Unilorin: A Vice-Chancellor's one year of leadership

Date: 2013-10-17

Given Prof Ishaq Oloyede’s achievements as the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin (UNILORIN), many thought there was nothing a new VC would do except administering the institution. But since Prof Abdulganiu Ambali became the VC, there seems to be no end to structural and academic activities in the school.

Ambali assumed office on October 16 last year. Yesterday, made it a year he has been in the saddle. In the last one year, however, several projects have been springing up on the campus. In this first year of his five-year tenure, Prof Ambali has completed the UNILORIN Water Factory Complex. The company has started to produce bottled and sachet water. The factory, which cost the institution N55 million, will provide water for students’ consumption and served at ceremonies.

Prof D. S. Ogunniyi, the Director of UNILORIN Consultancy Services Unit and supervisor of the water project, said: “Apart from the fact that the project will generate revenue for the school, it will also enhance the health of members of the university community because the packaged water is to be produced under strict hygienic conditions.”

To involve students in the project, the management allowed them to design the packaging.

“A competition was organised to pick the best design. The management raised a panel for this task and assessed students’ artwork. The best design was picked. We produced the mould and got a company to use the mould to produce the bottle. You can see ‘University of Ilorin’ clearly inscribed on it to discourage counterfeiting,” Ogunniyi explained.

The project is on the verge of being assessed by the National Agency for Food Administration and Control (NAFDAC).

Another notable milestone of Prof Ambali is the introduction of new identity card called “Combo Card”, which is a smart card with features that allow it to be used for bank transactions and as access key to facilities on campus, such as the Senate Building, the library, the clinic, classrooms, hostels, offices, and guest houses. This is unlike the old card that only served as a means of staff and students’ identification.

The Combo Card, which would also help to promote the cash-less policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), is the first of its kind in Nigeria. It also contains the holder’s blood group specification. It will reduce the carrying of multiple identity cards.

The VC has also introduced a programme,Talk to your VC, hosted every first week of the month where he speaks live on UNILORIN 89.3fm to list the management’s plan for that month. It is a question-and-answer session that gives students the opportunity to contribute to the administration of the institution.

To ensure that its graduates are exposed to Information and Communication Technology (ICT) skills that will make them versatile and enhance e-communication between the students and lecturers, the Ambali-led administration has initiated a policy that will make new students possess computer tablet to drive the move which would start a new era with those coming in because students need to be empowered to face the challenges of the ICT world. Also, all the curricula and courseware will be on the tablet so that one has the whole classroom on your hand.

Also the university has witnessed construction of buildings and expansion of faculties from 11 to 13 with the creation of Social Science and Management Science while the Department of Science Education has been split into Science Education and Educational Technology departments.

Students, who spoke to CAMPUSLIFE, praised the strides of Prof Ambali, describing his achievements in the first year as a good omen.

Sodiq Aroyaya, 400-Level Zoology, said for being able to record pockets of achievements in the first year, despite challenges, showed “Prof Ambali has a good vision for our school.” He wished the VC success in the remaining years.

Kunle Awoniyi, 300-Level Performing Arts, said: “Prof. Ambali has tried his best with the new programmes he introduced and projects he executed to make the environment suitable for learning. He has shown that he possesses the will to transform UNILORIN into a wold-class institution. I enjoy the Talk to your VC programme because it affords students the platform to express their views without hindrance.”

Usman Yakubu, 300-Level Geography, said: “Prof Ambali deserves commendation for his achievements and I pray that God will give him power to do more.”

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