… launches luxury flats for members

The Chairman of the University of Ilorin Branch of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Dr Usman Raheem, has said that his union represents a paradigm shift in trade unionism in Nigeria, noting that the it recognizes “academic staff as critical stakeholders in the stability and sustainability of the university system.”

Dr. Raheem, who made this submission last Friday (August 18, 2017) at the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the Unilorin ASUU Luxury Quarters, then called on the Federal Government to recognise and reward the academic staff of the University for their efforts towards sustaining the university system despite all odds.

The ASUU Luxury Quarters comprises 100 units of houses made up of 80 units of fully detached three bedrooms bungalow and 20 units of two bedrooms semi-detached flats under the National Housing Fund Scheme.

Dr. Raheem said, “Our hostel project, the shopping mall on our campuses developed by my predecessors as well as our land acquisition scheme, out of which over 400 of our members benefitted, and this ASUU Luxury Quarters for 170 households of academic staff of this University, are models in the new paradigm and a striking departure from the usual Bolekaja and 'sink the system' approach that is obviously not yielding any dividend either for the system, the nation or indeed its progenitors.”

“I want to use this medium to call on the Federal Government of Nigeria to recognise and reward academic staff of the University of Ilorin for their efforts to sustain the university systems despite all odds”, the ASUU Chairman said, adding that “the Federal Government should pay up without delay the shortfall on our salaries that has almost paralyzed our cooperative societies and locked up our local economy for up to a year. Secondly, the Federal Government should expeditiously address the demands of ASUU so that the ongoing strike in some campuses can be called off thereby saving the university systems from avoidable crises”. 

While commending the efforts of the University's Governing Council on the progress made so far in the selection of the next Vice-Chancellor for the University, Dr. Raheem noted that the University “parades great minds who are managers of men and materials, some of whom have held enviable positions in our national life with exceeding success.”

The ASUU Chairman, however, maintained that “the Union is of the view that a Vice-Chancellor within our local human resources is much a better deal for our University than an 'importation' from any other university culture where strikes and closure of universities were to them, 'not a big deal'.”

Performing the groundbreaking ceremony, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Prof. AbdulGaniyu Ambali (OON), said that the efforts of the Union showed its progressive nature. “So, I thank Almighty God for giving me the opportunity to relate with this crop of individuals at the University of Ilorin.”

Prof. Ambali pointed out that through the housing project, ASUU has laid a good foundation of guarantying everybody a good tomorrow. This, he stressed, was essential to curbing corruption, noting that, being universities, “we have to be seen as providing solutions to Nigeria's problems.”

 The Vice-Chancellor, who described the Unilorin ASUU leadership as “very focused, who know their destination and how to get there”, said, “The gap between the University of Ilorin and the national ASUU is small; but we only appeal for understanding because even if you have twins, they are bound to be different and as a parent, you have to be parent of both of them by understanding the slight differences between them. We are not fighting with anybody, we are just trying to do our job and we want people to understand that…”

Noting that understanding the differences that exist among people and nations of the world, “is what keeps the whole world going”, Prof. Ambali said, “So, if Unilorin is ready to be accepted for who we are then, please open the bus, then we shall all enter and be in the same bus but having different destinations.”

Earlier in his goodwill remarks, a former Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Management Services) of the University, Prof. Albert Olayemi, recalled the harassment, coercion that followed the call for the withdrawal of Unilorin academics from the Housing Scheme policy years ago. He, however, commended the present ASUU leadership, describing its efforts as another example of “positive, productive unionism.”

Prof. Olayemi said, “We have been used to harassing, fighting, waging wars, and at the end of the day, you go home with nothing except that you are contented that you have defeated your opponent...but you are going home with nothing…all the same, I share the joy of today.”

While noting that Unilorin ASUU is impacting positively on its immediate environment, he commended the relationship between the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. AbdulGaniyu  Ambali, and the Union, saying that Unilorin is blessed with an “administration that understands us, that flows with us, that you do not have to persuade, that you do not need to explain issues to, that automatically, almost immediately you table it, it is being understood and embraced and is being encouraged. ”

In his remarks, the State Coordinator of the Federal Mortgage Bank, Mr. Nurudeen Alli, who commended the Raheem-led ASUU Executive Council, noted that there were more benefits to joining the National Housing Fund Scheme than opting out. He, therefore, enjoined other unions on campus to emulate ASUU by joining the scheme in order to own their own houses after retirement.

  Also, the Chairman of the Real Estate Developers of Nigeria, Kwara State Branch, Alhaji Olaide Mohammed, noted that shelter is a basic human need. He explained that the developers' body was committed to constructing quality and affordable houses for the people and congratulated ASUU for leading the way.

In his own remarks, the General Manager of the Kwara State Housing Corporation, Architect Suleiman Saliu, commended the Union for its giant strides.

While lamenting that not much attention has been devoted to the issue of affordable housing over the years, which had resulted in the buildup of shanties across the country, he said that a well-planned environment is a prerequisite to healthy living and sustainable success. 

Mr. Saliu assured that “this estate is going to be as designed, and is going to be supervised and regulated within the ambit of what is provided for in the design.”

Highlights of the occasion were the commissioning of the project vehicle and the official groundbreaking carried out by the Vice-Chancellor. 

Also present at the event were the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (RTI), Prof. G.A. Olatunji; the Registrar, Mr. E.D. Obafemi; the Dean, Faculty of Agriculture, Prof. Kolade Joseph; a former Chairman of Unilorin ASUU, Prof. A. Adeoye; the Deputy Director, Corporate Affairs, Mr. Kunle Akogun, members of the ASUU Executive Council, and members of the Union. 

As the five-year Vice-Chancellorship tenure of Prof. AbdulGaniyu Ambali (OON) gradually winds up, the Directorate of Corporate Affairs, University of Ilorin, has completed arrangement to present a documentary book chronicling the landmark achievements of the ninth Vice-Chancellor of the Better by far University.

Entitled “The Ambali Years: A Chronicle of the Landmark Achievements of Prof. AbdulGaniyu Ambali (2012 – 2017)”, the book, authored by the Head of Corporate Affairs, Mr. AbdulGaniyu Kunle Akogun, is due for public presentation during this year's convocation ceremonies in October..  

The book presentation will be one of the highlights of this year's convocation during which Prof. Ambali will be handing over the Vice-Chancellorship baton to his successor.

Written in breezy, easy-flowing prose, the six-chapter compendium details all the activities and accomplishments of Prof. Ambali since October 16, 2012, when he took over from his predecessor, Prof. Is-haq Oloyede, to October 15, 2017, when he will be bowing out.

In a chat with Unilorin Bulletin, Mr. Akogun said, “This book is a candid portrait of the eventful and ground-breaking five-year tenure of Prof. AbdulGaniyu Ambali (OON) at the helms of affairs of the University of Ilorin”

Noting that Prof. Ambali exemplifies uncommon leadership, administrative acumen, erudition, dignity, temperance, fortitude and rectitude”, the author said, “The book is a gripping account of the legacies of a silent achiever, as told in compelling prose by somebody who is the repository of Prof. Ambali's activities in office”.

In a Foreword to the book, the Registrar of the University, Mr. Emmanuel Dada Obafemi, wrote, “This publication is about the developmental activities of Prof. AbdulGaniyu Ambali (OON) during his tenure as the ninth (9th) Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin from 16th October, 2012 to 15th October, 2017”.

According to Mr. Obafemi, “From the outset, Prof. Ambali promised to follow the footsteps of his distinguished predecessors, hoping to build on the solid foundation already laid by them.  He, therefore, hit the ground running with a philosophy, which he called “sustainable development”.  This philosophy, he considered central in development studies, which states that “there could be no true development without sustainability”. 

The Registrar noted that “the contents of this publication highlight his (Prof. Ambali's) giant strides in respect of Staff Welfare and Development, Students' Welfare, Teaching, Research and Community Service and Infrastructural Development”

On the author of the book, Mr. Obafemi wrote, “Mr. Kunle Akogun is appropriately positioned to capture all the activities of the Vice-Chancellor, having worked closely with him for the whole of his five-year tenure”.

He added that “through this publication, Mr. Akogun has drawn attention to the need for the achievements of the Head of an organization to be recorded for posterity and the imperative to put the tenure of each occupant of an office in proper perspective”.

The University of Ilorin branch of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has said that it didn't join the on-going nationwide strike embarked upon by the Union because it was not contacted on the referendum that led to the declaration of the industrial action.

Its Chairman, Dr. Usman Raheem, said that while the branch was in support of the agitation that led to the industrial action, it was not carried along in the meeting where the decision to embark on the strike was taken.

Dr. Raheem, who is the Ag. Head of the Department of Geography and Environmental Management of the University, explained that the national leadership of ASUU had severed relationship with the majority of the academic staff of the Unilorin chapter since 2001 and chose to identify with a minority.

The Union leader said, "The Academic Staff Union of Universities at the University of Ilorin is not on strike. It is basically due to the fact that the National Executive Council of ASUU has severed relationship with the University of Ilorin branch of the union since 2001, and since then, the relationship has not been normalized”.

According to him, "our branch was not even contacted on the referendum that led to the strike and we couldn't have taken part in the strike in which we were not involved”.

Dr. Raheem, however, declared that "the agitations of ASUU are legitimate, and the University of Ilorin academics are in support of the implementation of the agreements  involved".

On whether the branch has started mending fences with the national leadership of the union for integration, the branch Chairman said, "Getting back Unilorin to the national body of ASUU is very simple. It is going to happen when ASUU national is ready to talk with the majority of academic staff at the University instead of talking with the handful of the minority.” 

Dr. Raheem noted that "it is clear that the ASUU national interest is to impose minority on the majority of our members”, saying, “I hope they will have a rethink and begin to look at the possibility of speaking with the majority of academic staff of the University".

The University of Ilorin management has procured a-24 room hostel accommodation for the clinical students of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine close to the Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Sabo – Oke area of Ilorin metropolis.

Speaking at the handing over ceremony of the blocks of flats last Monday (August 14, 2017), the Director of Works Engr. Mobolaji Sanni, disclosed that the accommodation is meant for the 500level and 600level clinical students, who deserve closeness to the Teaching Hospital, especially while monitoring animals.

According to Engr. Sanni, “The hostel is a treckable distance to the Hospital. It will also ease the student challenges of getting to the Hospital late. The hostel consists of eight flats of four 3-bedroom apartments and four 2 bedroom apartments with extra spaces for more accommodation including two attached shops. The University procured the accommodation for the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine Clinical students to help them in their academic pursuit. As you know, students' welfare is key in the mind of the University of Ilorin administration. The Hostel accommodation is located in a well secured environment and closer to the Hospital”.

The Director of Works, who also represented the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Prof. AbdulGaniyu Ambali (OON), at the ceremony, said that the University had paid 50 percent of the cost of purchase three months before the handing over and will pay the remaining balance as agreed with the owner within the stipulated period.

Engr. Sanni, who appreciated the Vice-Chancellor and other members of the University management, said that though they passed through some hurdles before the purchase, however, the purchase is a good buy for the University of Ilorin, adding that the buildings would only need minor repairs.

The Dean of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Prof. S.O. Salami, said that the hostel will, in no small measure, assist the students to be more dedicated to their studies, adding that it will also go a long way in addressing accommodation challenges faced by the Veterinary Medicine students.

Prof. Salami promised to keep the core value of the profession, instill discipline in the students and uphold the prestige of the University of Ilorin, adding that the students will be happy for the opportunity that has come their way.

In his remarks, the Director of the Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital, Prof. Oyedipe, said that the students have to be together in exchanging ideas and know how a Veterinary Clinic should be run.

Also speaking, the Director of the Legal Unit, Mr. Dare Akanbi, said that the University considered all the factors in getting the house. He urged the management and the Veterinary Medicine students to obey the rules and regulations of the purchase.

In his comment, the owner of the property, who was represented by his lawyer, Mr. Adio Muritala, disclosed that the property has passed through all necessary tests before it was agreed to be sold to the University of Ilorin, adding that the purchase was without any litigation.

A visiting don from the Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary, Ogbomosho, Dr A.O. Odeleye, has called on African leaders to frontally tackle the challenge of materialism, saying that the malaise has been responsible for the widespread social vices plaguing the continent.

Dr.  Odeleye, who made the call last Tuesday (August 15, 2017), while delivering a lecture at the International Conference organised by the Social Studies Association of Nigeria (SOSAN) at the University of Ilorin, said that it is pertinent for all citizens to imbibe positive moral and spiritual values, as well as expose those found looting government's treasury.      

In his lecture, entitled “Reflection on African and Western World Practices and Responses to Materialism”, the Guest Lecturer explained that “materialism is an undue crave for material possessions over moral and spiritual values”. He said that the misconception that materialism is now a way of life, especially in Africa, “has promoted bribery and corruption in many sectors and destroyed lives, societal moral uprightness and educational standard”.

Dr Odeleye observed that due to “greed, fame, financial security, influences of the media and family structure”, some leaders loot their countries' commonwealth at the detriment of Africa's development, emphasizing that although materialism promises satisfaction and happiness, it can only give momentary pleasure in both contexts.

The don said, “Educational, religious and legal approaches are ways of curtailing materialism in order to develop Africa”, adding that the educational approach, especially youth education is the “most pertinent” way to ensure the existing bad legacy is abolished.

Stressing that the consequences of materialism should be exposed through the mass media and the social media to the younger generation and that there is the need to de-emphasize undue recognition for material acquisitions in the society, the Guest Lecturer noted that teachers of socio-civic education should encourage relevant stakeholders to use social media to promote character change toward material acquisition in the society as well as produce books that will instill positive values.

According to him, “the impacts of mass and social media are enormous in shaping people's attitudes on material acquisition. News bulletins, films, videos and music are vital elements in moral formation which must be thoroughly censored to avoid importation of dangerous and destructive ideology to African morality and spiritual values.”

In his address, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Prof. AbdulGaniyu Ambali (OON), stated that “materialism and corruption have eaten deep into the social fabric of the nation and no stone should be left unturned in finding solutions to these two giant problems if we really want to advance as a nation.”

Describing the theme of the conference, “Tackling the Problem of Corruption and Materialism in Africa”, as “apt and timely”, Prof. Ambali, who was represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Prof. N.Y.S. Ijaiya, charged the youths to develop innovative ways to solve some of the factors responsible for these vices. He said, “Rather than focusing on restructuring the country, a change of mindset is first required for a better Nigeria.”

The Vice-Chancellor noted that because corruption is killing the country, “we cannot abandon the responsibility of a better Nigeria to one man; we need to change the mindset of illegally accumulating properties and funds. Intellectual leaders in the society must come up with ideas to change this corrupt and materialistic mindset” stressing that, efforts should be intensified in using mass and social media to sensitize people.

He added that kidnapping and robbery cases have been on the rise because many Nigerians enrich themselves with the nation's commonwealth at the detriment of others' welfare and that is why “the present administration has been talking about change because they know that for Nigeria to attain that enviable position in the world at large, certain things, like our mindset to materialism and corruption needs to change. Just as we blame our leaders, we need to examine ourselves too.”

In his remarks at the Conference, the General Secretary, Nigerian Union of Textile, Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria, Comrade Issa Aremu, stressed the need to mete out appropriate sanctions to those found looting the commonwealth or under-performing government parastatals.

Comrade Aremu expressed his disappointment over leaders that fund their “lavish private parties with public fund”, saying “that is also part of corruption because the masses suffer for the misuse of public funds whereas, they keep getting richer and the poor get poorer. Appropriate measures should be put in place to investigate public office holders engaging in this lavish lifestyle.”

 On his part, the Chairman of the Conference's Local Organising Committee, Dr R. W. Okunloye, stated that corruption has become a common trend in Nigeria, noting that the conference is aimed at examining ways corruption can be tackled using socio-civic studies and enjoined all to have a change of mindset because “the responsibility of curbing the menace falls on all of us.”

In his address, the President of SOSAN, Prof. S.F. Ogundare, noted that the conference, which is geared towards discussing and proffering ways to solve problems in Nigeria and beyond, is in line with the Association's mission of teaching and learning social studies for the expansion of knowledge across all levels.

Prof. Ogundare then appreciated the University for its hospitality, noting that the Association found it fit for the institution to host this year's conference because of its efforts in contributing to the development of social studies and also for producing members that have sacrificed and invested their time, efforts and intellect for the promotion of social studies.

Highlight of the occasion was the presentation of “Award of Excellence” to the Vice-Chancellor, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), and the President of SOSAN for their contribution to the Association.

Other dignitaries present on the occasion included the Director Public Enlightenment at the Independent Corrupt Practices and other offences Commission (ICPC), Mrs. Rasheedat Okoduwa, who represented the ICPC Chairman; the representative of the Kwara State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Barrister I. Zakariya; the representative of the State Commissioner of Police, SP. Oluwaseyi Adedayo; and the Olola of Olla, Oba Stephen Billy Olajide.

The 200 level Students of the Faculty of Engineering and Technology of the University of Ilorin have commenced their 2017 Students Work Experience Programme (SWEP) with a charge to redouble their efforts in achieving professional excellence.

The programme, which kicked off with briefing by stakeholders of the Faculty last Friday (August 18, 2017), was declared open by the Dean of the Faculty, Prof. D. S. Ogunniyi, at the Engineering Lecture Theatre.

The Students Work Experience Programme (SWEP) is aimed at providing  training for the would be engineers in  competent, safe and skillful use of engineering tools.

The brief, which aimed at enlightening the students on the importance of SWEP to their professions, the pros and cons involved in the programme, steps to take in achieving distinctions in the programme, among others, was attended by experts on SWEP from the Faculty.

In his presentation, titled “Practical Training for Engineering Undergraduates: A Case for Effective Laboratory and Students Work Experience Programme[SWEP] in Engineering Faculties”, the Chief Technologist (Electrical and Electronics Unit) of the Faculty, Engr. F.I. Eric, declared that his 36 years of SWEP experience has provided him the opportunity to formulate “Eric Triangular Engineering Students Movements for Effective Learning” that shows student movements in pursuit of their pure engineering learning programmes through administrative supports that make the programme seamless and enjoyable.

The Chief Technologist disclosed that for an effective SWEP programme, there must be adequate instructional, research and developmental laboratories or workshops, adding that a good Engineering Laboratory must maintain an appreciative availability of these classes for effective instructions, research and entrepreneurship training.

According to him, “SWEP allows students to use available machines and tools for product development; teach them the all-important habits of various maintenance procedures such as preventive maintenance, corrective maintenance and/or repairs, report writing and logbook keeping; assist them to acquire the knowledge of engineering material, tools  instrument, equipment and machines that they will encounter in real life; inculcate entrepreneurship skill by way of mini projects and sufficiently make the student  ready for SIWES and for their eventual   employability”.

Engr. Eric said, “SWEP is designed to expose students to fundamental engineering skills in the use of simple hand tools, training kits, equipment and operation of common machines. The programme is designed to be hands-on intensive and therefore serves as a channel to integrate in-house entrepreneurship development skill.

While declaring the workshop open, the Dean of the Faculty, Prof.  Ogunniyi, said that the scheme will also expose them to real life work experience and putting them into practice, advising them to take all safety precautions in the laboratory during the programme to avoid any form of accidents.

On what is expected of them, the Dean urged the students to always do their assignments and communicate in English in order to aid their breath-taking reports.

Welcoming the students and the stakeholders from the Faculty to the event, the Faculty SWEP Coordinator, Dr. M.O. Sunmonu, disclosed that the programme comprised of all the 775 200 level students from all the 10 Departments in the Faculty.

The Coordinator said that unseriousness on the part of any student may lead to repeating the programme the following year.

Expressing his satisfaction, Dr. Sunmonu said that the programme has contributed immensely to the quality of graduates produced by the Faculty in the past thirty years.

In their separate remarks, the Sub-Dean of the Faculty, Dr. T. K. Ajiboye; the Deputy SWEP Coordinator, Dr. E. O. Ajala; Engr. M.F. Olohunishola and Engr. F. O. Akure noted that the programme is all about the students' life and their destiny, urging them to train themselves within the environment they found themselves, consult their supervisors for advice and any challenge they encounter, learn more and be disciplined.

Appreciating the Faculty, representatives of the students, Tijani Daniel, Aromaye Ibrahim and Oyerinde Nofisat, said that the programme is an opportunity for them to gain more practical experience and believed that they will be exposed to the real life of work experience and putting them into practice.

 (Excerpts from an upcoming documentary book, “The Ambali Years: A Chronicle of the

Landmark Achievements of Prof. AbdulGaniyu Ambali [2012 – 2017]”,

written by Kunle Akogun, Deputy Director, Corporate Affairs) 

Since its inception in 1975, the University of Ilorin has always been blessed with visionary, committed and hard working Vice-Chancellors. Professor AbdulGaniyu Ambali's assumption of office on October 16, 2012 brought with it an admixture of great expectations and arrant cynicism, depending on whether one is his admirer or detractor. To the new Vice-Chancellor's genuine admirers and well-wishers, especially those who had followed his career history even from his student days at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Professor Ambali would have no problem discharging himself creditably at the end of his tenure. On the other hand, the detractors, quite a handful of them of course, were not interested in the impressive credentials of unmistakable professional attainments and service trajectory the Professor of Veterinary Medicine parades. However, while Professor Ambali has been able to make the former group proud, he pleasantly disappointed the pessimists in the latter group, most of whom have since seen the folly in their cynicism.

While his tenure lasted, Professor Ambali not only sustained the legacy of excellence bequeathed to him by his predecessors, he also greatly improved on it, bringing on new innovations that have invariably ingrained the University's name in the minds of many Nigerians and indeed foreigners who desire quality and uninterrupted education.

Professor Ambali is a perfect example of a silent achiever, a fair but firm leader, a veritable team player and a visionary team leader, a man with the proverbial Midas touch, who has greatly turned the fortunes of the University around. For the University of Ilorin, Professor Ambali's five-year tenure was very eventful as several landmark achievements were recorded in all spheres of the University's core mandates of teaching, research and community service.

Staff Welfare/ Development

It is often said that a university is as good as the quality of its staff (teaching and non-teaching) and students. It is, therefore, not out of place to expect any helmsman to make the well being of these two most important stakeholders in the university community his top priority. Indeed, any forward-looking administration must ensure that workers are properly motivated and made reasonably comfortable if it wants them to perform optimally. And as such, Professor Ambali ensured that lecturers' capacity to teach the students well was greatly enhanced while security challenges on the campus were frontally tackled.

Not only was staff salary never delayed, those who were due for promotion annually were never denied this privilege. In this regard, no fewer than 2, 376 staff members, academic and non-academic, junior and senior, were promoted during the five-year tenure of this humane administrator. A breakdown of this number shows that 271 were promoted in 2012; 430 in 2013; 482 in 2014; 518 in 2015; and 675 in 2016.  The 2017 promotion exercise was still in progress when the manuscript for this publication was submitted to the press.

Also, no fewer than 2,698 staff members, academic and non-academic, junior and senior, benefited from the various staff development training between 2012 and 2017.

Students' Welfare

The Ambali Administration consistently pursued matters relating to students' welfare with the vigour they deserve. As a matter of deliberate policy, the Administration worked very hard to ensure that the students, who the Vice-Chancellor often describes as the raison d'être of the University, receive the best education in the most conducive environment. To make sure that students are academically sound and morally upright, the Ambali Administration sustained the policy of zero tolerance for cultism and other anti-social behaviour.

The administration also substantially reduced the accommodation problems facing the students through the innovative initiative of bringing in reputable private developers to provide hostel facilities on a massive scale on campus.  This strategy worked tremendously as it has led to massive hostel development. When he took over in 2012, a little above 3,000 students had on-campus accommodation but as at the beginning of the 2016/2017 session, about 8,000 students had been accommodated on campus.

Professor Ambali's Midas impact was also felt in the area of transportation, where a realistic partnership was struck with commercial transport service providers to reduce the transportation challenges facing the students.

In its avowed bid to distinguish Unilorin students from most of their peers in the country, the Ambali administration initiated the one-student-one-Ipad project. From the 2013/2014 academic session, every 100 Level student got an I-Pad each. On May 15, 2014, the University authority distributed the first set of I-Pads to the students at a grand ceremony presided over by the former Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. This I-Pad initiative, according to Professor Ambali, was aimed at boosting the University's ICT drive and enhance e-communication between the students and their lecturers, as the PC tablet would be a virtual classroom with all the curriculum and courseware pre-uploaded on it.

Teaching and Research

A major hallmark of the Professor AbdulGaniyu Ambali-led Administration was its unrelenting pursuit of excellence in teaching and research.

In one of his first major interviews with newsmen at the inception of his administration, the Vice-Chancellor underscored his passion about ensuring “efficient use of the facilities that we have, to promote and improve the teaching and learning environment”, adding that this would “make it possible for everyone to put in his/her best in whatever he/she is doing to take this University to greater heights.” He then pledged to improve the University's teaching and research capabilities “by ensuring adequate training for staff such that in the next five years the University would become a greater participant in solving global problems.”

Towards this end, Professor Ambali sustained the tradition of heavy investment in human capital development through the massive sponsorship of deserving academic staff members to learned conferences within and outside the country. More staff members were sponsored or encouraged and supported to acquire higher degrees between 2012 and 2017. While this was going on, the administration never lost sight of the need to create a conducive environment for the well trained staff members to ply their primary trade of teaching and research. As a result, it embarked on a massive rehabilitation of staff offices.

Added to this is the judicious use of the various research grants by the University researchers, under the efficient supervision of the Vice-Chancellor. This resulted in various research breakthroughs, among which are the discovery of a new anti-malaria compounds by a Professor of Inorganic Chemistry, Joshua Ayoola Obaleye, the invention of speed limiter device and the development of a prototype device that is capable of forestalling power theft by dubious electricity consumers.

Unprecedented expansion of academic programmes

In his sustained quest for excellence and to liberalize career choice for admission seekers, Professor Ambali, with the approval of the University Senate, introduced new academic programmes with the establishment of three new Faculties and the unbundling of some 'unwieldy' Departments.

A brand new Faculty of Environmental Sciences, with the full complement of Departments (Architecture, Estate Management, Quantity Surveying, Surveying and Geoinformatics, as well as Urban and Regional Planning), was established. Two other Faculties, Life Sciences and Management Sciences, were excised from the old Faculties of Sciences and Business and Social Sciences respectively.

Also, some Departments in the Faculty of Education were unbundled to widen their academic programmes. In this regard, the Department of Arts and Social Sciences Education was split into the Department of Arts Education and the Department of Social Sciences Education. The Department of Science Education has also been split into the Department of Science Education and the Department of Educational Technology.

In the same vein, the Department of Human Kinetics and Health Education was split into the Department of Human Kinetic Education and the Department of Health Promotion and Environmental Health Education while the former Department of Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Microbiology was split into the Department of Pharmaceutics and Industrial Pharmacy and the Department of Pharmaceutical Microbiology and Biotechnology.

Also, the following new programmes were established: Business Education, Social Studies Education, Adult Education, Computer Science Education, and Technology Education, in the Faculty of Education; Marketing, Social Works, Psychology, Industrial Relations and Personnel Management, Public Administration, Criminology and Security Studies, in the Faculty of Management Sciences; Aquaculture and Fisheries, as well as Optometry and Vision Science, in the Faculty of Life Sciences; Applied Geophysics in the Faculty of  Physical Science; as well as Computer Engineering and Water Resources Engineering in the Faculty of Engineering and Technology.

Library digitization and automation

In keeping with the emerging status of the University as a world class institution, Prof. Ambali made the digitization and automation of the University Library one of his cardinal priorities.

The current trend in library practice the world over is ICT, and as such the Ambali administration embarked on massive procurement of computers to help in automating the services of the University Library, ensuring that the cataloguing facilities are online, and improving the electronic library services.

Already, most of the current book stocks in the Library have been converted to soft copies to ensure easy accessibility and safety of the documents. With the installation of the Integrated Management System, materials in Unilorin library can now be accessed more easily by students and researchers from any part of the world.                                        

 (To be cntinued next week)