In spite of the ongoing Academic Staff Union of Universities ASUU warning strike amid agitations from other University unions, the University of Abuja UofA held its 25th and 26th convocation ceremony under the management of Professor Abdulrasheed Na’Allah who assumed duty as the Vice chancellor about three years now.
The week-long event that started from Monday, 21st of February to Friday 25th February, 2022 attracted academic giants from all walks of life including university administrators, top government functionaries, political class and public speakers among many others in Nigeria.
The success story of the convocation ceremony despite the ongoing ASUU strike led to the convocation of about 8,269 regular graduates and 12, 929 students of its Centre for Distance Learning and Continuing Education (CDLCE) that was unique in the history of the institution in recent times.
Aside from the combined convocation ceremony, the occasion also witnessed the installation of the Emir of Bauchi, Alhaji Dr Rilwan Sulaiman Adamu as Chancellor of the University and bagged Honorary Degree of Letters from the institution.
With renewed vigour and administrative acumen under the Vice chancellor, Professor Abdulrasheed Na’Allah the University was undergoing transformation in all it’s areas particularly in academic, research, infrastructure among many others innovative approaches.
Having joined the league of world class universities with best global best practices, the school had improved tremendously in it’s conducts of lectures, examination, processing and the release of results with automation of it’s processes, that had nipped in the bud any form of sharp practices and malpractices obtainable hitherto through wholly manual processes.
With the global pandemic and subsequent lockdown that led many schools under lock and key, management initiated virtual classrooms where students and lecturers interface academically that avoided spread and contact of the global scourge of COVID-19.
In the same vein, the University through it’s centres and establishment of new ones sponsored projects, innovation, teachings and research through its newly established centre for internship and linkages services among many others.
The high competitive academic environment occasioned by the new innovations had placed lecturers in a vantage position of winning local and international awards and educational grants across the globe in a geometric percentage of 200% in two years.
The positive development had opened a new babel of healthy competition that promotes academic excellence, research initiative and development of other sectors of the university.
With the use of technology both from the lecturers and students as a norm in the university in the classrooms and research work , it created an enabling environment for results without undue human interference.
Routinely, the university confronted the accreditation exercise of the National Universities Commission NUC with all its programs re-accredited along with newly introduced programs in Railway Engineering, Aeronautical, Astronautical and Nuclear studies among many others on the stream.
The leadership of the University of Abuja under Na’Allah had taken ongoing infrastructure innovation, renovation highly on the priority list, with the construction of the new Senate building, ICC and ACC centre including the students activity center.
The university staff club, staff social centre, Faculty of Education, and Environmental sciences, indoor sports hall, university microfinance Bank, academic staff office faculty of social sciences, Faculty of basic clinical sciences are all under construction.
The construction of a security fence around the university environment, also at the College of Health sciences mini campus Gwagwalada, access road from the academic core to the Faculty of Education, along with multiple diversion and entrance and exit points into the main campus of the institution.
The new security fence including the engagement of local vigilante by the university authority working in cahoots with the university security department had assisted in no small measure to address the incidence of frequent kidnappings of both staff and students of the institution among many other security measures.
The university has created a lot of centres and reinvigorated others like the Students mentorship centre, assisting lower level students through volunteer scheme pro bono, with attraction from French, Portuguese and Japanese nations.
The centre for undergraduates studies encouraged students participation in research activities coordinated by the centre and also the Centre for Entrepreneurship studies made it compulsory for all students at all levels to register their own companies after the internship.
The counselling and career services centre played a complementary roles to Entrepreneurship skills to drive home students skill in capacity building outside the core area of learning and academic activities.
Recently, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA had partnered with the institution for in depth awareness and counselling on the need to abhor drug abuse among students.
This is in addition to more proposals from both local and foreign bodies to establish more centres of diverse areas in the university, both for the benefits and its immediate environment and the entire nation.
Since his assumption of duty about three years ago, the Vice chancellor’s insistence on working with ‘committee model’ in the execution of its policies and programs had assisted in no great measure to the continuous development of the institution.
Also the regularisation of academic programs of the institution is receiving urgent attention with a view to inculcating positive values, competitive workforce, hence it had repositioned the Centre for Distance Learning and Continuing Education (CDLCE) to run apace with the regular programs through it’s new automated and integrated portal process that reduced fraud.
The establishment of a state of the art centre with first rate leadership and products inline with the NUC template is ongoing.
The world class edifice that will broaden it’s offering to attract both the public and private sector individuals into running programs of the institution has been put in place and will be undergoing reforms from time to time in line with the prevailing situations.
Above all, it was a roll call from notable academic and institutions as goodwill messages from committee of Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities, (CVCNU), private universities, state universities and federal universities were on ground to identify with the the ivory tower in the centre of the nation, it’s progress and achievements.
Yusuf writes from Abuja and can be reached on: firstname.lastname@example.org