At Edo Varsity Convocation, Air Force Boss Harps on How Engineering Can Tackle Security Challenge

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It was a convocation like no other, as Edo University Iyamho held members of the public spellbound with its brand of technological innovations and academic excellence at its second convocation ceremony. At the event, Air Force promised to partner the institution in engineering solution to tackle security challenges. Four students bagged first class, while Caverton Boss and Chancellor of the university, Remi Makanjuola donated multi million naira Molecular Biology Laboratory and gave automatic employment to the best graduating students. Sunday Ehigiator reports

It was a one week of glitz and glamour in an academic environment that has continued to be a trail blazer among public universities in Nigeria. Since its inception four year ago, it has grown in technological advancement, setting the pace in providing qualitative education to teeming young Nigerians that jostle for its admission yearly. Truly, Edo University Iyamho has redefined the look of public education in Nigeria.

After the Friday Jumat Service and Sunday Service to thank God for the successful completion of another academic year on October 30 and Sunday November 1 respectively, the fourth Founders Day lecture, which usually holds on March 23 was rescheduled because of the COVID-19 pandemic which was at its peak early this year.

It was eventually held (virtually) on Wednesday November 4, 2020. In his paper titled ‘The Nigerian Air Force, Making Giant Strides in Keeping Nigeria Safe’, the guest lecturer and Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadiq Abubakar commended the institution for its brand of technological innovations and academic excellence. While the role of technology cannot be emphasised in every facet of life, the Air Force boss stated that NAF’s Research and Development Department (R&D) was working with about 15 universities and hopes to discuss the partnership with Edo University Iyamho. Therefore, the Nigerian Air Force promised to enter into partnership with the institution in providing engineering solutions to Nigeria’s security challenges.

While haling the university for its giants strides in technological innovations, he took the audience through the efforts being made by the Nigeria Air Force in keeping Nigeria safe. Some of them include: training and retraining of staff, acquisition of different aircrafts, gender sensitisation and inclusiveness policy, which led to the training of seven qualified female pilots while 14 are undergoing training.

In his remarks, the Vice-Chancellor of the university, Prof. Emmanuel Aluyor lauded the role of the Air Force in the nation’s defense architecture and in keeping with her mandate with what he described as the “defense of Nigeria’s territorial integrity and the war against terrorism.”

He thanked the State Governor and visitor to the university, Godwin Obaseki, the university council, senate, staff, parents and students of the university for the continuation of the academic session through the CANVAS Learning Management System, despite COVID-19.

Aluyor also thanked the Chancellor, Dr. Aderemi Makanjuola for his donation of a Molecular Biology Laboratory to the institution.

With the lab equipment, these tests can be carried out: Hepatitis C virus, Hepatitis B virus, HIV virus, COVID-19 virus, Lassa Fever virus, Human papiloma vírus, as well as paternity test.

In his remark, the Chairman of the occasion, the Executive Secretary, Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), Prof. Sulaiman Bogoro, expressed his delight with the university’s innovative ideas and its architectural masterpiece.

He commended the Chief of Air Staff for using technologies to boost defense infrastructure for his Research and Development (R&D) initiatives in the security sector.

In their goodwill messages, the Vice-Chancellor of Adamawa State University, Mubi, Prof. Kaletapwa Farauta commended the university and NAF for the founder’s day lecture with particular emphasis on the NAF’s gender sensitivity and inclusiveness policy.

The Vice-Chancellor of Skyline University (SUN), Prof. Sunhadkar Kota also expressed delight to identify with Edo University Iyamho and the NAF. The representative of the Director General, National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Mr. Gabriel Tyoyer noted that the NYSC has been supporting NAF and schools. While encouraging the university to continue to advance in technology, he appealed that the institution should be ready to take corps members with first degrees to encourage them build academic careers.

In his goodwill message, former Pro-Chancellor, Edo University Iyamho, Prof. Emeritus T.O.K Audu described the lecture as enlightening, adding that the public need to know what security agencies are doing.

Activities for the celebration continued on November 6 with a lecture delivered by Professor Adam Zahler of the Worcester State University, Massachusetts, USA. Titled ‘The impact of COVID-19 on Tertiary Education: A View from the West and Possible Implications for African Universities’ via webinar on zoom, he adopted a conversational style in his presentation riding on the mantra “expect nothing, anticipate nothing.”

The university don regretted that COVID-19 has taken away businesses and has raised safety concerns on students’ return to campuses, adding that “state revenues are deeply affected. It will be foolish to ignore the impact.” While noting that COVID-19 has made scholars to see things in a new way, he advised Nigerian educational managers to be creative and technologically inclined in handling the post COVID-19 era. The guest lecturer, who refused to give specific prescriptions to African universities on how to handle issues in the COVID-19 era, stressed that “the environment is different, state revenues are down, the economy remains uncertain and the political systems are not the same.”

In his remarks, the Chairman of the occasion and the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, represented by the Vice-Chancellor, University of Benin, Prof. Lillian Salami, noted that the emergence of COVID-19 pandemic has created difficulties in teaching and learning in the country, but commended Edo University Iyamho for “blazing the trail in teaching and learning and creating local content stations.”

The minister congratulated the graduands and urged them to be good ambassadors of the university and to contribute to the manpower development of the country. He also commended the vice-chancellor and his team for making Nigeria proud and a job well-done.

In his goodwill message, the Chancellor of the institution, Dr. Aderemi Makanjuola noted that adaptation was the keyword in the COVID-19 era, stressing that “COVID does not leave us in tatters. I am very proud to be part of Edo University Iyamho.”

Other goodwill messages were from university friends like Jean Borgatti, who commended the university on its unique technology for education and for working at difficult times, while Prof. Sundharkar Kota applauded the vice-chancellor and his team for using technology to face difficult times and wished the graduands all the best.

The convocation ceremony continued via Zoom on Saturday November 7, 2020 at the Aliko Dangote Auditorium, where 51 students were awarded degrees having qualified in character and in learning. Four graduands bagged first class. A total of 21 graduands were conferred with second class upper division, 23 had second class lower, while three had third class. The overall best graduand, Daniel Onyedikachi Otti got automatic employment from the Chancellor, Dr. Aderemi Makanjuola, Chairman of the Board of Caverton Offshore Support Group.

Speaking at the occasion, representative of Edo Governor, Hon. Jimoh Ijegbai, said he was proud of the giant strides the university is making, especially in its successful conclusion of the 2019/2020 academic year, when the CANVAS Learning Management System was deployed in teaching and learning.

While pledging his continued support to the university, he commended the chancellor for the donation of a Molecular Biology Laboratory to the institution. He congratulated the graduands and applauded the university management for keeping the mandate of the state government in preparing future leaders.

Also speaking, Aluyor congratulated the state governor for his success at the polls. “The university records another milestone with the graduation of her second set of students for the 2019/2020 academic session at the wake of COVID-19 pandemic. 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 COVID-19 protocols in only inviting the graduands and their parents to be physically present here today.”

The vice-chancellor gave a scorecard of the achievements of the university for the first five years in different areas and urged the graduands to be “good ambassadors of the university as you go into the labour market to serve the nation in the field of your academic discipline.’’

In his brief remarks, the best graduating student, Mr. Daniel Oyendikachi Otti of Computer Science Department, who spoke on behalf of other graduands, thanked the university management, lecturers and parents during their sojourn in the institution.

He expressed hope that based on their training at the university, they will make it anywhere they find themselves. He urged his colleagues to be guided by two questions: what matters to you most? And, can you build what can last?

Highlights of the events were 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.