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News Published in October 2015

Rotary Club Lauds FUNAAB

Delegates from the Rotary Foundation and the Rotary Club of Sagamu-Central, District 9110, have paid a follow-up visit to FUNAAB, to evaluate how the five-day New Generation Entrepreneurial Education (EE) training, organised for students of the University have impacted on them with a view to encouraging sustainability, as prizes were also presented to participants with outstanding business plans.

Speaking on behalf of the club, Rotarian Grace Okaro expressed satisfaction that the University now had in place, a magnificent structure for Entrepreneurial Studies, noting that it was an indication that the project would survive. Rotarian Okaro, however, called on the University Management to ensure that the training, which was sponsored by the Rotary Foundation, was sustained by enacting a policy whereby those that had been trained could train others in a bid to transferring knowledge.

Rotarian Okaro, the Deputy Director of Information, Abia State Local Government Service Commission and President, National Council of Local Government Information Officers of Nigeria, Abia State Chapter, said Rotary International is an international service organisation, whose purpose is to bring together business and professional leaders, to provide humanitarian services, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, to advance goodwill and bring peace to the world. It is a secular organisation, while membership is open to everyone regardless of race, colour, creed, religion, gender, or political preference.

She added that the body is structured into clubs, districts and international levels in carrying out projects on maternal and child health; economic and community development; basic education and literacy; disease prevention and treatment; peace, conflict prevention and resolution; as well as water and sanitation. Rotarian Okaro later decorated the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Olusola Oyewole, who was represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Development, Professor Felix Salako, as well as the incumbent Director, Centre for Entrepreneurial Studies (CENTS), Professor Adewale Dipeolu; and the immediate past Director of CENTS, Professor Olufemi Onifade.

Responding, the Vice-Chancellor expressed gratitude to the Rotary Foundation for its support, noting that the University was happy to be associated with them. He also pointed out that teaching of Entrepreneurial Studies was in line with Federal Government’s policy and that the University recognised the need to impact youths with relevant skills that could serve as a means of livelihood for them that keyed into the policy. Professor Oyewole stated that the University was open to more support from the Rotary Foundation, assuring them of the institution's readiness to empower more youths through CENTS. Commending the Rotary Foundation for the training, the Director of CENTS said "it raised the tempo of Entrepreneurial Studies on campus", as he assured the club of his willingness to reactivate his membership.

Corroborating him, Professor Onifade also applauded the club for impacting the lives of young ones through its laudable activities. Highpoint of the visit was the presentation of two mini Acer laptops to Mr. Oluwasegun Okunneye and Mr. Destiny Onyeamasiefe, a Photography Instructor at CENTS, whose business plan write-ups emerged first and second positions, while a cash gift was also given to Miss Adetayo Afolashade, a 300-level student in the Department of Hospitality and Tourism, for emerging third place, with her business plan on catering.

Mr. Oluwasegun Okuneye, a 300-level student in the Department of Chemistry, College of Physical Sciences (COLPHYS), who could hardly control his level of excitement, thanked the Foundation for the gift which he said had motivated him to pursue his dreams. Speaking on his business plan write-up which was on Cat Fish Farming, he said fish farming was something he had been working on for years with his brother, stating that in the next five years, he hoped to own a big farm in the country.

Eat Well, Experts Advise Nigerians

Nutrition and Health experts have called on Nigerians to always eat diverse, balanced and moderate food, to stay healthy and live long. The call was made during a workshop on Nutrition and Health Education for Secondary School Youths, organised by the Gender Issues and Youth Development Programme (GIYD), Agricultural Media Resources and Extension Centre (AMREC) of the University.

Speaking on the topic, “Youth and Nutrition”, Dr. Catherine Oladoyinbo of the University, said the nutritional status of a person should be balanced through the consumption of diverse food in addition to embarking on regular physical exercises. The Nutrition and Dietetics Don advised consumers of food to always endeavour to carefully read labels attached to foods being purchased, adding that eating good food was not only about its high cost but eating the right combination. While submitting that money alone does not determine good and adequate nutrition, Dr. Oladoyinbo enjoined all to always eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, fibre foods and also drink between six and eight liters of water, daily.

In her presentation titled, “Youth, Nutrition and Health”, the Director, Students’ Industrial Work Experience Scheme (SIWES), Professor Grace Sokoya, defined the state of health of an individual as the “complete physical, mental, social and spiritual well-being and not the absence of disease and infirmity”. She said eating diverse and balanced diet would promote well-being by improving mood, energy, self-esteem, boost concentration and performance by reducing the risk of ill-health and increase productivity. Professor Sokoya stated that there was no perfect diet per se but people should rather avoid consuming processed food, as unprocessed food remained the safest for human consumption.

The Director of AMREC, Professor Victor Olowe, congratulated the participants for the opportunity they had in attending such a workshop at an early stage of their lives. Professor Olowe said it was true to say that, “we are what we eat”. Hence, for a nation like Nigeria to be disease-free, the nutrition of its citizens should be considered a priority.

“For a great nation like Nigeria to be disease-free, the nutrition of her citizens should be considered because a nation where her populace is poorly fed will not be productive, since most of the resources that could have been used for community development would be spent on disease treatment that could have resulted from malnutrition”, he added. The Director advocated for adequate sensitisation and capacity building on the efficient use of available food appropriately, as participants were taken through practical sessions on the production of “4-Alive Fruit Juice” and “Fruit Salad”.

Participating secondary schools at the workshop include: FUNAAB International School (FUNIS); Asero High School, Asero; Salawu Abiola Comprehensive High School, Osiele; Nawair-U-Deen Grammar School, Obantoko; Egba Comprehensive High School, Asero and Omolaja Sodipo Memorial Anglican School, Onikolobo; all in Abeokuta, Ogun State.

Two Staff Bag Media Awards

Two members of staff of the University have been honoured with the Excellent Media Southwest, Nigeria Awards for their outstanding performance in their chosen fields of endeavours. The organisers of the award, Excellent Media Group, is made up of media practitioners that are based in the Southwest geo-political zone of the country in a bid to promoting the culture of excellence in the society.

They are: Dr. Elizabeth Oluwalana, a Senior Extension Fellow and Programme Leader, Gender Issues and Youth Development (GIYD) programme, Agricultural Media Resources and Extension Centre (AMREC) and Mr. Kunle Agboola, a Chief Academic Technologist in the Textile and Clothing Unit, Department of Home Science and Management, College of Food Science and Human Ecology (COLFHEC) of the University.

While Dr. Oluwalana was specifically recognised as the Ogun State Outstanding Personality of the Year 2015, based on her immense contributions in empowering students and graduates in vocational and entrepreneurial skills, as well as value-added herbal production, Mr. Agboola was honoured as the Ogun State Outstanding Technical Instructor of the Year 2015, based on his efforts at developing and imparting technical skills in the area of indigenous African textile technology, with special focus on Adire.

FUNAAB Mourns Undergraduate Student

The University Management has described as unfortunate and a great loss, the sad demise of Miss Maria Modupe Atere, a 300-level student in the Department of Plant Physiology and Crop Production, College of Plant Science and Crop Production (COLPLANT), of the University. Miss Atere, a 22-year-old student was on a commercial motorcycle, when she was knocked down by a car, along the Camp-Alabata Road, around the Ogun-Oshun River Basin Development Authority (OORBDA) gate, in Abeokuta, Ogun State.
           
When the sad incident occurred, some Good Samaritans brought two unidentified victims of the accident to a private clinic at Camp. Miss Atere was later discovered to be one of them.  She was given first aid treatment before being referred to the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Abeokuta, for better medical attention due to the severity of the injuries sustained.  Unfortunately, she passed on.
           
However, contrary to unfounded allegations of negligence, made by some individuals against the University, Atere was never brought to the University Health Centre for treatment, hence, no doctor had the opportunity to quickly examine her and arrive at a decision on the most appropriate form of medical treatment. Nevertheless, the University ambulance was despatched to the private clinic at Camp, when a request was made.
           
Meanwhile, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Olusola Oyewole, has approved the immediate constitution of a Committee to investigate the circumstances that led to the unfortunate incident. Management sympathises very deeply with family members and the entire University community, praying that the Infinite God grants everyone the much needed fortitude to bear this really painful loss.

World Food Day Celebrated in FUNAAB

The Cassava Weed Management Project (CWMP), a special project implemented by the University, in collaboration with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan, Oyo State, has celebrated the 2015 World Food Day in FUNAAB.

The Project Team Leader, Co-ordinator of CWMP and former Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Development), Professor ‘Segun Lagoke, stated that the aim of the celebration, was to raise public awareness about the challenges of hunger by encouraging people to take action in fighting the malaise, adding that the Field Day served as an opportunity to showcase on-going trials and CWMP project activities to FUNAAB scientists, stakeholders from the Ogun State Agricultural Development Programme (OGADEP), as well as farmers from selected communities such as Adao, Ajegunle, Akintobi and Alabata; all in Ogun State.

According to him, the theme of the 2015 World Food Day, "Social Protection and Agriculture", was timely, as he stressed that the role social protection played in reducing chronic food insecurity and poverty was by ensuring direct access to food. Professor Lagoke added that social protection was a viable alternative for stimulating agricultural production and local economic activities, noting that this year's theme drew attention to the achievements recorded in rural development and food production.

Relating the goals of the World Food Day to the activities of CWMP, the Project Team Leader, highlighted them to include: the development of appropriate agronomist practices that increase cassava production and reduced losses from weed competition and drudgery for women and children; identifying effective and safe herbicides for weed control in cassava in Nigeria; evaluating integrated approaches of combining best agronomist measures with best-suited herbicides to maximize weed control in cassava systems.

Others are: the involvement of farmers and other stakeholders in research to develop improved weed

 management practices in cassava by empowering extension services; providing farmers with the knowledge they needed to improve weed management practices; ensuring project impact through good governance; and effective management strategies for result handover to national partners.

    Earlier, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Olusola Oyewole, who was represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic, Professor Adekojo Waheed, disclosed that the World Food Day is celebrated on the 16th of October every year, to commemorate the founding of the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), an arm of the United Nations in the year 1945, as a day of "Action Against Hunger".

Professor Oyewole pointed out that farmers played vital role in the fight against hunger in the sense that they "are the key actors in the process of fighting hunger and finding concrete remedies that address issues affecting food security and nutrition. In order to guarantee this result and face this challenge, it is crucial to ensure that farmers have access to infrastructure, credit and functional markets. Farmers also need to have access to science, innovation and knowledge, which are essential for the development of the agricultural sector".

The Vice-Chancellor lauded the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMF) for funding the CWMP with the charitable purpose of developing improved and integrated approaches to weed management that reduce labour requirements by enhancing the productivity of small holders' cassava farms in Nigeria. Corroborating the Vice-Chancellor, the Programme Manager of the Ogun State Agricultural Development Programmes (OGADEP), represented by Mr. Emmanuel Ojo, admonished farmers to take seriously, research breakthroughs they were being exposed to stating that, "when hunger is taken out of one’s life, half of a person's problem is solved".

FUNAAB Gets Donations

The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, has donated a Soil Doc Kit to the University, as the Royal Society of the United Kingdom, through the Soils of Forest Inland in Africa (SOFIIA) Project, has also presented a Motorised Auger to the institution. The Soil Doc Kit is used to analyse the soil in order to determine the best type and quantity of fertilizers to be used for productive farming, while the Motorised Auger is useful for those in Soil Science and Engineering to take the profile of the soil.

The Soil Doc Kit was presented to FUNAAB, during a workshop held at the Soil, Plant and Water Laboratory, Ibadan, Oyo State, where the representative of FUNAAB at the occasion, Dr. Florence Olowokere, was trained on the use of a mini-laboratory. Dr. Olowokere, while presenting the Soil Doc Kit to the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Olusola Oyewole, represented by the Dean, College of Plant Science and Crop Production (COLPLANT), Professor Mufutau Atayese, disclosed that the equipment was a mini-laboratory, as the University was expected to visit 36 farmers on their respective farms to take soil samples and analyse them before advising them on the specific fertilizers that would be needed for successful farming.

Speaking on the benefits of the kit, Dr. Olowokere said it was portable and could easily be carried to farms where samples are taken, analyzed and results obtained instantly. Thereafter, the results could be uploaded on an android phone, which was also donated alongside the Soil Doc Kit for the interpretation of results, adding that the kit could help eradicate the challenges that most farmers faced while taking their soil samples to laboratories. Dr. Olowokere listed some of the components that could be found in the kit to include reagents, test tubes, measuring cylinders, soil sieve, nitrate meter, potential for Hydrogen (pH) meter, as well as plastic buckets that could be used to determine the nitrogen, active carbon, phosphorous and potassium contents and the pH level of the soil.

Similarly, the University has received a Motorized Auger. According to the SOFIIA Principal Investigator, Nigeria, Dr. Jamiu Azeez, the equipment, which cost about 6,000 Pounds Sterling, was part of the capacity initiative of the project. He said the equipment could be used to take soil samples, adding that it could also go down to the length of two meters to take the profile of a soil. "The Motorized Auger is useful for those in soil science and engineering who wish to know what is below the physical earth surface", he stated.

The Principal Investigator added that the project was also expecting another equipment in a few weeks’ time, which would cost an equivalent of N16 million and is called the Inductively Coupled Plasma Optical Emission Spectrometry (ICPOES). He said the ICPOES is so versatile that it could read all elements, while appreciating the University Management for providing the project with a dedicated room where the equipment would be housed, adding that it would be used for teaching and research purposes by the PhD Scholar attached to the project as well as postgraduate students in related fields. Responding, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Olusola Oyewole, appreciated the donors for their generosity, assuring them that the equipment would be effectively utilised in line with the University's tripodal mandate of teaching, research and extension service.

Mandela Washington Fellowship Calling Young African Leaders

The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is  reaching out to 1,000 young African leaders to fill its 2016 application. Speaking at a seminar tagged, #YALIRollOut, organised by the United States Embassy, Abuja with the support of FUNAAB and All for Development (ADM), a Mandela Washington Fellow, Mr. Timi Olagunju, said the seminar was held to prepare prospective students for the 2016 Mandela Washington Fellowship.

He explained the nitty-gritty of the application process to participants, saying that there were some aspects of the application prospective candidates should pay serious attention to. According to him, the eligibility, selection criteria, application process as well as the students’ personal statements and Curriculum Vitaes were important components of the application.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship is a flagship programme of President Barack Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), that empowers young African leaders through academic coursework, leadership training, mentoring, networking and follow-up support. To date, 86 young Nigerians have been selected for the Fellowship.

INHURD Admission Forms Still On Sale

Admission forms into the Institute for Human Resources Development (INHURD) for the 2015/2016 Academic Session are still available for purchase. The forms are the Pre-Degree Admission Programme into Science and Management Sciences and the Cambridge ‘A’ Level Programme. The Pre-Degree Programme is for one year and it is designed to prepare candidates for any of the degree courses offered by the University, while the Cambridge ‘A’ Level is a 10-month intensive programme that qualifies successful candidates to be admitted into the 200-level courses offered by FUNAAB, or any other University within and outside the country.

Prospective candidates are advised to visit the University website at: www.funaab.edu.ng and click on Pre-degree/Cambridge ‘A’ Levels Applications or log on to portal.unaab.edu.ng:93. Each form costs a non-refundable fee of N12,000 and payable into Zenith Bank Account Number: 1130044946. For further enquiries, please call 08115709032 or 08169956665.

Undue Projects’ Delay Unacceptable - BMC

The Alternate Chairman, Budget Monitoring Committee (BMC), a Sub-Committee of the University’s Governing Council, Dr. Olusiji Sowande, has charged contractors working on the projects under the NEEDS Assessment Intervention Fund to match speed with quality, stressing that the University would not entertain any undue delay or extension of delivery date.

Dr. Sowande, a member of Council, gave this charge during the inspection of on-going projects with members of the BMC and officials from the Physical Planning Unit (PPU) of the University. Speaking on the Academic Building Complex, sandwiched between the Directorate of Public Relations, the Directorate of Internal Audit Building and the Sports’ Complex, the Acting Director of PPU, Arch. Babatunde Anasanwo, said the complex comprised two block-storey building, which would be integrated as one complex. He said Block A part of the building is expected to house teaching facilities, lecture halls and seminar rooms while Block B is office accommodation, and the project has an execution period of 36 weeks.

On the 250-seater Computer Laboratory, Arch. Anasanwo said the contract had been awarded with an execution period of 30 weeks. He added that the building is made up of a large open hall that could accommodate 250 people, nine office spaces, a large electrical intake room, a server room and several conveniences.  The Acting Director noted that the building was 35 percent completed.

Responding, Dr. Sowande directed the contractor to ensure that the materials to be used were well tested and of the highest quality. At the College of Food Science and Human Ecology (COLFHEC) Phase II Building, Arch. Anasanwo disclosed that it was an expansion of the Phase I and has five laboratories, two seminar rooms, a board room, classrooms and about 34 offices. He said it is a one-storey building that would be inter-connected with its Phase I and it has an execution period of 32 weeks.

For the male and female hostel complexes, Arch. Anasanwo said they both have two blocks of storey buildings and each block is handled by a separate contractor. He pointed out that the male and female hotels were prototype buildings located within the Student Centre premises and made up of 39 rooms each, all en-suite. He listed other facilities that the hostel could provide such as the Porters’ Lounge, common room and laundry rooms with external facilities such as borehole, generator and transformer house for each of the hostel, adding that the execution period of the buildings was 36 weeks.

Giving the rationale for awarding contracts to different companies, Arch. Anasanwo informed Dr. Sowande that by adopting such an approach, it was possible for the contractors to engage in healthy competition and timely completion of work in the interest of the University.

IT Provides Low Cost Solutions - VC

The innovative use of information technology in providing low-cost solutions to support strategies in advancing the world economy has been stressed. The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Olusola Oyewole, stated this at the maiden Applied Information Technology (AIT) 2015 International Conference, themed, “Emerging Trends in Applied Computing”, held in the University.

The Vice-Chancellor said the conference was an international forum for the presentation of technological advances and research results in the fields of Computer Science, Information Technology and other allied research, adding that it was also opening a window for researchers within and outside computing to adapt to the paradigm. According to him, “The conference would bring together leading researchers, engineers and scientists from around the world. We warmly welcome authors who submitted their research papers to AIT 2015, to share the valuable experiences with fellow scientists and scholars around the world”.

Represented by the Dean, College of Physical Sciences (COLPHYS), Professor Oluyemisi Eromosele, the Vice-Chancellor stated that FUNAAB was known for knowledge for development, while charging all participants to explore the rich components of the conference to develop strategies that would uncover issues within the particular input areas like tele-medicine and e-health, educational technologies, e-governance, among others.

Delivering a keynote address titled, “From Big Data to Big Impact e-Governance”, the Vice-Chancellor, Covenant University, Professor Charles Ayo, stated that data is now the most valuable business resource, adding that it is the new ‘currency’ of the world. Professor Ayo, who was represented by the University’s Director of Academic Planning, Dr. Olawande Daramola, described Big Data as datasets, whose size are beyond the ability of typical database software tools to capture, store, manage, and analyze. He said further that Big Data are too big to be handled and analyzed by traditional database protocols or data that is too big, moves too fast, or does not fit into conventional database architectures.

He mentioned the Seven V’s of Big Data to include Volume, Variety, Variability, Velocity, Veracity, Value and Visualisation, adding that Big Data for development was about turning imperfect, complex, often unstructured data into actionable information for the purpose of national development. Explaining what is e-governance, the don said that it entailed the use of ICT for the delivery of government services to the citizens, as well as the exchange of information communication transactions, integration and co-ordination of government subsystems for efficiency.

He said e-governance had failed largely in the sub-Sahara Africa, due to poor ICT infrastructure, poor finance, poor political leadership, poor organisation and communication. He stressed that in an increasingly digitalised world, data was next to oxygen and to survive and thrive, the mastery and proactive application of Big Data for governance would be essential. Professor Ayo noted that this may be the only way to improve the quality of life of the people and positively affect the society.

While declaring the conference opened, the Governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, stated that the choice of the Ogun State for the conference was not a surprise, adding that Ogun State indigenes were pioneers in many human endeavours such as Medicine, Accountancy, Law, Politics, Religion, Commerce and Information Technology. Represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Special Duties, Engineer Ayodele Jolaoso, the Governor said that the conference’s theme could not have been more apt as Applied Computing focuses on the application of classic and leading edge computing concepts and technologies to proffer solutions to the problems and challenges confronting human existence.

He noted that the world was already knitted into one economic unit through the Internet and the social media, adding that it was the reason why the world was re-christened a global village. He further said that “considering the limitless advantages the computer and its uses at home, in the community, in industry, our national economy, the opportunity of local and international integration that this conference avails is more than necessary”. Senator Amosun, therefore, called on the populace to continue to avail themselves of the emerging trends in IT so as not to be caught unawares of the opportunities found in the New Media. He stressed that his administration would not rest on his oars but would continue to leverage on activities that would improve its developmental heights in line with the mantra, “Mission to Rebuild”, noting that Ogun State is the industrial hub and tertiary institutions capital of Nigeria.

The Chairman, Local Organising Committee (LOC) for the conference, Professor Adio Akinwale, stated that computer scientists needed to work hard to keep pace with developments in information technology. Professor Akinwale, who was the pioneer Head, Department of Computer Science, added that the interaction of computer scientists with other disciplines had largely been accepted as a means of developing information technologies the world-over.

The Chairman, Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), Ogun State Chapter, Dr. Bukola Onashoga, enlightened participants on the essence of the theme, saying that it was meant to educate the participants on the uses of advanced information technology in order to make better decisions in all spheres of life. According to her, “The main focus of this gathering was to allow both professionals and academics to focus on the high value benefits of information technology”, saying the conference was dedicated to ease increased opportunities for cross-fertilisation across Computer Science and other disciplines because it remained the driving force for advances and breakthroughs in other fields.

Present at the event were the President, NCS, Professor Adesola Aderounmu who was also the Chairman, Opening Ceremony; the Acting Head of Computer Science Department, Dr. Olusegun Ojesanmi; amongst others.

FUNAAB Co-operative Members Advised to Obey Regulations

Members of FUNAAB Staff Co-operative Multipurpose Society Limited have been advised to adhere strictly to all laws and regulations guiding the operations of co-operative movement in order to ensure safety of their funds. The Ogun State Director of Co-operative Societies, Mr. Olugbenga Oladipo gave the advice at the 28th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Society, recently held in the University.

Represented by Mr. Samuel Mustapha, the State Co-operative Director charged members to hold their executives accountable by monitoring their activities closely to guarantee a future for the present members and the unborn generation. Recalling that the society was established since 1984, Mr. Oladipo urged members not to allow the dreams of its founding fathers to die prematurely but to keep the light burning.

Earlier, the President of UNAAB Staff Co-operative Multipurpose Society Limited, Professor Adewale Dipeolu, said the 2014/2015 accounting year was good as the society recorded improved net surplus.  While promising a better 2015/2016 accounting year, Professor Dipeolu called for co-operation and understanding with the new executives to ensure the sustenance of the society. The President listed the achievements of his team to include continuous returns on investment, resolution of challenges on staff plots of land, increased membership, among others, as he promised that no effort would be spared to ensure that the operations of the society were computerized in the new accounting year.

The President, Ogun State Co-operative Federation (OGSCOFED), Alhaji Ola Balogun, congratulated members on the 28th Annual General Meeting and the University Management for providing the enabling environment for the co-operative society to thrive. Alhaji Balogun advised that subsequent AGMs should be proceeded by Pre-AGMs to discuss crucial issues, x-ray accounts and put things in order.

The President, Ogun State Salary Earners Co-operative Union, Mr. Anthony Odeyinka has urged FUNAAB co-operators to be up and doing and focus on the task ahead because the society was established to assist members in times of need. Part of the resolutions reached at the AGM were the construction of Co-operative Hostel on campus, to solve accommodation challenges being faced by FUNAAB students, extension of loan repayment period to 24 months and the possible splitting of the society, comprising 1431 members to a sizeable number, for efficient and effective management.

The new executives that were returned to the office are: Professor Adewale Dipeolu, President; Alhaji Kamardeen Adedo, Vice-President; Mrs. Titilayo Okuboye, Treasurer; Mrs. Busirat Olusoji, Secretary; while Professor Bukola Aina, Mr. Dada Giwa, Mr. Samson Obimakinde, Mrs. Adijat Labulo and Mrs. Temitope Tijani, were returned as Ex-Officio members.

Physics Don Gets Commendation

Dr. Gboyega Adebayo, Acting Head, Department of Physics, College of Physical Sciences (COLPHYS), has been commended for instituting two endowment funds through the award of annual prizes to excellent students in the areas of Solid State Physics and Condensed Matter Physics. A renowned Professor of Solid Physics, Erio Tosatti, lauded Dr. Adebayo's initiative, saying he had encouraged and supported education and the scientific upbringing of young people upon which high academic standards for the future would be built.

Professor Tosatti lauded Dr. Adebayo, while dedicating the Professor Abdus Salam First Endowment and Prize for Physics, added that "we, scientists are first of all men and women. Our community only flourishes, besides scientific work on discoveries and contacts, proportionally to the amount of human love and respect, we put in the relationships among ourselves, independent of borders and limits. The work which I, and indeed most of us at the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) and in the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA), Italy, carry out every day, is really person-to-person work as much as it is scientific”. He, also, admonished Dr. Adebayo to keep the flag flying and continue to be a shining example to others. Dr. Adebayo, an alumnus of FUNAAB, had responded to the ongoing Call for Endowments by the Advancement Office of the University, by making two principal donations of the sum of Two Hundred Thousand (N200,000) each, to the best 400-level student in the Department of Physics, whose area of specialisation is in Physics or Solid Physics and graduates with a Cummulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 4.0 in Solid Physics and 4.5 in Physics, respectively.

Yam Roasting Festival Fosters Town, Gown Interaction - VC

The hosting of the Yam Roasting Festival by the University, to commemorate the annual harvest of new yams, has been described as a veritable mechanism of promoting and enhancing the Town and the Gown community relations.

The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Olusola Oyewole, stated this during the 2015 FUNAAB Yam Roasting Festival, held at the Directorate of University Farms (DUFARMS) premises. According to him, “We started this tradition of new yam festival many years ago in this University and suddenly the tradition stopped”, while lauding the support of a foremost industrialist and philanthropist, Chief Olusegun Osunkeye, for his support and encouragement in the resuscitation of the festival in 2012.

The Vice-Chancellor said the University’s mandate did not end only at training students, but by ensuring the overall development of the University, as well as those who relate with the institution. He added that FUNAAB was committed to the development and sustenance of the environment. He described the significance of the venue of this year’s event as very strategic, saying that it was done to create awareness about other crops that the University produces, apart from yam.  “For the first time, we are organising this year’s festival not on the outskirt of the farms, but right within the farm for people to know that it is not even yam alone that we deal with”. The Vice-Chancellor, who is also the President, Association of African Universities (AAU), said that the University was not only noted for teaching and research activities, it also runs an Industrial Park Unit (IPU), where the institution’s raw products are processed.

Speaking at the occasion, Chief Osunkeye, who is also the Chairman, Board of Directors, Nestle Nigeria Plc, said that he was passionate about the University and what it stood for. Reminiscing on the existing collaboration since 1988 with his 900-hectare farm situated in Kaduna State, he noted that Soyabean seeds were taken from his farm and planted in the University in a bid to boost crop production. Chief Osunkeye recalled that he once delivered the University’s 10th Anniversary Lecture, as well as the 4th and 5th Convocation Lectures, saying the University exists for the advancement of humanity, as he further corroborated the Vice-Chancellor’s remarks that encouraged fostering the Town and the Gown relations between the University and its host communities.

He challenged the University on the need to market the displayed products in the open market, saying that all the exhibited products should not be confined to the shleves.

Chief Osunkeye also decried the menace of cattle-rearers, who destroy agricultural farms, as he called for an end to the scourge. He charged the University to explore the possibility of using drones to monitor its territorial farmlands and engage in negotiation with those concerned, for amicable resolution of any conflict that may arise. He also suggested that the cattle-rearers should be integrated into the farming system by earmarking certain passage areas on the University map for their use.

In his own remarks, the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman, Governing Council of the University, Senator/Sir (Dr.) Adeseye Ogunlewe, called for better understanding and collaboration with members of FUNAAB communities, charging the University to concentrate more efforts at establishing linkages with industries in order to create better awareness on what the University could produce for the public. Senator Ogunlewe, a former Minister of Works in the country, suggested that the University should convene a joint committee with the Ogun-Oshun River Basin Authority (OORBDA), Abeokuta, to promote sustainable linkage opportunities.

Highpoint of the event was the formal presentation of yam tubers, savouring of smoked yam with ‘bush-meat’ and the inspection of farm products on display. Present at the event were members of the University Governing Council, Principal Officers, Deans, Directors as well as Heads of Departments and Units. Others were the Managing Director of the Ogun Osun River Basin Development Authority (OORBDA), Engineer Akintunde Soyemi; General Manager, Paramount FM 94.5, Abeokuta, Mrs. Kemi Ajayi; among others.

Our Graduates Are Sound, Says DVC (A)

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Professor Adekojo Waheed, has described graduates of FUNAAB as high fliers, who compete excellently with their counterparts from other leading institutions. Professor Waheed, while disclosing this recently, noted that in spite of the fact that the University had produced many First Class graduates, many of such graduates prefer not to be retained in the University, because of the extant rule that states that a staff must have worked for one year before being eligible for Study Leave with Pay, adding that these students would rather opt for postgraduate studies abroad. He disclosed that this trend was not good for the system, because such high fliers are unable to contribute their quota to national development.

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) disclosed that in order to address this challenge, the University Senate had introduced competition to the employment process, such that persons with genuine passion for work are made to take up employment. ”When we throw it open, you can just come back as soon as you finish. Some of them may not be interested. Maybe they have not gotten a job and they feel this is a cheap job for me. Let me just go there and start. They would not be committed”. He added that the present position was that, “if you are interested, you apply. When you apply, then we consider you. But it would now be through some conditions. It is not every First Class graduate that is interested in academics, so the interview would bring that out”. He noted that the essence was to read the students’ mind and to know whether they actually have the vision and plans to go into academics. “We want to know whether if you are sent out to study, you will focus on your PhD programme and come back to the country”, he stressed. According to him, “There are so many of them who have travelled out of this county and refused to come back. We want to know if what we are investing on, is really worth it”. Responding to whether there is a policy statement in place on automatic employment for First Class graduates, he said the statement was enacted, to encourage students to work hard to become First Class graduates such that when they graduate, there could be a window of opportunity for automatic employment. However, he added that the University had been encouraging its First Class graduates intellectually, through proper supervision of their postgraduate studies abroad.

Professor Waheed described employment in the University system as being budget-based, adding that no public University could just employ staff without ensuring that the money is there to pay salaries. “It cannot be automatic, but where there are vacancies, people who apply would be considered.” Re-iterating the importance of employing First Class graduates in the University, he said that a system that does not think of how it would sustain itself would not stand the test of time, noting  that the University once created a programme named Junior Research Fellow (JRF) for its First Class graduates, but this was later abolished by the Senate to give way to the Graduate Assistantship programme, which was well-known to all Nigerian Universities.

In a separate chat, the University’s Director of Academic Planning, Professor Olukayode Akinyemi, had stated that First Class graduates do not have problems securing jobs in general, adding that most of them are not usually interested in getting jobs immediately, but would rather prefer to further their education. 

According to him, “If someone graduates with a First Class, seven out of 10 of such are not interested in getting a job immediately. They would want to go for their Masters and PhDs. Preferably, they would like to get scholarships to fly-out of the country”. Professor Akinyemi said that Graduate Assistants were relatively employed in the University system once in two years, depending on the existing vacancies as Graduate Assistants were required to have Masters Degrees before being appointed as Assistant Lecturers. He added that if two students emerged in a Department as First Class graduates, both as male and female students, preference is always given to the female student in line with the decision of the University Senate.

Shedding more light on the replacement of the Junior Research Fellow, with the Graduate Assistantship, he said the latter was a statutory starting cadre in academics while JRF was not. He noted further that the Graduate Assistantship programme, the cadre was a creation of the Senate to help bring First Class graduates into the system. He added that the only difference was that it was not only open to First Class graduates, even though those with Second Class (Upper Division) degree could also apply, as they would all be subjected to interviews. According to him, “The wisdom of the Senate was that, it is better we make it competitive in the sense that let First Class graduates also compete with somebody that has a very good 2.1. Because Senate also observed that there are some instances where First Class graduates compete with 2.1 and even lower and the 2.1 did better that the First Class. So, the idea was to make it competitive”.

Professor Akinyemi stated that there was no law, which stipulated that each University must retain its First Class graduates, saying that Universities that indulged in the practice was doing so in order to encourage young and brilliant graduates to go into academics. As the “older Academics are graduating, the younger ones are taking over and the younger ones that must take their place and must be people who are operating at that First Class level”. He mentioned other schemes put in place by the University in assisting such graduates, like the Graduate Farming Employment Scheme (GRADFES), that had been supporting graduates to go back into farming, adding that the sum of between N200,000 and N300,000 were given to beneficiaries as loans by the University and repayable over a period of two years to start-up while their certificates were used as collateral. In addition, the Presidential Special Scholarship Scheme for Innovation and Development (PRESSID), which is co-ordinated by the NUC, had also assisted the First Class graduates to actualise their dreams of travelling abroad for their Masters and PhDs and that other available opportunities include the Commonwealth Scholarships, Professor Akinyemi added.