President Goodluck Jonathan has approved the award of National Honours to the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Prof. AbdulGaniyu Ambali, and his immediate predecessor, Prof. Is-haq Oloyede, alongside 303 other distinguished Nigerians and friends of Nigeria.
While Prof. Ambali will be honoured with the Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON) award, Prof. Oloyede will receive the award of the Officer of the Federal Republic (OFR) in the 2013/2014 edition of the National Honours Award.
The two consummate academics and astute administrators of the nation\’s number one University will formally receive the awards from the President on Monday, September 29, 2014 at the International Conference Centre, Abuja.
Announcing the approved list of the National Honours Award recipients on behalf of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, last Thursday (September 18, 2014), the Director (Special Duties Office), Mr. Adeyemo Tunde, said that the other honorees include the Minister of Education, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau; the Minister of State for Education, Chief Nyesom Wike; the Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo; the Minister of Water Resources, Mrs. Sarah Ochekpe; the Minister of Works, Mr Mike Onolememen; the Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku; the Minister of Mines and Solid Minerals, Mr. Musa Sada; and the Minister of National Planning, Ambassador Bashir Yuguda.
Also on the honours list are service chiefs, some serving and former state governors, serving and retired judicial officers, serving and former lawmakers, traditional rulers, top bankers, business magnates and other prominent Nigerians as well as some foreigners.
A breakdown of the award list shows that of the 305 awardees, 24 persons would be honoured with CFR, 59, CON; 51, OFR; 61, OON; 53, MFR, 55, MON, while one person each will get FRM I and FRM II.
The conferment of the national honours award on Prof. Ambali and Prof. Oloyede is another recognition of the great contributions that the two have made to the nation\’s educational development.
It is on record that the University of Ilorin has run a very stable academic calendar such that the institution has not witnessed any workers\’ strike or students\’ unrest since more than a decade ago.
When he was at the helm of affairs between 2007 and 2012, Prof. Oloyede brought a number of revolutionary changes to bear on the management of the University, great legacies that were sustained and even improved upon by his successor, Prof. Ambali.
On several occasions, President Jonathan, some of his ministers and even federal lawmakers have had cause to pour encomiums on the administrative wizardry of the University\’s successive Vice-Chancellors.
During the 29th Convocation ceremonies of the University last October, President Jonathan, commended the University\’s “stable and uninterrupted academic calendar for several years now”, and remarked that “this positive step, which has been the hallmark of this institution, has brought notable achievements to the University in all spheres of its endeavour.”
Before then, in June last year, members of the Senate and House of Representatives\’ Committees on Education, during their separate oversight visits to the University, spoke glowingly of the University\’s giant strides, describing the institution\’s stable academic calendar as “a great feat that should be emulated by all universities in Nigeria.”
And in mid-May this year, during the flag-off of the University\’s oil palm plantation and distribution of PC tablets to students, the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, extolled the ingenuity of the University of Ilorin, saying the institution is “100 paces” ahead of other universities in the country.