepreneurship education for all universities, the University of Ilorin Senate sought to strengthen the existing course at TEC. The Senate subsequently in 2014 approved the introduction of practical skills acquisition aspect to ensure that vocational skills are properly gained during the university education of the students here in the better by far campus. The course, hitherto, has been a 3 units single course”, he added. 

 He said that the University is adding a twin training room complex to the existing building at the Technical and Entrepreneurship Centre.  

Prof. Abdulkareem added, “The University has identified the need to have an integrated entrepreneurship centre with as many thriving skills as possible with facilities for effective training of students and volunteer trainers among staff and members of our immediate community apart from generating revenue for the University from the sales of the items produced.

  To boost the Centre's activities, the Vice-Chancellor disclosed that another set of equipment, funded by TETFund, will soon be delivered, adding that it would further enhance the University's effort at creating new daily services and training at the Centre.

 He said, “These new skill areas include Photography and Events Management, Snail Breeding, Repair of Radio, Computers, and Watches, and additional equipment to complement the existing ones on Fashion, Bags, Leather Works, Household Consumables, Detergents, Shampoos, and Aquaculture skills.

Prof. Abdulkareem expressed happiness that the workshop was holding to finalise the mode of delivery of the practical skills acquisition course for the 300 level students. “This”, according to him, “is the best way to proceed to ensure a seamless and objective driven delivery of the course for the ultimate benefits of the students, the community and Nigeria at large”.

Earlier in his welcome address, the Director of the Centre, Dr. Is'haq Funsho Abdul, said that the task of delivering the GNS 301 calls for sound preparation to secure the programme and give the students value for their money and time. 

Dr. Abdul said, “More importantly, the students should gain enough experience within the short period of a semester to become self sufficient and capable of earning some income from the skills learnt if they so choose to be self-employed after graduation”.

The Director said that the workshop would afford participants an opportunity to refresh their memories on entrepreneurship education, gain insight on how and best ways to deliver hands-on vocational training, prepare their own learning guides and possibly manuals as well as methods of assessing the students at the end of the semester.

While presenting his paper titled “Entrepreneurship Education”, the Chief Executive Officer of D-Positive Change, Mr. Nasir Abdulquadri, said that for entrepreneurship education to be successful, participants must “consider  and give extraordinary time to thinking and approaches to our extraordinary economic problems”.

Mr. Abdulquadri stressed that “our educational system must be totally overhauled and made 21st century compliant”, saying, “We cannot continue to churn out graduates into 21st century economy with 19th/20th century educational curriculum”.

According to the Guest Speaker, “The employee mind set approach of our educational system must be changed to at least entrepreneurship mind set approach and we should realize that the compulsory entrepreneurship center in each higher institution is never enough to cater for thousands of our undergraduate students, hence the domiciliation of peculiar entrepreneurship education into each course of study”.

With the 2018 budget currently undergoing legislative vetting at the National Assembly, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Prof. Sulyman Age Abdulkareem, has urged the Federal Government to place more emphasis on education and channel more funds to the sector.

Prof. Abdulkareem, who made the call in an interview with The Punch newspaper last Thursday (December 21, 2017), opined that the government “should generally support what will be the future of the nation by securing more facilities that will encourage people in every aspect of education to do their jobs well.

The Vice-Chancellor, who stressed the need for rapid infrastructural development in the nation's school system, pointed out that “if you go to most science or engineering related Faculties or Departments in our nation's tertiary institutions, you will see that they are a caricature of what they used to be”. 

He recalled that during his secondary school days, the laboratories were well-equipped, lamenting, however, that “if you go there now, people have to buy even the solvent that they need to carry out simple experiments”.

Prof. Abdulkareem said that this situation does not speak well of the nation or  its university system, stressing that “more efforts should be geared towards getting things done right so that students can benefit from their four or five years’ stay in the university”.

According to the Vice-Chancellor, “We cannot continue to run a sub-standard education system and think of producing geniuses or very bright students; it is difficult. Things must be done right”.

Prof. Abdulkareem, who also spoke on the challenges of energy, especially power supply, observed that “even though the government has been struggling to get the power issue right, it has been difficult all along”.

He, therefore, urged the government to “seriously look into this challenge with a view to finding a lasting solution to it and work towards providing regular, steady and reliable electricity.

The Vice-Chancellor expressed the belief that the development of the economy and infrastructure, like good roads, are also areas of concern, saying, “These are the areas where the development of the nation will come from. 

On the issue of roads, Prof. Abdulkareem advised the government to “look for ingenuous ways of tackling our peculiar road related problems rather than looking for solutions from abroad”.

The Vice-Chancellor also harped on the issue of security, describing it as the “primary responsibility of any government”.

A Professor of Arabic at the University of Ilorin,  Abdulrasaq Deremi Abubakre, has said that the nation's education system is not as bad as being portrayed in most current public discourses.

Prof. Abubakre, who made this observation last Tuesday (December 12, 2017) while featuring on 'Oro t'onlo', a weekly current affairs programme on Unilorin FM 89.3, explained that the fact that universities in Europe, Asia and other parts of the world admit graduates of Nigerian Universities in droves for their Master's and Doctorate degrees is a great pointer to the quality of our graduates.

The erudite scholar, however, noted that the quality of education could be further improved if governments at all levels commit at least one quarter of their annual budgets to the education sector.

Prof Abubakre, who is a former Vice-Chancellor of Al-Hikmah University, Ilorin, lamented the neglect of the nation's educational sector by the government, saying that the sector remains one of the major sources of Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) in countries like the United Kingdom.  

The foremost Arabic scholar, who is also the Federal Commissioner, Public Complaints Commission, Osun State, expressed optimism that Nigeria has the chance of reclaiming its status as the Giant of Africa if the government is serious about improving the nation's educational sector to attract more foreigners as it was some years back.

Prof. Abubakre recommended the establishment of more public universities in the country to enhance the chances of the teeming admission seekers that patronise the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) every year.

On the controversial earned allowance currently causing ripples in universities all over the country, Prof. Abubakre frowned at the action of the Federal Government in sidelining the University of Ilorin Chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU). 

The don said that all unions in the University of Ilorin deserve preferential treatment for maintaining uninterrupted academic calendar for more than 17 years now. He said it is saddening to hear that the unions in the institution were sidelined despite their selflessness and commitment to the advancement of the nation's education sector.