Eighty-Three graduating scholars across 14 Faculties were also recognized at the colorful ceremony.

Those who were honoured included Prof. Luke Edungbola of the Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, Prof. J.O. Olusegun of Physical Sciences, Prof. J.O. Sadiku of Communication and Information Sciences,  Prof. A.E. Davies of Social Sciences and Prof. J.A. Akinyanju of Life Sciences, who have all retired from the services of the University.

Others are Dr. B. S. Adisa of Council Office, Mr. Andrew Otonekwu of Registrar's Office, Miss. A. Q. Ibrahim of the Directorate of Human Resources, Mrs. S. V. Aduloju of the Faculty of Physical Sciences, Mr. Tajudeen Shittu of the Registrar's Office and Mr. Mohammed Jamiu Galadima of the Physical Planning Unit.

Also on the list of awardees are Mr. Taofeek Ojuade of the Bursary Department, Mr. Ibrahim Idris Aloma of the Directorate of Corporate Affairs, Mrs. S.T. Adio-Yusuf of the Department of Water Resources and Environmental Engineering, Mr. Musa Alaya Kadri of Works Department, Mr. Jimoh A. Toyin of Physical Planning Unit, Mr. Ibrahim Suberu and Mrs. Ogunlade Alice Funmi of the Security Unit, as well as Mr. Rasaq O. Babamale of the Sport Unit.

Mr. George Osague and Mrs. Kayode Boluwatife were rewarded as Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year.

Speaking earlier, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Abdulkareem, who commended the awardees, said that the awards were to gear them to do more for the development of the University. He, therefore, urged all staff members, both senior and junior, academic and non-academics, to key into the Team Unilorin project so as to make the University better than it is.

Prof. Abdulkareem said, “Let me state that this moment is made for all of us and we should seize it together for the greater purpose of elevating our University. On my part, I will be fair, just, firm, conscientious, selfless, transparent and innovative”.

As part of the measures to curb the high rate of unemployment in the country, the Chairman of Club '72, Government Secondary School (GSS), Ilorin, Old Students, Elder P.A. Ajibola, has called for a rethink in the country’s approach to learning, especially in higher institutions, saying this is crucial if universities want to produce graduates with the right thinking and problem solving skills that can meet society's aspirations.

Elder Ajibola made the observation last Tuesday (October 24, 2017), when he led members of the Club to the University of Ilorin to felicitate with the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. S. A. Abdulkareem, who is one of their classmates on his appointment and assumption of office.

The Chairman observed that the unemployment rate in the country is high “not because there are no jobs but there is a dearth of skilled manpower that will create these jobs”, hence, tertiary institutions should also focus their teaching and learning on skill acquisition and entrepreneurial training to be able to curb this challenge.

Noting that power supply is another challenge in the country, Elder Ajibola urged the Vice-Chancellor to intensify the University's effort in making the University “a solar energy producing center in the country”, saying, “This will be the University's contribution to resolving the seemingly intractable problem of power supply.”

Elder Ajibola then stressed the need for the Vice-Chancellor to sustain the peace, progress and stability of academic calendar the University of Ilorin has enjoyed for the past 17 years, saying this has distinguished the university “and made it the toast of most prospective students”.

While commending Prof. Abdulkareem, who is also a former Vice-Chancellor of Al-Hikmah University, the Chairman said “your experience in Al-Hikmah must have revealed the beauty inherent in inclusive government. Therefore, as a man who believes in teamwork, we have no doubt you will make the best use of collective intelligence and wisdom of members of the university community to make success of your administration.”

In his response, the Vice-Chancellor thanked his GSS classmates, observing that “we had a bond when we were at GSS, which was greater than family bond”

Prof. Abdulkareem then assured his classmates that “the brotherhood we had those days is thriving” and pledged not to disappoint them.

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.

In its sustained drive to improve the University's internal revenue generation base and impart technical education on students, the Technical and Entrepreneurship Centre (TEC) of the University of Ilorin has achieved another feat by making academic gowns for Ph.D. graduates.

The Director of the Centre, Dr. I. F. Abdul, who disclosed this in a chat with Unilorin Bulletin, said that “the gowns were produced at no profit for the University as a demonstration of the University of Ilorin TEC centre's ability and competence in carrying out this assignment and others similar to it in our fashion unit”.

Dr. Abdul, therefore, solicited for patronage of the gown and other TEC products from the University authorities, staff, students and their associates.

According to him, “this patronage will boost the country's cardinal objectives of training and income generation for the University apart from improving our already excellent public image”.

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.

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.