No fewer than 18 new Pharmacy graduands were formally admitted into the Pharmacy profession penultimate Friday (December 7, 2018) by the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) at the 3rd Oath-taking and Induction ceremony of the 2018 graduands of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Ilorin.

At the ceremony held at the University Auditorium, the Vice-Chancellor of Chrisland University, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Prof. (Mrs.) Chinedum Peace Babalola, charged stakeholders in the pharmaceutical industry, to always see their roles as very important in addressing the challenges facing the profession.

Speaking on the topic, “The Pharmacy Profession for Better: My Role”, Prof. Babalola, who was the Guest Speaker, expressed the belief that disruptive innovations tend to be produced by outsiders and entrepreneurs in start-ups, rather than existing market-leading companies.

She said, “A disruptive process can take longer to develop than by the conventional approach and the risk associated to it is higher than the other more incremental or evolutionary forms of innovations, but once it is deployed in the market, it achieves a much faster penetration and higher degree of impact on the established markets”.

Prof. (Mrs.) Babalola said, “We must also begin to explore, build quality relationships especially outside healthcare, have mentors, have mentees, keep your current friendships and relationships within the profession, and do more than graduating with a first-class in Pharmacy. Do more and be more”.

Prof. Babalola lamented the challenges facing the pharmacy profession in the country, including lack of enabling environment, poverty, low morale, injustice, cheating, disparity, pressures from other professions, lack of internship placement, poor access to medicines, lack of political will, substandard medicines, low knowledge of the profession, lack of capital, lack of sustainability in practice, etc, saying that these have made it difficult for the profession to stand as expected.

Earlier in his opening remarks at the ceremony, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Prof. Sulyman Age Abdulkareem, congratulated the graduands and their parents for successfully achieving another milestone in life.

Prof. Abdulkareem appreciated the support of the leadership of the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria and the lecturers at the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences for their commitments and devotion to duty.

The Registrar of the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria, Pharm. N.A.E. Mohammed, who was represented by Pharm. Akai Ali, charged the newly inducted Pharmacists to comply and acquaint themselves with the code of Professional Ethics.

Pharm Mohammed said that the induction of the graduands into the pharmacy profession signifies the completion of the first phase of their training as professionals. He advised them to undergo the one year statutory internship programme, which is the second phase of their training, and compulsory for all Pharmacists in Nigeria.

In her address, the Dean of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Dr. Rasheedat Ayanniyi, revealed that the approval of the Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) curriculum by the Senate of the University at its 267th meeting in December, 2017, paved way for the first set of PharmD students to be admitted in the 2017/2018 academic session.

Dr. Ayanniyi also stated that the University Senate in September, 2018, has approved the curricula for postgraduate programmes for Masters of Science Programmes in Pharmaceutical and Medicinal chemistry, Pharmaceutics and Industrial Pharmacy, Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmacy Administration and Pharmacology and Toxicology.

The Dean expressed her appreciation to the University management, the Registrar of the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria, past Deans of the Faculty, and members of staff of the Faculty, for their continuous support and efforts in the development of professional excellence.

Dr. Ayanniyi also paid tribute to the late Dean of the Faculty, Prof. Abdulkarim Agunu, who died on July 15, 2018.

In his valedictory speech on behalf of the 2018 Pharmacy graduands, Mr. Omotesho Quadri Ajibola, who was the best graduating student, thanked God for His sustenance and support for him and his colleagues to witness the induction ceremony.

Mr. Ajibola advised his fellow graduates to take up the responsibilities of their profession and discharge their appropriate functions to the benefit of the society.

Contrary to the entrenched perception among most Nigerians that there is paucity of space for qualified candidates into the nation's universities, the Registrar/Chief Executive of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Prof. Is'haq Olanrewaju Oloyede (OFR), has said that the available space of 600,000 in over 150 universities across the country is big enough to accommodate the greatest percentage of admission seekers.    

Prof. Oloyede made this observation last Thursday (December 13, 2018) while addressing a special forum of top officials of the University of Ilorin on the on-going 2018/2019 admission exercise.

Prof. Oloyede pointed out that while about 700,000 candidates have a minimum of O' level Credits in five subjects, including English Language and Mathematics, which is  a statutory prerequisite for admission, it is clear that the discrepancy does not justify the call for the establishment of more universities that will, in the long run, suffer perennial under-funding.  

 The renowned scholar of Islamic Studies said that the establishment of more universities, particularly by state governments, will create more problems than they are meant to solve.

 Prof. Oloyede also explained the series of technology-driven innovations he has brought into the operation of JAMB, which, according to him, has actually returned the power of admission back to institutions of higher learning. He assured that for as long as such institutions adhere strictly to statutory regulations, the hi-cups often faced by some universities in processing the admission of their intended students would become a thing of the past. 

The JAMB Registrar, who is also the Secretary-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council For Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), responded to various questions raised by the members of the audience on the admission issue, as he also applauded the glowing reputation of the University of Ilorin as the most subscribed, most internationalised and most peaceful in Nigeria whose contributions to human capital development are being felt across the globe.

  Prof. Oloyede commended the management and staff of the University of Ilorin for the support his Board has enjoyed from them at improving the credibility of the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examinations since he took-over the leadership of JAMB.

  While disclosing that JAMB had sought approval to use part of its annual revenue to support universities' developmental efforts based on certain parameters, the JAMB Registrar encouraged the University of Ilorin not to rest on its oars as sister universities are working assiduously to upstage it in several areas where it is currently leading.

 Earlier while welcoming Prof. Oloyede to the forum, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Prof. Sulyman Age Abdulkareem, thanked him for his relentless support for the growth of the University.

  Prof. Abdulkareem added that the University of Ilorin is always proud of the industry, integrity, accomplishments and rising profile of Prof. Oloyede as he assured him that the University will continue to work with JAMB to avert some of the identified inadequacies, in the on-going admission process in several universities.

  The event was attended by the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman, Governing Council, University of Ilorin, Dr. Abdullah Jibril Oyekan (OFR), all the Principal Officers, Deans of the various Faculties, the Chairman of the University Admission Committee, staff of the Admissions Office, and other top officials of the University.

As the 2019 general elections approach, a former United Nations Under-Secretary General, Prof. Ibrahim Agboola Gambari (CFR), has appealed to Nigerians to insist on and work for a peaceful, free and credible contest that will eventually engender good governance.   

Prof. Gambari, who is also a former Minister of Foreign Affairs, made the appeal in Ilorin last Tuesday (October 23, 2018) while addressing guests at the 34th Convocation Ceremony of the University of  Ilorin.

 The consummate diplomat, whose address was entitled "Education for Peace, Democracy and Development", called on the Federal Government and all stakeholders to support the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and other relevant institutions to organise impeccable elections that will be devoid of crisis and which will promote the global image of Nigeria as a democratic nation.

Prof. Gambari advised Nigerians "to rise above parochial and exclusionary situations in our growing democracy", stating that the electorate have a lot of role to play in building an enduring democratic governance through their dispositions and organizational ability which, if properly channeled, will compel those who are entrusted with political power to offer qualitative leadership.  

    He added that Nigeria should do everything not to disappoint members of the international community who are now focusing their rapt attention on the country, not only because they believe that the Nigeria has what it takes to occupy a respectable position in international politics but because of the imaginable cost the disruption of peace in Nigeria would inflict on the Western World, particularly, Great Britain, where more than two million Nigerians hold citizenship.

   Prof. Gambari, who was also the longest-serving Nigeria's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, contended that for the country to experience all-round development, there is the need for proper and adequate political education of the citizenry for them to appreciate their inalienable rights and duties to the State. He added that this admirable condition can only be brought about when the voting population is given sound education through adequate and relevant tutelage right from the school.

 The renowned diplomat expressed the conviction that peace and development will only be firmly rooted in the polity when political power is entrusted in those who possess sophisticated knowledge of the hitherto and recurrent internal and global dynamics in governance, politics, peace-building and socio- economic environment.

The former Minister of Foreign Affairs paid glowing tributes to the authorities of the University of Ilorin for their cumulative contributions, which effectuated in the glittering heritage of the University as a peaceful "place of excellence and great achievements", which turns out finest products on annual basis and who are doing very well in their various callings.

While commending the University for establishing the Centre for Peace and Strategic Studies (CPSS) and sustaining the academic programmes of the Centre, Prof. Gambari enjoined the graduands and youths across the country to embrace the culture of peace and "never allow yourselves to be used to do bad things”.

 He said that no effort should be spared by the concerned stakeholders to avoid the repeat of the conflagrations which followed the 2011 general elections during which several lives and property worth millions of Naira were destroyed in certain parts of the country.

No fewer than 17 newly completed projects were commissioned at the University of Ilorin last Tuesday (October 23, 2018) as part of activities marking the grand finale of the institution's 34th convocation ceremonies.

The projects commissioning by the Visitor to the University, President Muhammadu Buhari, (GCFR), who was represented by the Director of Quality Assurance at the National Universities Commission, Dr. Noel Saliu, was witnessed by dignitaries who attended the convocation ceremonies.

Among the projects commissioned were the Faculty of Engineering Laboratory, Lecture Rooms and Laboratory for the Institute of Education, Workshop and offices for the Department of Educational Technology, Workshop for the Technical and Entrepreneurship Centre (TUC), 400-seater Lecture Theatre each for the Faculties of Agriculture and Arts, as well as Electrification Projects for the Faculties of Veterinary Medicine and Agriculture among others. 

Commissioning the projects, President Buhari commended the management of the University of Ilorin for conceiving and ensuring the completion of the projects and urged the University to ensure that the projects and equipment there-in are properly utilized as they would go a long way in adding more value to research, teaching and community services, which are focal points of the ivory tower. 

The President assured Nigerians that the Federal Government would not relent in its efforts to ensure that university education attracts utmost attention at all times in order to facilitate quality education that will generate high quality manpower needed to accelerate national development.

Among the dignitaries that witnessed the project commissioning were the Sarduna of Katsina, Senator (Dr.) Ibrahim Ida (CON), who represented the University's Chancellor and Emir of Katsina, Alhaji (Dr.) Abdulmumini Kabir Usman, (OFR); the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the University Governing Council, Dr. Abdullah Jibril Oyekan; members of the Governing Council as well as members of the University management team, led by the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Sulyman Age Abdulkareem.

The Kwara State Governor, Alhaji (Dr.) Abdulfatah Ahmed, has commended the University of Ilorin for its giant strides in national development over the years.   

Alhaji Ahmed gave the commendation while delivering a goodwill message at the 34th Convocation Ceremonies of the Better By Far University last Tuesday (October 22, 2018).

The Governor, who is also an alumnus of the University, disclosed that he was always very proud of Unilorin for its meaningful contributions in making him what he is today ..

Governor Ahmed praised the University for consistently being the nation's most patronized University and for running an impactful, smooth and consistently productive academic calendar in the last two decades which, he said, has positioned the University to repeatedly churn-out highly-trained and competent manpower who are glowingly contributing their quotas to human progress in various spheres of life.

He also expressed delight with Unilorin for simultaneously producing two Senior Advocates of Nigeria in a single year. He pointed out that the uncommon development has gone a long way in re-establishing the incontrovertible status of the University as a true center of academic and professional excellence, which type is rare to come across among its peers. 

 The Governor assured members of the University of Ilorin community of the commitment of his administration to continue to partner with the institution in making life more abundant for the students and staff of the University and their host communities as exemplified in the erection of solar-powered streetlight from the University gate into the town among other developmental efforts.

The United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. William Stuart Symington, has stressed the need for Nigerians to show more patriotism to their country instead of egoism and indifference to national development as the nation prepares for the 2019 general elections. 

Mr. Symington gave the admonition while presenting this year's Convocation Lecture of the University of Ilorin last Monday (September 22, 2018) at the University  Auditorium.        

The US envoy, whose lecture was entitled "Citizen, Leadership and the Link Between Economic Diversity and Democratic Good Governance", described Nigeria as a nation destined for true greatness in view of its amazing diversity, innumerable resources and huge market that is not only second to none in Africa but "the 7th largest integrated market in the world".    

He explained that he was usually amazed with the magnitude of courage and industry an average Nigerian is imbued with but expressed the belief that Nigeria will only attain full greatness if ordinary citizens and leaders of the largest black nation in the world can submerge the appalling spirit of self-interest for that of corporate emancipation. He counselled that the inimical concept of "I" should be replaced with that of "us".

Ambassador Symington regretted that in spite of the love of Nigerians for their diversities and complexity, it is only when they are abroad that they see themselves as one and always think about the country and appreciate its greatness. 

Welcoming guests to the thought-provoking Lecture, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Prof. Sulyman Age Abdulkareem, described the Convocation Lecturer as a versatile global citizen, a seasoned diplomat, and an accomplished statesman.

Prof. Abdulkareem noted that the topic was not only topical but apt considering the nexus between the quality of leadership and economic prosperity and the need for a paradigm shift in our political orientation. He added that there is no better time for the topic than now with the general elections slated for next year.

The well-attended lecture was graced by dignitaries from all walks of life including the Chancellor of the University and the Emir of Katsina, Alhaji (Dr.) Abdulmumini Kabir Usman (OFR) who was represented by the Sardauna of Katsina, Senator (Dr.) Ibrahim Idah (CON) and the Chairman of the Governing Council of the University, Dr. Abdullahi Jibril Oyekan as well as Prof. Ibrahim Agboola Gambari CFR, a former Foreign Affairs Minister and Pro-Chancellor and the Chairman of Council of the Bayero University, Kano. 

`Others include the Vice-Chancellor, Kwara State University, Malete, Prof. AbdulRasheed Na'Allah; and Justices Idris Abdullahi Haroon and S.O. Mohammed who are former Grand Khadis of Kwara State; the Founder of the Al-Hikmah University, Ilorin, Chief AbdulRaheem Oladimeji OFR; and the National President of Egbe Omo Igbomina, Engr. Timothy Niyi Adebayo, as well as management, staff and students of the University.

…lauds Unilorin on stable academic calendar

President Muhammadu Buhari has challenged Nigerian academics to devote greater attention to innovative research in order to add true value to the nation's economy and galvanise the development of the citizenry. 

The President, who gave this marching order last Tuesday (October 23, 2018) at the grand finale of the 34th Convocation Ceremonies of the University of Ilorin, said that no nation achieves greatness without contributing to human development through innovative research. 

Represented by the Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, President Buhari said, “I want to strongly advise Nigerian academics to shift the focus of their research endeavours from mere quest for the enhancement of their career progression to the need to add real value to the nation's economy and the citizens' well-being”. 

The President, in his address, read by the Director of Quality Assurance of the NUC, Dr. Noel Saliu, pledged the support of the Federal Government through its relevant ministries and agencies in order to “achieve this national mandate.”

Commending the University of Ilorin for taking a lead in this regard, the President urged the institution “to come up with more research on contemporary issues and challenges especially in the areas of health and agriculture”. 

He expressed happiness at the desire of the Governing Council of the University “to produce Nobel Laureates in many fields of academic endeavour soonest”, saying, “The nation is waiting anxiously for the accomplishment of that lofty dream, which might come to pass earlier than expected.”

While challenging the NUC to critically re-examine the curricula content of the nation's tertiary education institutions “in order to engender an education system that is more responsive to the emerging situations and dynamics of a growing economy, President Buhari noted that “the world is anticipating the emergence of Nigeria in the community of advanced nations and I look forward to our universities taking the lead in this drive for the nation's greatness”.

He said, “I am aware that the University of Ilorin is already making some efforts in the field of functional research and I am also aware that these efforts have begun to yield some positive results in the form of several patented products.”

While lauding the University for maintaining a robust academic tradition and a stable academic calendar for close to two decades now, President Buhari appealed to university-based unions in the country to “exercise restraint in their agitation for better working conditions.”

The President said, “This Government is, and would remain, a listening one”, pointing out that “our doors are always open for negotiations and positive collaborations.” 

He said, “We should abhor the closure of our universities for any reason, because when universities are shut at the time students are supposed to be in school, we are indirectly telling the world that we care little about our future. Closure of schools imposes negative impact on students, parents as well as the system and government in so many ways”.

Advising other institutions of higher learning in the country to emulate the University of Ilorin by keeping their gates continuously open for learning, President Buhari said, “All hands must be on deck to reduce the impact of needless brain drain, which is keeping more than 15 million of our compatriots outside the country, out of whom 23,000 are Nigerian academics in foreign universities. We should all remember that we have no other country we can truly call ours besides this beautiful nation. Let us work together to build this blessed country to what we can all be proud of”.

Congratulating the graduating students for successfully going “through the crucible of rigorous training in intellect and morals”, the President charged them to “vehemently resist the temptation to be used as agents of destabilisation and destruction by politicians who do not mean well for our democracy and our dear nation” as the 2019 General elections approach.

Pointing out that government alone cannot provide all the required funding for education, the President urged institutions of higher learning “to look inward and devise legitimate means of raising more funds to augment government subvention”. 

He also advised universities to be more efficient and effective in fund management to avoid loopholes and wastages”.