The Tolu Odugbemi Hall of the University of Lagos was full of pomp and pageantry, on Friday, February 25, 2022, as the Department of Zoology, Faculty of Science held a send forth ceremony for professor of Applied Entomology and Pest Management, Prof. Winifred Ayinke Makanajuola in celebration of her 70th birthday and retirement from active service of the University of Lagos.
The erudite professor loved by many across the length and breadth of the University gave a lengthy valedictory speech which she titled: “My UNILAG Experience: Stooping to Conquer.” In her speech, she told her story; how she joined the services of the University, her challenges and achievements in her 40+ years.
The event also featured a presentation titled: “Agri-Industry and Food Policy in Nigeria – FMN Experience” and delivered by the Vice-Chairman, Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc., Mr. Paul Gbededo. In the short presentation, Mr. Gbededo told of how Nigeria used to be a world class exporter of agricultural products in the 1960s and even way before that. He talked about Nigeria’s GDP by sector, Nigeria’s economic challenges such as food inflation which keeps getting worse as a result of farmer-herder conflicts, banditry, kidnapping, insurgency, rising fuel prices and devaluation of the Naira. He also mentioned some of the agricultural potentials of this great country as well as the SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) Analysis of the Agricultural sector. He then suggested keys to successful transformation of the sector to include: patient, long term capital with low interest financing; proper irrigation; increased mechanised intensity, provision of silos and logistics assets/infrastructure e.g., roads, technical expertise, etc. He then delved into the Flour Mills of Nigeria experience.
The Head, Department of Zoology, Prof. Taiwo Idowu in his welcome speech, extolled the virtues of the professor who taught him and her students respect for seniors.
The Dean, Faculty of Science, Prof. Elijah Oyeyemi, in his speech, reiterated the need for her services in the University. She was said to be a humble and gentle person. He revealed that from his interactions with her, she is a very principled person, worthy of respect. He also called her an activist to the core and problem-solver.
The Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe lauded the virtues of the erudite professor and stated that she carried out duties assigned to her in the University excellently. He congratulated her on behalf of the University community and wished her all the best.
The event was graced by persons from various works of life who trooped out to celebrate this amazing woman, the first female employed at the Department of Zoology as an academic, who despite all the sexism and obstacles at the time flourished in her chosen career.
In eulogizing Prof. Makanjuola, Prof. Oluwole Familoni, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academics and Research), called her a woman who greets everyone respectfully and has a lifestyle worthy of emulation. Prof. Lucian Chukwu, a former student of the professor par excellence and current Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Management Services) called her a mentor and counsellor and assured that the virtues of patience, hard work, honesty and research which she imparted on them, her students, will be imparted on the upcoming generation.
Born February 29, 1952 in Dublin, Ireland, Prof. Winifred Ayinke Makanjuola joined the services of the University of Lagos in 1981 as an Assistant Lecturer and rose to become full Professor in 2006.