Footprints of a Giant

(Excerpts from an upcoming documentary book, “The Ambali Years: A Chronicle of the

Landmark Achievements of Prof. AbdulGaniyu Ambali [2012 – 2017]”,

written by Kunle Akogun, Deputy Director, Corporate Affairs) 

 

As the five-year Vice-Chancellorship tenure of Prof. AbdulGaniyu Ambali (OON) gradually winds up, the Directorate of Corporate Affairs, University of Ilorin, has completed arrangement to present a documentary book chronicling the landmark achievements of the ninth Vice-Chancellor of the Better by far University.

Entitled “The Ambali Years: A Chronicle of the Landmark Achievements of Prof. AbdulGaniyu Ambali (2012 – 2017)”, the book, authored by the Head of Corporate Affairs, Mr. AbdulGaniyu Kunle Akogun, is due for public presentation during this year’s convocation ceremonies in October..

The book presentation will be one of the highlights of this year’s convocation during which Prof. Ambali will be handing over the Vice-Chancellorship baton to his successor.

Written in breezy, easy-flowing prose, the six-chapter compendium details all the activities and accomplishments of Prof. Ambali since October 16, 2012, when he took over from his predecessor, Prof. Is-haq Oloyede, to October 15, 2017, when he will be bowing out.

In a chat with Unilorin Bulletin, Mr. Akogun said, “This book is a candid portrait of the eventful and ground-breaking five-year tenure of Prof. AbdulGaniyu Ambali (OON) at the helms of affairs of the University of Ilorin”

Noting that Prof. Ambali exemplifies uncommon leadership, administrative acumen, erudition, dignity, temperance, fortitude and rectitude”, the author said, “The book is a gripping account of the legacies of a silent achiever, as told in compelling prose by somebody who is the repository of Prof. Ambali’s activities in office”.

In a Foreword to the book, the Registrar of the University, Mr. Emmanuel Dada Obafemi, wrote, “This publication is about the developmental activities of Prof. AbdulGaniyu Ambali (OON) during his tenure as the ninth (9th) Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin from 16th October, 2012 to 15th October, 2017”.

According to Mr. Obafemi, “From the outset, Prof. Ambali promised to follow the footsteps of his distinguished predecessors, hoping to build on the solid foundation already laid by them.  He, therefore, hit the ground running with a philosophy, which he called “sustainable development”.  This philosophy, he considered central in development studies, which states that “there could be no true development without sustainability”.

The Registrar noted that “the contents of this publication highlight his (Prof. Ambali’s) giant strides in respect of Staff Welfare and Development, Students’ Welfare, Teaching, Research and Community Service and Infrastructural Development”

On the author of the book, Mr. Obafemi wrote, “Mr. Kunle Akogun is appropriately positioned to capture all the activities of the Vice-Chancellor, having worked closely with him for the whole of his five-year tenure”.

He added that “through this publication, Mr. Akogun has drawn attention to the need for the achievements of the Head of an organization to be recorded for posterity and the imperative to put the tenure of each occupant of an office in proper perspective”.

Rapid Development of Technological Infrastructure

Another major landmark achievement of the Ambali administration is its visible commitment to the rapid development of technological infrastructure in the University in furtherance to its steady march in the information technology highway. One clear evidence of this single-minded commitment was the timely completion of the STEP-B funded fiber optics project and the upgrading of the University’s internet bandwidth from 15 megabits per second to 155 megabits per second. With the completion of the N95.8 million fibre optics infrastructure in February 2013 and the massive upgrading of the bandwidth at the end of July of the same year, through the prompting of the then Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the University Governing Council, Prof. (Obi) Chukwuka Okonjo, the strength of internet connectivity in the University community was greatly enhanced as the internet facility became more efficient, more reliable and more accessible.

Also, the Ambali administration upgraded the University’s internet bandwidth to STM4 in its sustained drive to enhance teaching, learning and research.

The University of Ilorin is at the forefront of innovations. It is on record that the University pioneered the use of Computer-Based Tests (CBT) for the screening of its potential students. This initiative has also been substantially integrated into the University’s examination system as it has become an integral tool in examining large classes, especially the General Studies programme and most science-based classes. Not only was this initiative widely adopted by universities all over the country, the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has also made its Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examinations (UTME) entirely CBT-based.

 

The Oil Palm Plantation

The Ambali administration also pulled through another first in the annals of University education in the country, with the flag-off of its N1.2 billion, 1000-hectare Oil Palm Plantation on May 15, 2014. According to the Vice-Chancellor, the idea of the oil palm plantation was a product of careful planning and it is in line with the legendary excellence for which the University is well known. Prof. Ambali said at the flag-off ceremony, “The Oil Palm Plantation would provide training and laboratory facilities for students in the Departments of Forestry, Agriculture, Plant Biology and other related disciplines. In addition, it would also be a good source of internally generated revenue for the University in the nearest future and serve as entrepreneurship training outfit for our students.”

And while flagging off the project, which she described as “ground-breaking”, the former Minister of Finance, Dr. (Mrs.) Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said, it would “contribute immensely to the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the University and the nation at large.”

The oil palm plantation is in addition to the Ambali administration’s sustained commitment to the nurturing of the existing economic trees initiated by its predecessors. The Teak Plantation, the Jatropha plantation, the Date Palm Plantation, and the Moringa Plantation continued to receive the required attention and they are all doing fine.

 

Massive Physical Infrastructural Facelift

Professor Ambali did not only inherit a good legacy, he internalized it, refined it and executed a focused agenda such that developmental activities during his tenure were monumental and most remarkable.  Provision of buildings, infrastructural facilities and teaching/research equipment have been the major focus of his administration.

One major asset that greatly boosted the performance of the Vice-Chancellor in the area of infrastructural development was his ability to quietly reach out, in a focused manner, to Government Agencies, Corporate/Private Organizations and well-to-do individuals for financial assistance towards physically developing the University.  As would be seen from the catalogue of projects that follow, the University, under this erudite and affable Professor of Veterinary Medicine benefitted immensely from various donations.

Apart from special donations, as a result of reaching out and confidence building, the University administration, under Professor Ambali, attracted several private hostel developers under the Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) model.  Annually, several hundreds of additional bed spaces are commissioned.  And developers submit proposals on a daily basis for the consideration and approval of the University management.

The overall effect of all these fruitful efforts is that between 2012 and 2017, the main campus of the University has been physically transformed.

Lecture theatres, Lecture Halls, Laboratories, Departmental offices, hostels, roads, car parks, students’ sit-outs, teaching and research equipment are added almost on a daily basis.

One of the major landmarks of the Ambali administration was the construction of the 6.5km road that links the main campus of the University with the College of Health Sciences/Teaching Hospital.  Construction of the Phase I of this road has reduced the travel time between the Works Department on the main campus and the College of Health Sciences at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH) to just 10 minutes.  This is a trip which hitherto used to take between 40 minutes and 2 hours through the Jebba road, depending on the time, day of the week and situations with students along the road.  This new road has fully integrated the College of Health Sciences into the University main campus.

A few other monumental developments that should be given special mention before the general run down of projects are:

  1. a) The provision of physical facilities, lecture theatre, classrooms, laboratories, equipment and Faculty building for the young Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences;
  2. b) Provision of offices, laboratories, classrooms, animal farm and a teaching hospital for the young Faculty of Veterinary Medicine;
  3. c) The complex for the Central Research Laboratories including supply and commissioning of major equipment; and
  4. d) The construction of the Researchers Lodge, which provides accommodation facilities of international standards.

A general rundown of major projects embarked upon and successfully completed and commissioned during the Ambali years on a yearly basis are itemized below:

 

Year 2013

 

 1)        Faculty of Science Phase III (Microbiology) Building (TETFund Project)

The block is a two-floor structure with the following facilities:

  • A Departmental Suite for the Head of Department
  • Eight Professorial Suites
  • Twelve Lecturers’ Offices
  • Six Research Laboratories
  • One Seminar Room
  • Two Computer Rooms
  • Several other offices and  conveniences

2)         Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences Complex (TETFund Project)

The Complex has the following facilities:

  • A 300-seater fully furnished air conditioned Lecture Theatre
  • Five fully furnished air conditioned Laboratories
  • Six fully furnished classrooms
  • Conveniences and preparatory rooms

3)         Central Bank of Nigeria Donated Lecture Theatre

  • A 600-seater fully furnished and air conditioned Lecture Theatre

4)         Renovated Complex for Faculty of Veterinary Medicine (TETFund Project)

The Complex has the following facilities:

  • A block of offices for the Dean
  • Thirteen Laboratories
  • Six Departmental Suites
  • Twelve Professorial Suites
  • Five Classrooms
  • A big Hall and a fully furnished air conditioned Board Room
  • A library
  • Several other offices and conveniences

5)        Unilorin Water Project Complex (Internally Generated Fund IGR Project)

An ultra modern water processing factory with the following facilities:

  • One line for bottled water production (60cl, 75cl and 1.5 litres)
  • 10 lines for sachet water production
  • Administrative/Marketing offices
  • 100KVA Standby Generator
  • Bottle blowing machine
  • Other offices and conveniences
  • Administrative/Marketing offices
  • 100 KVA Standby Generator
  • Bottle blowing machine
  • Other offices and conveniences

6)         College of Health Sciences Skills Acquisition Laboratories (TETFund Project)

This block on two floors has the following facilities:

  • A Seminar Room
  • Ten Demonstration Rooms
  • An Audio Visual Room
  • Twelve Offices
  • Other rooms and conveniences
  • A borehole, ground and over-head water tanks

7)         Renovated Complex for University of Ilorin International Secondary School (IGR Project)

The complex has the following facilities:

  • An administrative complex
  • Twenty–four Classrooms
  • Six Laboratories
  • A very large Intro-technology Workshop
  • Several specialized teaching rooms
  • A Library

Year 2014

1)         2000-seater Multipurpose Hall complex (TETFund Project)

The complex has the following facilities:

  • Fully furnished main 2000 capacity hall
  • Two Committee Rooms
  • Four offices
  • 100KVA Stand-by Generator
  • Parking lots

2)         Faculty of Education, 4 Storey block (TETFund Project)

The complex has the following facilities:

  • Dean’s office complex (Deans office, Secretary’s office, General Office and Conveniences)
  • Faculty Board Room
  • Seven Head of Department’s Complexes (HOD’s Office, Secretary’s office, General Office Store)
  • Faculty Computer Room
  • 21 Professorial Suites
  • 72 Lecturers’ Offices
  • Eight Classrooms of various capacities
  • One Laboratory for the Department of Science Education

3)         Department of Materials and Metallurgical Engineering Building (TETFund Project)

The building has the following facilities:

  • Head of Department’s Office Complex
  • Three Classrooms
  • Four Laboratories
  • Two Professorial Suites
  • Eight Lecturers’ Offices
  • Stores and Conveniences
  • Six Preparatory/Technicians Offices

4)         The Central Research Laboratories building (TETFund Project)

The complex has the following facilities:

  • Directors Complex
  • Library
  • Exhibition area
  • 10 Large Research Laboratories
  • Two Other Laboratories
  • An NMR Laboratory
  • 13 Researchers’ offices/write up rooms
  • Variety of high-end research equipment
  • Preparatory rooms
  • Stores

5)         The Researchers’ Lodge complex (TETFund Project)

The complex has the following facilities:

  • Six Suites
  • Four Single Rooms
  • Kitchen and restaurant
  • Parking lots

6)         Parking lots (IGR)

The parking lots were constructed at:

  • Faculty of Agriculture
  • Faculty of Social Sciences
  • Faculty of Education
  • Faculty of Communication and information Sciences
  • Centre for Peace and Strategic Studies

7)         Lecture Theatre for the Faculty of Education (TETFund Project)

  • A fully furnished 600 capacity lecture theatre

8)         Lecture Theatre for the Faculty of Agriculture (TETFund Project)

  • A fully furnished 600 capacity lecture theatre

9  )       Lecture Theatre for the Faculty of Law (TETFund Project)

  • Fully furnished 600 Capacity lecture theatre

10)       The Unilorin Business School Complex (TETFund Project)

The complex has the following facilities:

  • Administrative block
  • Six Lecture halls of various capacities

Computer laboratory

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