The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, Professor Kayode O. Adebowale, mni, FAS, has stated that His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Borno State, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum, mni, FNSE, epitomises the ethos of an alumnus of the University of Ibadan – peerless doggedness and unparalleled resourcefulness in weathering the storm in the most buffeted state of Borno.
He made the statement at the Conferral of UI@75 Ambassadorial Status on His Excellency in Maiduguri.
Professor Adebowale said the conferral is a clear statement that Governor Zulum is a graduate of whom the University of Ibadan is well pleased.
“True greatness begets greatness. University of Ibadan is truly great and remains great. Your excellency, sir, you are one of our great alumni. Your predecessor in office, in view of the greatness imbibed from the University, became the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. We are proud of you both sir, as our great Alumni”, he added
The Vice-Chancellor described the Governor as an accomplished professor of agricultural engineering, a compassionate Governor who in his first term as governor, undertook 556 major projects and completed 70% of them within 4 years. One-third of these capital projects were on education.
He noted that one of the Governor’s hallmarks is to build mega secondary schools with 1500 student capacity and equipped enough to compare with some universities.
This feat, he said was openly acknowledged by the Shehu of Borno and the National Assembly, as having gone above and beyond the accomplishments of any previous governor of the State.
He said the Governor has proved himself to be a leader ‘ that walks the talk’ by keeping his promise to provide monthly stipends for the upkeep of 300 orphans of the Boko Haram insurgency and COVID-19. Not only has he kept the promise through the years, but His Excellency has increased the stipend to match up with inflation, while still providing millions of Naira to cater for their education.
Professor Adebowale said in a rare show of empathy, Governor Zulum personally distributed palliatives to the widows of fallen heroes who combated the insurgency. In response to COVID-19, this indefatigable Governor rapidly refurbished dilapidated health centres and built and staffed 74 new ones.
These laudable projects have remarkably scaled down the multidimensional poverty index of Borno State.
He drew attention to the fact that the University of Ibadan turns 75 this year, and there is every reason to roll out the drums and celebrate the excellence that the University symbolizes.
He stated that Governor Zulum is a part of that tradition of excellence adding that the UI@75 Anniversary Committee recommended and the Management approved that His Excellency be designated as a UI@75 Ambassador, the first person to be so decorated.
He requested that Professor Zulum should deliver one of the four proposed UI@75 Anniversary Lectures.
The Chairman of the UI@75 Planning Committee, Professor Peter Olapegba identified UI@75 Priority Projects.
He said the projects were identified based on the Vision document of the Vice Chancellor of the University of Ibadan while contesting to be Vice Chancellor.
He said the Vice-Chancellor in the said document, promised to raise a sum of $200, 000, 000 (Two Hundred Million Dollars) for various projects in the University adding that the UI@75 Anniversary has been designated as a vehicle to drive the process.
According to Professor Olapegba the five priority projects are:
• Endowment Fund N100, 000, 000, 000 (One Hundred Billion Naira)
• Infrastructure Development (Smart classrooms, IT Infrastructures and Laboratories) N10, 000, 000, 000 (Ten Billion Naira)
• Alternative Energy: N10, 000, 000, 000 (Ten Billion Naira)
• Indigent Scholarship Fund N200, 000, 000 (Two Hundred Million Naira)
• Staff Development & Mobility Fund: N10, 000, 000, 000 (Ten Billion Naira)
Professor Olapegba said it is the University ‘s expectation that our Ambassadors and Ambassador Extraordinaire will pick any of the projects and mobilise friends and associates to raise fund for the projects picked.
Governor Zulum expressed appreciation to the University for finding him worthy. He promised to provide the political will to ensure the achievement of the Committee’s objectives.
He noted that the Committee’s objectives are germane to the growth of the Education sector assuring that he would give support.
He accepted to deliver one of the four Anniversary Lectures.
Professor Zulum said he would continue to partner and collaborate with all efforts aimed at repositioning the fragile education sector of the country.
He urged the University of Ibadan to collaborate with the University of Maiduguri and the Borno State University in the area of Staff Development
The 9- man team led to Maiduguri by the Vice-Chancellor included Registrar of the University, Mr Ganiyu O. Saliu; Chairman of the UI@75 Anniversary Planning Committee, Professor Peter O. Olapegba; Dr Mobolaji O. Omobowale, Head of Department of Agricultural Engineering; members of the Committee, Professor Ibrahim A. Oladosu, Dr. Demola Lewis; Mr Adebowale A. Adeosun, Director University Advancement Centre; Mrs Adejoke O. Akinpelu, PAR/PRO Directorate of Public Communication; and Mr Kayode Jolayemi, the Passages and Protocols Officer of the University.