Monday, 4 January 2010

Private universities award nite stirs excitement

It was fun galore last weekend at this year’s outing of Nigeria’s private universities awards ceremony held at Jogor Centre, Ibadan. The event, put together by Matador Media Nigeria Limited in partnership with Fayrouz, a non-alcoholic soft drink, drew undergraduates from about a dozen private universities across Nigeria.
The event was characterized by glamour, pizzazz and splendour with top-notch celebrities in attendance. X-Project led a score of other artistes to entertain the awardees and guests to make the night a great event.
Denrele Edun of SoundCity fame added excitement to the event with his eccentric performance to the delight of guests. Both Denrele and the X Project group carted home awards of recognition as Comic of the year and Music Artiste of the year, respectively.
According to the chief executive officer of Matador, Tayo Raji, the concept behind the event was to reward creativity and excellence in the social and academic spectrum amongst private university students and their alumni.
However, the event attracted a broad array of students from other private, state and federal universities as well as individuals from the general society. “Essentially the event is created to cultivate a positive and self discovering mentality as well as foster social and academic integration amongst private university students and Nigerian youths in Diaspora. In other words, rewarding and giving relevance to the social and academic life of youths thereby inclining their minds towards productivity and excellence,” Raji said.
Senior brand manager, Fayrouz; Nigerian Breweries Plc, Ita Bassey, said the company would continue to associate with projects that help to establish a viable forum where Nigerian youths both at home and in Diaspora can connect with each other in terms of academic, trend and lifestyle amongst other social indices.
Commending the organisers of the event, he noted that it had helped in no small measure to create an avenue for young, versatile and creative Nigerians to network and co-operate while highlighting and honouring the benefits of their conceptual skills for all to see, thereby inculcating the spirit of excellence and competition amongst young entrepreneurs in a dynamic and evolving economy such as ours.
He however, urged the youths to always channel their latent talent into aspirations worthy of nation building, by vigorously tackling the menace of social vices and youthful exuberance such as cultism, drug abuse, indiscriminate sex, desperate emigration, and fraud.

University of Technology kicks off in Nasarawa

From Abosede Musari, Abuja
THE educational sector will soon receive a boost with the establishment of a $25 million University of Technology, which is about to kick off in Nasarawa State.
The project, owned by a US-based Nigerian, Prof. Manny Aniebonam, is as a result of the technical cooperation facilitated by the Directorate of Technical Cooperation in Africa (DTCA), which mandate is to attract development initiatives from Africans living in the Diaspora to accelerate growth in the continent.
The blueprint of the project was presented to the governor of the state, Aliyu Akwe Doma, by the Director General of DTCA, Sule Yakubu Bassi and the project initiator, Prof. Aniebonam, at the directorate’s recent ministerial retreat in Lafia.
Bassi noted that his directorate had been at the forefront of promoting technical cooperation in Africa and attracting African experts to enhance development of the continent. He added that the directorate has the mandate to create right environment and opportunities for professionals in Nigeria and those of African descent to invest their intellect, expertise and skills in the economies of Africa.
Receiving the blueprints, the deputy governor of the state, John Mike Abdul, expressed satisfaction with the project and promised government’s support.

Aniebonam, president of over 1,500 Information Technology professionals in America, said the university would kick off with a $25 million fund and that it would be sited in Karu local government area of the state.
In an interview with The Guardian, Aniebonam explained that the university would work on the concept of alternative energy source, adding that the solar panels produced in the school would also have industrial parks that will encourage producers of technological materials abroad to come home to develop the country.
The don also said the school will improve the science and technology status of the country through the training of youths for the advancement of the economy. “The latest knowledge in hydro-power generation will also be explored, adding that Nigeria will export technology rather than importing it,” he said.

RIVCOHSTECH fetes retiring staff

FOR their dedication to duty, selfless service and commitment to the development of needed manpower in the health sector, retiring staff of the Rivers State College of Health Science and Technology (RIVCOHSTECH), were given a send-off dinner on Thursday, December 10.
The Provost of the institution, Dr. Nnanna Victor Onyekwere, said the retiring officers had contributed to raise the number and quality of manpower in the health sector of the state.
Wishing them well in their future endeavours, Onyekwere urged them to put in same degree of effort that made their days in the school memorable in whatever assignmrnt they find themselves handling.
In a chat with newsmen, the Provost called on the youths to use their energies to secure their future and leave a worthy legacy, saying that the present generation could not sustain the legacies left to them by previous generations thereby making life difficult for the youths, but if they could look beyond the constraints they face and act now to guarantee their future, things will be better.
Onyekwere further stated that the college’s 5-year development plan is aimed at repositioning it and make it financially self-sufficient, responsive to societal needs as well as to make it a centre of academic excellence.
The event witnessed the presentation of awards to Dr. Charles Amadi, Dr. Chime Onumbu, and Dr. Goodluck Azuruonwu, among others by the Registrar, Mrs. Owanate Lawson, while souvenirs were presented to the retirees by the wife of the Provost, Loretta Onyekwere.

Display of creativity, culture as Abuja hosts NYSC Cultural Week

By Abosede Musari
It was a display of creativity and cultural expression as the National Youth Service Corps held its annual cultural week in Abuja recently. The event, which hosted corp members from all over the country, was an avenue to exhibit the diverse cultural heritages of the people of this country.
Corps members converged in Abuja to display the various cultures of their host states and communities, with dance, drama sketches and artworks. The opening ceremony held at the Eagles Square witnessed a rich display of culture from the 13 states that participated.
The most thrilling aspect of the dances was the fact that the performers hailed from different cultures than the ones they were exhibiting. For instance, a young man of Yoruba origin was fun to see doing the energetic Ohafia war dance of Abia State, with a Hausa girl doing the Bata dance of Oyo State. This added colour to the event.
A director in the ministry, Mrs. Rabi Jimeta, represented the Minister of Youth and Sport Development, Senator Akinlabi Olasunkanmi. The minister said the essence of the cultural week was to use culture as a tool to promote peace and national integration. He also urged the entertainment industry to use the opportunity of the annual event to discover talents.

Director General of NYSC, Brigadier-General Ismaila Tsiga, in his speech, said that culture remains a veritable tool for social re-engineering, value re-orientation and integration, which is why the management of the scheme places a high premium on exploring and promoting indigenous cultural values through cross-cultural understanding and unity among the teeming graduate youths.
One of the artworks that caught attention of guests at the exhibition was the NYSC hand globe. The sculpture was done by a corps member from Yobe State, Ojile Clement Adaji. The artwork is a right hand carrying a globe. The globe represents the world and had the map of Africa on it. Adaji, in an interview with The Guardian said that the right hand represents friendship and strength.
The artwork, which later won the first price in the sculpture category of the competition is adjudged to attest to the influence, which the NYSC scheme is having on the rest of Africa and the world as represented, by the strings. This, according to the curator, Aminu Magaji, was evident by the recent requests by some African countries.

African universities get Carnegie $30m boost
By Tope Templer Olaiya
The Carnegie Corporation of New York has announced that it will commit $30 million over the next three years to a new higher education in Africa strategy that will prioritise strengthening the next generation of academics and university leaders. The foundation has spent more than $100 million supporting higher education in Africa in the past decade.
Carnegie President, Vartan Gregorian, said in a statement that grants would focus on South Africa, Ghana and Uganda, while complementary discipline-based regional networks will offer competitive training fellowships to academics and researchers throughout sub-Saharan Africa.
The new phase of grant making will fall into three key areas — investing in Africa’s next generation of academics, supporting information and communication technologies for research and education, and enhancing libraries and access to information.

Carnegie was a founder of the seven-member Partnership for Higher Education in Africa, an initiative created to strengthen higher education institutions so they are able to contribute to poverty reduction, economic growth and social development on the continent.
The Partnership’s total investments over 10 years were more than $350 million, including $100 million contributed by Carnegie to support reform in universities in Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda. The foundation is also completing a nearly $20 million scholarship and fellowship commitment to support women’s advancement at universities.
However, there was a “troubling disconnect” between the expanding cohort of students and the number of people dedicating themselves to academia, exacerbated by lack of cutting-edge laboratories and other facilities to allow more world-class research.
As a result, the growing demand for professors, academic leaders and improved research facilities was not being met, Gregorian said: “Further compounding the problem is the often inadequate preparation of those who do enter academia and the rising tide of retirements among Africa’s aging cohort of initial post-independence academics.”
Tade Aina, Carnegie’s higher education programme director in Africa, said that the new grant-making strategy was a deepening and realignment of support for African universities based on priority areas identified by university leaders and stakeholders on the continent.


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