Some professors at the University of Ibadan (UI) have backed the decision of the newly constituted university council to restart the process of electing the 13th Vice-Chancellor (VC) of the institution.
They stated this in separate interviews with journalist in Ibadan at the weekend as news filtered in on the decision of the UI council.
Reports had it that the process of electing the 13th VC for the premier university had been marred with various allegations on the processes set by the former VC, Idowu Olayinka.
The UI VC race started in May 2020.
It was also gathered that the decision to restart the VC selection process was reached at a meeting of the university council held on Friday and presided by its chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun.
The council also resolved that apart from the cancellation, the VC position should be re-advertised.
The meeting also set a new timetable for the commencement of the new process to be released by the second week of July 2021.
Reacting to the development, a Professor of Guidance and Counselling at the university, Oyesoji Aremu, said the decision was a welcome development as the council sought to start the whole process afresh.
“Oh! it is a simple thing and of course, straightforward. It means the new Council wants to start on a clean slate.
“This is commendable and should be gratifying to all parties both within and outside, given the various shenanigans that greeted the last exercise,” he said.
Also, Francis Egbokhare, a Professor of Linguistics, Faculty of Arts, UI, said it was the right thing to do because the context was already too quasi and contentious.
Mr Egbokhare said if the council continued with the old process, the institution would be having a divided university along religion, cartel and canals over the next four to five years.
“It would have led also to a very toxic academic climate, where professors would be more into politics and not their academic callings.
“So, it is best that the council should reset the starting point.
“And I hope that those who led us into this quagmire would have learnt their lessons. The information on ground is that people have been entrenched into various positions capable of undermining the process.
“I hope that council will be able to manage the situation so that there would be a sense of fairness and community in the way people approach it, and not just from the point of view of council alone but UI community itself,” Mr Egbokhare said.
The don further urged the new council to earn the trust of the UI community and see to it that people are not contesting based on political power but their academic contributions as well as the capacity to make a difference in the system.
“Decisions like this for most people in UI is a matured way forward but then all hands must be back on deck to ensure that the most suitable hands for our next mission in approaching our vision will be the man that emerged as the VC,” he said.
Mr Malomo noted that the old process for electing the new VC was a bit unusual of UI.
He added that now the heat has died down and the fume has subsided and light is beginning to show forth and that is the way UI really is.
“And we believe this will give us back our normal UI mentality,” Mr Malomo said.
It would be recalled that an acting VC, Adebola Ekanola, was put in place on December 1, 2020, for the period of six months, after the Olayinka administration could not follow through with the process of electing a new VC.
However, the crises lingered till the end of the old Council under the chairmanship of Nde Joshua Waklek with various allegations of misconduct, manipulation and biases from members of the UI community on the election process.
This led to the extension of the tenure of the acting VC, who also has been unable to complete the process of electing a VC before the embargo placed on the process by the ministry of education through the National Universities Commission.
NANS Lauds College For Reinstating Students Unionism
The National Association of Nigeria Students on Saturday commended the Management of the College of Health Sciences and Technology, Ijero-Ekiti, for the restoration of students union activities in the college.
Students’ unionism was suspended in the college in 2013.
Mr Olanrewaju Olamide, NANS Chairman in Ekiti State gave the commendation in a statement issued on Saturday in Ado-Ekiti while reacting to students’ union election held in the college on September 8.
At the end of the election, Victor Osadare emerged as president, having polled 506 votes to defeat his closest rival, Damilola Oyejide who polled 298 votes.
Olamide expressed confidence that the union and her newly elected officers would thrive under the leadership of the college’s provost, Dr Cecilia Adebayo.
He commended the efforts of the Deputy Provost, Mr Kayode Abolarin, the Dean, Students Affairs, Mr Michael Adewumi as well as the college’s Electoral Board Members for the successful conduct of the election.
According to him, the high level of transparency displayed in ensuring that students were freely allowed to exercise their franchise is highly commendable.
Olamide also commended the outgoing caretaker executives of the students union for the selfless services rendered during their administration.
The new executives will be inaugurated tomorrow, September 14.
Students Want STEM Introduced At Primary Level
Some students have underscored the need to introduce Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in their curriculum right from the primary level to stimulate their interest in the fields.
They stated this on Saturday at the STEM showcase organised by the Pan African University of Life and Earth Sciences Institute (PAULESI), University of Ibadan, in collaboration with Co-Creation Hub (CCH) to mark the African Union Day celebration.
It was gathered that the 110 students, mainly drawn from both secondary and primary schools in Ibadan were introduced to Robotics and Artificial Intelligence, 3D design and scientific-practical to solve real-life problems.
Anuoluwapo Okunneye, a JSS III student of UCH Staff School, Ibadan, said learning on how some scientific practical work and what he can do with it was exciting for him.
“I learnt about things like crafts and other robotics that can be made with scraps at home, thereby recycling what was initially considered as waste.
“I learnt in practical ways how mechanical energy turns to mechanical and the light energy that can be used to power appliances.
“This is an edge for me to start thinking of how to deploy all I have learnt to solve problems in my environment, especially the problem of waste management,” Okunneye said.
Another student, Inioluwa Ireniyi, a JSS II student said “the event has opened my mind to the fact that I can be an engineer, that STEM is not only for males, but that I can excel there too.
“That I can be an inventor also and I would like to solve the problem of light for Nigeria by inventing a machine from renewable sources that switches itself on whenever there is a power outage.
Isabella Akinyede, a Primary Four pupil of Richmab International School, said she was fascinated about how robotics and artificial intelligence were used to make things work.
“I would like to become a medical doctor in the future and use the knowledge I am gaining in STEM to make things better,” Akinyede said.
Also, Michael Oladunjoye, a Primary Six pupil of Rolis International School, Ibadan said he would like to become a physicist and the event has further stimulated his interest in STEM.
“I would like to develop more in this field and also build machines that will ease work when I grow up,” Oladunjoye said.
In her address, the Director, PAULESI, Prof. Titilayo Akinlabi, said as a professor of Mechanical Engineering, there was the need to encourage many more students, right from their tender age into STEM.
According to her, this would turn them into solutions providers and make them compete favorably with their counterparts worldwide, especially girls whose numbers are few in the STEM field.
“For the young girl-child here today, for you to know that it is possible to be a woman and excel in STEM fields and even be at the top of your career,” Akinlabi said.
In an interview, Mr Abraham Akpan, the Programme Manager, Co-Creation Hub, said that the company organised community engagement projects for communities and stakeholders to drive technology toward problem-solving in the country.
According to him, the programme focused on students from age 10 to 16 years old, to have firsthand knowledge of what STEM was all about.
“As technology and youths are taking over our world, students need to have hands-on knowledge and this is our way of contributing and impacting our world,” Akpan said.
Attacks On Schools, Threat To Nigeria’s Future -UN
The United Nations has said that the incessant attacks on schools by insurgents across the nation in recent times remains a threat to the nation’s future.
The United Nations in partnership with major stakeholders in the education sector and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), said the attacks on schools has affected hundreds of children in a number of states of the federation.
This was the fallout from the deliberations marking the 2021 International Day To Protect Education From Attack, held last Thursday.
Speaking at the Virtual Roundtable Discussion organised by the United Nations Children’s Education Fund(UNICEF) and the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIA), the Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof Peter Okebukola described the situation as a disgrace to the nation’s education sector and stressed the need for the end of the trend to safeguard the nation’s future.
Okebukola, who is also the Chairman of the event called for the mobilisation of both the government and its citizenry to rise to the occasion by harnessing every machinery to end the trend.
“We have to equip our military even as we cut supply and logistics to the insurgents attacking our schools. We must use education to prevent education from attack. We must take extreme countermeasures to mobilise everything that we have to take the battle to the end. Funding of our schools and support for traumatised schools are also key. We must train school personnel on intelligence gathering”, he said.
While noting that education was the antidote to poverty and ignorance as well as unlocking natural resources, the NUC boss harped on public awareness which he said would help to stem the tide of attacks on schools.
“My desire is that we raise public awareness. It is not that the public is not aware but we want to raise it from where it is today to a higher heights so that all stakeholders in education which includes everyone in Nigeria and across the globe to be more alert to the fact that education is the key to unlock natural resources.
It is also the antidote to poverty and ignorance. It is at the heart of the development of countries. So, we are not going to sit here today to bemoan our situation but we are going to raise awareness as we indicate roles the government and everyone of us will play”, Okebukola said.
By: Lady Godknows Ogbulu
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