*publishes book on Guinea worm eradication

Nigerian academics have been implored to always ensure meaningful inter-disciplinary collaborations, efficient cross-fertilization of ideas and ceaseless cooperation among one another with a view to swiftly facilitating enduring solutions to human challen.ges.

This advice was given by a world renowned Medical Scientist, Prof. Luke Ekundayo Edungbola, last Tuesday (April 9, 2019), during an exclusive interview with Unilorin Bulletin.  

Prof. Edungbola, who is a former Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, stated that finding panacea to human challenges, particularly health problems, requires the synergetic efforts of every stakeholder. 

He stressed that without such concerted interactions, it will be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to eradicate diseases and associated challenges hindering human development.

The foremost Medical and Public Health Parasitologist, who pioneered the multi-various efforts that eventually consigned Guinea-worm disease into the dustbin of history in tropical Africa, recalled that without the cooperation of major stakeholders the dreaded disease would have remained an enduring scourge to the Nigerian nation.

On what propelled him to initiate the war against Guinea-worm, Prof. Edungbola said, "I hate people suffering. I have seen so many cases and the day I was coming back from America, I saw a woman at Orile-Igbon Village near Ogbomoso, suffering from the disease, who told me that everybody in her community was afflicted by Guinea-worm".

He added that it was that pathetic situation that compelled him to initiate the struggle against the debilitating cankerworm that eventually attracted global attention through consistent advocacy and unimaginable support from those who mattered.

Prof. Edungbola, who was nick-named “Mr. Guinea-worm” by stakeholders and colleagues because of his apparent passion for the termination of the spread of the disease, said that so many factors accounted for its hitherto unchecked diffusion.

He stated that ignorance, taboos, insecurity, poor access to clean water and the remote locations of some human settlement, particularly in the North-Western part of the country, extensively aided the spread of the ailment before his intervention.

He explained that as at the time the war against the disease started, Nigeria was undoubtedly the most infested in Sub-Saharan Africa with about a million confirmed cases in several locations across all its regions.

 Prof. Edungbola said, "I want to thank the University of Ilorin for giving me the impetus, the encouragement, the support, the good will to pursue Guinea-worm to eradication status".

The multiple award-winning researcher recalled how a coverage by the defunct National Concord newspaper on the impact of the scourge at Kankan Village in the Asa Local Government Area of Kwara State, which he initiated, attracted the attention of the then Military Governor, Group Captain S. A. Latinwo, and eventually ignited governmental interests in the disease. He said that the development marked the beginning of the end of Guinea-worm in Nigeria.

Prof. Edungbola said that he was very happy that the disease, which had hitherto accounted for the loss of $20 million annually because of its negative effects on productivity, had been totally eradicated against the pessimism of some individuals and groups who thought that nothing of such could be done to safe mankind from the disease, particularly in Nigeria.

The distinguished academic enjoined his colleagues to always give every situation their best,  reminding University lecturers that their responsibilities go beyond classroom teaching but also involve translating and transforming their expertise to finding solutions to challenges.

He urged them to always be positive and undeterred in solving an identified problem, saying that the level of their commitment and resoluteness will determine the magnitude of their success.

To underscore the level of success attained in the eradication of Guinea-worm, Prof. Edungbola promised to reward handsomely anyone who comes across and can present any case of the disease in Nigeria to him or any accredited authority.

On his forthcoming book, Prof. Edungbola disclosed that he decided to author the book titled "The Eradication of Dracunculiasis (Guinea Worm) in Nigeria: An Eyewitness Account" so as to preserve his over two decades of stressful, fruitful and impactful experiences in the control of Guinea worm in Nigeria for posterity.

While stating that the formal public presentation of the 121 page well-researched book holds in November this year, the celebrated intellectual giant thanked the publisher, Elsevier, "for accepting to publish this book timely with great understanding, cooperation, and encouragement".

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) of the University of Ilorin, Prof. Silvia O. Malomo, has urged students of the School of Preliminary Studies to take their studies seriously, and live with one another as humans.

Prof. Malomo made the call last Monday (April 8, 2019) while addressing the students during the 2018/2019 session orientation programme held at the SPS campus in Fufu near Ilorin.

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor, who represented the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Sulyman Age Abdulkareem, at the event, said, “I want to challenge you to take your studies and relationships seriously, because at this stage, they will be your lifetime friends”.   

While welcoming the students to what she called “another window of opportunity to the undergraduate level of the University”, Prof. Malomo also charged the students to value themselves by dressing well.

In her goodwill message, the Registrar of the University of Ilorin, Dr. Folaranmi M. Olowoleni, represented by the Deputy Registrar, Vice-Chancellor's Office, Mrs. B. O Ishola, enjoined the students to attain desired success, which is the major purpose of their admission, by studying hard.

In his remarks, the Dean, Student  Affairs, Prof L. T. Ajibade, urged the students to always abide by the school's rules and regulations, dress decently, avoid unofficial marriages, stay away from cultism, and avoid exam malpractices.

Prof. Ajibade, who spoke on how to achieve desired goals as students, encouraged them to face their studies squarely and avoid all kinds of social vices, adding that students who failed to do so shall face the disciplinary committee.

On his part, the Director, University Health Services, Dr. AbdulRasheed Odunola, encouraged the students to try as much as they can to stay in a clean and healthy environment and also stay away for drug abuse.

In her remarks, Mrs. O. F Adeshina, who represented the University Librarian, advised the students to visit the Library and make use of the materials there, informing them that the Library opens by 8:30am and closes at 3:30pm daily.

Earlier in his welcome address, titled  “A Citadel at the Back Yard”, the Director of the School of Preliminary Studies, Prof. Abdulqadir Ibrahim Abikan, who congratulated the students admitted for the 2018/2019 academic session, aroused their consciousness to the dual possibility at the end of their studies in the school.

Prof. Abikan encouraged the students to pass their examinations to get admitted for their desired courses in the undergraduate level of the University of Ilorin, saying that the tools they need for the best of these options are hard work, focus and determination.

“For the short period you are spending with us, you are expected to comport yourself in the best of manners in line with the University's mantra of probitas doctrina (character and leaning)”, the Director said, stressing, “It is not sufficient to do well in the examinations as your character would determine whether you are eligible to write the examinations”.

In her address, the Director, Unilorin Counseling and Human Development Centre, Prof. Durosaro, described Stress as an individual's response to change in circumstance or to a threatening situation, which can be viewed as a personal reaction to an external event/demand, such as writing an exam or to an internal state of mind like worrying about an exam.

Prof. Durosaro, who was represented by Mr. Abdullahi Babatunde, said that as a student, “you will likely encounter a number of situations/events, which will result in stress”, pointing out that not everyone responds to stressors in the same way because of differences in perception.

Other dignitaries, who charged the students to dedicate themselves to their studies were the Deputy Director, SPS; the former Director, SPS, Prof.  Onimisi Abdullahi; the University Admission Officer, Mr. L. S. Adegoke; the Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Prof. Oyeronke Olademo; the Dean of the Faculty of Physical Sciences, Prof. F. A. Adekola; the Dean of the Faculty of Life Sciences, Prof. Taiwo Ande; the representative of the Unilorin Bursar, Mr. Gobir; the Sub- Dean, Student Affairs, Dr Alex Akanmu; the D. P. O of Fufu Area; the Baale of Fufu community; and the Access Bank representative, among others.

 

The University of Ilorin Muslim Community has concluded arrangements to stage this year's edition of the Quranic Recitation Competition on April 13 and April 14, 2019.

According to a statement by the Organising Committee, a copy of which was made available to Unilorin Bulletin, the competition, which holds at the Unilorin Central Mosque, will be preceded by a screening exercise to select those who will eventually participate in the contest on Saturday, April 6, 2019, beginning from 9.00a.m.

The statement added that while male competitors will be evaluated on their memorisation of 20 Hisbs or 10 Hisbs of the Holy Quran, while their female counterparts will be examined on their memorization of the 5 Hisbs of the "Glorious Holy Quran".

The statement, therefore, enjoined interested Muslim students of the University to obtain their application forms between 8.00 a.m. and 8.00p.m daily at the Unilorin M.S.S Secretariat within the precinct of the Unilorin Central Mosque.

The statement emphasised that only bonafide students of the University are eligible to participate in the Competition, which promises to be intellectually and spiritually stimulating.

 

 

 

Members of the 1987 and 2018 graduating sets of the College of Health Sciences (CoHS), University of Ilorin, have donated four different sporting facilities worth over N2 million to the College.  

The facilities provided are Lawn Tennis, Badminton, Volley Ball, and Basket Ball courts complete with their sports equipment.

Commissioning the facilities last Thursday (March 28, 2019), the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Sulyman Age Abdulkareem, commended the class of 1987 and class of 2018 alumni of the College of Health Sciences, describing them as exemplary and their gesture as worthy of emulation.

Prof. Abdulkareem, who was represented at the event by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research, Technology and Innovations), Prof. Minkail O. Buhari, said that nothing was more noble than contributing generously to one's Alma Mater.

The Vice-Chancellor particularly commended the donors for deeming it fit to put in place such a laudable recreational centre for the University that produced them.

He pledged that the University management would improve on the facilities by adding more sport facilities that will make the College Sports Centre a cynosure of all eyes.

 Prof. Abdulkareem noted that the importance of sports and recreation can never be over emphasised and described the gesture as purely philanthropic because most of the donors will never utilise the facilities, which they have donated.

He then urged the coming generation of medical students to follow the path of their predecessors in joining the management and government to expand and improve on the infrastructure on campus.

In his comments, the Provost of the College of Health Sciences, Prof. O.T. Adedoyin, who incidentally is a Member of the 1987 set, said that the projects were jointly executed by members of his set and those of the 2018 set.

Prof. Adedoyin thanked the University management for providing the College with an enabling environment to operate, saying that the projects wouldn't have been possible if not for the enabling environment being provided by the University authority.

He urged the University management to help improve the facility from a recreational facility to one which can be used for competitions and tournaments, as recommended by Members of the Sports Unit of the University.

A representative of the 2018 set of graduands, Dr. Kayode Olatunde, said that the example of his senior colleagues who chose to partner them on the initiative had made sure that their desire materialised.

Also in her remarks, the College Secretary/Deputy Registrar, College of Health Sciences, University of Ilorn, Mrs. M. A.  O. Oladosu, commended the tradition of giving back to the almer mater among former students of the College

Among the dignitaries that attended the event were the Chairman, Unilorin Sports Council, Prof. Abdulgafar Ijaiya; a member of the 1987 set, Prof. Osagbemi; and the representative of the Director of Sports, University of Ilorin, Dr. (Mrs.) M. T. Ajadi

…says, 'Africa is cradle of modern peace-making’

The Secretary General, International Peace Research Association, Prof. Matt Meyer, has recommended the Centre for Peace and Strategic Studies (CPSS), University of Ilorin, for a Nobel Prize in Peace Making and Peace Building.

Prof. Meyer, who is also the Senior Research Scholar, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, United States, made the recommendation last Tuesday (April 9, 2019) at the 2nd Occasional Distinguished Personality Public Lecture and Book Presentation organised by the CPSS.

The don, who was the Guest Speaker at the Public Lecture, themed “International Trends in Peace Action and Peace Research: South to North and into the Future”, pledged to be the first person to sign up for a call to consider the University of Ilorin's CPSS for the exalted Nobel Peace Prize.  

            Prof. Meyer said it became imperative for the University of Ilorin to win the Nobel Prize in Peace following the groundbreaking academic contributions of its CPSS, saying that the centre is fortunate to have been run by peace building researchers of international standard.

He commended the management of the University for not only establishing the CPSS but also for providing the enabling environment for the centre to thrive.

Describing Africa as the cradle of  modern peace-making, the Guest Speaker said, "I do not say that because I am on African soil; I have been blessed to travel and spend time in every corner of this vast continent, and over 70 countries on this fragile, resilient planet of ours. I do not say that rhetorically, because it will make you a happy audience or make for a good headline”.

Rather, he said, "It is time for the world to pay greater attention and learn not from the tragedies of Africa, but from its staunch and growing initiatives for peace. It is time for the world to understand that Africa is the cradle of modern peace-making.

“If we are to understand, as a global community, the important trends and future possibilities for peace action and peace research, South to North and back again, we must all be clear about the significance of African scholarship and grassroots resistance. We must take heed of this innovative work if we are to build effective global movements for lasting social change".

The Guest Speaker identified mass mobilisation and shared understanding as potent tools for the attainment of peace and development in Africa.

In his address, the Royal Father at the programme, the Olomu of Omu-Aran, Oba Abdulraheem Adeoti, called on members of the academia to continue to engage in peace-oriented research endeavours in order to engender a more peaceful and united society.

Declaring the event open earlier, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Prof. Sulyman Age Abdulkareem, ascribed the growing rate of violence in African societies to injustice, poverty and inequality.

The Vice-Chancellor, who was represented on the occasion by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Management Services), Prof. B. F Sule, said, "There is no doubt that the root of the pervasive conflicts in Africa is injustice and other socio-political conditions reinforcing structural violence. Ironically, such conditions are totally contradictory to our cherished African values essentially built on justice, fairness, and equity".

Prof. Abdulkareem said that the root of the pervasive conflicts in Africa can only be uprooted if the African values that are built on justice, fairness, and equity are imbibed.

The Vice-Chancellor called on Africans to retrace their steps and adopt African traditional values to eliminate structural tensions that will give birth to indigenous framework for building peace in Africa.

Prof. Abdulkareem said that the CPSS was established to purposefully build up frameworks for contributing to Africa and World Peace.

Prof. Abdulkareem said, "Since its establishment, the Centre has made giant strides under different leadership to reinforce and reinvent peacemaking and peace building within and beyond our immediate environment”, adding that "the Centre has been on the vanguard of preaching and entrenching peace in the communities in our vicinity that are prone to conflicts”.

He said, "I have just recently put a challenge to the Centre to win for the University a Nobel Prize in Peace not only through its scholarships but also essentially through value-based services that can bring lasting peace to many of our warring communities"

Earlier in his welcome address, the Director of CPSS, Prof. Noah Yusuf, said that the event was in two folds, personality lecture and book presentation.

Prof. Yusuf said that the CPSS was established in the 2008/2009 academic session with the mandate of engaging in human capacity training in the field of peace and security studies and conflict management.

The Director added that the Centre was also saddled with the task of providing practical exposure to peace scholars and practitioners within the limit of available resources.

Prof. Yusuf said that the theme for this year’s edition of the Public Lecture was carefully chosen to address universal conflicts and crises, adding that the choice of the Guest Speaker, Prof. Meyer, was a step in a right direction.

The former Deputy Vice Chancellor, University of Ibadan, Prof. Adigun Agbaje, who was the book reviewer, did justice to the book titled "Connecting Contemporary African-Asian Peace building and Non-Violence: From Satagaraha to Ujamaa"

Other dignitaries in attendance included the 2018 National Merit Award winner, Prof. Olu Obafemi, a former Vice-Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology, Minna, Prof. Musbau Akanji; former Directors of the Centre, Prof. John Fayeye, Prof. Felicia Olasehinde-Williams, and Dr. Mahfouz Adedimeji; the Kwara State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Kayode Egbetokun; the Ag. National President of Ilorin Emirate Descendants Progressive Union (IEDPU), Alhaji Yahya O. Ahmed; the President of the Igbomina/Ekiti Muslim Forum (IEMF), Alhaji Abdulazeez Kola Olawuyi, and top members of the Forum; as well as top military and paramilitary officers, among others.

The Management Board of the Unilorin Microfinance Bank Ltd has appointed Mr. Ayodele Olorunfemi as the Bank's Ag. Managing Director.

Mr Olorunfemi's appointment followed the expiration of the 10-years tenure of the Bank's pioneer Managing Director, Mallam Issa Nuhu Funsho and in accordance with the Central Bank of Nigeria's (CBN) stipulated guidelines.

The new Ag. Managing Director has been a management staff of the Bank for the past eight years.

 A statement signed by the Board Secretary of the Unilorin Microfinance Bank Nigeria Limited, Mrs. R.R. Olorukooba, indicated that Mr Olorunfemi's appointment takes effect from May 1, 2019.

Mr. Olorunfemi joined the services of Unilorin Microfinance Bank in 2012 with over 20 years banking experience.

The statement, however, described the outgoing Managing Director, Mallam Issa, as an experienced Banker with over 20 years experience before joining the Unilorin Microfinance Bank Ltd as the pioneer Managing Director.

The statement commended him for successfully piloting the affairs of the Bank for 10 years, saying, "During his tenure, the bank built the magnificent building, which serves as the headquarters of the Bank. The Bank has been able to serve the University community and its immediate environment immensely. No doubt the Bank would be missing his experience and managerial skills”.

The Ag. Head of the Department of Materials and Metallurgical Engineering, University of Ilorin, Dr. Yusuf Lanre Shuaib-Babaita, has blamed the pervasive corruption in the country for the incessant building collapse in recent times.

Dr. Shuaib-Babaita stated this last Wednesday (March 27, 2019) while fielding questions from Unilorin Bulletin in his office.

The don, who lamented the repeated collapse of buildings in the country with the resultant loss of lives and properties, stated that “many buildings were constructed in wrong places with substandard materials and unfortunately without adequate supervision by trained experts”.

Dr. Shuaib-Babaita, who was a Member of the Failures Analysis, Prevention and Control Committee of the Ilorin Branch of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), opined that building regulatory bodies are not discharging their supervisory responsibilities as expected because of what he described as “the Nigerian factor”.

He pointed out that the negligence of duties by the officials of those agencies is deeply rooted in the pervasive acts of corruption and nepotism the nation has been battling with over the years, which had often prevented those bodies from functioning effectively.

The don explained that poor maintenance culture, design error and excessive loading of structures, which are responsible for the frequent collapse of buildings across the country, could be promptly checked and effectively controlled when and if those regulatory bodies are discharging their responsibilities as expected.

Dr. Shuaib-Babaita, who is also the National Public Relations Officer of the Materials Science and Technology Society of Nigeria (MSN), stated that the consistent use of substandard materials for buildings is also a contributory factor to building failures and collapse across the country  which he regarded as an appalling embarrassment to the nation, considering the overwhelming presence of well-trained professionals in building and construction.

He added that most olden day buildings are standing the test of time because of the high quality of materials used as well as the close supervision given to their construction by experts engaged as well as from the regulatory authorities, which insisted on nothing but the best in terms of materials and strict adherence to the rules and regulations.

Dr. Shuaib-Babaita acknowledged the fact that modern days professionals are not only more qualified and competent but are also more sophisticated than their predecessors.

He, however, said that their profound exposure are not being well felt in the "alleged non-enduring capacity of modern buildings as a result of ignorance often exhibited by building owners and the appalling poverty that often propelled them from ignoring professional advice". 

To arrest the increasing tendencies of building collapse in Nigeria, Dr. Shuaib-Babaita advised the government not to leave any stone unturned at insisting on sanity in building and construction management.

While advising that the building regulatory bodies should be better empowered with adequate funds and equipment to always do the needful, the don suggested that those regulatory bodies must also be monitored to ensure that they do their functions as stipulated.

Dr. Shuaib-Babaita also proposed the continuous demolition of buildings, which do not conform to the laid-down rules to show the government's seriousness that it would not tolerate shady deals and inelegant service delivery.

He also suggested the overhauling of relevant laws relating to building in such a way that building owners and experts who are found wanting, no matter their status, are adequately and promptly penalised to serve as deterrents to others.

Dr. Shuaib-Babaita also reasoned that public enlightenment, to be handled by building and construction experts, should also be consistently promoted on the mass media to educate people on causes and consequences of building failures In Nigeria.

He, however, emphasised that once the cankerworms of bribery, nepotism, laziness and corruption are effectively banished from the psyche of Nigerians, including the professionals, the issue of building collapse would be a thing of the past.