Sunday, November 18, 2018 2:24 am
…as UI honours world citizens
Saturday November 17 2017, eminent personalities from within and outside Nigeria and well-wishers converged at the International Conference Centre, ICC, University of Ibadan to celebrate the institution’s 70th Foundation Day anniversary, conferment of doctorate degree and honorary awards.
The personalities include: President Muhammadu Buhari, who was represented by his Vice, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, former Military Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, Governor of the old Western State, Brigadier-General Oluwole Rotimi, Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, Registrar and Chief Executive, Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, JAMB, Is-haq Oloyede representing the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, Chairman of The Punch Newspapers, Chief Ajibola Ogunsola, Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Adetunji, Aje Ogungunniso I, Archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Ibadan, Most Reverend Gabriel Abegunrin, Presiding Bishop of the Sword of the Spirit Ministries, Bishop Francis Wale Oke, Professors Ayo Banjo and Ayo Bamgbose, and Chief Akinwande Delano, SAN.
Also in attendance were: representatives and Vice Chancellors of universities including, Geegbae A. Geegbae, Vice President for Institutional Development and Planning of University of Liberia, Acting Secretary General, Association of Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities, Professor Ayodele O. Adigun, Vice Chancellor, Chrisland University, Abeokuta, Professor Peace Chinedum Babalola, Professor P. Tawari-Fufeyin of Federal University of Petroleum Resources, Effurun, Professor Adebayo Bamire of Obafemi Awolowo University, Professor Adebola Adebijeje of Redeemer’s University, and Professor Ayotunde Olorunsanya of Ibrahim Babangida University.
Also, Governor Ajimobi, while felicitating with the Premier University for the anniversary, protested that the institution did not deeming it fit to honor him with honorary degree despite the volume of speeches he has presented in the university.
In his address, Osinbajo, who admitted that education deserves proper funding, pointed out that government alone cannot fund university education. According to him, there should be innovative ways of financing education including encouraging private sector and alumni involvement in the financing of university education.
He noted that the Premier University is defined by many icons that it has produced including a Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, Chinua Achebe, J. P. Clark, Mabel Segun, charging that Nigeria universities should play a major role in solving Nigerian challenges as well as training students to be able to cope with the competition in the world.
Earlier, the institution’s Chancellor, His Eminence, Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakah 111, the Sultan of Sokoto, who affirmed that the institution is fit to be regarded in Nigeria as “the first and the best”, stated that the university in its 70 years of existence, has indeed grown by all measurable parameters, to be an icon in the knowledge industry both nationally and internationally.
He said that the university at 70 years is opening new vistas of developmental strides with the venturing, since the last decade, into what is regarded as the second phase of its physical development at the Ajibode extension. He said it is noteworthy that the development of this phase towards the future growth of the university is already being pursued with an extra-ordinary vigour even in the face of the current economic downtown.
“As we look into the future we must ensure that our university remains relevant to the needs of the society it serves. Universities world over are designed to generate knowledge which societies can leverage to solve their problems. As societies develop and become complex so will their needs change. For universities to remain relevant and deliver on their mandates they need to generate the knowledge which addresses the problems of their societies. The routine review of curriculum should not lose sight of this constant need to update and upgrade and ensure that knowledge generated is targeted at solving problems. Just as research and development is key to the survival of industries as the struggle to remain their competitive age, so should universities endeavor to match their products to the needs of our societies. This is particularly so when we look at the dwindling quality of leadership in our society today. There is clear dearth of the core values of honesty, modesty, prudence, selflessness, and hard work in our corporate culture today”, he said.
The Chancellor said that the job of the universities is not only to impact knowledge and skills but also to mould the character of its students until it becomes worthy stressing that it is a waste effort to produce scholars that lack character. “The challenge of securing our values in an increasingly open society is something which universities are more suited to research on and come up with policy recommendations for civil society to do advocacy and governments to implement”, he added.
The monarch condemned incessant disruption of academic calendar through series of industrial actions being staged by various unions in the universities, saying, “Disruption of academic calendar sometimes beyond a reasonable redemption has become the bane of the Nigerian academic community. It is a situation that puts our students and indeed our institutions at a great disadvantage globally. The phenomenon also seriously rubbishes planning and management. This being one major fallout of disturbances in our educational system, therefore makes it imperative for all stakeholders to seriously consider the grave repercussions whenever issues arise and tend towards work-to-rule actions”.
The Vice Chancellor of the Premier University, Professor Abel Idowu Olayinka disclosed that a total of 371 graduands, spread over 12 faculties and five institutes and centres were admitted into the Doctor of Philosophy Degree.
According to him, the Faculty of Arts produced the highest graduands with 64 graduands, followed by the Faculties of Education with 62, and one Doctorate of Science, D. Sc. which is the fifth ever awarded in the history of the Institution.
Olayinka renewed his plea with President Buhari to give the university a special attention in the form of a special rehabilitation fund and increase in allocation that may run for about five years for it to compete favourably with top institutions in the world as was the case about 40 years ago. “In addition, the personnel cost of the university which has been consistently short for over a year now, leading to what is referred to in university community as “amputated salary” for the staff of the university, needs to be reviewed”, he added.
He assured that the institution is already repositioning itself to become one of the top five universities in Africa and among the first 500 universities in the world, pointing out that the university is currently in active collaboration with over 200 universities all over the world.
The Vice Chancellor, who pointed out that the institution, has continued to provide leadership as the premier university and promote academic excellence in teaching and learning said, “Thus our products have impacted all educational as well as industrial sectors of our economy. Our academic staff continues to make giant strides all over the world as evident in the many competitive grants and fellowships that they won since my last address to convocation. I am also pleased to report that 155 academic staff have been promoted since the last convocation, comprising 39 to the grade of professor, 36 to Reader, 52 to senior lecturer, 31 to lecturer 1 and 10 to lecturer 11. Similarly, 415 senior non-teaching staff to various categories were promoted”. Suffice it to say that this was by dint of honest hard work, going by the University of Ibadan’s penchant for excellence in such matters”.
In the same direction, the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council, Nde Waklek Joshua Mutka appealed to the federal government to increase its provisions to the Premier University that has so many ageing facilities that are overdue for replacement.
He appealed, “We also want to appeal to the federal government to expedite action on the release of funds for university ten megawatt solar plant project, which was flagged off in the year 2016 and is expected, on its completion, to resolve the energy crisis on campus. I also want to use the opportunity to appeal to the federal government to earnestly address the current ASUU strike in order to prevent the brake down of the higher education sector in the country”.
The major highlight of the event was the cutting of the anniversary cake, the conferring of PhD on 371 candidates and honorary degrees and fellowship on six distinguished Nigerians and eminent citizens of the world, who have unarguably distinguished themselves in their fields of endeavors. The honorees are: the Parakoyi of Ibadanland, Chief Bode Akindele, Doctor of Letters, D. Litt., Professor Grace Alele-Williams, Doctor of Science, D.Sc., Professor Omoniyi Adewole, Fellowship of the University of Ibadan, FUI, Professor Olufunmilayo Olopade, Doctor of Science, D.Sc., Professor Akinlawon Ladipo Mabogunje, Doctor of Science, D.Sc. and Professor Alake Bolanle Awe, Doctor of Letters, D. Litt.
Chief Bode Akindele had his primary education at Olubi Memorial School, Ibadan and went to Lisabi Grammar School, Abeokuta. He thereafter went fully into the business world, with his conglomerate under the name Modandola Group of Companies. His business interests span from maritime to property and manufacturing. Chief Bode Akindele, a billionaire per excellence, is the Parakoyi of Ibadanland and is respected both home and abroad. He is noted for his philanthropic gestures and activities, with his generosity impacting several lives internationally. He recently extended his philanthropic gesture to the University of Ibadan under the auspices of Bode Akindele YIELD Initiative, BAYI, which is dedicated to providing platforms to stimulate and support Youth Innovation, Entrepreneurship, Leadership and Development, YIELD. He has also agreed to donate the Biomedical Engineering Laboratory.
Prof. Grace Alele-Williams attended Queens College, Lagos for her secondary education. She also passed through the then University College, Ibadan before she proceeded to obtain her PhD in 1963 from University of Chicago. Prof. Alele-Williams, who was the first female Vice-Chancellor in Nigeria, was also the first female Professor of Education who worked in the University of Ibadan. She has held various positions in Science Education in Nigeria and at the International level, including the position of Vice-President of the World Organisation for Early Childhood Education and a Regional Vice-President for Africa of the Third World Organisation for Women in Science. She received the National Honour of the Order of the Niger in 1987 and was a member of the Vision 2010 Committee.
Prof. Omoniyi Adewoye had his secondary education at Kiriji Memorial College, Igbajo. He attended University of Ibadan from 1959-1963 where he obtained with a B.A. (Hons) History. He proceeded to Colombia University, New York where he obtained his Master’s and PhD in 1965 and 1968 respectively. He won the Woodrow Wilson Dissertation Fellowship in 1968. He was consistently on the Faculty of the Department of History since 1968, but for a short spell of time between 1975-1979 when he was away on National assignment. He served on several University Statutory bodies and became the Head of Department of History in 1992.
He was elected to the Governing Council in 1994 until he was appointed the Vice-Chancellor on March 25, 1996. His administrative experience spanned the larger public service. Between 1975-1977, he was Commissioner for Economic Planning and later for Finance and Economic Development in the Old Western Region and Oyo State. He later moved to the Federal level, where he served as the Federal Commissioner for Economic Development between 1977 and 1979. As Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, his tenure was characterised by landmark achievement in physical, structural and administrative developments. After his retirement from the University, he took up teaching appointment in one or two other universities producing the new face historians and helping to keep History as a subject alive and vibrant. He is a member of several National and institutional Learned Societies.
Dr Olufunmilayo Olopade was born in 1957 to an Anglican vicar. She graduated from the University of Ibadan in 1980 where she obtained an MBBS with distinction in Pathology and Pediatrics. She had her internship at the University College Hospital, Ibadan between 1980 and 1981 and then worked briefly as Medical Officer at the Nigerian Naval Hospital, Lagos between 1981 and 1983. She subsequently travelled to the United States where she was trained in Internal Medicine at Cook County Hospital in Chicago and in Oncology, Hematology and Cancer Genetics at the Joint Section of Hematology and Oncology at the University of Chicago. Olopade is a Walter L. Palmer Distinguished Service Professor of Medicine and Human Genetics and is an internationally renowned expert in cancer risk assessment and management of the most aggressive forms of breast cancer. She has maintained externally funded laboratory and clinical research programmes in cancer genetics since 1990. She won a $500,000 grant fellowship from MacArthur Foundation in recognising of her ground breaking research on genetics of breast cancer among women of African descent using Chicago and Nigeria as sample audience.
Dr Olopade is an elected member of several honour societies and has also received numerous honours and awards including Officer of the Order of the Niger. She has also received honorary degrees in North Central, Dominican Bowdoin and Princeton Universities. She was appointed as the only African member of the US National Cancer Advisory Board by President Barrack Obama in 2011 and was also selected for the prestigious Franklin. D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms medal in 2014. She recognised huge disparity in clinical manpower between Nigeria and the US, hence she collaborated with Nigeria-based researchers in UI, UCH as well as Lagos State University and Obafemi Awolowo University.
Prof Akinlawon Mabogunje gained admission to the then University College, Ibadan to study Geography and graduated in 1953. He subsequently obtained M. A. and PhD degrees from University of London in 1958 and 1961 respectively. He was employed in the University in 1958 and he served the University for twenty three years. He served as Head, Department of Geography and Dean, Faculty of the Social Sciences. He was also a member of the Governing Council in the late 1970s. He was instrumental to the establishment of the Planning Studies Programme which metamorphosed to the Centre for Urban and Regional Planning and later to the current Department of Urban and Regional Planning. On the national level, he contributed immensely to national development. He was central in the planning of Kainji Dam, conduct of population census and the development of the new Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, and also chaired several government committees. On the international scene, his activities in the World Bank, the World Population Council, the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development, the Pan-African Institutes for Development and the International Geographical Union are quite commendable. He has previously been awarded seven Honorary Degrees spread across the world and he is a fellow of nine various national and international organisations. He has won several awards and prizes and was a Visiting Professor to several universities.
Prof Bolanle Awe attended Holy Trinity School, Omofe-Ilesha, St. James Primary School, Okebola, Ibadan and St. Anne’s School, Ibadan. She then took A. Levels at the Perse School in Cambridge, United Kingdom. She also went to St. Andrew’s University in Scotland where she obtained her Masters in History, before proceeding to obtain her doctorate degree in History at Oxford University. After her graduation, she returned to Nigeria to take up lecturing job in University of Ibadan where she rose through the ranks to become a professor. She co-founded the Women Research and Documentation Centre, WORDOC. She also served as the Director, Institute of African Studies of the institution from 1982 to 1991. She also served as the Commissioner for Education in the Old Oyo State (now Oyo and Osun States) in 1982. She is a recipient of numerous honours and awards including Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Though, Bolanle Awe, a quintessential role model, foremost scholar and research and an avid promoter of gender equality, retired from the University in 1998, she continued with her research till date.