Iyamho, the sleepy university town in Edo State, was agog recently. It was an exciting week of glamour, as the Edo University, Iyamho, held its convocation ceremony.
There was palpable excitement, especially over the donation of a N300 million molecular biology laboratory by the university’s chancellor, Dr. Aderemi Makanjuola.
The programme commenced with a Jumat service on Friday, October 30, and a Sunday service on November 1. The fourth Founders’ Day Lecture was held virtually on Wednesday, November 4, and was delivered by the Chief of the Air Staff, Nigerian Air Force (NAF), Air Marshal Sadiq Abubakar.
In the paper entitled: ‘The Nigerian Air Force, Making Giant Strides in Keeping Nigeria Safe,’ the guest lecturer commended the institution for its brand of technological innovations and academic excellence.
Air Marshal Abubakar said the role of technology was extremely important, noting that NAF’s Research and Development Department (R&D) was working with about 15 universities. He promised that NAF would partner with the Edo University in providing engineering solutions to Nigeria’s security challenges.
The NAF boss explained what the service had been doing to make Nigeria safe. He listed some of such efforts to include training and retraining of staff, acquisition of different aircraft, gender sensitisation and inclusiveness policy, among others. This, he said, led to the training of seven qualified female pilots, with 14 currently undergoing training.
Vice chancellor of the institution, Prof. Emmanuel Aluyor, praised the leadership of the NAF under Air Marshal Abubakar for the role the service has been playing in the defence of Nigeria’s territorial integrity and the war against terrorism. He expressed gratitude to Mr. Godwin Obaseki, governor of Edo State, who is also the visitor to the university, for the efforts and support from his government to the institution. He also commended the university council, senate, staff, parents and students of the institution for their support for the continuation of the academic session through the CANVAS Learning Management System all through the COVID-19 lockdown in the country.
The VC said the institution was particularly grateful to its chancellor, Dr. Aderemi Makanjuola, for the donation of a molecular biology laboratory.
Prof. Sulaiman Bogoro, executive secretary of TETFUND, was chairman at the event. He praised the institution’s authorities for their innovative ideas and the institution’s architectural masterpiece. He lauded the Chief of Air Staff for using technology to boost defence infrastructure for his R&D initiatives in the security sector.
VC of Adamawa State University, Mubi, Prof. Kaletapwa Farauta, also praised the Edo University and NAF, noting that NAF’s gender sensitivity and inclusiveness policy was particularly commendable. VC of Skyline University (SUN), Prof. Sunhadkar Kota, also said he was delighted to identify with the Edo University as well as the NAF.
Mr. Gabriel Tyoyer, who represented the director-general of the National Youths Service Corps (NYSC) at the event, said the NYSC had done well in supporting NAF and schools. He urged the university to be willing to employ youth corps members with good first degrees to encourage them build academic careers.
Former pro-chancellor of the institution, Prof. Emeritus T.O.K. Audu, praised the NAF boss for his enlightening lecture, even as he noted that the public should be aware of what the nation’s security agencies had been doing.
On Friday, November 6, another lecture was delivered by Professor Adam Zahler of the Worcester State University, Worcester, Massachusetts, United States. The title was: “The impact of COVID-19 on tertiary education: a view from the West and possible implications for African universities.”
It was delivered via a webinar on Zoom.
In the lecture, the don noted that the COVID-19 pandemic had taken away businesses as well as raised safety concerns on students’ return to campuses.
He said the pandemic had enabled scholars to now see things in new ways, noting that Nigerian teachers and educational managers must be creative and technologically inclined in handling the post-COVID-19 era.
But he said it would be difficult to give specific recommendations to African universities on dealing with post-COVID-19 realities.
“The environment is different. State revenues are down, the economy remains uncertain and the political systems are not the same,” he said.
Chairman on the occasion, Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, was represented by the VC, University of Benin, Prof. Lillian Salami. The minister said although the COVID-19 pandemic had created difficulties in teaching and learning in the country, the Edo University had been able to blaze the trail in teaching and learning and creating local content stations. He urged the graduating students to be good ambassadors of the university and contribute to the manpower development of the country. He also commended Aluyor and his team for making the institution a great citadel of learning even beyond Nigeria.
Chancellor of the institution, Makanjuola, in his goodwill message, said he was proud of the accomplishments of the institution.
Friends of the school, including Jean Borgatti and Prof. Kota, praised the institution for using technology to cope with academic challenges, even during the COVID-19 lockdown.
On Saturday November 7, the convocation was held via Zoom. At the event, inside the Aliko Dangote Auditorium, 51 students were awarded first degrees, with four bagging first class honours. Twenty-one graduands were conferred with second class upper division, 23 got second class lower division, while three had third class.
The event also featured the presentation of awards to the chairman of the occasion, Mallam Adamu Adamu, the guest lecturer, Professor Adams Zahler and the special guest of honour, Professor Yakubu Ochefu.
The overall best graduating student, Daniel Onyedikachi Otti, got automatic employment from the chancellor, Makanjuola, chairman of the Board of Caverton Offshore Support Group.
Governor Obaseki, who was represented by Hon. Jimoh Ijegbai, praised the giant strides already achieved by the university, especially the successful conclusion of the 2019/2020 academic year with the deployment of the CANVAS Learning Management System for teaching and learning.
Obaseki commended the Chancellor of the institution, Dr Makanjuola for the donation of a Molecular Biology Laboratory to the University. He congratulated the graduands and applauded the University Management for keeping the mandate of the state government in preparing future leaders.
Aluyor, who congratulated the visitor on his recent election for a second term, said: “The university records another milestone with the graduation of her second set of students for the 2019/2020 academic session at the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said: “Today’s ceremony is unique. The ceremony is being carried out with many of our invitees joining us via zoom. We have carefully complied with the COVID-19 protocols in only inviting the graduands and their parents to be physically present here today.” He urged the graduands to be good ambassadors of the university in all their endeavours.
Otti, the best graduating student, studied Computer Science at the institution. Speaking on behalf of other graduating students, he praised the institution’s authorities, staff and fellow students as well as their parents for their support. He said the training they got at the school would help them in finding their feet whenever they found themselves.