Dr. Cyprian Ngong of the National Hospital, Abuja received the first COVID-19 vaccine today (Friday) in Nigeria. He took the AstraZeneca/Oxford COVID-19 vaccine.
The commencement of the vaccination was kicked off by the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Besides Dr. Ngong, other health care workers that received the AstraZeneca vaccine during the launch were Nurse Faith E. Eragbai, Dr. Nuru Joseph and Dr. Thairu Yunusa.
Meanwhile, President Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo will receive the COVID-19 vaccine on Saturday (tomorrow).
This was disclosed by the Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, NPHCDA, Dr. Faisal Shuaib. Dr. Shuaib said this at the State House weekly briefing held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, where he had also confirmed that administering the 19 vaccine would begin on Friday (today).
Earlier in the day, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, cleared the AstraZeneca vaccine for usage. The NPHCDA disclosed the clearance in a tweet: “After undergoing final assessment by NAFDAC, we have confirmation that they have concluded their final checks with positive results.”
“Nigeria can now go ahead and use the 3.924m doses of AstraZeneca vaccines. #YesToCOVID19Vaccine.”
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Great Ife And The Making Of Greatness
By Toyin Falola
Ladies and gentlemen, esteemed faculty, revered alumni, and the spirited students of Obafemi Awolowo University, it is with profound gratitude and a sense of immense honor that I stand before you today. As I accept this honorary degree, I am reminded of the rich tapestry of history and resilience that this great institution embodies. The legacy of Great Ife, particularly during the tumultuous military era in Nigeria, is a testament to the unyielding spirit of knowledge, justice, and courage. In those challenging times, when the fabric of our nation was tested, this university emerged not just as an academic institution, but as a fortress of intellectual resistance and a beacon of hope. The students and lecturers of this esteemed university, against overwhelming odds, stood tall. Their resilience in the face of oppression, their unflinching commitment to truth and justice, did not just shape the contours of our nation’s history, but also activism in the path of fairness and justice.
The university’s role in championing the causes of Nigerian youth and students during these trying times is particularly noteworthy. It was here, within these walls, that critical voices rose against injustice, that debates and discussions fueled a movement for change, and that the clamor for justice found its most resonant echo. This institution did not merely witness history; it made history as it actively bent the arc of our national narrative towards justice, equality, and freedom.
As a product of this institution, my memories are not just of academic rigor, but of a vibrant community where the spirit of inquiry knew no bounds, where every lecture, every seminar, was an invitation to explore the vast realms of knowledge. The vibrancy of the student body, their engagement with complex sociopolitical realities, and their unwavering commitment to societal transformation, have always been the hallmark of Obafemi Awolowo University.
I recall with fondness the eclectic academic environment that defined my years at Obafemi Awolowo University. In my time in the early 1970s, Ife was more than a mere assemblage of classrooms and lecture halls; it was a crucible where minds were molded, where horizons were broadened, and where the seeds of multifaceted knowledge were sown and nurtured. During my time here, the breadth of academic exposure was truly remarkable. Students were not just confined to their specific disciplines; we were encouraged to delve into a myriad of subjects, gaining considerable knowledge in sociology, religious study, languages, history, epistemology, philosophy, political science, and economics. This interdisciplinary approach did not merely equip us with facts and theories; it cultivated in us a holistic understanding of the world, fostering a sense of interconnectedness and a deeper appreciation for the diverse perspectives that shape our global narrative. Today, I write on a wide range of disciplines, including Literature, Economics, Political Science, International Relations, Creativity, History, Religious Studies, Political Economy and the interfaces and intersectionalities. The foundation of my multidisciplinary control of the Humanities started at Ife. Today, I occupy a distinguished professorship of Political Science at the University of Pretoria, and a Professor of Human Rights in the Faculty of Law at the University of the Free State. And on my campus in Texas, I am a Professor of History while I hold a Chair of Humanities. Without Ife and its renaissance tradition, the unique achievements would not have been possible. We owe our intellectual foundation a loud applause in such unparalleled spate of achievements.
The vibrancy of intellectual life at Obafemi Awolowo University was further enhanced by the myriad of seminars and workshops organized by students and faculty alike. Those forums were not just platforms for academic discourse, they were vibrant hubs of innovative thinking, where ideas were not only shared but also challenged and refined. The university, in its wisdom, recognized the immense value of these gatherings, supporting and encouraging them as integral components of our educational journey. I was part of the tradition of seminars and workshops which led me subsequently to greater leadership in academic positions.
This culture and atmosphere of intellectual engagement, this spirit of inquiry and dialogue, have always been a defining feature of this university. It is a tradition that transcends the boundaries of the campus, influencing and shaping the broader academic and societal discourse. The impact of this inclusive and dynamic academic culture is evident in the myriad of contributions made by our alumni in various fields, both within Nigeria and on the global stage.
In the heart of Obafemi Awolowo University lies an unwavering commitment to political activism and justice, a commitment that has been the cornerstone of its identity. This university has never been a bystander in the face of societal challenges; rather, it has always been a proactive agent of change, a voice for the voiceless, and a force for societal transformation. The political activism inherent in the DNA of this institution is not just a response to external circumstances, but a fundamental part of its ethos. The university has always encouraged its students and faculty to engage critically with the social and political realities of our time, to question, to debate, and to seek solutions to the myriad challenges that confront our society. This spirit of activism is not confined to the realms of academia; it is a living, breathing part of the university’s culture, manifesting in various forms of advocacy, community engagement, and public discourse.
Obafemi Awolowo University’s role in shaping political thought and action in Nigeria cannot be overstated. From organizing symposiums on national issues to leading peaceful protests for justice, the university community has consistently demonstrated its commitment to upholding democratic values and human rights. This activism is not mere rhetoric; it is rooted in a deep understanding of the power of education to effect positive change, and a steadfast belief in the responsibility of academic institutions to contribute meaningfully to the betterment of society.
It is this unwavering commitment to justice and equality that has cemented Obafemi Awolowo University’s status as an activist institution, political or otherwise. The university has not only produced some of the finest minds in various disciplines, but it has also nurtured leaders, activists, and changemakers who have gone on to play pivotal roles in shaping the political landscape of Nigeria and beyond. The legacy of this institution in the realm of political activism is a beacon that continues to guide and inspire, reminding us of the critical role that academic institutions must play in advancing societal progress.
The intellectual vibrancy of Obafemi Awolowo University is a remarkable feature that distinguishes it as a premier academic institution. This vibrancy is not confined to the academic prowess it is known for; it extends to the very essence of life on campus, where every corner echoes with the spirit of inquiry and the pursuit of knowledge. Within the walls of this university, intellectual stimulation is a constant. The classrooms buzz with lively debates and discussions, the libraries are sanctuaries of deep thought and exploration, and the lecture theaters are stages for the unfolding of new ideas and perspectives. This dynamic environment fosters a culture of intellectual curiosity and academic excellence, encouraging students and faculty alike to push the boundaries of knowledge and understanding.
What makes Obafemi Awolowo University truly unique is its inclusive approach to intellectual engagement. Here, every voice is valued, every perspective is considered, and every idea is given the space to flourish. This approach has cultivated an environment where learning is not just a transfer of knowledge, but a collaborative process of discovery and innovation. The intellectual vibrancy of this institution is also reflected in its diverse range of academic programs and research initiatives. From the humanities to the sciences, from arts to technology, Obafemi Awolowo University offers a rich tapestry of disciplines, each contributing to the creation of a holistic and enriching educational experience. The university’s commitment to interdisciplinary research and collaborative projects further enhances its intellectual climate, making it a hub for pioneering thought and cutting-edge innovation.
This vibrant intellectual space has a profound impact on everyone who steps foot in Obafemi Awolowo University. It is a place where minds are opened, where horizons are broadened, and where the leaders of tomorrow are shaped. The university’s intellectual legacy is not just its academic achievements, but the countless lives it has transformed through its commitment to fostering an environment of intellectual excellence and innovation.
Obafemi Awolowo University, in its glorious journey, has not only been a beacon of academic and political activism, but it has also stood as a vibrant mosaic of cultural and ethnic diversity. This dynamic interplay of different cultures and traditions within the university has enriched its character, making it a microcosm of our nation’s beautiful diversity. The university’s ability to embrace and celebrate this diversity is one of its most defining and praiseworthy attributes. The campus life here is a colorful tapestry of ethnic backgrounds, languages, and traditions, each bringing its unique flavor to the university’s rich cultural landscape. This diversity is not just visible in the social interactions and cultural festivities but is also an integral part of the academic discourse and curriculum. It fosters a sense of inclusivity and mutual respect among the students and faculty, creating a learning environment that is both dynamic and harmonious.
As we look towards the future, I believe there are key areas where Obafemi Awolowo University can further enhance its impact and continue its legacy of excellence. Firstly, the establishment of an incubation system for students would be a significant step forward. Such a system would bridge the gap between academic learning and the practical realities of the labor market. It would provide students with the necessary skills, resources, and mentorship to transform their innovative ideas into viable ventures, thereby enhancing their readiness for the professional world.
Building a large body of alumni committed to making the University rely on its most valuable resources will start from the first week a student enters the campus. The system must insist on a student-friendly teaching approach to anchor the learning experience. This approach should focus on fostering a relaxed and interactive classroom environment, encouraging open dialogue, and making learning a more engaging and enjoyable experience. Such an environment not only aids in better knowledge retention but also instills a lifelong love for learning. A good memory will later open the wallets, a model known for its success in enhancing institutional foundations and alumni support.
Lastly, the running of a vibrant and functional mentorship and career office would be invaluable. This office would play a pivotal role in guiding students through their academic and career paths, offering personalized mentorship, career advice, and opportunities for professional development. It would serve as a bridge between the university and the industry, ensuring that students are well-equipped to meet the challenges and opportunities of the outside world.
In conclusion, my journey at Obafemi Awolowo University has been transformative, and the honor bestowed upon me today is not just a recognition of my personal achievements, but a testament to the indelible impact this institution has had on my life. As I look back at the vibrant history, the intellectual rigor, and the dynamic cultural landscape of this university, I am filled with immense pride and hope for its future.
May Obafemi Awolowo University continue to thrive as a beacon of knowledge, justice, and cultural richness.
. Prof. Falola delivered this acceptance speech upon his conferment with the D.Litt. of the Obafemi Awolowo University.
NUPENG Ex-chief Frank Kokori Is Dead
A former General Secretary of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, Chief Frank Ovie Kokori has died at the age of 80 years.
Chief Frank Kokori breathed his last at a kidney treatment hospital in Warri, Delta State, in the early hours of today, Thursday.
One of his aides, who confirmed the painful development said he would want the family to formally break the news to the media.
“He passed on this night. I would want the family to break the news formally to the media.
“I am his aide but at this moment I am not to speak on this until the family issues a statement,” he said.
Kokori’s health relapsed on Monday, and the veteran labour leader was placed on life support.
Kokori made a distress call over his failing health status last month.
He lamented that in spite of his key role in the growth of the nation’s democracy, he had been abandoned.
At the hospital last month, he said: “I came to this hospital when I was told there is a place like this in Warri.
“They have been doing their best. In the midnight, they put their generator off. But I begged them to run it that I will pay their bills.
“I came on Tuesday. After the dialysis, I have been here. I could have just died because of lack of diesel. So I had to beg them to run their generator so the air conditioner, AC, in the ward can function. I need it to be alive.
“It got to a stage that I could not take a flight, I could not walk . If it was when I was in NUPENG, I would have been flown out with air ambulance immediately.”
When the Military junta of General Ibrahim Babangida annulled the June 13, 1993 presidential election, Kokori was involved in mobilising the masses against the government.
He led NUPENG and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, in organising nationwide strikes that crippled the oil industry.
Also, Frank Kokori was actively involved in pro-democracy activities, organising and participating in rallies and demonstrations.
“If I wanted to compromise, the military (junta of late General Sani Abacha) was ready to give me anything but I stood for democracy, believing that democracy would usher in a better Nigeria.
“The refineries were working before I retired from NUPENG.
“I became the tribune of the country, heading the freedom fighters. Some of us were underground, disguised for 10 weeks fighting the military.
“The military sent presidential jet to pick me to compromise, but I refused.”
Ogun To Provide Shelter For Victims Of Gender Based Violence -Abiodun
The Ogun State Government on Wednesday said it would provide a befitting accommodation for victims of Gender Based Violence (GBV) in the state.
Governor Dapo Abiodun made this known in his office at Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta, when he received his wife and other women, who were on a road show as part of activities for the 16 days’ Activism Against Gender Based Violence in the state.
The governor, who acknowledged that gender violence has become pronounced among males and females in the country, assured that the state government would provide a befitting building to serve as a shelter for people that have been sexually harassed or subjected to other forms of molestation in the state.
The shelter, he said, will save them from the stigma usually associated with the problem.
He added that the government would also work towards instituting a Gender Based Violence Trust Funds to finance the welfare of the victims.
“You want us to ensure that we have a befitting shelter and you made a case for that, and you emphasized the fact that people abused in the house or at home can not go back home. There are those who do not have anywhere else to go back to. There is a lot of stigma associated with those who are abused.
“I believe that we have identified somewhere previously, but I am told that it may not be befitting.
“By this, I am now instructing the Secretary to the State Government to work with the Ministry of Housing to identify a building; if they can’t find one, we identify a parcel of land and we will construct a befitting building to serve as the needed shelter for those persons who have been subjected to all kinds of sexual harassment,” he said.
On the call for a specialized court to try cases of gender based violence in the state, Governor Abiodun said: “Fortunately, our head of court in Ogun State is a woman. In fact, the two courts we have, the state High ourt and the Customary Court of Appeal, are both headed by women. I am sure that the Chief Judge will be more than happy to see what she can do to expedite the request.”
The state helmsman also assured stakeholders that his administration would support women at the executive level and at the judiciary to ensure that all that is required to reduce gender violence to the barest minimum in the state, is implemented.
Governor Abiodun also brought to the fore the need to look into violence against men.
He said: “I also want to bring to the fore that violence against persons is not only violence against women . Men also are being abused. But often times, nobody talks about that, and I want to be the advocate for men who are being abused.
“On the Gender Based Violence Trust Fund, I will do everything that I can to ensure that we sit down and plan on how to mobilize resources towards this noble cause.
“Once again, I want to assure you that I do identify with you and as your Governor, I will do everything within my power to ensure that we reduce this incidence of gender based violence to an absolute minimum in Ogun State.”
In her remarks, wife of the governor, Mrs Bamidele Abiodun noted that there was an increase in cases of rape and incest in the society, calling for the provision of a safe space for those who have been abused or harassed.
Earlier, an expert on gender based violence, Dr. Mojisola Akinsanya noted that there was an urgent need to relocate women who have experienced violence at home for them to have a peaceful place to stay.
Dr. Akinsanya, who advocated for a Gender Based Violence Trust Fund in the state, acknowledged poverty as the driving force for GBV, noting that once women are well empowered, they would adequately cater for themselves.
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