UNILAG honours West Africa’s first female Professor of Pharmacy

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.”

West Africa’s first female professor of pharmacy, Prof (Mrs) Cecilia Ihuoma Igwilo (middle), being decorated with the award of ‘Distinguished Professor’ by the Vice Chancellor, University of Lagos, Prof Rahaman Bello Photos: PREMIUM TIMES
West Africa’s first female professor of pharmacy, Prof (Mrs) Cecilia Ihuoma Igwilo (middle), being decorated with the award of ‘Distinguished Professor’ by the Vice Chancellor, University of Lagos, Prof Rahaman Bello

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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  • PolyGon2013

    Congratulations to the awardees.

  • Watch man

    What of Prof. Dora Akunyili? Was she not professor of pharmacy before Prof. Igwilo? PT clarify.

  • So oju abe niko

    There is something wrong with this list of honorary doctorates, but I easily put my hands on it. The award to Shehu of Bornu, the current chancellor of Unilag is flat out wrong. The chancellor is the nominal head of the university, and it is borderline unethical give out a honorary degree to the current ceremonial head of the university – it looks like he is essentially honoring himself (even though the chancellor is not involved in executive decision making). Shehu of Bornu is an honorable man deserving of many accolades, but just not that of UNILAG at this time.

    Ayodele Francis Ogunye was a founding faculty of Chem-Eng department at UNIFE, a teacher to the current VC of UNILAG (Rahman Bello). Francis was also the founding head of Chem-Eng department in UNILAG which started in 1972 or 73. In that position, he hired Bello and so was mentor and boss to Rahman Bello for many years in Unilag. In 1980, Francis was fired from UNILAG, after being accused as one of the mastermind of opposition to the then VC (the late Kwaku Babatunde Adadevor, a grandson of Herbert Macaulay). In about 1983 or so, he got his job back through the courts, having been ably represented by the chamber of the late Abraham Adesanya. While he was still litigating to get his job back, he got into the business world, especially in the oil and gas area, and he made it big. So when he got his job back, he did not come back as a full time professor. However, he was useful to Unilag in the business world. Francis is generous to a fault, and he mentored many generations of Unilag faculty and alumni. In essence, Francis is deserving of any award.