The University of Ilorin has continued to show its better-by-far stuff with its student debating teams emerging tops in no fewer than three different national debate competitions between May and the first week of June this year.

The competitions include the 1st edition of the Bounce Corruption Public Integrity Debate Competition in Abuja (May 30 to June 1, 2018), the 4th annual Masters' Round Debate Championship in Calabar (May 5 to May 9, 2018), and the FUTA IV debate competition, in Akure (May 27 to June 1).  

The victorious debaters, with their trophies and medals, were presented to the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Sulyman Age Abdulkareem, in his office last Wednesday (June 6, 2018) by the Dean of Student Affairs, Prof. Lanre Tajudeen Ajibade, and the Sub-Dean, Dr. Alex Akanmu.     

Congratulating the students for making the University proud and for keeping up with the tradition of excellence in the University, Prof. Abdulkareem said that they would personally benefit in the future from the experience gained at such competitions.

The Vice-Chancellor, who reminisced on his school days when he won several awards, encouraged the students not to relent in their studies and to bring more honours to the University. He assured them that they would continue to enjoy the support of the University.

At the Bounce Corruption Public Integrity Debate Competition, held at the Sheraton Hotel, Abuja, from May 30 to June 1, 2018, the Unilorin team, comprising Hawau Abikan and Omotayo Jimoh, defeated the University of Lagos, the Federal University of Technology, Owerri and the University of Calabar to clinch the top prize.

The triumphant team, which was led to the competition by the Chairman UNILORIN Quiz and Debate Committee, Dr. A. A. Owoade, had earlier defeated the Federal University, Dutse, team and the University of Benin team in the knockout rounds to make the finals of the competition held at Sheraton Hotel, Abuja.

At the 4th Annual Masters' Round Debate Championship which held from May 5 to May 9, 2018 at the University of Calabar, the Unilorin delegation, led by Mr. A. A. Lawal went to the competition as the defending champions, having won the 2017 edition of the competition and went ahead to clinch the first position back-to-back.

The team, comprising David Ejim, team coach, and Justice Eyo, won against teams from the University of Calabar, the Federal University of Technology, Owerri and another team of David Onyesom and Olamide Olanrewaju from the University of Ilorin made it to the finals.

The Unilorin team also emerged champion at the FUTA IV Debate Competition hosted by the Federal University of Technology, Akure from May 27 to June 1, 2018.

Two Unilorin teams, those of Orire Solihu and Dere Abdulhameed as well as Oso Olasunkanmi and Kalejaiye Musa, made the finals of the Novice stream where they competed against teams from the host, Federal University of Technology, Akure and the University of Port Harcourt, with the team of Oso Olasunkanmi and Kalejaiye Musa emerging champions.

In the Main stream, two Unilorin teams, comprising Justice Eyo and Omolola Ambrose as well as David Onyesom and Sanusi Sodiq, represented the University in the competition's finals against teams from Covenant University and the Federal University of Technology, Akure where the team of David Onyesom and Sanusi Sodiq came tops.

The Captain of the Debate Team, Mr. Abolarin Mohammed, also emerged as the best public speaking adjudicator and the second-ranked debate adjudicator at the competition.

In a chat with Unilorin Bulletin after the reception in the Vice-Chancellor's Office, the Dean of Student Affairs, Prof. Ajibade, congratulated the students and the University for the success recorded by the Unilorin debating team, while thanking the Vice-Chancellor for providing the enabling environment to make such feat possible.

With the commencement of the Ramadan fast, the Chief Imam of the University of Ilorin, Prof. AbdulGaniyu AbdulSalam Oladosu, has admonished the Muslim Ummah, particularly members of the University of Ilorin Muslim Community, to be in good spiritual standing and ensure that they work on their human relations, in order to maximise the rewards of the annual 30-days fast.

Prof. Oladosu gave the admonition penultimate Friday (May 11, 2018) while delivering the weekly Jumaat Sermon at the Unilorin Central Mosque.    

The Professor of Islamic Education stressed the need for Muslims to allow divine spirit to prevail over satanic tendencies in all their conducts by eschewing bitterness, rancour and breakdown of law and order as a way of preparing for an acceptable observance of the Third Pillar of Islam. 

The cleric, who extolled the virtues of the sacred month, explained that Muslims must, as a matter of necessity, explore the gains of the month by being nice to their neighbours, not minding their tribe, religion or status in order to benefit maximally from the social, spiritual and economic advantages of the month of fasting.

The Chief Imam, who later led a two-rakaat obligatory prayer, then appealed to all and sundry to uphold justice to all manners of people and on all issues as Allah is always conscious of all we do and would judge us accordingly.

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) of the University of Ilorin, Prof. (Mrs.) N. Y. S. Ijaiya, has said that the teaching profession should not be a place for academic layabouts but a place for those who have distinguished themselves in their chosen subjects in order to have quality manpower for the development of the nation.

Prof. (Mrs.) Ijaiya stated this last Monday (May 14, 2018) while welcoming some officials from the National Teachers Institute (NTI), Kaduna, led by the Registrar and Secretary to the Council of the NTI, Alhaji Mahmud Usman, who visited her in her office.

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor, who stressed that teachers are critical to national development, maintained that no stone must be left unturned in the training of teachers, adding that only the best should be recruited to produce quality manpower for the nation.

Prof. Ijaiya pointed out that the University of Ilorin, realising the critical role of teachers in nation-building, has provided the Faculty of Education with one of the most befitting structures on campus. 

“We attach great importance to teachers' education and education in general. We have a solid Faculty of Education and a befitting structure to complement the Faculty”, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor said, adding that “no profession can claim superiority over teachers because they are the mothers and fathers of every other profession”.

While welcoming the team to the University, Prof. Ijaiya described the relationship with the institute as “partners in progress”, assuring that the University is delighted to collaborate with the institute. 

Earlier in his remarks, the Registrar and Secretary to the Council of the NTI, Alhaji Usman, said that the Institute was established in 1976 by the Federal Government primarily because of the pressing needs in the country for trained and qualified teaching staff at all levels of the educational system.

He added that the single mode distance education institution dedicated to teacher training had obtained permission from the National Universities Commission (NUC) to affiliate with a university each in the six geopolitical zones of the country.

While thanking the management of the University of Ilorin for agreeing in principle to partner  NTI, Alhaji Usman assured the University that partnering with the institution would not soil the good name and reputation of the University.

The Director of the Centre for Affiliated Institutions, University of Ilorin, Prof. A. O. Omotosho, conducted the NTI officials to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor's office.

The Chairman of the Governing Council of the University of Ilorin, Dr. Abdullah Jibril Oyekan, has commended the Federal Government on the release of the long-awaited earned allowance for the academic staff of the University.

In a special press statement made available to Unilorin Bulletin last Thursday (May 17, 2018), Dr. Oyekan also expressed appreciation to the University's branch of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) for its “highly commendable display of civilised unionism” during the trying period of what looked like an endless wait for the release of the earned allowance funds.  

The Council Chairman's statement read, “While thanking the Federal Government for honouring its pledge to pay the Earned Allowance of Unilorin staff along with others, I must also express, on behalf of the Unilorin Council, my deep appreciation of the highly commendable display of civilized trade unionism by the rank and file of the Unilorin ASUU. 

“As the occupiers of the ‘Ivory Tower’ of academia, our staff are expected to be the role models for the generality of the masses on all issues. By handling the recent protest on the exclusion of the University from the first Earned Allowance list with such remarkable decorum, Unilorin   ASUU   has   done   Team Unilorin   proud,   firstly   in protesting the devilish exclusion of Unilorin ASUU from the first list and thereafter the patience displayed when there was the delay in disbursing the money. 

“We were all witnesses to the dignified deaf ear that Unilorin ASUU's leadership and members turned to taunts and fabrications of some miscreants calculated to undermine the reputation of their   Union,   which   has   strongly   contributed   to   making   Unilorin   the   most   sought-after University in the country. 

“We salute their patience, tenacity, reasonableness and realism. Long live Unilorin, the abode of peaceful and decent academic pursuits”. 

The Coordinator, Sasakawa Africa Fund for Extension Education (SAFE), West Africa, Prof. O. I. Oladele, has charged Agricultural Extensionists in the country to incorporate Information Communication Technology (ICT) into their work for easier, more effective and more efficient service delivery and increase of income.

Prof. Oladele made this call last Tuesday (May 15, 2018) at a Seminar organised by SAFE, University of Ilorin chapter for the alumni of the Sasakawa programme.

The Coordinator disclosed that in the whole of Africa, there are only 70,000 Agricultural Extensionists.

Explaining how ICT has taken over every facet of life including Agricultural Extension services, Prof. Oladele said, “You remember the Arab uprising, when the Presidents of Tunisia, Egypt and other Arab countries were removed. This was with the power of ICT' that was able to bring everybody together to come to a common understanding and stimulate action”.

He pointed out that with ICT there is now decentralized and democratized source of information, adding that information sources are in the hands of the users. 

“With ICT we have been able to move from organisation to network. And with network, we have viral communication, wisdom of the crowd, crowd sourcing, peer evaluation and empowerment”, he said.

Speaking on viral communication, Prof. Oladele advised the Sasakawa programme alumni to create WhatsApp group with the farmers under their areas of jurisdiction.

He said, “We need multiplier instruments that will be able to relay messages to all farmers in all places at the same time, and this will reduce distortion of information. You have Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp accounts but how much are you using it to the benefit of this profession.”

“There are farmers in India that are using Facebook and WhatsApp groups to market their tomato, ginger and other products”, Prof. Oladele said, adding that “as an extensionist, you can connect buyers to farmers through social media and generate income for yourself'. We cannot continue to be having listeners group, which is a 1976 method. We cannot continue to call farmers after they are done on the farm to show them videos from a TV attached to the back of a 'keke' (tricycle)”.

In his address, the Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture, Prof. Kolade Joseph, said, “This is the first time in Nigeria that an institution follows its alumni to where they are and update them with the necessary knowledge”. 

Prof. Joseph urged the students to assist themselves and the Department in achieving the set goals and objectives by always remembering their Alma Mater.

In their separate remarks, the Head of the Department of Agricultural Extension and Rural Development, Dr. R. S. Adisa, and the former Head of the Department, who is also a former Coordinator of SAFE programme, Prof. I. Ogunlade, disclosed that the relationship between the Department and its graduates is life-long.

In his remarks, the University of Ilorin SAFE Coordinator, Dr. L. L. Adefalu, said that “after training the students, the staff of the Department always keep track of their progresses.

The Chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), University of Ilorin Branch, Dr. Usman Raheem, has expressed delight over the release of the earned allowances for the institution's academic staff despite what he called “the unending devilish antics of the ego-stricken NEC of ASUU and its unending devilish antics at permanently denying academics that truly earned the allowances”. 

In a chat with Unilorin Bulletin last Friday (May 18, 2018), Dr. Raheem said, “While the struggle lasted, the Union frontally confronted the effrontery of the cabal and fought to a standstill, as is now obvious, the enemies of our stable system”.

Saying that the battle for the release of the earned allowance was won “on a platter of courage”, the ASUU Chairman expressed appreciation to all those who stood by the Union throughout the trying period. 

According to him, these include “the University Governing Council, the University management, past and serving Vice Chancellors, members of the ASUU Elders Forum, members of the Situation Room of ASUU, the members of ASUU Exco and more importantly, the profoundly resilient and matured Congress of UNILORIN ASUU for standing firm with us in this struggle”. 

Dr. Raheem also thanked members of other Unions in the University “for their solidarity”.

  According to the Union leader, “the lesson from this victory is clear, that a broomstick stands a greater risk of being broken than a bunch”.

He then urged members of the Unilorin ASUU to continue to be united against what he called “the distractions of the handful of unscrupulous elements in our midst that have abandoned constructive unionism for a narrow and turbulent worldview that have taken them nowhere over time”.

Dr. Raheem also urged the University management to also “seize this moment to address lingering welfare issues for academics in this University to sustain our age long stable academic system”.

The Registrar of the University of Ilorin Dr. (Mrs.) Folaranmi Modupe Olowoleni, has stated that the ongoing staff screening exercise in the University is not to witch-hunt any member of staff, saying that rather, it is aimed at ensuring credibility, truthfulness and create an avenue for staff who are yet to obtain their certificates from their various institutions to go and get them.

Dr. Olowoleni made this known penultimate Tuesday (May 1, 2018) while featuring on a popular Yoruba current affairs programme on Unilorin 89.3 FM, 'Oro t'onlo'.

The Registrar, who assumed duty on April 30, 2018, promised to build on the successes of her predecessor, Mr. Emmanuel Dada Obafemi, on staff training and re-training, saying that there will be a new template for the programme to take a new dimension and ensure that all staff members are carried along to ensure effective productivity and improved service delivery. 

She also said that she will not condone indiscipline and indolence on duty but will advise staff members to be hardworking, dedicated, and diligent while promising to reward such attitude

Dr. Olowoleni stressed the need to create a good working environment for the staff of the Registry to make them perform optimally. She also pledged to ensure cordial and harmonious working relationship between the teaching and non-teaching staff of the University.

On the issue of the university correspondence to the outside public and quick release of transcripts to graduates, Dr. Olowoleni also promised to work hand in hand with the Deputy Registrar (Academic) to put machineries in place to ensure that all backlogs of transcripts are collated and digitized to make them available on the internet and accessible for graduates to print after payment of stipulated charges.