After a highly successful academic sojourn of over forty-five (45) years at the University of Lagos (UNILAG), peers, colleagues, family, friends, mentees and students of Distinguished Professor Olukayode Amund, FAS, rolled out the drums in grand style to celebrate his 70th birthday and retirement from the services of the University on Thursday, May 4, 2023.
The line-up of events to celebrate the Distinguished Professor of Microbiology included Academic Presentations held at LT 026 and Quadrangle of Faculty of Science; Unveiling Ceremony of Contemporary Issues of The Nigerian Petroleum Industry: A Festschrift in Honor of Distinguished Professor Olukayode Amund, and a Valedictory/Exaugural Lecture held at the Distance Learning Institute Auditorium as well as a Grand Reception held at the Tolu Odugbemi (Staff School) Hall.
Professor Rosemary Egonmwam and Professor Joy Okpuzor served as Chairman and Co-Chair, respectively, of the Academic Presentations Session held at the Faculty of Science, UNILAG, Akoka.
Moderated by Professor Sunday A. Adebusoye, it featured presentations by Distinguished Professor Babajide Alo, FAS who spoke on Contemporary Issues on Global Environmental Treaties and Conventions, as well as Professor Wellington Oyibo whose paper focused on Biotechnology and the Malaria Elimination Target in Africa.
The event also highlighted over sixteen (16) Poster Presentations of research works by various authors drawn from the fields of Biological Oceanography, Biotechnology, Botany, Microbiology, among others.
Unveiling of Contemporary Issues of The Nigerian Petroleum Industry: A Festschrift in Honour of Distinguished Professor Olukayode Amund edited by Oluwafemi Sunday Obayeri and Mathew Olusoji Ilori.
Held at the Distance Learning Institute Auditorium, UNILAG, Akoka, the ceremony had in attendance a wide array of notable academics, professionals and personalities such as Former First Lady of Lagos State, Dame Abimbola Fashola as Special Guest of Honor, Former Pro-chancellor and Chairman, UNILAG Governing Council, Aare Afe Babalola, SAN, the Chief Launcher who was represented by Mr. Gboyega Oyewole, SAN; Founder of Elizade University, Chief Micheal Ade Ojo, the Father of Day represented by the Registrar of the private varsity; Chairman/ Managing Director of Mopson Pharmaceutical Limited, Dr. Michael Oyebanjo Paul who served as Chairman of the Occasion, Former Vice Chancellor of UNILAG, Professor Rahamon A. Bello, FAEng, among others. Distinguished Professor Dele Olowokudejo, FLS, FLEAD, FCFIF, FIAF, dfisn, served as the Book Reviewer.
The Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academics and Research), Professor Bolanle Oboh who represented the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Folasade Ogunsola, FAS, expressed delight at the indelible legacies and impactful academic inputs of Distinguished Professor Amund.
According to her, “today’s celebrant is retiring but not tired. We, at the University of Lagos, are proud of him, and heartily congratulate him as he has replicated himself in several of his products who are today Professors, Associate Professors, doctors and accomplished individuals in corporate organisations.”
In her remarks, the immediate-past First Lady of Lagos State and wife of the current Minister of Works and Housing, Dame Abimbola Fashola noted that Nigeria is blessed to have such an accomplished scholar who has remained a positive influence in the lives of people.
Her words, “I have known Professor Amund whom God has blessed with good health, tenacity and brilliance, for more than a decade. His great virtues have kept him moving to this very interesting and fulfilling moment.”
In response, Distinguished Professor Olukayode Amund, FAS described himself as a fulfilled man whose tenacity, commitment to excellence in knowledge, and uncompromising character had yielded great rewards.
He expressed gratitude to the sponsor of the event, Professor Daniel Olukoya of Mountain of life and Miracle Ministry, organisers, guests as well as members of the university community. Distinguished Professor Amund, FAS who is the current Vice-Chancellor of Elizade University, Ilara-Mokin, appreciated the founder of the private tertiary institution, Chief Micheal Ade Ojo for the confidence reposed in him.
He also thanked his grandchildren, children, and showered encomium on his wife, Mrs. Olukayode Amund for being a true friend and reliable pillar.
Recommendations and Conclusion of the Valedictory/Exaugural Lecture Delivered by Professor Olukayode Amund, FAS
Distinguished Professor Olukayode Amund, FAS, a first class graduate of UNILAG (1977), joined the services of the University in August, 1978 as a Graduate Assistant.
During the course of his illustrious career at the university, Professor Amund held several positions including Dean, Faculty of Science (2002 – 2004); Dean of Students Affairs (2010 – 2014); Member of UNILAG Governing Council (2013 – 2017) and Director of Distance Learning Institute(2016 – 2018); among others.
Below is an excerpt of the recommendations and conclusion of the renowned academic’s Valedictory/Exaugural Lecture titled: Periscoping The Environment, The Sojourn of an Accidental Microbiologist in Academia:
After serving for over four decades in the University system, seeing the ups and downs, it would be pertinent to make the following recommendations:
- Universities in Nigeria should operate within their carrying capacities as overcrowding and overstretching of facilities impinge negatively on the quality of academic delivery and quality of graduates produced therefrom. It is self-deluding of many universities to beat their chests as to the quality of graduates produced under the existing deplorable conditions. Admissions should therefore, be regulated to conform to available space and facilities.
- The hypocrisy of free tuition in Public Universities cannot stand the test of time. Public Universities should generate their own funds, charge appropriate fees and run effectively. The role of government is to grant-aid the university through Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) and other sources. This would allow each university to track its income including Internally-Generated Revenue (IGR) from ventures and grants and apply these funds judiciously to promote accountability and probity. Government assistance should be extended to Private Universities to support research, technology deployment and library development in view of the pivotal roles they are playing in tertiary education delivery and economic development of the country.
- Universities should emphasize the quality of academic output and visibility of research in local and international parlance for the purpose of staff assessment and appointments. Academics should be encouraged to publish in high-impact journals and shun predatory journals which are not recognized and citation platforms such as Google Scholar, Scopus and Web of Science. Academic appointment at all levels should be premised on good performance as determined by on-line metrics including h-index or i10-index, this is my own opinion would bring back quality to the academia.
- University of Lagos is choked up as a result of its location, being fringed by the Lagos Lagoon at the eastern end with marshy terrain for the most part. This has limited the available space for development and expansion. Efforts should therefore, be made to reclaim the marshy land or created satellite campuses in other parts of Lagos State where land is available.
- The performance of the University of Lagos in terms of staff training through the Graduate assistantship scheme is discouraging. It’s pathetic that majority of the Graduate Assistants are yet to complete their Ph.D programmes since the scheme was re-introduced in 2014 by the Professor Jerry Gana-led Governing Council of which I was a member. As a result of frustration, quite a number of beneficiaries, who are First Class products had dropped off the scheme or found their way overseas through self-help. It was through this scheme that staff recruitment was performed in the 1960s, while the crop of beneficiaries is already retiring from the University. The university authorities are implored to look into this matter and ensure that this scheme does not die a second time.
Everything that has a beginning must have an end. The academic journey of forty-five (45) years that started 1st August, 1978 is ending on 5th May, 2023 as I clock the age of seventy (70) years on the planet Earth. My childhood ambition was to be a farmer due to my love for nature and the inspiration I received from my secondary school Biology teacher, the late Mr. M.F. Komolafe, who had a B.Sc. Agriculture from the University of Ibadan but I am ending up my career as a Microbiologist having been inspired by my academic father and mentor, the late Prof. J.A. Ekundayo. I have come, I have seen and I am fulfilled, quitting the scene as a Distinguished Professor of the University of Lagos and Vice Chancellor of a notable University in Nigeria. I have discharged my academic responsibilities as a lecturer, teacher, researcher, administrator and mentor. I have served in various administrative capacities without blemish, getting to the pinnacle of the Academic profession in Nigeria. I have contributed to knowledge in local and international frontiers. As I quit the stage, I wish to admonish the generations coming behind to keep the flag of the academia flying, maintaining enviable standards that we met in the system even in the atmosphere of underfunding and pervasive mediocrity threatening academic survival before our very eyes…”