Sunday, 1 November 2009

Encomiums, tributes for Banjo at Unilorin

IT was rains of encomiums and tributes for the longest serving Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ibadan and former Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council, University of Ilorin, Prof. Ayo Banjo, at the send-forth party organised to appreciate the contributions of the Professor Emeritus of English, who served as chairman of council between 2005 and 2007 before it was dissolved.
At the event, members of the school’s management committee took turns to pay tribute to the revered don and university administrator.
In his opening remarks, the Chairman of Council, Alhaji Tukur Mani, commended the former council headed by Banjo for its “excellent performance.”
He noted with pleasure that the previous council had contributed tremendously to the physical development, peace and academic stability on campus.
The Pro-Chancellor added that Unilorin had already made a name for itself among tertiary institutions in Nigeria and that his council would continue to consolidate on the gains and foundation laid by the Banjo-led council.
In his remarks, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Is-haq Oloyede, said Banjo represents one the very best that the academic can produce. He said, “as a former Chairman of the Committee of Vice-Chancellors, he had brought his rich experience of the university system to bear on the leadership of the council.”
While giving the toast at the occasion, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Management Services), Prof. Olayemi, described Banjo as an eminent and distinguished academic.
He said Banjo, a past Pro-Chancellor of the University of Port-Harcourt, is a democrat, an orator and a great teacher.
In his response, the Emeritus Professor of English said his council was grateful for “being honoured for just two years”.
According to Banjo, the council he chaired met a lot of challenges when it came on board but it was through the spirit of oneness that the council members were able to overcome the challenges.

Nigerian king visits campus

Oba Emmanuel Adebayo of Emure recently took a tour of the campus of the Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) to study the model with the hope of building a secondary education programme for his kingdom. Emure is a town in Ekiti State. It is also called Emure-Ekiti. It became much better known after the king ‘s grandson, Adewale Ogunleye, made it into the NFL for the Chicago Bears.
Members of the Adassa Adumori Foundation, a non-profit organization based in Spring Hill, Tennessee, USA, that provides humanitarian and educational support to kingdoms like Emure, also came with the king. The foundation has partnered with Adebayo to provide the people of the kingdom with scholarships, a library and multiple forms of education programmes.
“We are prepared to make ourselves available and ready for the development of student programmes in Emure,” Adebayo said. “We want to make Emure kingdom a role model for other kingdoms in Nigeria.”
Adebayo said that after visiting MTSU’s dairy facility and farm laboratories, he was inspired to work hand-in-hand with the university to see how his kingdom can benefit from similar programme.
“Nigeria is a developing country, and we believe our kingdom will benefit from collaboration in the areas of agriculture, education and leadership training,” Adebayo said. “We saw all the students involved, and any student that gets involved with something that engrosses work and education shows a lot of character.”
Yolanda Shields, vice president of the foundation, said they looked at other universities in Tennessee, but felt that MTSU would be the ideal institution to model programmes they plan to develop in Nigeria. “MTSU would be a great place for us to partner with in education, economic development, business and agriculture,” Shields said. “We would also work with training teachers and leaders in the community.”
Shields said that one of the Foundation’s biggest achievements has been the development of the first community library in Emure, to be completed in February 2010. “We have had over 4,000 books donated by people in Tennessee, along with 20 computers that have been donated by a university,” Shields said. “It’s been amazing to see the number of Tennesseans that have come on board saying they want to help.”
Shields said that after visiting Emure with Princess Fumi Ogunleye Hancock, Adebayo’s cousin, she realized that the area would benefit most from a university.
Fumi Hancock, who currently resides in Spring Hill with her husband, David, said that when they make their next trip to Nigeria in February, their goal will be to start a leadership camp. “In the future, we would like students here in the states to do internship and help educate and train the values of leadership to the youth there,” Fumi Hancock said.
Egli is Assistant Campus News Editor, MTSU

The Gods Are Not Blame on Bells University Stage
By Femi Alabi Onikeku
The late Professor Ola Rotimi will once again strut and fret on the dramatic stage, as Bells University, Ota, Ogun State, performs its first convocation play, The Gods Are Not To Blame on Friday, November 6, 2009.
At a media briefing on Tuesday, October 27, 2009, the Vice Chancellor, Professor Isaac Adebayo Adeyemi, told newsmen that the school would feature the play as part of events marking the graduation of its “pioneering ambassadors” on Saturday, November 7, 2009.
To be directed by Dr. Bayo Adebowale, Ebika Anthony, Oyewole Olowomojuore and choreographed by Adebisi Adebayo, the play, which holds in the evening, is to be performed by the Bellstech Performing Troupe (BTPT).
The decision to stage The Gods Are Not to Blame as Bells University of Technology’s first convocation play, the vice chancellor noted, “has been a unanimous one. The play recommends itself highly because of its cultural relevance and the pride of place it gives to the oracle and the gods.”
It will also showcase “all the dramatic ingredients which the playwright, Ola Rotimi, injected into the writing of the play.”
On how the audience will react to a play as this, which does not reflect the immediate sociopolitical concerns of the nation, Adebowale answered: “The University has its destiny, which they call ‘vision’ and ‘mission’. So, destiny surrounds The Gods Are Not To Blame, the University and Nigeria.” With a promise that watching the institution’s version of the play will put an end to questions about relevance, he added: “You are not going to doubt whether this thing is relevant or not.
“We are people of destiny. Like it or not, your destiny has been sealed and there is no way you are going to change it.” And as though the Director and Founder of African Heritage Research Library would himself seal the fate of his argument, he pointed to the reporter and retorted: “It has been ordained that you would come here today.”
The performance will be preceded by a convocation lecture, titled: What Is Wrong with Nigeria? It is to be delivered by Ambassador Andrew Young, former United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations.
Other highlights of the convocation will include the installation of the first Chancellor for the University, Professor Akinlawon Ladipo Mabogunje, NNOM, CON.
Honourary degrees will be conferred on eminent personalities such asProfessor Bart Nnaji, Chairman, Geometic Power Limited, the first indigenous power generation company; President John Kuffour, the immediate past President of the Republic of Ghana; Ambassador Young and Professor Mabogunje.
With 58 pioneer students in 2005/2006 Academic Session, the school has had a smooth calendar since inception and 13 of thepioneer students, whose courses ran for four years, will be graduating while the rest who are running five year courses will graduate in the 2009/2010 Academic Session.
Admission to First Degree and presentation of prizes will be given to 4 students with 1st Class Honours; 6 with 2nd Class honours (Upper Division); and 3 with 2nd Class (Lower Division).

BUK, OAU get USAID/Higher Education for Development grant
HIGHER Education for Development (HED) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) last week, announced that an additional 13 partnerships would be funded through the Africa-U.S. Higher Education Initiative Planning Grant Competition.
While no Nigerian university made the first 20 winners of the Africa-U.S. Higher Education Initiative Planning Grant competition, two schools made it into the additional 13 lists. They are Bayero University, Kano, paired with Ohio University; and Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, paired with Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Funding was originally proposed and awarded for 20 partnerships in April 2009. However, the competition drew such a high level of interest, with nearly 300 applications submitted, that USAID decided to award funding to 13 additional applications. Partnerships comprised of one U.S. and one African higher education institution that will be paired for capacity building partnerships.
Grant winners will each receive $50,000 from USAID to address regional and national economic development priorities such as engineering, health, agriculture, environment and natural resources, science and technology, education and teacher training/preparation, business, management, and economics.
“We are extremely pleased to fund these additional 13 partnerships,” said
Alonzo Fulgham, Acting Administrator of USAID. “With the addition of these 13, we now have a total of six historically black colleges and universities in the initiative and a number of well-respected, top-ranked academic institutions in the United States and throughout Africa. The expertise and experience delivered by these institutions will have a critical impact as this effort moves forward.”
According to the director of USAID’s Office of Education, Joseph Carney, “this competition is an important opportunity to build the kind of higher education capacity critical to the development of Africa. The initiative was proposed during the Higher Education Summit for Global Development and subsequent regional summit held in Rwanda last year. We are delighted to see this effort moving forward and expect great results from these planning grants.”
HED, funded by a cooperative agreement with USAID, was founded by the six major U.S. higher education associations to engage U.S. colleges and universities in international development. The American people, through the U.S. Agency for International Development, have provided economic and humanitarian assistance worldwide for nearly 50 years.

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