A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mallam Yusuf Olaolu Ali, has called for the decentralisation of political power in the country so as to give room for rapid development at both states and local government levels to tackle the country's multi-faceted internal crisis. 

Mallam Ali made this submission last Thursday (December 14, 2017) while delivering the 10th Justice Muhammad Mustapha Akanbi Public Lecture, organised by the Faculty of Law, University of Ilorin.

In the Lecture, entitled “To Restructure or Not to Restructure: The New Swan Song of the Nigerian Elites”, the senior lawyer identified over-centralisation of power and authority as a major reason behind the clamour for restructuring.

Mallam Ali noted that the reason “people are killing themselves because they want to be president of Nigeria” is because “the Nigerian president is the most powerful president in the world; he can do and undo…there is so much power in the hands of the president and that is why nobody wants to be in opposition because by ordinary fiat, the president of Nigeria can turn a multibillionaire into a pauper in 24 hours…”

The legal practitioner further identified imbalances in the Federal structure, imposition of the constitution, economic hardship and poverty, corruption and mismanagement, bad governance, bad leadership and bad followership, strong individuals with weak public institutions, tribalism and ethnicity, lack of patriotism and poor investment in human capital development as some reasons for the need to restructure the polity. 

He said, “The best way the agitation should be addressed is through the instrumentality of constitution amendment by the National and State Houses of Assembly”, adding, “In a constitutional democracy like we practice, it will be an anathema to call for a sovereign national conference to deal with the issue of restructuring; it will amount to indirect dissolution of the structure put in place by the constitution.” 

While stressing the need for strong governmental institutions insulated from the vagaries of politics, Mallam Ali called for a truly independent judiciary as well as an independent press, adding that Nigerians must also embrace equity, justice and fairness.  This, according to him, will go a long way in “addressing the nation's enormous challenges, stem the tide of the various agitations and lead our country to an Eldorado of unity, peace, progress, justice, equity and even development.”

 Also speaking at the event, the Speaker of the Kwara State House of Assembly, Hon. Ali Ahmad, disclosed that state governors were against local government autonomy. He also faulted the manner the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has defined the fight against corruption. 

Hon. Ahmad eulogised the eminent jurist and former Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Justice Mustapha Akanbi, in whose honour the Public Lecture series was instituted.  

In his remarks, the honoree, Justice Akanbi, appreciated the Guest Lecturer and members of the Faculty of Law as well as eminent Nigerians that attended the event for the honour done him.

In his address, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Prof. Sulyman Age Abdulkareem, observed that the existing mutual distrust and dissatisfaction among various interest groups in the country constitutes a grave threat to the unity of the country. 

The Vice-Chancellor, who was represented by Prof. AbdulMumin Oba of the Faculty of Law at the event, said that these were contrary to the “dream and vision of our founding fathers, which was premised on unity, development and prosperity for all.” 

He described Justice Akanbi as a man of impeccable character, whose history has been anchored on “hard work, honesty, responsibility, astuteness and a reputation of great juristic thought and human excellence worthy of emulation by all aspiring to greatness”. He said further that “the life of this great man is a lesson for future generation of Nigerians.”

Earlier in his welcome address, the Dean of the Faculty of Law, Dr Kayode Adam, noted that the retired jurist had “always worked assiduously for the internal cohesion and stability of Nigeria”, adding that “humanity and posterity are simultaneously rewarding Justice Akanbi for all his years of selfless service to the people.”

Dr Adam said, “Guided by the values and ideals of the honoree, we have remained highly selective in the choice of our speakers at this annual event…The prestigious list of previous speakers at this event include sitting Chief Justices of Nigeria, the former President of the Court of Appeal, Serving Attorneys General, Justices of Court of Appeal, Resourceful Academics and giant legal luminaries”.

“The fact that this annual lectures have so far been largely personally delivered by the lecturers despite the ilk and calibre of our resource persons, is a clear demonstration of how deeply the Honoree (Baba) is etched in the hearts of the people”, he added.  

The event was well attended by dignitaries from the Bar and Bench in the Kwara State judiciary, staff and students of the Faculty of Law, as well as other members of the public.

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), University of Ilorin Branch, has called on its members to continue to work hard in its efforts towards sustaining the ideals of the University just as it assured that the issue of the earned academic allowances was being addressed. 

The ASUU Chairman, Dr. Usman Adebimpe Raheem, made the call last Wednesday (December 13, 2017) in an interview with Unilorin Bulletin shortly after the Congress of the Union at the University Main Auditorium.

Dr Usman disclosed that issues discussed at the well-attended congress bordered on the “earned academic allowance of our members and to assure them that money is just around the corner because some people have worked hard to exclude us from the payment but by now, we are able to include ourselves through persistent struggle”.

The Chairman said that members were also told that all their apprehensions about whether we are going to be paid or not should be taken to rest”, adding that “as academic staff, our members should continue to work hard and make sure that our students are able to get the best out of us and that is when whatever we earn can become truly earned and justified”.

Dr. Raheem noted that unionism is about the will of the people. According to him, “the message is simple: to embrace the majority, unionism is about number, it is not about friendship, it is not about cohorts, it is about the number. The majority cannot be on one side and about ten people on the other side and willing to lord it over us; we have said it for 16, 17 years that nobody will choose leaders for us, nobody will impose leadership on academic staff of this University, and if anybody is deaf, he should hear by now, and that all the efforts to make us change our minds have failed and will continue to fail. And so, if anybody wants us back, it is as simple as embracing the majority”.

The Joint Universities Preliminary Examinations Board (JUPEB) was established to facilitate the admission of candidates into Nigerian universities.

The Director of the University of Ilorin JUPEB Centre, Prof. Esther Ore Omosewo, disclosed this last Tuesday (December 5, 2017) while featuring on Oro to nlo, a Yoruba current affairs programme on Unilorin FM 89.3.

Prof. Omosewo explained that the programme, which leads to the award of JUPEB certificate, enables qualified candidates to gain Direct Entry Admissions into the University of Ilorin and other JUPEB-affiliated Universities in the country. 

According to her, there are over 50 accredited universities in Nigeria that accept JUPEB into 200 level of any course of study.

The Director of the JUPEB Centre, however, said that interested candidates who want to register for the programme through the University of Ilorin Centre should visit the University website on www.unilorin.edu.ng for further information. 

The Professor of Science Education explained that lecturers of the University will be the tutors for the JUPEB candidates, and this, according to her, would avail the students to easily blend with the university system of teaching and learning. 

The Joint Universities Preliminary Examinations Board is a national examination body approved by the Federal Government. 

The Board has the responsibility of conducting common and standard examinations for the candidates, who have been exposed to a minimum of one-year approved learning in the Universities and are seeking Direct Entry admissions into University courses at the 200 level in Nigerian and partnering Foreign Universities.

The management of the University of Ilorin has been commended for creating an enabling environment for Departments and Faculties in the institution to excel.

Leaders of two National Universities Commission (NUC) Accreditation Panels to the University gave the commendation at separate forums last Tuesday (December 5, 2017) while briefing the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Sulyman Age Abdulkareem, on the outcomes of their accreditation tours of the Department of Information and Communication Science, Faculty of Communication and Information Sciences, (CIS), and the Department of Nursing Science, Faculty of Clinical Sciences.

In his briefing, the leader of the Accreditation Panel to the Department of Information and Communication Science, Prof. George Ibe Bassey, pointed out that the philosophy and objectives, curriculum, admission requirements, academic regulations of the Information and Communication Science programme correlated with the NUC Benchmarks for Minimum Academic Standards (BMAS).

The panel leader, who is a Professor of Educational Technology at the University of Uyo,  also observed that most of the lecturers in the Department have up to Ph.D. degrees, while the library holdings are current and of good quality, with the e-library also in a perfect condition.

In his remarks, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof Abdulkareem, said that the University is always trying to earmark grades based on global best standards, adding that the University would continue to pursue the goal.

The Vice-Chancellor said that he and his management team would study the recommendations of the panel to improve on the services of the University to the Nigerian community.

On his part, the leader of the Accreditation Panel to the Department of Nursing Science, Faculty of Clinical Sciences of the University of Ilorin, Prof. Ijeoma Ehiemere, said that members of the panel found tremendous improvement in the Department compared to what they saw in the previous accreditation exercise of the Nursing programme.  

Prof. Ehiemere stated this during the presentation of the panel's reports to the Vice-Chancellor last Tuesday (December 5, 2017). 

In reference to staff development programmes, the accreditation panel leader, who said there is a lot of improvement in the quality and quantity of staff, also appreciated the University on the number of staff sent on national and international training programmes because it is not so in many other universities.

Prof. Ehiemere of the Department of Nursing, University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus, said that the panel was also very delighted with the dedicated building for the Nursing Department, which, he said, gave the team members joy and a bigger sense of belonging.

While welcoming the comments and recommendations of the panel, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Abdulkareem, assured the team that all the areas mentioned in the report would be given the deserved attention to ensure that the Department continues to grow in the interest of the country.

While welcoming members of the two Accreditation Panels to his office earlier last Monday (December 4, 2017), the Vice-Chancellor said that he was open to advice and recommendations that would make the system of the most sought-after University better for the students.

Prof. Abdulkareem said that he considered accreditation exercises as indispensable because they serve as a reminder of what has to be done and when it has to be done.

The renowned Professor of Chemical Engineering also opined that improving the quality of the institution remains his ultimate target, adding that it is the quality of what the University produces that will give the institution a good image.

 In his remarks, the leader of the NUC Accreditation Team to the Department of Nursing Sciences, Prof. Ijeoma Ehiemere, said that the committee was at the University to assess the Nursing programme of the College of Health Sciences in order to ensure that the institution produces good quality nurses that Nigerians would be proud of.

On his part, the leader of the accreditation panel to the Department of Information and Communication Science, Prof. Bassey, said that members of his team did not come to see faults or discrepancies; rather, they came to assess the development of the programme in terms

of personnel, infrastructure, curriculum and content.

It was a gathering of Who-is-Who last Thursday (December 14, 2017) as members of the Governing Council, members of management, Deans of Faculties, Directors of various units and other top officials of the University of Ilorin converged on the Multi-purpose Hall to honour the former Chairman of Council, Prof. Chukwuka Okonjo; eight former Council members; the immediate past Vice-Chancellor, Prof. AbdulGaniyu Ambali (OON); and the immediate past University Librarian, Dr. Joseph Omoniyi.

The eight former Council members are: Dr. Ogbede Joseph Osu, Dr. Bayo Aluko Olokun, Prince Felix Akande, Alhaji Abdulrasheed Salman, Prof. A. S. Abdussalam, Prof. Alhassan Sani, Prof. Kolade Joseph, and Mr. A. O. Odejinmi.

In his remarks on the occasion, the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council, Dr. Abdullahi Jibril Oyekan, said that the send-forth was organised in recognition of the selfless services rendered by the honorees to the University, which contributed immensely to its advancement. 

Dr. Oyekan expressed the gratitude of the Council and the entire University community to the honorees, saying the marks they left would be long remembered. 

Quoting from the Holy Qur'an 55:60, the Council Chairman said, “the reward for goodness is goodness”. He said that the significance of the occasion was to rejoice with the honorees, who have made significant contributions to the progress of Team Unilorin and to encourage them to continue to carry the banner of the University wherever they find themselves.

 Dr. Oyekan said that he is always eager to be present whenever Team Unilorin is gathering, urging all members of the University community to keep the flag flying.

In his own remarks, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Sulyman Age Abdulkareem, said that the event was designed to pay back those who have steered the ship of this University for quite some time. 

According to Prof. Ambali, “This University has a tradition of rewarding those who have worked hard for its development. We appreciate what they have done as contributions to the advancement of the University. I pray to God to reward them for serving humanity”. 

 Highlights of the occasion included presentation of gifts to the honorees and musical performance by students of the Department of The Performing Arts, University of Ilorin.

The Executive Vice-Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta, has assured telecommunications services consumers in the country that the Commission would aggressively address the challenges of unsolicited calls and text messages being faced by them.

Prof. Danbatta gave this assurance penultimate Wednesday (November 29, 2017) in his address at the 2017 Telecommunications Consumers Conversation organised by the Ibadan Zonal Office of the Commission at the Main Auditorium of the University of Ilorin.

Represented at the programme by the Ibadan Zonal Controller, Mr. Olubunmi Bamijoko, the NCC boss disclosed that to address the problem, the Commission had introduced the 'Do not disturb' facility, where consumers were urged to activate the service by sending 'Stop' to 2442 to completely bar all promotional messages on their phones; or send 'Help' to 2442 to select relevant promotional messages that they might require.

Prof. Danbatta said, “The commission is determined to ensure that there is improvement in consumer experience and satisfaction. That explains why the NCC provided the 2442 'Do not disturb' short code, which enables consumers to manage unsolicited telemarketing messages they receive on their devices, as well as the provision of 622 toll free line through which consumers can escalate issues already reported to their service providers but had not been addressed satisfactorily.”

He stated further that the NCC aimed to positively drive the awareness level and the activation level of the two initiatives which were to improve the quality of service, protect and empower consumers.

 “We also want consumers to know that the commission has intensified efforts towards ensuring that the key performance  indicators used to assess the performance of telecommunications operators are being aggressively monitored, reported and measures being taken to ensure full compliance”, the NCC boss said.

Earlier in a goodwill message, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Prof. Sulyman Age Abdulkareem, who spoke through the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Prof. N.Y.S. Ijaiya, encouraged the Nigerian Communication Commission to come to the aid of the consumers who have already developed wrong impression about the network providers.

Prof. Adindu Chijioke of the Department of Medicine, Faculty of Clinical Sciences, College of Health Sciences, will this Thursday (November 30, 2017) deliver the 176th Inaugural Lecture of the University of Ilorin. 

The Inaugural Lecture, entitled “Behaviour of an Amazing Organ, Even at the Expense of its Survival: Nihil Est Mali Apud Nigros”, will hold at the University Auditorium under the Chairmanship of the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Sulyman Age Abdulkareem, at 5.00p.m. prompt.

Members of the University community and the general public are cordially invited.