One-day convocation: Abdulkareem breaks a jinx

…VC hails Ceremonials Committee for successful outing

Against deep-seated anxiety among stakeholders about the feasibility of holding the convocation for all 15 Faculties and the Postgraduate School on a single day, the University of Ilorin has delivered yet another very successful convocation ceremony.

Last Tuesday (October 23, 2018), the grand finale of the 34th Convocation Ceremonies was held amidst pomp and pageantry inside the main bowl of the University Stadium Complex. It was attended by an unprecedented large crowd of people.

It was a carnival of sort as the graduands, their parents, friends, and well wishers turned up in large numbers, colourfully dressed to savour the successful completion of a crucial stage in their wards' academic pursuit.

The elements were also on the side of the University management, as the weather was very conducive, neither too sunny nor threatened by rain.

The presence of a large array of dignitaries from all walks of life  from government, business leaders, the royalty, the academia, and the professions also added colour to the event. 

The Vice-Chancellor of the University, Prof. Sulyman Age Abdulkareem, has commended the members of the Ceremonials Committee for midwiving a successful convocation ceremony despite the earlier expressed doubts and apprehensions from many stakeholders over the decision to collapse the ceremony into a one-day affair. 

At a post-convocation meeting with members of the Prof. Abdulrasheed Adeoye-led Committee at the University's Auditorium basement last Thursday (October 25, 2018), Prof. Abdulkareem said that the successful outcome of the 34th Convocation Ceremonies was a big relief to him, pointing out that the Ceremonials Committee had really come to his and put to rest the doubt in the minds of many “as the ceremonies ended with successes and accolades from major stakeholders in the industry”.

The Vice-Chancellor, who thanked Allah for the committee's belief in him, said, “When I introduced the idea of holding the convocation ceremony in one day, people were concerned and worried with different excuses that it won't work. In fact some said what if it rains and I said but it also used to rain when we have our convocations in the open at the old convocation arena. Then we stopped for a while for the rain to subside and later continued. But I thank Allah that I have all of you to bail me out of the possibility in holding one-day convocation.” 

Prof. Abdulkareem, who was full of appreciation to all Principal Officers, staff and students of the University, for the show of love, support and right training received, further disclosed that “the only people that I can thank are those in front of me” (the Ceremonials Committee members).

Acknowledging some of the challenges identified, the Vice-Chancellor, however, urged the committee “to look at what have gone wrong, and see them as what can be improved upon against subsequent ceremonies. We have made what was unbelievable done and got pass mark for that. I thank you all.” 

In his remarks, the Chairman of the Ceremonials Committee, Prof. Abdulrasheed Adeoye, also commended all members of the committee for delivering on their mandate and making the University proud.

Prof. Adeoye disclosed that he had started collating some areas of the ceremonies' organisation that need to be improved upon, adding that these would be discussed at a later meeting.

           A 500 level student of the Department of Medicine and Surgery, Faculty of Clinical Sciences, University of Ilorin, Animashaun Emmanuel Oluseyi, was last Tuesday (July 17, 2018) elected the new President of the University of Ilorin Students' Union.

         Animashaun scored a total of 5,067 votes to defeat seven other contestants in the election conducted through the electronic voting system. 

         Those in the race with Animashaun, are Abdulrauf  Taofeeq Olaitan, 3,831 votes; Oyesiji           Abdulazeez, 3,139 votes; Adekunle Sofiu Tobi, 3,365 votes; Oyemi Ahmed Olalekan, 1,537 votes; Abobarin Mueez Lekan, 1,121 votes; Maiyaki Abubakar Damilare, 988 votes; and Ashimi Nosiru Minolai, 129 votes.   

         The election of the medical student made him the first to be so elected from the College of Health Sciences, since the establishment of the University about 43 years ago. 

          Another upset thrown up by the election is the emergence of a female student, Miss Adebowale Adeyinka Rodiat, as the first ever female Sport Secretary of the Union. She scored 7,360 votes to defeat her male opponent, Olagunju Afeez Olanrewaju, who scored 4,326 votes.

         Also elected are Abdulrasaq Kaosarah Adeyi, Vice President (PS); Mohammed Mary Feranmi, Vice President (COHS); Adeniyi Kayode Banji, General Secretary: Ajewole Oluwatobi Bolaji, Financial Secretary; Isa Abass Usman, Public Relations Officer; Olomu Abdulqaadir, Welfare Secretary (PS); Ekundayo Oluwole Joshua, Welfare Secretary (COHS); Shuaib Shuaibat Motunrayo, Social Secretary; and Ajede Khadijah Adebanke, Assistant General Secretary.

         Speaking with Unilorin Bulletin on the election, the Dean of Student Affairs, University of Ilorin, Prof. L. T Ajibade, said, “I cannot judge myself because this is the first election I'm conducting as Dean of Student Affairs. But there are little modifications that may have upgraded                       the conduct of this  year’s  election.

         “We ensured that all the candidates were screened by the DSS. And I monitored ISEC (Independent Students Electoral Commission) to ensure nobody is unlawfully disallowed to contest.”

           Also speaking with Unilorin Bulletin, the Sub-Dean, Student Affairs, Dr. A. M. Akanmu, said that security issues cannot be taken for granted, particularly when in a neighbouring institution, a Vice-President was recently paraded for cultism.

           Also  speaking with Unilorin Bulletin, the Chief Security Officer, University, Mr. Muhammad Inuwa Tijani, stated that “since it is online, there is no need for much monitoring because, students can be in the comfort of their rooms and still cast their votes", adding that the security men were on ground for the collation and announcement.

      He commended the e-voting technique of the University, saying “online voting remains the best method of voting as it requires less monitoring and less security personnel. The only time security was required was during collation and declaration of results”.

          As torrents of congratulatory messages continue to pour in for Prof. Wahab Egbewole and Prof. Muhammed Mustapha Akanbi of the University of Ilorin, Faculty of Law on their recent elevation to the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), the Chairman of the University Governing Council, Dr. Abdullah Jibril Oyekan, has said that the elevation has added “more feathers to Team Unilorin's cap”.

           In a congratulatory message e-mailed to Unilorin Bulletin last Friday (July 20, 2018), Dr. Oyekan said that by the elevation, “our two learned friends have now become very learned friends”, adding that “the flag of Team Unilorin is being raised high above others”. 

           The Council Chairman's congratulatory message read, “All the members of Council join the rest of Team Unilorin in rejoicing and acclaiming the recent elevation of two of our legal dons to the supreme level of the legal profession in the country, the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN). Our two learned friends have now become very learned friends.

           “Team Unilorin has claimed out of the hundreds of tertiary institutions and hundreds of thousands of legal practitioners in the country, two of the 31 places up for grabs. This is no mean achievement. 

           “I pray that the hardworking researchers and participants in the pursuit of excellence in the nooks and crannies of Unilorin will derive inspiration from their achievements. Their own turns will eventually come and they will find appropriate recognition for all their untiring efforts, which I pray will never be of no avail. More grease to the elbows of our dons and once again the flag of Team Unilorin is being raised high above others”.

           Also in his congratulatory message, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Sulyman Age Abdulkareem, described the elevation of the two Law lecturers as “a big plus for the University of Ilorin and another endorsement of the University's acclaimed commitment to excellence”.

           Describing Professors Egbewole and Akanbi as worthy ambassadors of the University of Ilorin, Prof. Abdulkareem said that their elevation was a “well-deserved reward for hard work and distinguished contributions to the advancement of the theory and practice of the legal profession in our country”.

           In the congratulatory letter signed on his behalf by the Registrar, Dr. (Mrs.) F. M. Olowoleni, the Vice-Chancellor admonished Prof. Egbewole and Prof. Akanbi to “please remember that your promotion to the elite club of SANs is a call for higher and more committed service to our fatherland”.

           Prof. Abdulkareem pointed out that he is confident of the ability of the new Senior Advocates to excel in their chosen career and to do the University proud at all times.

           Congratulating the new Senior Advocates of Nigeria, the immediate past Deputy Vice-Chancellor (RTI), Prof. Gabriel Olatunji, said, “The fresh, brand new, excellent and coveted titles bestowed on our legal luminaries My Lords SAN Egbewole and SAN M. Akanbi should be celebrated in a special way in Unilorin. The duo has done our University proud. Let us please celebrate these brilliant SANs. God bless you all”.

           On his part, a former Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Management Services), Prof. Albert Olayemi, described the elevation of the two Unilorin dons as “a rain of profound harvests for the individuals and the University”, adding, “Better by far will continue to be our focus!”

           Also in his congratulatory message, the Head of the Department of the Performing Arts and former Chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), University of Ilorin Branch, Prof. AbdulRasheed Adeoye, said, “Today, we are celebrating excellence. It is our own day of history at the University of Ilorin. Imagination has been transformed into reality and no matter how long the night is, the day will break. Darkness has disappeared and we can all see the rainbow of the Almighty God around us. I congratulate Professors Egbewole and Akanbi, our new Senior Advocates of Nigeria, for making us proud. We are happy and excited. Congratulations!”

     The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Prof. Sulyman Age Abdulkareem, has charged members of staff of the University that participated in the just concluded Advanced Digital Awareness Programme for Tertiary Institutions (ADAPTI) training at the University to use their knowledge for the advancement of the institution and their personal pursuit in life.

    Prof. Abdulkareem gave this charge last Friday (July 20, 2018), while speaking at the closing ceremony of the week-long ADAPTI training for staff and students of the University that started last Monday (July 16, 2018).

      The Advanced Digital Awareness Programme for Tertiary Institutions (ADAPTI) is aimed at bridging the digital gap that exists in the academia by providing computers, other ICT equipment, and the necessary facilities to provide lecturers, staff, and students with the requisite ICT skills essential for the 21st Century.

    Speaking through the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Prof. (Mrs.) S. O. Malomo, the Vice-Chancellor stressed that the participants must ensure that the investment of their time in the last five days must count through improved output in their services.

    He noted that the objective of the programme is to provide the tools that would enable familiarity and confidence in the utilisation of ICT in teaching, research, and learning.

The Vice-Chancellor thanked the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for conceiving the programme, adding that the impact of the programme would go beyond the institutions to move the nation forward. 

     The Vice-Chancellor's representative later presented certificates of attendance to the participants.

     In his remarks, the Director, Centre for Research, Development and In-House Training (CREDIT), University of Ilorin, Prof. B. S. Alabi, described the training as being fruitful and wonderful as according to him, it has brought the staff abreast of the latest on the use of ICT.

            Stakeholders in the Nigerian education sector have been counseled to re-design the education curriculum for it to meet the demands of the 21st century.

             Guest speakers at the Faculty of Education Personality Lecture, organised in honour of the immediate past Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Prof AbdulGaniyu Ambali, gave the advice last Thursday (July 19, 2018) at the Faculty of Education Lecture Theatre.

              In their separate papers presented at the event organised by the University of Ilorin Chapter of the Nigerian Universities Education Students Association (NUESA), a public intellectual and consultant on economy and investment, Mr. Nasir AbdulQadri, and Mr. Awwal Olohungbebe of the Community Development Centre of the Kwara State University (KWASU), Malete, observed that the higher education curricula in the country are obsolete. 

              Mr. Abdulqadri, who spoke on the need for paradigm shift in the nation's education system, said that the curricula were designed to meet the needs of the colonial age, a situation that explains why many graduates become liabilities on the society as job seekers.

               The public affairs analyst noted that though, the Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC) has made entrepreneurship a compulsory course in Nigerian Universities, the policy amounts to mere lip service because the commission has not backed it up with the introduction of the appropriate curriculum.

                He, however, advised the University of Ilorin and other universities with huge population to look further inwards to increase their internally generated revenue. He also counseled them to decentralise their entrepreneurship centres since there are different entrepreneurship potentialities in different specializations.

               On his part, the second Guest Speaker, Mr. Olohungbebe, who centred his lecture on financing university education, noted that funds have to be sought from different sources, given the huge cost of education around the world. 

              The social work expert disclosed that Nigeria still falls far short of the United Nations Education and Socio-Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) standards of dedicating 26 percent of national budgets to education.

              Disclosing that the last time the Kwara State government funded the state-owned university was in 2014, Mr. Olohungbebe said that the institution depends mostly on internally generated revenue for survival.

               The KWASU don added that one of the most significant problems facing education funding in Nigeria is poor accountability, noting that the prevalence of corruption  in many government-owned educational institutions demands that government should not just do more in terms of providing funds but it should also  ensure that the funds are judiciously used.

                In his address at the event, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Prof. Sulyman Age Abdulkareem, noted that it is a fortune and not misfortune to study education because the Faculty focuses on building the minds and not just the heads unlike other Faculties. He then admonished students of Education to make the best of their study.

               Prof. Abdulkareem noted that the Minister of State for Education recently praised the students of the Faculty for their calmness and they have shown that they also have agility along with their calmness on the occasion of the Personality Lecture.

              In his own remarks, the honoree and immediate past Vice-Chancellor of the University, Prof. AbdulGaniyu Ambali, who was accompanied by his wife, Dr. (Mrs.) H.T. Ambali, thanked the organisers of the event for the honour  given to him. 

              He urged graduates of education to key into the call for investment in education by partnering with the Bank of Industry and other investors.

As Premium Times Publisher holds audience spell-bound

The Publisher of Nigeria’s leading on-line newspaper, Premium Times, Mr. Dapo Olorunyomi,  literally ‘revived’ the founding Head of the Department of Mass Communication, University of Ilorin, the late Doyin Mahmoud, last Thursday (July 12, 2018) at a memorial lecture in honour of the late veteran journalist and journalism teacher.

The 9th Doyin Mahmoud Memorial Lecture, which held at the Main Auditorium, was organised by the Department of Mass Communication, Faculty of Communication and Information Sciences.  

The late Mahmoud, who died in active service in 2009, was a former Editor of The Herald Newspaper, Chief Sub-Editor and Training Editor of The Guardian Newspaper and pioneer Editor-in-Chief of the Daily Independent Newspapers before joining the services of the University of Ilorin and assisting in the establishment of the Department of Mass Communication of the University.  

In the lecture, Mr. Olorunyomi, said the journalism industry in the country is suffering from an 'existential crisis' which must be tackled primarily by addressing the revenue crisis of the media through innovative thinking.  

In his lecture, entitled “Independent Journalism at the Interface of the Digital Transition”,the Premium Times Publisher, who stressed the critical importance of media institutions towards building a virile democracy, said, “Democracy deteriorates only to the extent that journalism itself has degenerated; so if you see the kind of craziness that is happening in our political system…it's happening only because journalism has failed to provide effective oversight.”

Pointing out that advertising remains one of the biggest constraints to media freedom in Nigeria, the award-winning journalist said, “You have to address the revenue crisis of the media, otherwise, it's a joke, you can't address the ethical problem”.

Mr. Olorunyomi recalled that the old Daily Times, under the leadership of the doyen of Nigerian journalism, the late Alhaji Babatunde Jose, circulated about a million copies per day “on the poorest of days” while “The Herald newspaper at its best, was circulating 400,000 copies a day”, lamenting that “today, the combined total of newspaper sales in this country is just about 150,000 copies a day”.

Recognising the significant role of the press in the development of a society, the Guest Lecturer, who explained that the quest to entrench accountability is central to the social purpose of journalism, stressed that this must, however, be backed by a strong financial model, challenging the academia to give more credence to media management in their curriculum. 

In his tribute, Mr. Olorunyomi, who said the late Mahmoud was his High School senior, described the late pioneer Head of Mass Communication Department as the “biggest myth while we were at The Guardian when it was formed in 1985”. He said, “I characterise Mr. Mahmoud as a renaissance person, a man of incredible thirst for ideas and almost …you could describe him as someone who was so greedy of knowledge…we would describe him as a consequentialist editor.” 

According to him, the late Mahmoud “always brought the gift of a very brilliant and nimble mind, a ceaselessly humane disposition, a reflective mind and an incredible gift to manage diversity and complexity through the power of imagination and innovative thinking”. He said that “these qualities that Mahmoud brought and helped institute at The Herald and from what I am hearing, at the University of Ilorin, to my mind, are in serious dire need today for this industry if this industry is going to wake up”.

In his remarks at the event, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Prof. Sulyman Age Abdulkareem, said the legacy of late Doyin Mahmoud “is something we should all learn from …we should all realise that as we live our lives, in the end just like in our beginning, we are all going to be words. You can choose which kind of word you want to be, but believe me, what people cannot say in front of you; they will say it behind you. We are all going to be words and I beseech all of us, let's work hard to leave good words to be said after we leave here.”

On his part, the Ag. Dean of the Faculty of Communication and Information Sciences, Dr R.G. Jimoh, commended the Department of Mass Communication for continually celebrating the achievements of the late Mahmoud, describing him as an accomplished individual. 

Earlier in her welcome address, the Ag. Head of the Department Mass Communication, Dr. (Mrs.) Saudat Abdulbaqi, said, “It was painful that Mr. Doyin Mahmoud could not witness the fruit of his labour.” 

Dr. Abdulbaqi said that the late Mahmoud, who single-handedly started the Department, “laid a very solid foundation that we are ever proud of”, adding that the Department has turned out ten sets of graduands since its inception. 

Highlights of the occasion was the launching of the students' training  publication, 'The Lens' magazine, which was reviewed by veteran journalist and scholar, Alhaji Liad Tella, and the conferment of awards on two former Vice-Chancellors of the University, Profs. Shamsudeen Amali and Is-haq Oloyede, both of whom were represented at the event by Dr.  Amali and Prof. Badmus L. Yusuf respectively, and were honoured for their contributions towards the establishment of the Department.