Diary: One week that made one weak

UNILORIN            Let me start with a confession: I am one guy that was so weak at the end of the activity-packed last week (11- 15 May, 2015) that I got home last Friday night and fell soundly asleep on the sofa till Saturday morning! I don’t know of anyone else.

Really, the activities of last week were a further demonstration of the greatness of the University of Ilorin as an institution that never sleeps, a University that ever works. I am not aware of any other University here that could have successfully packed so many high-profile events in one week as the University did and this partly accounts for why the University stands far ahead of others.

Last Monday, the week started with the formal opening ceremony of the 5th Nigeria International Poultry Summit (NIPS), themed “Innovation for Poultry Production and Good Health” at the University Auditorium. The summit, which drew participants to the University from as far as Brazil, was one huge success and The Alma Mater salutes the organisational acumen of Dr Ayo Toye.

On Tuesday, the Auditorium came alive again and the occasion was the Special Public Lecture of the Centre for International Education. It was stimulating to listen to Dr Patrick Oseloka Ezepua of Sheffield Hallam University, United Kingdom, who ably addressed the topic, “Higher Education Research-Training Excellence, Engaged Scholarship and High Impact Socio-Economic Development”. It was a nice one on the part of the Director of the Centre, the amiable Prof. Muhammed O. Ibrahim, who is passionate about driving the Centre to greater excellence.

The following day, (i.e. Wednesday), the University hosted the Pro-Chancellor and former Vice-Chancellor of Durham University, United Kingdom, Prof. C. F. Higgins, courtesy of the Faculties of Life Sciences and Physical Sciences. It was eye-opening to me listening to the molecular biologist and Professor of Regenerative Medicine on “Stem Cell Research: Science, Medicine and Ethics”, which was the theme of the 11th Mosobalaje Oyawoye Endowed Lecture.

The University Auditorium was filled to the brim for the lecture such that there was no space left for a pin even in the upper chamber. Both Prof. A. Sani and Prof. Isaac Adimula who co-hosted the Lecture deserve kudos on its success just like our innovative Vice-Chancellor, Prof. AbdulGaniyu Ambali OON, who facilitated the whole process. Of special importance was the Vice-Chancellor’s reminder in his address, “Just and True”, that what is morally wrong cannot be politically right, a crucial message to our political gladiators moving their bags to Government Houses and Abuja.

On Thursday, the Auditorium also beamed to life for the 6th International Students’ Day Celebration. Dr Ezepue was on hand again to present an engaging lecture on “International Education in Higher Institutions: Prospects and Challenges”. Besides, it was also exciting to watch the presentation of the international students. Though I didn’t taste their delicacy, the jovial insistence of the esteemed Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Yisa Fakunle, that he be told the recipe was an attestation to the culinary skills of the students apart from their dramatic proficiency.

After the lecture, it was my honour to host the Guest Lecturer and his friend at the Centre for Peace and Strategic Studies, where we explored new ideas on interdisciplinary research together with the Director of the Centre of Linguistic Immersion, Dr Elisabeth De Campos, and the Director of the Technical and Entrepreneurship Centre, Dr Umar Gunu. It was a wonderful discussion and our “discussion continues”, like that Honda brand.

Friday was not free of its own activities. The morning hours were spent at the 22nd Armoured Brigade, Sobi Cantonment, Ilorin, where a meeting was held with the Commandant of the Nigerian Army School of Education (NASE). In the evening, it was at the Auditorium of the University again where the presidential aspirants of the Students’ Union faced the mammoth crowd of largely the undergraduates of the University preparatory to their elections slated for tomorrow (Tuesday May 19, 2015).

A brilliant initiative of AbdurRahman Jogbojogbo’s “7th Sense Concepts”, the Unilorin Students’ Union Presidential Debate was full of fun and frills as there was no dull moment listening to the aspirants and their colleagues. I was so impressed and amused by the responses that the words of Hugh Kerr in his book, “The Spirituality of Imperfection”, kept on assailing my psyche: “All wisdom is plagiarism, only stupidity is original”. If the mood of the students based on the debate was anything to go by, you could easily predict the best winner and determine the “least winner”, a good euphemism for the weakest aspirant.

When the debate ended at dusk and I had a need to leave from there to another meeting off-campus that lasted till 9:30 p.m., I returned home so knackered that I collapsed on the sofa after my meal. I woke up early on Saturday morning and realised I had to fill this page. God, the only thing that came to mind was one week in Unilorin that made someone like me so weak.