Just a year ago, precisely on July 31, 2016, President Muhammadu Buhari appointed some eminent Nigerians to take charge of the parastatals within the Ministry of Education. One of these appointments was that of a former President of the Association of African Universities (AAU) and the immediate past Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Prof. Is-haq Oloyede, as Registrar and Chief Executive of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB).

While the news of his appointment was greeted with acclamation by well-meaning Nigerians who knew the quality of his personality combined with his phenomenal performance in previous national and international assignments, some undesirable elements in ethnic, religious and academic garbs mounted a futile opposition. It was not as if they did not know Oloyede, they were only playing true to type as maggots that would always detest sanitary inspectors.

A man of restless questing spirit, razor-blade intellect and remarkable physical energy, as soon as Prof. Oloyede assumed duty, he reached for the accelerator and put JAMB at full throttle. He has not looked back since then and I know he won't.

Though he would naturally commend his predecessors and laud them, the Professor of Islamic Jurisprudence was shocked by the fleece and grime he saw and quickly realized the need to put JAMB on the path of more efficient and effective service delivery. This would not be achieved without ruffling some feathers and stepping on toes but here is a man who is a war veteran, actually likened by Prof. Peter Okebukola to “a five-star, battle-tested general.”

There were many forces to contend with. The fat cats that milk the nation dry and big men that have fraudulently diverted public funds within his jurisdiction to acquire mansions were confronted by the essential Oloyede. Many of them preferred to return their illegal acquisitions to the Government while some had their days with the law enforcement agencies.

Prof. Oloyede silently fought his battles and his adversaries launched their counter-attacks in sponsored media campaigns, cyber warfare and rented placard-carrying street urchins crying foul anytime their sponsors pressed their control buttons. In spite of all, he deftly created the process of blocking leakages beginning from stopping scratch cards and democratising opportunities instead of some cartels holding the Board at the jugular. It was a Titanic battle of wits and slings which culminated in the failure of the first mock Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examinations (UTME) conducted by the Board. He had known all the while he would be sabotaged and the mock UTME was meant to forecast challenges and do threat analysis.

The enemies succeeded in slightly making the first mock UTME fail but unknown to them, they had helped Oloyede to create a system of human antivirus to checkmate their future cyber-attacks. Ultimately, the rescheduled mock Exams held successfully and the much-awaited UTME itself was seamlessly conducted afterwards across the Federation. It was a 98 percent success rate in spite of the exaggeration of the technology-related hitches.

JAMB today stands as one of the best performing Government agencies. In less than a year in office, Prof. Oloyede has returned over 5 billion Naira to the coffers of the Federal Government and JAMB is considering the downward review of its application forms to alleviate the financial burden of the less privileged Nigerians.

As I wrote in “JAMB: The chief has come” (www.mahfouzadedimeji.com/2016/08/11/jamb-the-chief-has-come/) in August last year, Prof. Oloyede has proved me right that he “would dare the devil and damn the consequences.” He has endured the darts and arrows thrown at his direction by the UTME syndicates, the fraudsters and cartels but the nation is the better for it.  As Nigeria makes gains, his payment of this huge amount of money has provided further evidence to his characterisation as “a man of transparent honesty and unblemished integrity.”

Where there is honour, the expectation is from Prof. Oloyede's traducers to commend him as ordinary Nigerians now do. If there is integrity, all those who queried his appointment owe themselves a responsibility of acknowledging this rare display of rectitude both in terms of conducting well-applauded exams and giving back funds that others pocketed.

But where is honour? Only those who have it can give it! So, it's not surprising there is a conspiracy of silence about the unprecedented patriotic action.

In its drive to ensure safety in the aviation industry, the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) under the Federal Ministry of Transportation has sealed a partnership agreement with the University of Ilorin on the training of its personnel in capacity building and development on materials failure analysis.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to this effect was signed last Tuesday (July 25, 2017) between the Department of Materials and Metallurgical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Technology, University of Ilorin, and the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) at the AIB's Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos head office. 

With the partnership agreement, the nation's aviation industry personnel will be able to undergo training in capacity building and development using their world class Accident Investigation Laboratory at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

Speaking at the MoU signing ceremony, the Commissioner/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of AIB, Engr. Akin Olateru, said that the partnership is the first of its kind by any educational institution in the country, adding that it would be beneficial to the agency and the University of Ilorin.

Lamenting that both private and public business organizations expend little or no resources to fund researches and projects in the country, Engr. Olateru disclosed that Harvard University in the United States alone has a budget in excess of $30 billion for research purposes.

“This is a very important occasion for us and I believe the University of Ilorin too should be proud of this occasion”, the AIB boss said, disclosing that in his 30 years service in the aviation industry, “this is the first that I know of that an aviation agency is signing an MOU with any higher institution in this country for the benefit of Nigerians”.

Engr. Olateru said that the vision of the AIB management was to make the laboratory a world class facility where giant construction companies and countries like South Africa, United Kingdom and other European nations could come to conduct their researches, emphasizing that the collaboration with the University of Ilorin would lead to the recognition of Nigeria as a serious nation in research in the international community.

He said that the usage of the facility would lead to human capital development in the country while the laboratory would also give students more opportunity to practise whatever they had been taught in the classrooms.

Engr. Olateru promised to involve more educational institutions to make use of the AIB facility as a way of increasing their Internally Generated Revenues (IGR).

In his remarks before the signing, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Prof. AbdulGaniyu Ambali (OON), represented by the Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Technology, Prof. Y.A. Jimoh, noted that it was the first time the institution would sign an MoU with any of the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in the country and expressed hope that it would be mutually beneficial to parties involved.

            Prof. Jimoh said that Nigeria as a whole would gain from the partnership, stressing that rather than travel abroad for researches; they would be able to do so with ease in the country.

He enjoined other academic institutions in the country to take a cue from the University of Ilorin by looking inward whenever they are conducting researches, stressing that this would also go a long way in curbing capital flight out of the country.

In his own remarks, the Ag. Head of the Department of Materials and Metallurgical Engineering, University of Ilorin, Dr. J. K. Odusote,  expressed the belief that the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) and the Department of Materials and Metallurgical Engineering, could seize the opportunity to work together for a safer and accident free aviation industry in Nigeria.

Earlier in his remarks, the facilitator of the collaboration, Dr. Ismail Ahmad of the Department of Materials and Metallurgical Engineering, University of Ilorin, said that when it comes into effect, the collaboration will ensure that staff of the Departmental will be readily available to train the AIB staff when the need arises on the equipment and assist them to update with requisite skills for real life scenario.

Also on the University of Ilorin team were the representative of the Director of Legal Services, Barr. (Mrs.) F. F. Sheriff and the representative of the Deputy Director, Corporate Affairs, Mr. M. M. Abubakar.

Staff of the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) at the event included Mr. E. D. Chiejine, Mr. Okewu Benjamin, Mr. Bassey Ori, Engr. Nwobu Patrick, Mr. Olumide Osineye, Mr. Adamu Suraju, Mr. Oketunbi Tunji, Capt. D. Dayyabu and Mrs. Maurine Isenongo.

The University of Ilorin and a Lagos-based company, Origin Group Nigeria Limited, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the commercial production of honey through the University's Apiary Unit.

Speaking during the MoU signing ceremony, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Prof. AbdulGaniyu Ambali (OON), commended Origin Group for being the first company to invest in the Apiary Unit of the University and for its support to the institution through the donation of a tractor.

Prof. Ambali assured the group of the supply of quality honey, adding that the arrangement would contribute to teaching, research and entrepreneurial training in the school.

According to the Vice-Chancellor, the relationship between the University and the Lagos-based company would be viable and it would add value to the services being rendered by the University of Ilorin, noting that the multiplier effects would be much.

In his own remarks, the Director of Origin Group, Mr. Sesan Ayeni, pointed out that the relationship with the University is not only for business but a platform to create job opportunities and add value to farmers who are into bee farming.

Mr. Ayeni was accompanied to the MoU signing ceremony by the Company's Executive Vice-Chairman, Sir Kunle Ball.

With the Vice-Chancellor were the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (RTI), Prof. Gabriel Olatunji; the representative of the Deputy Registrar, Mr. Musliudeen Adegoke; the representative of the Bursar, Mr. I. O. Ogunbiyi; Prof. M. A. Belewu of the Faculty of Agriculture, the Deputy Director, Corporate Affairs, Mr. Kunle Akogun and Mr. A. A. Owolabi of the Legal Unit.

A five-day Grantsmanship Workshop organised by the Centre for Research Development and In-House Training (CREDIT) of the University of Ilorin will hold between August 7 and August 11, 2017 at the Training Room of the Centre for Research Development and In-House Training (CREDIT).

Participants in the Workshop are the nominated young academics by the Deans of various Faculties of the University and scholars from sister universities from various parts of the country.

The Vice-Chancellor, Prof. AbdulGaniyu Ambali (OON), who approved the training, said it is a unique opportunity for participants to optimally improve their skills in the performance of their duties.

A statement made available to Unilorin Bulletin, said that the training, which is being organised in collaboration with the University of Utah, and New York University School of Medicine, U.S.A, will have Prof. Kola Okuyemi from University of Utah, USA. Prof. Olugbenga Ogedegbe of New York University School of Medicine, New York, U.S.A. together with other distinguished Scholars of the University of Ilorin as facilitators.

The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Prof. AbdulGaniyu Ambali (OON), the Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu Gambari; the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki; and the Kwara State Governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed were last Tuesday (July 25, 2017) conferred with merit awards by an Ilorin-based media organization, Modisult Media Concept, in conjunction with the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Ilorin.

The well-attended event, which took place at the Banquet Hall of the Kwara Hotel, Ilorin, also featured the launching of a book titled "The Royal Stools".

In his opening speech, the Magaji Nda of Ilorin, Alhaji Saliu Woru Muhammed, who was the Local Organising Committee Chairman, said that the event was a brain child of an Ilorin-based journalist, AbdulAzeez Arowona, who is trying to reawake the consciousness of our people on cultural heritage and values.

The recognition, according to the organizers, was in recognition of the recipients' significant contributions towards the progress and development of the society.

The founder of Modisult Media Concept, Mr Arowona, in his address, said that the event and the book launch was a product of a journey that started 12 months ago.

The leadership of the Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (SSANU), University of Ilorin branch, has inaugurated five new Standing Committees to assist the association in is drive towards improving members' welfare.

The ommittees that were inaugurated by SSANU Chairman, Comrade Mohammad Jimoh Akanbi, penultimate Wednesday (July 20, 2017) at the Unilorin Cooperative Building were Capital Project Committee with AbdulRasheed Gidado of Academic Planning Unit as Chairman, Social & Security Committee, with Mrs. B.O. Ishola of the Faculty of Law as Chairman, Savings and Loans Committee, with Mr. Abiodun Lawal of Bursary Department as Chairman, Business and Investment Committee, with Mr. B.S. Baba of UPMB as Chairman , as well as Publicity Committee with Mr. Olusegun Mokuolu of the Directorate of Corporate Affairs as Chairman.

Congratulating members of the various committees on their appointments, the Chairman, Comrade Akanbi, who described the committees as the engine room of the Association, urged them to come up with blueprints that will assist the Association to move forward.

He told the Committee members, “Policies that we will work with will come from you. You are to go back and discuss and come up with blueprint for the Union. You shall be given free hands to work. Be confident and we are hopeful to have good result from you”.

Responding on behalf of the committee members, Mrs. Ishola thanked the members of the SSANU Executive Committee and the entire SSANU members for the confidence reposed in them by nominating them to work in various capacities in moving the Association forward.

The Vice Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Prof. AbdulGaniyu Ambali (OON), has assured staff and students of the Unilorin Secondary School, (USS) of his administration's commitment to continue to support them to improve on their welfares and uplift the academic standard of the school.

Prof. Ambali gave the assurance penultimate Thursday (July 20, 2107) at the 27th Graduation, Speech and Prize Giving Ceremony of the USS, held at African Hall, University of Ilorin mini campus.

The Vice Chancellor, who was the Guest of Honour on the occasion, said the authority of the University of Ilorin had earlier this year confirmed the appointment of all the school staff members that were due and promoted all the staff that were qualified for the 2016 staff promotion exercise, pointing out that it will be a regular exercise.

Prof. Ambali, who was represented on the occasion by the Chairman of the Board of the USS Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Management Services), Prof. A.Y. Abdulkareem, also disclosed that the Board had just established a clinic in the school to cater for the immediate health needs of the staff and students.

The Vice-Chancellor commended the former Head of the Department of Anatomy, University of Ilorin, who happens to be a member of the USS Board, Dr (Mrs.) M.S. Ajao, for the significant role she played in the establishment of the USS clinic.

He explained that the Board was considering the possibility of giving merit awards to deserving members of staff every session in addition to establishing a Quality Assurance Committee for the school.

"We would continue to ensure prudence and accountability in managing the school's finances”, the Vice-Chancellor said, adding that “this is why we are able to fund the school's programmes, projects and staff development and promotion”.

Prof. Ambali said, "We have put up a committee to review the school's staff conditions of service. We assure you all that once approved, we shall continue to implement the contents to the letter, again for improved performance".

In her lecture on the occasion, the Head of the Department of Social Sciences Education, Dr (Mrs.) Olabisi Olawuyi, whose lecture was titled "Adolescent Literacy: The Challenges and Prospects”, called on graduating students to familiarise themselves with the current trend of ICT and use it to develop their skills and potentials..

Dr Olawuyi, who described the adolescent as a stage of confusion, urged the students to tap from the viable benefits of computer and discard the habit of using ICT for fraud or other unruly activities that are against the laws of the land.

In her address, the USS Principal, Mrs. S.N. Jaiyeola, noted that the school is a center of excellence in terms of academic performance, pointing out that the school has several laurels, to attest to this.

Mrs. Jayieola identified the lack of a well-furnished library, 18-seater bus to convey staff and students to competitions, inadequate office furniture, insufficient social amenities like water and the uncooperative attitude of some parents as some of the challenges facing the school currently.