By Nnamdi Ojiego
It was convocation like no other as Edo state University, Iyamho, held members of the public spellbound with its brandof technological innovations and academic excellence at its second convocationceremony.
At the event, Nigerian Air Force,NAF,promised to partner the institution in engineering solution to tackle securitychallenges, four students bagged First Class degrees while Caverton boss andChancellor of the institution, Remi Makanjuola, donated multi million nairaMolecular Biology Laboratory and gave automatic employment to the bestgraduating students.
It was a week of innovations in anacademic environment that has continued to be a trailblazer among publicuniversities in Nigeria.
Since inception in 2016, it has grown intechnological advancement, providing qualitative education to teeming youngNigerians that jostle for admission yearly.
The 4th Founders Day Lecture, which usually holds on March 23, was rescheduled because of the COVID-19 pandemic,which was at its peak.
It was eventually held virtually onNovember 4, 2020.
In his paper titled: “The Nigerian Air Force, Making Giant Stridesin Keeping Nigeria Safe” the guest lecturer and Chief of the Air Staff, AirMarshal Sadiq Abubakar, commended the institution for its brand oftechnological 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. He, therefore, pledged to enter into a partnership with the institution on providing engineering solutions to Nigeria’s security challenges.
While hailing the institution for its strides in technological innovations, the NAF chief took the audience throughthe efforts being made by NAF in keeping Nigeria safe.
Some of them include training andretraining of staff, acquisition of different aircraft, gender sensitisationand inclusiveness policy, which led to the training of seven qualified femalepilots while 14 are undergoing training.
In his address, Vice-Chancellor of the University, Prof. Emmanuel Aluyor, commended the role of the Air force in the nation’s defense architecture and in keeping with what he described as the”defense of Nigeria’s territorial integrity and the war against terrorism”.
He thanked the governor of Edo State and the Visitor to the University, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, the University Council,Senate, staff, parents and students for the continuation of the academicsession through the CANVAS Learning Management System despite Covid-19.
Aluyor also expressed his appreciation to Makanjuola fordonating a Molecular Biology Laboratory to the institution.
“The university records another milestone with the graduation of her second set of students for the 2019/2020academic session in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Today’s ceremony isunique.
The ceremony is being carried out with many of our invitees joining usvia zoom. We have carefully complied with COVID-19 protocol by only invitingthe graduands and their parents to be physically present here today,” he said.
In his remark, Chairman of the occasion,Executive Secretary, Tertiary Education Trust Fund,TETFUND, Prof. SulaimanBogoro, expressed his delight in Edo University’s innovative ideas and itsarchitectural masterpiece.
He commended the Chief of AirStaff for using technologies to boost defence infrastructure for his Researchand Development (R&D) initiatives in the security sector.
In their goodwill messages, theVice-Chancellor of Adamawa State University, Prof. Kaletapwa Farauta, commendedthe University and NAF for the founder’s day lecture with particular emphasison what he described as NAF’s gender sensitivity and inclusiveness policy.
Similarly, former Pro-Chancellor, EdoUniversity Iyamho, Prof. Emeritus T.O.K Audu, described the lecture asenlightening, adding that the “public need to know what our security agenciesare doing.”
Activities for the celebration continuedon November 6, 2020, with a lecture delivered by Professor Adam Zahler of theWorcester State University, Worcester Massachusetts, USA. Titled “The impact of COVID-19 on TertiaryEducation: A View from the West and Possible Implications for AfricanUniversities” on zoom. He adopted a conversational style in his presentationriding on the mantra “expect nothing, anticipate nothing.”
The University don regretted thatCOVID-19 has taken away businesses and raised safety concerns on students’return to campuses.
While noting that the pandemic has made scholars see things in a new way, he advised Nigerian educational managers tobe 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 theCOVID-19 realities, said “the environment is different, state revenues aredown, the economy remains uncertain and the political systems are not the same.”
Also, Chairman of the event and Ministerof Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, represented by the Vice-Chancellor,University of Benin, Prof. Lillian Salami, said the emergence of COVID-19pandemic has created difficulties in teaching and learning in the country butcommended Edo University Iyamho for what he described as “blazing the trail inteaching and learning and creating local content stations.”
He commended the graduands, urging themto be good ambassadors of the institution and contribute to the development ofthe country.
Adamu also commended the Vice-Chancellorand his team for making Nigeria proud and a job well done.
On his part, Makanjuola noted thatadaptation was the keyword in the COVID- 19 phase, stressing that “COVID doesnot leave us in tatters. I am very proud to be part of Edo University Iyamho.”
Other goodwill messages from the institution’s friends applauded the Vice-Chancellor and his team for using technology to confront difficult times.
The convocation ceremony continued viazoom on November 7, 2020, at the Aliko Dangote Auditorium where 51 studentswere awarded degrees. Four graduands bagged First Class Honours.
A total number of 21 graduands wereconferred with 2nd Class Upper Division, 23 had Second Class Lower while threehad Third Class. The overall best graduand, Daniel Otti, got automaticemployment from the Chancellor and Chairman of the Board of Caverton OffshoreSupport Group, Dr. Aderemi Makanjuola.
At the forum, Jimoh Ijegbai, whorepresented Edo State governor, disclosed that he was proud of the giantstrides the University is making, especially the successful conclusion of the2019/2020 academic year, using the CANVAS Learning Management System inteaching and learning.
Meanwhile, with the Molecular Biology Laboratory donated byMakanjuola, tests for Lassa Fever Virus, Hepatitis C Virus, Hepatitis B Virus,Human Papilloma Virus, Paternity Test and Hiv Virus among others can beconducted.