The 16th Annual International Conference of the Materials Science and Technology Society of Nigeria (MSN) will hold between 7th and 10th November, 2017 at the University of Benin, Benin City.

A statement made available to Unilorin Bulletin by the MSN's Public Relations Officer, Dr. Baba A. Alafara of the Department of Industrial Chemistry, University of Ilorin, said that “the Conference, tagged the Nigeria International Materials Congress (NIMACON – 2017), is organized in conjunction with the University of Benin and in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, the Federal Ministry of Solid Minerals, the Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC) Abuja, the Pan African Materials Institute (PAMI), African University of Science & Technology, Abuja, the Rubber Research Institute of Nigeria, etc”.

The NIMACON – 2017, themed “Challenges of Implementing Economic Diversification: The Role of Engineering Materials and Solid Minerals Development”, will focus on materials resources, conventional and advanced minerals development technologies activities in Nigeria and its implications on the sustainable development of the nation’s economy.

Prominent scholars, captains of industries and academics are expected to speak on contemporary research and development in the field of material science.

His rich and resounding voice tore neatly into the velvet air of the jam-packed Auditorium. A tub-thumping orator with the skills of a talented raconteur, he wowed his audience for more than two hours dishing out uncommon sense with a compelling authority. It was as if the jaw-dropping "conversation" should never end and like Oliver Twist, we asked for more!

The appreciative audience was enraptured, some shed tears of ecstasy as the lecturer left no one in doubt about the true definition of a genius for there was one (himself) right at the podium. Meet the University of Ilorin 33rd convocation lecturer, Prof. Chris Imafidon, an intellectual colossus and acclaimed patriarch of the Imafidons, “the brainiest or smartest family in Britain,” perhaps in Europe and the world at large, with demonstrable evidence!

Prof. Imafidon's first daughter, Anne-Marrie, passed the UK-level computing exam when she was 13 and she later became the youngest graduate to ever obtain a Master's degree from Oxford University at 19. The second daughter, Christiana, is the youngest student in history to be admitted to a British university at the age of 11. Then, his third daughter, Samantha, passed two high school-level Mathematics and Statistics exams at age six and became the youngest girl in the UK to attend secondary school at age nine. His twins, Peter and Paula, dubbed “wonder twins”, are the youngest in history to ever pass the University of Cambridge's Advanced Mathematics exam.

It is to its eternal credit that it is this magnetic and enigmatic personality that the University of Ilorin invited to deliver its 33rd convocation lecture, “The Genius in YOU: New Tools, Techniques and Technology for Developing Individual and Institutional Greatness.” This was the first lecture to be delivered on the African soil in the last 30 years by the world renowned scholar par excellence and mentor extraordinaire. Even the late Nelson Mandela wanted South Africa to receive the genius first but it is Nigeria's University of Ilorin that first brought him home. Great!

Everyone about 30 years of age and even above deserves to have a first-hand experience of Prof. Imafidon's mesmerising lecture, the thesis of which is that everyone can be a genius. A man of high-octane academic humility, no wonder he is so great, Prof. Imafidon believes that every parent can achieve what he is able to achieve in his children by following his principles. He believes that Nigeria is filled with abundant talents that are wasting away because of people's failure to identify their talents and use them optimally.

One cue that the lecture provided for everyone is the need to recalibrate our thinking and realise the uniqueness and genius in each of us. There must therefore be positive mental attitude to discover oneself and do one's bit with passion. Even the well-touted Nigerian environment is not a problem as Prof. Imafidon illustrated the abundance of talents and opportunities Nigeria offers to the discerning.

The high points of the lecture, which was rousingly challenging and decidedly punchy as “a riot”, included familiarising the audience with the highly successful individuals that the master-mentor has trained to excellence. To demonstrate his confidence in the efficacy of his mentoring principles and methods, he did something uncommon. He offered to take the best two University of Ilorin graduates to the University of Oxford to develop them further and the worst two graduates of the University to show that everyone is a genius. He said that if the so-called worst graduates do not return home as excellent, he would offer us his apology!

Prof. Imafidon would want to meet President Muhamadu Buhari to tell him of the urgent need to revamp the education sector as the foundation for development, arguing that if education is right, other problems confronting Nigeria will be fixed. Fortunately, the Federal Government has realised the need as the President, represented by the National Universities Commission (NUC) Executive Secretary, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, submitted on the second convocation day/ Founder's Day, October 21, 2017. According to the President, he had directed “the Minister of Education to convene, within the next few weeks, a Ministerial Summit to be attended by all members of my cabinet to tackle the key problems of the sector with a view to restoring education to its lead role as human development game-changer.”

With the charge of Prof. Imafidon and the commitment of the Government to accord education its deserved status as the change-driver through the promised game-changing summit, it is gratifying that the genius in every Nigerian student will bloom and blossom soon. In other words, there is every reason to be hopeful that, following Prof. Imafidon's cue, the time for geniuses is now and the better by far University is more than ready to incubate them.

Abdulkareem on board

As the University of Ilorin reaches for a higher altitude in its institutional flight to the peak of excellence, there is a new captain on board in person of Prof. Sulyman Age Abdulkareem, immediate past former Vice-Chancellor of Al-Hikmah University. Our immediate past Vice-Chancellor, Prof. AbdulGaniyu Ambali, described him as a “successful successor that…will engineer the heterogeneous University community in a way that will catalyse the system to greater heights.”

Just two weeks in the cockpit, there are clear signs that a great future beckons as the Vice-Chancellor is hitting the ground running. The Alma Mater also uses this medium to welcome him on board while wishing him good health, abundant energy and divine wisdom in leading the University to the next level.

The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Prof. Sulyman Age Abdulkareem, has stressed the need for graduating students of the institution to be purposeful and ingenious, as well as imbibe the virtue of perseverance, saying these qualities will distinguish them for success in whatever area of life they find themselves.

Prof. Abdulkareem, who stated this last Friday (October 20, 2017), in his address at the 33rd Convocation Ceremonies of the University, admonished the graduands to have “uncommon common sense” to be able to survive in today's world.

In the address, entitled “Life Has Just Begun”, the Vice-Chancellor said, “Gone are the days employers waited on convocation arena with juicy job offers. The reality now is different and it is a survival of the fittest. Just graduating from the university is no longer enough to get a job.”

Prof. Abdulkareem told the graduands, “One sure way of winning the struggle is to be purposeful and ingenious. Dare to be different. You need to persevere because perseverance is the common trait most successful people have in common and that is what has made them succeed where others have failed”.

The Vice-Chancellor urged the graduands to maximise their potentials for self development, as well as for impacting the society at large, saying they are to be job creators, not seekers and must contribute to national development through public service and support, by judiciously utilising the talent and skills that have been acquired from the University.

Enjoining the graduands to be good ambassadors of the University by proving to the world that they have indeed been found worthy in character and learning, Prof. Abdulkareem told them to see themselves as prominent ambassadors of the Better-By-far institution; an unequalled citadel where great leaders are milled; the second-to-none ivory tower that holds integrity and excellence in high esteem.”

The Vice-Chancellor then stressed the University's commitment to achieving academic excellence, noting that Unilorin boasts of “an uninterrupted learning environment that is unimpeded by incessant strikes, student unrest and other allied factors which have earned most academic institutions in Nigeria a notorious fame of ignominy and repudiation.”

He added that contrary to recurrent industrial actions and shut down of many tertiary schools in Nigeria, in the last 17 years, the University of Ilorin has witnessed unprecedented peace and stability of academic calendar. “This success is the product of collective will, integrity and selfless service to humanity”, Prof. Abdulkareem noted.

Commending his predecessor, Prof. AbdulGaniyu Ambali, for his effort, the Vice-Chancellor said the University made “giant and remarkable strides in the area of infrastructural development under him. He said, for instance, “in the 2016/2017 academic session, not less than 20 major capital projects were executed and completed and majority of them will be commissioned tomorrow (Saturday, October 21, 2017) within and outside the campus.”

Earlier in his address, the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the University's Governing Council, Dr Abdullah Jibril Oyekan, reaffirmed the Council's commitment to work in unity with staff, students, all stakeholders and also maintain the cordial relationship and understanding with the University's management.

Dr. Oyekan, who pledged his unalloyed loyalty to “Team Unilorin”, stated that every stakeholder has a role to play and when all and sundry play their respective roles with diligence and commitment, “together, we can lift the University to loftier heights”.

Noting that belonging to “Team Unilorin” is not an empty gesture, the Pro-Chancellor explained that “it implies total dedication to the pursuit of excellence in whatever one is engaged in, putting in all that is demanded and bading farewell to mediocrity for good. Students, staff and even alumni are tasked with the role of raising the banner of the University of Ilorin anywhere in the world.”

Dr Oyekan then stated that in the pursuit of excellence, graduands should be hardworking, focused and determined to make the sacrifice necessary to achieve the set goals. He added that the University will also not relent in its pursuit of excellence and “we shall not be fulfilled until our professors begin to metamorphose into Nobel laureates”.

The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Prof. Sulyman Age Abdulkareem, has assured the entire University community that he would take the University to a greater height in terms of academic advancement, human capital development and provision of necessary infrastructures.

Prof. Abdulkareem stated this last Monday (October 16, 2017), when he addressed the staff of the University, who gathered at the Main Auditorium to usher him into his office amidst jubilation.

He expressed his gratitude at the reception accorded him by the staff members, pledging not to disappoint them but work towards sustaining the successes of his predecessors and building on them to make the University greater.

 “I will not disappoint anyone of you. You can count on my support and I also need your support. I will work for you and I want you to work for the University. Let us mind our business and operate optimally”, Prof. Abdulkareem said.

The Vice-Chancellor added that the money of the University would be judiciously spent, saying that he would never sit on anyone's money for a minute as he pleaded with the staff to be patient with him.

Noting that everyone is important in the place of work no matter the nature of their assignment, Prof. Abdulkareem submitted that anyone who is dedicated to his work would go places in life.

He said, “I want you to operate at whatever level you are. You can be sure that I will treat everyone with utmost respect but I also want you to treat your work with respect. I am afraid of God and I will not use this opportunity I have as Vice-Chancellor to oppress anyone”.

The Vice-Chancellor then proceeded to meet with the staff of the Office of the Vice-Chancellor, where he commended them for the work they have been doing and pleaded for their support to take the University higher.

In his first official meeting with the Principal Officers of the University, Prof. Abdulkareem, who thanked God for helping the university thus far, also noted that the University has been getting better and stronger. He requested for the support of the Principal Officers and expressed optimism that new opportunities have come to develop young minds that will lift the nation.

The Vice-Chancellor also observed that his predecessor, Prof. AbdulGaniyu Ambali (OON), enjoyed very cordial relationship with the management team and appealed to the Principal Officers to extend similar support to him so that he can excel in his new position.

Promising to operate an open door policy, Prof. Adulkareem said that he would welcome constructive criticism and advice from all.

Earlier, the Registrar, Mr. Emmanuel Obafemi, who spoke on behalf of other Principal Officers, pledged to do everything possible to ensure the success of the new administration.

Mr. Obafemi expressed optimism that the University of Ilorin will be better than it was by the end of the five years' tenure of Prof. Abdulkareem's administration.

The Principal Officers that ushered the new Vice-Chancellor into his office included the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Prof. N. Y. S. Ijaiya; the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (MS), Prof. A. Y. Abdulkareem; the Registrar, Mr. E. D. Obafemi; the University Librarian, Dr. Issa Abdulwahab and the Bursar, Mr. Saka Abiodun Yusuf.

The Federal Government has concluded plans to hold a Ministerial Summit in the next few weeks as part of measures towards addressing issues affecting the education sector with a view to proffering solutions to them.

President Muhammadu Buhari disclosed this last Saturday (October 21, 2017) at the 33rd Convocation Ceremonies of the University of Ilorin.

The President, who was represented at the event by the Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, noted that his administration was fully aware of the numerous challenges confronting the sector, saying, “My government will not allow the country miss the globally agreed SDGs train, the driving force of which is education.”

According to him, sustainable human development begins with education and “any success recorded in education will have a ripple effect on every other sector of our national life.”

President Buhari lamented that the fortunes of Nigeria's education sector which once ranked high in terms of standard, has nosedived over the past couple of decades.

“This has been a serious source of concern for stakeholders, as the country still habours millions of school-aged children out of school, has high adult and youth illiteracy rates as well as low enrolment, participation and completion rates at all levels and forms of education” he noted.

“The concern goes on to the menace of poor performance in public examinations, regional socio-economic and gender disparities in access as well as the highly disturbing unemployability of graduates of the education system. These and several other areas of concern have been the reason why I directed the Minister of Education to convene, within the next few weeks, a Ministerial Summit to be attended by all members of my cabinet, to tackle the key problems of the sector with a view to restoring education to its lead role of human development game-changer”, the President explained. 

While noting that the University of Ilorin “stands out among its peers as one of the most peaceful and stable Federal Universities in the country”, the President pointed out that the “achievements recorded by the University gives us hope that the enormous resources invested by Government have not been in vain.”

“It is gratifying to note that despite the economic hardship and dwindling resources, the staff and students have continued to show great understanding and cooperation in ensurag that the University continues to discharge its obligation to the society and the nation” he maintained.

“The peace and harmony enjoyed by the University, without interruptions of academic activities for nearly two decades, is a clear indication that we can all live together without recrimination. In this regard, I wish to commend the past and present leaderships of this great citadel of learning for upholding the long cherished values of true universities” he added.

Congratulating the new graduands, President Buhari explained that, despite the difficulties confronting the nation at the moment, “there is hope for a bright future”, adding that, the “ongoing government programmes aimed at restructuring the country offer limitless opportunities for everyone. Let us, therefore, seize the moment to develop ourselves and our nation” he urged.

While maintaining that, his administration will respect and recognize the legitimate aspirations of the citizens “done with good faith, within bounds of rationality and without infringing on the rights of others, the President called for caution “in the excessive display of intolerance, rancour, hostility, mutual suspicion and all acts capable of causing social unrest in the nation.”

“Those who fan the embers of division must refrain from the unacceptable tendencies, retrace their steps and learn to live together with one another” President Buhari stressed, saying: “it is only in an atmosphere of peace that we can make true progress.”

The total number of graduands for the session is 9,018, of which 7,533 are first degree/diploma graduands, while the remaining 1485 are graduating with higher degrees/post graduate diplomas. There are 89 first class graduands, 1,932 second class upper division, 3727 second class lower division, 1309 third class, 117 pass and 2 Aegrotat.

There are also 70 MBBS graduands, 30 graduands in Pharmacy, 4 in veterinary Medicine and 29 in nursing. In addition, 226 graduands will obtain diploma degrees in various disciplines. The higher degrees awarded comprise of 161 postgraduate diplomas, 1,074 masters,130 MBA/MPA/MILR/MGIS/MPH and 120 PhDs.

The Patriarch of Britain's brainiest and smartest family, Prof. Chris Imafidon, has revealed his proven methods of turning low performing and average students into geniuses.

Delivering the 33rd Convocation Lecture of the University of Ilorin last Thursday (October 19,2017), entitled "The Genius in You: New Tools, Techniques and Technology for Developing Individual and Institutional Greatness", Prof. Imafidon, who is the Chairman and Founder of Excellence in Education Programme, University of Oxford, United Kingdom, noted that the first step teachers need to take in order to make geniuses out of their students is to regard the students as their biological offspring. He said that without the right emotional connection, teachers can only churn out average students. 

The Unilorin Convocation Lecturer also disclosed that other components of a programme designed to turn students into geniuses include: convincing students that there is nothing they cannot achieve; ensuring that the students are always busy with their academics; and ensuring that sport and music are not extra-curricular but part of the core-curriculum.

The Nigerian born scholar attributed the origin of knowledge to God and countered the notion that knowledge is power, saying that “it is the application of knowledge that confers power".

Prof. Imafidon then called for the review of the tertiary education system in the country, saying that the system produced the oxymoron known as “graduate unemployment”.         He said this should be replaced with talent hunt programmes because, according to him, there are geniuses everywhere who exist as repressed geniuses, suppressed geniuses and expressed geniuses.

While commenting on the state of education in Nigeria, Prof. Imafidon, who is a world renowned adviser to monarchs, European and USA governments, presidents and corporate leaders, called on the Federal Government to pay serious attention to education in the country.

He observed that if education is properly fixed, other sectors of the society would be automatically fixed given that education is the mother of all sectors.

The Convocation Lecturer also urged the government to give priority attention to education budget over that of defence, saying that “you cannot defend an empty house”.

Prof. Imafidon condemned the ongoing call for restructuring Nigeria, describing it as a trivial and misplacement of priority. According to him, the only antidote to Nigerian problems is for the leaders to restructure their thinking.

The Oxford University Professor lampooned Nigerian leaders who own private jets, saying that it is sheer wickedness and insensitivity to the plight of the people for some state governors, who habitually owe workers' salaries to fly around in private jets. He noted that the Queen of England and Prime Ministers in advanced countries do not have private jets.

The Convocation Lecturer, who was delivering his first public lecture in Africa announced that he would be taking the best two graduating students and the worst two graduating students along to the United Kingdom just as he invited the troupe that performed Kehinde Olalusi's play, "Susan Wenger, Adunni Olorisa" to the United Kingdom.

According to him, "The rest of my family that saw the clips of it on Facebook live, Periscope and other social media are jealous of me. They wished they came along. Even the royals wanted to see you. I have been mandated to ask if you will like to come up to Britain to do a repeat. If so, Her Majesty could host you at her weekend residence of Windsor Castle".

The Kwara State Governor, Dr. Abdul­fatah Ahmed, has congratulated the new Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Prof. Sulyman Age Abdulkareem, over his appoint­ment and assump­tion of duty as the new helmsman of the institution.

The governor, in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secre­tary, Alhaji Abdulwa­hab Oba, described Prof. Abdulkareem as a tested adminis­trator and academ­ic of high repute, whose appointment will not only sustain the successes of his predecessors but re­cord new milestones in the better by far University. “This ap­pointment is a well-deserved one”, the governor said.

Dr. Ahmed assured the University of his ad­ministration's sup­port and cooperation, especially in the are­as of human capital development and re­search on agricultural practice and sustaina­ble energy.

The governor also congratulated the former Vice-Chan­cellor, Prof Abdul­Ganiyu Ambali (OON), for ensuring that the in­stitution maintained a stable academ­ic calendar, among other achievements. He prayed God to see the new Vice-Chan­cellor through in his new but familiar po­sition of responsibil­ity to his fatherland and humanity, and to grant him strength, wisdom and more knowledge to achieve his goals.