The Registrar of the University of Ilorin, Mr. Emmanuel Dada Obafemi, has lamented the spiral consequences of corruption on the nation's economy, saying that corruption-induced service failure has created instability in the education sector.

Mr. Obafemi, who  made this known while delivering a keynote address at the inauguration of the University SERVICOM Frontline Officers last Thursday (February 27, 2014), stressed that service failure has created unstable educational environment such as strikes, cultism, brain drain, student unrest and examination malpractices, adding that corruption has destroyed our sense of probity, accountability and transparency in public life.

The Registrar, who was represented by the Deputy Registrar (Academic), Mrs. R. A. Okojie,  further stressed that “inefficiency, services dissatisfaction, dishonesty and all sorts of vices which are bye-products of corruption continue to be the biggest obstacle to national development.”

Noting that universities are multi-purpose complex organisations devoted to knowledge generation, transmission, application of knowledge and public service, the Registrar explained that the sector is the “number one engine for sustainable development, driving all other so-called critical sectors.”

Mr. Obafemi pointed out that univeristies were established to meet certain goals that are of critical importance to the survival of the society, stressing that the negative scenarios should be a matter of concern to  stakeholders in the education sector.

The Registrar called on public officers to be wary of  what he called “red flags” such as unnecessary delays in decision-making and actions, and processes that allow so much face-to-face-contact, especially when it involves decisions that confer immense economic benefits to the beneficiaries.

Other red flags, according to him, are situations where there is insufficient funding for commitments; availability of unexplained wealth and affluent lifestyle among personnel of an organisation, especially those officers involved in particular procedures that allow interface with the public; difficulty in obtaining information on the operations of the system and systems that create abuses or disregard for its own rules, usually with poor and inefficient monitoring and policing mechanisms.

The Registrar told the Frontline Officers, “You must be a person of absolute integrity; you should be ready and willing to speak the truth always. You must be very vigilant and be very conversant with extant rules and regulations governing your organizations. You must be courageous and determined to expose service failure and corrupt acts and their perpetrators irrespective of their ranks and status.”

In his welcome address, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. AbdulGaniyu Ambali, noted that the SERVICOM has the mandate of ensuring that all aspects of the life of the University meet global best practices with emphasis on processes, procedures, timeliness and standards.

Prof. Ambali, who was represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Management Services) Prof. Yisa Fakunle, said, “With today`s inauguration, it is reassuring that the unit is already making more impact in creating awareness and satisfaction in ensuring quality service delivery in various service windows of the University.” The Vice-Chancellor pointed out that the SERVICOM Unit must have the capacity to respond to service failure as quickly and as fairly as possible, as well as to continuously bring up new ways of solving national challenges. 

Prof. Ambali  said, “At the University of Ilorin, we are always striving to meet the needs of the community that we serve, which is not just a national, but a global community. And we fully believe that the customer is king. Therefore, anyone who is dissatisfied with our services, on account of bureaucracy, sloppiness or otherwise, has a responsibility to lay his or her complaint with our SERVICOM Unit so that we can do what we do better.”

The Vice-Chancellor thereafter inaugurated the 21 new Frontline Officers, and charged them to be of good conduct and ensure that the University becomes international centre of excellence.

The Officers were selected from different Units and Departments of the University.

A Professor of Medicine at the Faculty of Clinical Sciences, University of Ilorin, Emmanuel Obi Okoro, has raised the alarm over the preponderance of High Blood Pressure (HBD), otherwise known as hypertension, and diabetes in the country.

Delivering the 143rd Inaugural Lecture of the University last Thursday (February 27, 2014), Prof. Okoro  disclosed that data from different regions of the country  indicated that the two non-communicable diseases may have overtaken infectious diseases, such as malaria and HIV/AIDS, as leading causes of hospitalisation and untimely deaths in Nigeria.

In the lecture, entitled “Towards Better Prevention/Control of Hypertension and Diabetes”, the physician said, “Specifically,  the ever   rising   incidence of  HBP and DM2   is now approaching epidemic  proportions.”

Prof. Okoro lamented that Nigerians die unnecessarily from these ailments because of   high treatment cost and poor quality healthcare delivery system in the country. He advised Nigerians to exercise and eat more of traditional staples with local herbs to avert hypertension and diabetes, saying that adopting such lifestyle is effective in increasing life expectancy even  for those who  are genetically susceptible to the diseases.

The don disclosed that if untreated or mismanaged, diabetes can lead to blindness, kidney failure, amputation, stroke and untimely death and when diabetes and High Blood Pressure manifest simultaneously in the same person, these risks become amplified.

At the well-attended lecture, the Professor of Medicine called on consumer protection agencies, regulatory authorities, civil societies, the media and religious organisations in the country to unite in demanding a better and more affordable healthcare for all Nigerians.

The don said, "Better utilisation of resources can lower cost and improve quality. Surprisingly, Nigerians generally contribute more to treatment costs than those living overseas.   For example, in Germany, with an  average  GDP per capita  of  about $42,230 almost everyone has social health coverage with  no household paying  more  than 10% of health care  cost.  This is not so in Nigeria, where the GDP per capita is only $2, 450, and social health coverage   remains below 10 %   and users   pay 70-90%   of total treatment cost at point of use.”

While assessing the state of teaching hospitals in the country, Prof. Okoro  submitted that although the Nigerian university system has a rich tradition of high quality scholarship dedicated to finding home-grown solutions for health needs, University  hospitals in Nigeria  operate more  as general and specialist hospitals  or as Federal Medical Centres which have mandate   to carry out routine  general/specialist practice rather than  as academic  centres with a mandate of    constantly finding  new ways through research  to deliver  the best  possible healthcare.

The don added that the situation of the teaching hospitals is such that it puts extra financial burden on poor patients who sometimes have to pay for more tests than they need without the necessary government subsidy on health services provided.

Prof. Okoro noted that operating  the university teaching hospitals like specialist and general hospitals can undermine their capacity  to function as  Research & Development  centres   regardless of whether they are equipped with the state-of the arts medical technology of international standard or not.

In its characteristic drive for excellence, the University of Ilorin put up a brilliant performance at the just concluded Nigeria University Games Association (NUGA) Games at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, winning a total of 23 medals.

Team Unilorin, made up of 76 athletes, won four Gold medals, three Silver medals and 16 Bronze medals to pick the 8th position out of the 62 universities across the country that participated in the 24th edition of the inter-university sports competition. The inter-university games took place between February 12 and 22, 2014.

The University of Port Harcourt, with 63 Gold medals, 41 Silver medals and 16 Bronze medals, won the 1st position while the University of Lagos, with 13 Gold medals, 10 Silver medals and seven Bronze medals came 2nd. The host, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, took the 3rd position with 12 Gold medals, nine Silver medals and 15 Bronze medals.

Giving a breakdown of Team Unilorin's medal haul in a chat with Unilorin Bulletin last Thursday (February 27, 2014), the University Director of Sports, Prof. A. A. Adesoye, said that the team won one Gold medal each in Badminton, Taekwondo, Athletics and Chess while it also won one Silver medal each in Badminton, Taekwondo and Squash.

The 16 Bronze medals won by Team Unilorin were distributed as follows: Badminton, six; Athletics, four; Squash, two; and Swimming, three.

The Director noted that the fact that this year's edition of NUGA Games coincided with the Harmattan Semester examination period at the University of Ilorin somehow affected the Team Unilorin's preparation for the competition.

Prof. Adesoye commended the University management for giving adequate support to the team before and during the competition.

Apart from the 76 athletes, other members of the University of Ilorin contingent included nine coaches and six officials.

The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Prof. AbdulGaniyu Ambali, will this Tuesday (March 4, 2014) inaugurate the University's Advancement Promotion Committee (APC) at the University Auditorium.

Members of the Committee, which is headed by the Director of Advancement and Alumni Relations, Prof. Kolade Joseph, include the Director, Centre for International Education (CIE), Prof. O.A. Mokuolu; the Director, Centre for Research, Development and In-House Training (CREDIT), Prof. (Mrs.) A. T. Oladiji; the Director, Consultancy Services, Prof D.S. Ogunniyi; the Director of Works, Engr. M. S. Sanni; the Director, Physical Planning Unit, Engr. A. Adesiyun; the Director, Legal Services, Mr. Dare Akanbi, and the Deputy Director, Corporate Affairs, Mr. Kunle Akogun.

In a chat with Unilorin Bulletin last Wednesday (February 25, 2014), Prof. Joseph disclosed that the Advancement Promotion Committee (APC) “will meet periodically to identify and prioritise the needs of the University; collaborate, strategise and reach out to prospective donors; document all donations in kind or cash and coordinate same; identify business or investment opportunities with private sector operators; build capacity of  the University to tap into existing goodwill it had created over the years; identify research output that can be commercialised and recommend its patenting; organise reunion activities for Alumni of the University; organise seminars and workshops to sensitise the University community on Advancement issues and more.”

 Explaining the key functions of the Committee, the APC Chairman explained that “Education Advancement concept is a profession devoted to the strategic and integrated management of long-term relationships to increase educational support from key constituents who can influence the ability of the institution to fulfill its mission and achieve its vision”.

Prof. Joseph said, “Advancement is about generation of funds and resources for the achievement of goals of the University. The aim is to assist the proprietor, in this case the Federal Government, to raise funds for the teaching, learning, research and community service mandate of the University of Ilorin.

Prof. Joseph stressed that “the existing practice where Units, Departments and even Faculties secure donations, endowments and gifts in cash or kind in the name of the University without recourse to the Advancement Office even for information and documentation  purposes is hurting the goodwill that this University had labored to build for decades”, adding that the situation should stop.

“Instead, we are looking at a situation where the APC, after inauguration,  will serve as a good organ to monitor and keep records of such activities and document them using the Advancement Office for continuous follow-up, effective coordination and better relationship management”, the Director added.

The Dean of Student Affairs, University of Ilorin, Prof .O. A. Omotesho, has been appointed into the Interim Governance Board of the Pan African University's Life and Earth Science Institute (PAULESI) at the University of Ibadan.

The letter of appointment, signed by the Ag. Director of the Institute, Prof. Abatan Mattew, a copy of which was made available to Unilorin Bulletin, disclosed that Prof. Omotesho's appointment has been approved by the Commissioner of the Department of Human Resources, Science and Technology of the African Union Commission. The letter added that as a member of the Governance Board, the Professor of Agriculture is expected to use his “distinguished expertise to participate in making far reaching academic and administrative decisions to ensure the smooth and excellent operations of the Institute.”

The Pan African University (PAU) is a continental initiative of the African Union with five institutes in each of the sub regions of Africa. These are: PAULESI, Ibadan, Nigeria; the Basic Sciences Institute of Innovation and Technology, Kenya; the Institute of Governance, Humanities and Social Sciences, Cameroon; the Water and Energy Sciences Institute, Algeria; and the Space Science Institute, Southern Africa.

As part of measures aimed at addressing the challenges of graduate unemployment in the country, the Postgraduate School of the University of Ilorin is organising a symposium on “Curriculum Development and National Needs Assessment.”

The symposium, which aims at ensuring that the “curriculum and research priorities of the University of Ilorin are relevant to national development and the needs of the job market”, will take place this Tuesday (March 4, 2014) at the University Auditorium.

According to the Dean, Postgraduate School, Prof. Clement Bewaji, the symposium, which is expected to start at 10.00a.m., is “one way of creating jobs for our students when they graduate since their training will make them immediately employable”, as key industrialists in Kwara State would be on hand to communicate their expectations from the students.

Prof. Bewaji disclosed that the symposium panel will comprise key industrialists, including the Managing Directors of Tuyil Pharmaceutical Industries Nigeria Limited, Ilorin; KAM Industries Nigeria Limited, Ilorin; LUBCON Nigeria Limited, Ilorin; and Dangote Flour Mills Limited, Ilorin as well as the Dean, Faculty of Education, University of Ilorin, Prof. A. S. Olorundare. It will be moderated by the Proprietor, Ola-Olu Hospital, Ilorin, Dr. S. O. Oloruntoba.

In a chat with Unilorin Bulletin, the Dean explained that the Postgraduate School has tried to solve graduate unemployment by introducing entrepreneurship programmes, which teach people how to become job creators rather than job seekers.

Prof. Bewaji, who disclosed that the symposium is the first of its kind to be organised by the Postgraduate School, said that it would also serve as an evaluation to know “what we are doing now that we are not doing well and how we can train our students so that they can fit into the job market when they finish. As Dean of Postgraduate School, I am interested in how to influence our products so that they can make an impact on the society.”

Two teams from the University of Ilorin have won the 1st and 3rd positions at the First Open Data Research Group (ODDC) Hackathon open competition organised to celebrate the World Hack Day.

The event, which took place penultimate Saturday (February 22, 2014), was organised by the Unilorin Open Data Research Group (ODDC) in collaboration with BudgIT Nigeria.

The Unilorin winning team, comprising Mr. Lai Bello of the Department of Information and Communication Sciences; Akinwale Victor of the Computer Science Department; Tolayemi Oluwatoyosi, and Umar Ismail of the Department of Information and Communication Sciences, clinched the first prize with its entry, which is an Application on Visual Budgeting. The prize was supported with a cash award of N30,000.00.

The second Unilorin team, comprising Mr. S. A. Sanni, Oke John; Peter Makafan and Nosu Obaseki, all from the Computer Science Department, clinched the 3rd position with cash award of  N10.000.00., while the team from Al-Hikmah University, Ilorin, took the 2nd position with a cash award of N20,000.00.

Other participants in the 4th , 5th , 6th , 7th and 8th positions are Paramount Computers,  Adewale from the University of Ilorin (Adewale); Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH)(Justice), Ogbomoso; Ladoke Akintola University of Technology(LAUTECH),Ogbomoso (Tayo) and  Kwara State University (KWASU), Malete, respectively. Each of them got cash rewards of  N5,000.00 each.

Declaring the event open earlier, the Chairman of the occasion and the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Prof. AbdulGaniyu Ambali, said that the competition was the first of its kind in the Nigerian university system.

Prof. Ambali, who was represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Management Services), Prof. Y. M. Fakunle, described hacking as looking at a set of data and making it easily accessible to people who are not experts in the field.

The Vice-Chancellor said that the University is very proud to partner BudgIT Nigeria, because the University always likes to engage with community in terms of innovation and knowledge sharing.

In his remarks, the Operation Manager, BudgIT, Nigeria, Mr. Stanley Achonu, described 'Hackthon' as “a value of communication that can be used as basis for reasoning, discussion or calculation. This is a collection of facts from which conclusions can be drawn.”

In her welcome address, the Project Leader, ODDC Research team, University of Ilorin, Dr. (Mrs.) O. V. Mejabi, said, “The word "hackathon" consists of the words "marathon" and "hackers", joined together to define an event where teams of participants gather in the same physical or virtual space to collaboratively develop applications in a short time.

Dr. Mejabi added, “A hackathon is also known as a hack day, hackfest or codefest and today is the 2014 International Open Data HackDay. In the context of today's event, the hack day centres around the budget data of Nigeria, which is available to the public on the website of the Budget Office of Nigeria – and as such, is open data”.

She stressed that,“To help us with ideas of how and what types of applications can be developed during a data hack event such as this, BudgIT Nigeria, an NGO based in Lagos, has gladly sent five (5) of their staff to be with us. BudgIT was the winner of the 2013 Lagos Data Hack Event with the prize money of N300,000”.

Dr. Mejabi added that “We are particularly grateful to the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Prof. AbdulGaniyu Ambali, for augmenting support for this event and especially for asking our amiable DVC (Management Services), Prof. Y. M. Fakunle to be the Chairman of this opening ceremony.”

She said that the ODDC is a research project funded by the World Wide Web Foundation, adding that the University of Ilorin Open Data Research Group is working on the Use of the Online National Budget of Nigeria, as one of the case studies of the ODDC project, which is supported by grant 107075 from Canada's International Development Research Centre (IDRC).

The project leader said that the Unilorin ODDC  research team has the benefit of a World Wide Web Foundation appointed Peer Supporter , Dr. Maurice McNaughton, Director, Centre of Excellence, Mona School of Business and Management and the University of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica who, she said, would be visiting the University in April.

Other dignitaries at the event were the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (RTI), Prof. F. A. Oladele; the Dean, Communication and Information Sciences (CIS), Prof. J. S. Sadiku; the Dean, Physical Sciences, Prof. B. L. Adeleke; the Dean of Engineering, Prof. Y. A. Jimoh, the Deputy Registrar (Academic Support Services), Mrs. R. A. Okojie; the Head, Department of Telecommunications, Dr. A. A. Ayeni; the Co-Investigator, Unilorin ODDC, Dr. L. A. Azeez; Mr. O. A. Laaro of Mass Communication Department and Mrs. R. A. Oyekunle of Information and Communication Sciences Department.