The President of the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), Prof. Adesola Aderounmu, has called on the Federal Government to raise modern manpower that could sustainably drive the nation's economy.

Prof. Aderounmu made the call last Wednesday (April 18, 2018) while giving the Keynote Address at the first International Conference on ICT for National Development and its Sustainability organised by the Faculty of Communication and Information Sciences, University of  Ilorin, to mark its 10th anniversary.

In his lecture, entitled “Leveraging ICT for National Development and its Sustainability”, the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) Professor of Computer Science lamented that the country's economy has not fully embraced technology as its driving force.

Prof. Aderounmu said that nearly 90% of technologies used in Nigeria are imported despite the huge knowledge infrastructure of 162 legally recognized universities, 125 polytechnics and more than 500 agencies. 

The NCS President said, “It is sad that after 58 years of independence, Nigeria had failed to come up with neither a globally recognized company nor product originating from Nigerian indigenous technology because the national economy had not been technology-driven”.

Prof. Aderounmu then called on the Federal Government to develop the Information Technology Industry through research centres, technology parks and incubators, provision of reliable and affordable infrastructure and provision of fiscal incentives for indigenous software developers.

He further suggested that the government could develop the sector through the creation of a special fund to assist start-up businesses as well as grow existing developers, enactment of a law that mandates MDAs to patronize indigenous software while mandating the immediate implementation of the approved Scheme of service for IT professionals.

While recommending that priority should be given to registered IT professional in the award of IT contracts in the country, Prof. Aderounmu equally tasked the academia to promote productive collaborations and partnerships both internal and external and create learning opportunities for the students.

He said, “The system of mentoring, apprenticeship and tutelage, which existed in the past should be re-introduced and strengthened. Split-site arrangements should be encouraged to enable young researchers to be acquainted with new trends, globally. Spend a considerable portion of its yearly budget on global promotion activities”

While declaring the conference open earlier, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Prof. Sulyman Age Abdulkareem, assured the participants that the University would do everything possible to ensure conferences are successfully held in the institution.

He submitted that conferences are crucial to the students' development and growth as it gives them exposure and cross-fertilization of ideas, adding that students should be invited in large numbers to attend conferences.

Prof. Abdulkareem revealed that discussion is ongoing to mobilize the Faculty leaders and talented students to work together to house the University's ICT incubation room so that the entire University processes could be automated.

He also disclosed that facilities required improving ICT research activities for staff and postgraduate students have been identified. 

In his welcome address, the Ag. Dean of the Faculty of Communication and Information Sciences, Dr. Rasheed Gbenga Jimoh, explained that the conference received over 100 articles from over 41 different academic institutions nationally and abroad cutting across computing, library and information science, telecommunication science, mass communication and media technology, information and cyber security and information technology.

Dr. Jimoh said that a major hindrance to national policy implementation is lack of full integration of ICT, which he submitted, has prevented the nation from being able to retrieve vital information for effective decision making.

The Dean said, “The Faculty under my leadership is therefore committed to doing everything possible to assist the University to realize her dream of becoming a citadel of learning to be reckoned with globally with full integration of  ICT”.

Awards were later presented to some distinguished Nigerians for outstanding services. Notable among the recipients were former Vice-Chancellors of the University, Prof. Shuaibu Oba Abdulraheem (OFR), Prof. Is-haq O. Oloyede (OFR), and Prof. AbdulGaniyu Ambali (OON); as well as the incumbent Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Sulyman Age Abdulkareem' the Aragbiji of Iragbiji, Osun State, HRM Oba Abdur-Rasheed Ayotunde Olabomi. 

Former Deans of the Faculty of Communication and Information Sciences, Dr. Omenogo Mejabi, Prof. Lenrie Aina and Prof. Joseph Sadiku; as well as the pioneer Head of the Department of Mass Communication, late Nureni Doyin Mahmoud were also awarded at the Gala Night that marked the end of the conference.

The Director of the General Studies Division (GNS), University of Ilorin, Prof. Abdulwahab Olasupo Egbewole, has disclosed the Unit's plan to organize public lectures for students, especially for those in final year, in order to prepare them for life after graduation, saying “it is not enough to be book-smart, students need to also be street-wise”. 

Prof. Egbewole, who disclosed this last Thursday (April 12, 2018) during the send-forth for two of the Division's retired staff, stated that the 1st public lecture will hold next month and a successful Alumnus of the institution will be invited to talk to the students in order to motivate them to aim higher.

The Professor of Jurisprudence and International Law said, “Because it is our mandate to prepare all-round students, it is our hope that these students realise that apart from being a lawyer or whatever professional, they must be street wise, they must know what it takes to be successful in a society like Nigeria and they must learn how to survive in an environment as harsh as Nigeria.”

Appreciating the retirees for their selfless years of service to the Unit and the University at large, the Director described Mr Raifu Babatunde Opoola, who retired as a Senior Secretarial Assistant I, as the encyclopaedia of the Unit because “he started his journey in the University in 1978 in this Division and he is also retiring from GNS. Whatever it is we want to know, we pick from his wealth of experience as he has served all the Directors that have been here.”

Prof. Egbewole also noted that Mr. Lamidi Aliu, who retired as a driver, has been very reliable and useful to the Unit, adding that since he joined the University in 1992, the retiree has served almost seven Directors in the Unit.

While appreciating the retirees, as well as other staff for their cooperation, the Director stated that “all through the non-academic staff strike, the GNS office was open everyday because apart from the Student Affairs Unit, our department interacts with the highest number of students. Therefore, we cannot afford to be like any other unit. The unit also celebrates everybody. As we do for Directors, we do for those below because we are supposed to be models for other institutions.” 

Recalling how Mr. Opoola was preparing for his retirement 5 years ago before the retirement age was extended by 5 years, the Dean of Communication and Information Science, Dr. R. A. Jimoh, noted the retiree has a good disposition not only to work but to people, adding that he is certain the whole University will miss Mr. Lamidi because of his lively and jovial nature. The Secretary of GNS, Mrs Amusa, noted that she will miss Mr Opoola for always praying with her and encouraging her, while, Mr Lamidi will be missed for his very jovial and accommodating nature.

Other staff of GNS also sang praises of Mr. Opoola as being very generous, always ready to give, friendly, do not look down on other staff because he is older, work well with people and always ready to cheer them up.

Responding, the retirees appreciated the Director, as well as all staff in the Unit for honouring them and also pledged to remain in contact with those they are leaving behind.

The Registrar of the University of Ilorin and retired FIFA-badged referee, Mr. Emmanuel Dada Obafemi, has described the appointment of Unilorin Medical graduate, Dr. Ayodeji Olarinoye, as FIFA Doping Control Officer as a “heart-warming news” to him.

Pointing out that the University is proud of its product, Mr. Obafemi said, “We thank God in this University that one of us is making waves in the field of sport on the world stage”.

The Registrar, who was one of the Veteran Recipients at the 2016 Federation Cup Grand Finale, said, ''Dr Olarinoye has always been in sport even when he was doing his MBBS here and it is so heart-warming to some of us that know him that      after attending some courses, FIFA now appointed him.

Dr Olarinoye, a former Team Doctor of Golden Eaglets - Nigeria's U-17 football team, will join the network of FIFA medical officers charged with the responsibility of ensuring safe and healthy participation in football after attending several FIFA anti-doping trainings.  

On the decision of the world football governing body, FIFA to deploy the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system at the World Cup in Russia, Mr. Obafemi, who is also a Referee Instructor, observed that the system ''may be a good one'' as questionable decisions will no longer destroy a game. 

He, however, expressed his reservation, saying that the VAR may ''dampen the morale of a referee if his decisions are upturned by the VAR during the course of a game. But before the game, it is expected to make the referee to be at his best so that none of his decisions will be upturned by the VAR.''

According to the International Football Association Board (IFAB) protocols, VAR should only be used in four key cases: goals, penalties, direct red cards and mistaken identity. However, the VAR is the only person who can decide to get involved as the referee cannot ask them for help.

On the participation of the African Teams (Egypt, Nigeria, Morocco, Senegal and Tunisia at the World Cup which starts in June, Obafemi said "I don't forecast because I'm a referee. The Countries that have qualified are the best. So we expect our best to compete with the best from other continents. The game of football is not a guess game. It is an eleven-eleven game."

He observed that the development of African football has been "particularly good by the day with Ahmad as CAF President".

According to him, the new President of Confederation of African Football, Mr. Ahmad Ahmad has taken some steps making football development in Africa to improve greatly.

The outgoing Registrar of the University, who also doubles as the Chairman of Association of Registrars of Nigerian Universities (ARNU), however expressed shock that “with two months to the World Cup, the Coach of the Super Eagles is still shopping for Number 1 Goalkeeper for the Team".

A former Minister of External Affairs, Prof. Ibrahim Agboola Gambari, has called on the Federal Government to devote more resources to tackling non-military threats to the security of the country, such as poverty, political exclusion, marginalisation, and youth unemployment. 

Prof. Gambari, who made the call last Monday (April 9, 2018) while speaking at the 4th Biennial National Conference of the Centre for Ilorin Studies (CILS), University of Ilorin, lamented that “in our approach to addressing the challenges of security, we tend to address only one aspect -- the military and physical threat to security -- and that is why we deploy the security forces all over Nigeria doing what is essentially community policing duties that traditional rulers and authorities ought to be addressing”.

In his Chairman's remarks at the Conference, themed “Human Security and the Survival of Cultural Heritage of Ilorin Emirate and its Environs”, the diplomat said it has become imperative for the Government to look at insecurity in the land from a multi-dimensional perspective, saying, the future remains bleak unless concerted efforts are made to urgently tackle the challenge of human development capital confronting the country. 

Prof. Gambari, who is also the Chancellor of the Kwara State University, Malete, explained that “a country can be physically secured but the people will be totally and completely insecure”, saying that there is a difference between physical security and human security.

The diplomat noted that almost 104 years ago, the British colonial masters created Nigeria “for their own purposes not for ours”, pointing out that, “now, we have to make the Nigeria that we want, the Nigeria of our dreams so that it is not just a mere geographic expression but the community of peoples sharing broadly, common values and aspirations and working to produce a united, peaceful, prosperous and just nation.”

According to him, “That is what is called nation-building and if you don't build the nation, others will destroy it for you”.

Prof. Gambari said, “The choice is clear; either we work together to build our nation or we give room to those who will destroy the nation and that is why those of us who have travelled far and wide, we know that Nigeria is not where it should be and it is not near where it can be.”

Pointing out that nations like Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea, and Taiwan that were at par with Nigeria at independence had overtaken our country, the international scholar advocated structural, policy and attitudinal changes in order to move the country forward. 

Prof. Gambari said, “We should spend less money on equipping our military and security services. Yes, they need to be equipped to fight physical threats and security, but they (Government) should spend more resources on prevention because if you don't prevent, you will keep busy on just the firefighting approach…prevention is better than cure and it is much cheaper …let's not continue to make the same mistake and think that this terrorism is not happening here. It is happening and in order to do prevention and address the root causes of conflicts, we have to address the vulnerability factors such as poverty, weak institutions of governance, political exclusion of key segments of the population, ethnic/religious tension, economic marginalisation and above all youth unemployment. When you have massive youth unemployment, you are creating a pool from which bad people will go and pick people to go and do very bad things”. 

Similarly, the Lead Paper Presenter at the Conference, Prof. Olutayo Adesina, who is a historian and the Director of the Centre for General Studies, University of Ibadan, lamented the eroding of traditional values and culture among young Nigerians, a development which he noted, is responsible for the pervading societal ills. 

Prof. Adesina pointed out that “the problem is that we don't value what we have any longer”, asking rhetorically, “Why is it that we are trying to develop or move forward based on the cultural values of different people? If we do not stop that, we are not going to make any progress”.

Highlights of the event which was declared open by the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Prof. Sulyman Age Abdulkareem, was the presentation of the book “The Socio-Economic Development of Ilorin Emirate since the 20th century”.

Reviewing the book, the immediate past Director of the Centre for Peace and Strategic Studies, University of Ilorin, Dr. Mahfouz Adedimeji, described the 453-page book, edited by Professors Z.I. Oseni, A.S. Abdulsalam, B.L. Yusuf and Dr. I. A. Jawondo, as “a rich addition to the growing body of literature on Ilorin Emirate”. He noted that it is a book to be “read with diligence and attention”, having met “the criteria by which good books are determined.” 

Earlier in his address, the Director of CILS, Dr. I. A. Jawondo, noted that the Centre was committed to the study of the Ilorin Emirate and its environs. He said that it is “the tradition of Ilorin not to pretend when burning issues are at stake” in particular, insecurity, noting that, the Conference is an attempt to proffer solutions to these societal problems as well as the Centre's contribution towards maintaining peace and sustaining harmony in Kwara State.

The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Prof Sulyman Age Abdulkareem, has expressed his appreciation to members of the institution's branch of the Non Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU) for their contributions to the progress and development of the University.

Prof. Abdulkareem said this penultimate Thursday (April 5, 2018) at the 2017 NASU Day held at the University  Auditorium. 

Represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research, Technology and Innovation), Prof. Gabriel Olatunji, the Vice-Chancellor, told the unionists that he is always favourably disposed to their needs, saying that it is not in his character not to grant requests he has power to grant”. 

In his own address at the event, the Registrar of the University of Ilorin, Mr. Emmanuel Obafemi, commended the leadership of NASU for maintaining its annual programme and urged the union to build or acquire a secretariat where it can hold events and its members can interact informally.

Mr. Obafemi also congratulated the retirees for being alive to witness the important event and disclosed that he will also retire at the end of the month as he urged the retirees to look forward to an interesting life after retirement.

The Registrar urged the NASU members that are still in service to put in their best.

Earlier in his welcome address, the Chairman of the University of Ilorin Branch of NASU, Mr S. H. Ibrahim, highlighted the achievements of the Union in the last one year, which include alleviating financial challenges of some union members, conducting free eye tests for some members, signing of Memorandum of Understanding with the University on the construction of Hostel, part-payment of Earned Allowance, reinstatement of disengaged Staff School teachers and the election of Mrs. Adeola Oyedepo into the Kwara State Branch of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).

Highlights of the event included presentation of cheques for financial assistance to 25 retiring members of NASU and to family members of 10 deceased members, as well as presentation of a special award to the immediate past Chairperson of the Union, Mrs. O. F. Adeshina, who is now an academic staff.

Among the dignitaries that graced the occasion were the veteran NASU leader at the University of Ilorin, Mr. Ibrahim Agboola, the leadership of NASU at the Kwara State Council and the Chairman of the Unilorin Branch of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), Comrade M. Akanbi, and his National Association of Academic Technologists (NAATS) counterpart, Comrade Olufemi Awolola.

The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Prof. Sulyman Age Abdulkareem, has called on the Federal Government to ensure that guns are not easily accessible by hoodlums who wreak havoc on law-abiding citizens. 

 Prof. Abdulkareem made the call last Monday (April 9, 2018) while receiving Prof. Ibrahim Gambari (CFR), in his office. The former Minister of External Affairs was in the University to chair the 4th Biennial Conference of the Centre for Ilorin Studies (CILS).

The Vice-Chancellor expressed shock at how score-settling in the society has suddenly changed from the traditional exchange of blows to the use of sophisticated machine guns, saying that there is the need for soul-searching as a nation.

The Vice-Chancellor said, “Perhaps people are grieved because of perceived injustice. An average Nigerian now wants to outsmart the other. We are now in a society where we don't care how people get rich. It is even sad that people are ready to take lives to get rich. Things have totally broken down. We have introduced so many sentiments that have divided us”.

Prof. Abdulkareem then advocated for correct perception of justice and the need to deal with each other with a clear mind, while working for a peaceful Nigeria.

Earlier in his remarks, Prof. Gambari advised the government to spend money on preventing insecurity in the country instead of devoting huge sums of the national resources to combat insurgencies and insecurity in the country.   

The pioneer Chancellor of the Kwara State University submitted that the greatest threat to any nation is insecurity, therefore recommending that preventive approach should be adopted instead of the fire brigade approach currently being used by the government. 

Prof. Gambari described his presence in the University as homecoming, adding that he came to support the Centre for Ilorin Studies and contribute his quota to the citadel of learning.

He also seized the opportunity to formally congratulate Prof. Abdulkareem on his recent appointment as the 10th Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin and charged him to build on the good reputation enjoyed by the University.

With the Vice-Chancellor at the meeting were the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Prof. N.Y.S. Ijaiya; the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Management Services), Prof. Bolaji Sule; the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (RTI), Prof. Gabriel Olatunji; the Registrar, Mr. Emmanuel Obafemi; and the University Librarian, Dr. Abdulwahab Olanrewaju Issa.

The Editor of Unilorin Watch newspaper, a training publication of the Department of Mass Communication, University of Ilorin, Oso Olasunkanmi, a 400 level student, has won the Editor-in-Chief of the Year award at the Campus Journalism Award recently held in Abuja.

Also, another training publication of the Department, Scoop Magazine, edited by Tomori Uriel, a 300 level student, won the Campus Magazine of the Year award at the same event. 

The Award ceremony, organised by Youths' Digest, in collaboration with PR Nigeria and Image Merchant Promotion, received entries from institutions across the country.

According to the Editor and Organizer of the ceremony, the award, themed “Curbing Hate Speech on Social Media”, was instituted to encourage young journalists to spreading the message of love, peace and harmony through their communication skills. It also serve as means of encourage student-journalists who have made their marks in various fields of writing and journalism.

In his presentation at the event, the Guest Speaker, Mr. Dapo Olorunyomi, noted that the more democratic a society is, the more news it should have.

 Mr. Olorunyomi, who is also the Publisher of Premium Times newspaper, gave explicit definitions of journalism and highlighted its three key elements, which, according to him, are accuracy and truthfulness, verification and independence of the newsman and agency.

 The Premium Times boss described hate speech as any speech that attacks a person or a group of people on the basis of religion, race, gender etc. 

Reeling out statistics, Mr. Olorunyomi pointed out that 2.1 billion people use Facebook, 1.5 billion people use YouTube, 1.3 billion people use Whatsapp, and others, all on a daily basis, noting that the biggest challenge people have, is how they consume content.

The renowned journalist identified some measures of curbing hate speech to include proper education for media experts to be able to distinguish between hate speech and freedom of expression.

In his own remarks at the event, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, encouraged the students not to relent in their effort of being catalysts the development of their society while calling for stiffer laws on those who indulge in use of hate speeches.

Meanwhile, the Ag. Head of the Department of Mass Communication, Dr. (Mrs.) Saudat Abdulbaqi, has congratulated the students on their achievements, describing the awards as rewards for hard work.

Receiving the awards in her office from the awardees penultimate Tuesday (March 27, 2018), Dr. Abdulbaqi urged the students not to rest on their oars but to put in more efforts with a view to becoming the best in whatsoever they are doing as the reward will always come.

The presentation was witnessed by the Coordinator of the Unilorin Watch, Dr. Lambe Mustapha and the Lecturer in Charge and Editorial Chairman of Scoop Magazine, Dr. Lukman Azeez.