The University of Lagos on Thursday honoured Cecilia Igwilo, West Africa’s first female professor of pharmacy, by awarding her “a Distinguished Professor”, one of the university’s highest honours for pedagogical excellence.
Mrs. Igwilo was one of the four recipients decorated with the prestigious annual award as part of activities marking the grand finale of the institution’s 2016 convocation ceremonies.
The three other recipients include Babajide Alo, Olukayode Amund, and im Unah.
A total of 5,717 graduating students were awarded postgraduate diplomas, Masters, and Doctor of Philosophy degrees.
Honorary doctorate degrees were also conferred on the Chancellor of the University, Abubakar Ibn Umar El-Kanemi, Shehu of Borno; renowned poet and playwright, John Pepper Clark; and a professor of Chemical Engineering, Ayodele Ogunye.
Mrs. Igwilo, the former Dean, School of Pharmacy, University of Lagos, is a professor of Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Technology and fellow of the Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy and the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria.
President Muhammadu Buhari, Visitor of the University, who was represented by the Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Adamu Rasheed, stated that the present administration remains resolute in strengthening university education in the country.
He noted that government had directed the NUC to reinforce its regulatory mechanism in order to ensure greater relevance and competitiveness in the Nigerian university system.
He regretted the inability of some universities to demonstrate adequate capacity for fund utilisation as a result of which they are unable to draw fund from TETFUND.
In his address, the pro chancellor of the University, Jerry Gana, urged the Federal Government to endeavour to ensure sustainable security and peaceful co-existence among Nigerians.
Mr. Gana said peace and stability can only be promoted in the country if government can show courage in correcting “some fundamental defects in our federal system.”
“Only a true federal structure can provide a sustainable basis for living together in peace in a country like Nigeria with diverse culture and history,” said Mr. Gana.
“If truth must be told, all is not well with the structure and the devolution of power in our federation. To function well, a federation must have an equitable and balanced structure of federating units.
“The states have become too weak to serve as effective federating units to mediate relations with the very powerful centre. We must also agree the kind of devolution of power from the centre to the federating units.”
Earlier in an address, the Vice Chancellor of the University, Rahaman Bello, listed few developments made in the institution since the last convocation to include the establishment of the University Research and Innovation Office, the ANDI Centre of Excellence for Malaria Diagnosis; and various awards, recognition and donations given to the institution, its staff and students by numerous international organisations and philanthropists.
Representatives of 12 Nigerian universities presented their goodwill messages at the occasion.
Some of the dignitaries present at the event include the Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu; the Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu; and the Chairman of Premier Lotto Ltd, Kessington Adebutu.
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