As President Goodluck Jonathan today (September 29, 2014) confers the National Honours Awards of Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON) and Officer of the Federal Republic (OFR) on the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Prof. AbdulGaniyu Ambali, and his immediate predecessor, Prof. Is-haq Olanrewaju Oloyede, respectively, the four staff unions in the University have described the award on the two University administrators as a well deserved reward for hard work.
The Chairmen of the unions – the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU), and the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT) – said in separate interviews with Unilorin Bulletin last Tuesday (September 23, 2014) that the awards are commendable recognition of the contributions of Prof. Ambali and Prof. Oloyede to the educational development of the country.
Meanwhile, Prof. Ambali has dedicated the award to the entire staff of the University, saying “it is their aggregate input that has taken the University to this level.”
The Chairman of the University of Ilorin Chapter of the Academic of Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Dr AbdulRasheed Adeoye, described the National Honours Award as a “product of hard work, resilience and dedication to service.”
According to him, “Profs Ambali and Oloyede have served the University with passion, with vision, with commitment and with the fear of God and therefore, they deserve to be honoured”.
Dr. Adeoye noted that the duo have dedicated their all to the development of the University, adding that “when we have this crop of people leading organisations; we will grow fast, Nigeria will develop fast.”
In his own remarks, the Chairman of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), University of Ilorin Branch, Mr. Mansur Alfanla, said that the two leaders were recognised by the Federal Government for their sterling qualities and hard work.
Mr. Alfanla described the awardees as “hard working, capable, selfless and reliable people who deserve the honour given them.”
The SSANU leader said, “People in positions of leadership must have the fear of God at heart in whatever they are doing; they must equally allow their conscience to guide them because history is always there to record what you have done. Anybody in position of authority must always have it at the back of his/her mind that it is not only human beings you will be accountable to; you will also be accountable to God Almighty. So, a leader should be transparent, sincere, principled, open, and accommodating”.
On his own part, the Chairman of the University of Ilorin Branch of the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU), Mr. J. J. Bello, noted that the awards conferred on the current and former Vice-Chancellors of the institution was not unexpected.
While rejoicing with the awardees, Mr. Bello maintained that the goal of achieving a stable academic calendar in the University is a collective effort.
The NASU Chairman said, “We all worked for the award and we are rejoicing with them that the Government recognised what we have done in this citadel of learning. It is a joyous thing for the University in particular and for all of us in general.”
Mr. Bello said, “Without the commitment of staff, it cannot be easy to maintain a stable academic calendar, which has made the University of Ilorin to be unique among its peers in Nigeria.”
This, he noted, has made other tertiary institutions across the country to want to emulate the University, thus transforming the higher education sector positively.
Speaking in the same vein, the Chairman of the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT), University of Ilorin Chapter, Mr. Peter Oddiah, noted that the Award “is a well deserved honour. The Federal Government did its home work by giving such award to these two recipients. They actually merit it. There are no other persons that are more qualified for these honours than these two individuals and I pray that more honours will come their way by the grace of God.”
While enjoining those in positions of leadership to be transparent in their dealings as exemplified by the two awardees, Mr. Oddiah submitted that “there should be dedication, loyalty to the nation and there should be respect and dignity for individuals. These are the qualities of leadership. The moment one has these qualities, there is no organisation one cannot head and there is no way one will not excel.”
Meanwhile, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Ambali, has said that “the glory that accompanies the award goes to all Unilorin staff”.
Prof. Ambali, who spoke last Tuesday (September 23, 2014) at the first Senate meeting of the 2014/2015 session, thanked all members of staff of the University, both academic and non-academic, for the various feats and recognitions the University has been getting in recent times, saying, “It is the aggregate of your input that has taken the University of Ilorin to this level.”
Expressing his immense gratitude to the University staff, the Vice-Chancellor said, “My own interpretation of this award is just to tell us that people up there are watching us; and so we need to do more.”
“It is the responsibility of all of us to ensure that we improve on our ranking next year”, Prof. Ambali said.