Western Delta University, Oghara, recently held a symposium on facing the Realities of Life after Graduation. In his Opening remarks, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Augustine Ikelegbe said India was a poor country in the 1970’s, but as at today, that Asian country is an industrialized nation, considering her exploits in various sectors of the economy, ranging from Medicine, Engineering, to Information Technology. He maintained that education got them to where they are. In his views, the world now rewards ideas and entrepreneurial skills. A good education should train students to be creative, dynamic and key into the use of the internet. He urged graduates to delve into entrepreneurship.
Thereafter, four (4) speakers took turns to deliver the symposium. Prof. Nathaniel Umukoro of the Department of Political Science and Public Administration, Western Delta University presented the first part. He laid emphasis on pursuing post graduate degrees after graduation and venturing into research. He said those with good first degree, can search for DAAD scholarship in Germany, Common Wealth scholarship in the United Kingdom, just to mention but a few. Such graduate programs are tuition free, with opportunities for part time work and post graduate work permit. He harped on the need for the graduates to network online, access and share such opportunities with each other.
Mr. Kehinde, a Senior Deputy Director, Information and Communication Technology Unit, University of Benin spoke on the relevance of hard and soft skills, irrespective of a person’s course of study. He was of the view that graduates should acquire professional skills in their discipline. In addition, they should obtain soft skills like communication, team playing, problem solving, curiosity, empathy and time management. For those who studied computer science, he encouraged them to choose an area of specialization such as: Computer networking, website development, database administration and machine learning. They should get training in these areas and obtain certification.
The third part of the Symposium was given by Honorable Walter Bayo, Chief Executive Officer of Aroma Foodland, Sapele. He is an alumnus of Western Delta University. In order to create business opportunities, the presenter said graduates should be creative, dynamic, disciplined and learn to do things differently. They should have passion for their business and make friends.
The final segment of the symposium saw Mr. Andrew Obioroma, Managing Director of Obioroma Group of Company advising the graduates on the way forward. He is also a graduate of Western Delta University. He persuaded them to learn skills that they have passion for and sell such skills to others in exchange for money. He advised them to look at their environment in search for services that people need and offer same. The event was attended by Lecturers, Staff and students of the Institution.
A new Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council has been appointed after Emeritus Professor Andrew Onokherhoraye stepped down from the position following a distinguished period of service spanning from the foundation of the University in 2007 till July 2022. The new Pro-Chancellor is Eghosa E. Osaghae, a distinguished Professor of Political Science at the University Ibadan and current Director-General of Nigeria Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), Lagos. He was Vice Chancellor of Igbinedion University, Okada, Nigeria’s premier private University, for a record fourteen years (2004-2018). He is expected to use his wealth of experience as a seasoned administrator at Igbinedion University, Okada and NIIA to contribute to the transformation of Western Delta University, Oghara.
BRIEF BIOGRAPHY OF THE NEW PRO-CHANCELLOR
Eghosa E. Osaghae holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of Ibadan (1986), where he is a Professor of Political Science. He was appointed Director-General of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA) by the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in March 2021, and was most recently Vice Chancellor of Igbinedion University, Okada, a position he held for a record fourteen years (2004-2018).
Professor Osaghae was the 2019 Claude Ake Chair at Uppsala University and Nordic Africa Institute, Sweden, and a Fellow of the Stellenbosch Institute of Advanced Studies in South Africa. He was the 2017 Van Zyl Slabbert Professor of Politics and Sociology at the University of Cape Town and the 2014 Emeka Anyaoku Chair of Commonwealth Studies at the University of London. His Anyaoku Chair Inaugural Lecture, A State of Our Own: Second Independence, Federalism and the Decolonisation of the State in Africa, in April 2014 became the first inaugural lecture by a Nigerian in the history of the University of London.
Before taking up an appointment at Okada, he was the Leader of the Ford Foundation-funded Programme on Ethnic and Federal Studies and Director of the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Ibadan. Between 1994 and 1998, he was Professor and Head of the Department of Political Studies at the University of Transkei, South Africa.
He has also been a Visiting Professor/Fellow/Distinguished Senior Scholar at the Carter Centre of Emory University USA (1989), University of Liberia (1989/90), Salzburg Seminar, Austria (1993), University of Cape Town South Africa (1994), the Nordic Africa Institute, Uppsala Sweden (1994), University of Ulster, Northern Ireland (1999, 2000), Northwestern University USA (2002, 2004), University of Cambridge UK (2003), a number of universities and research institutes in India (2005, 2009), Dartmouth College USA (2005) and Yale University USA (2009).
He was a Rockefeller ‘Reflections on Development’ Fellow (1989/90) and was most recently a MacArthur Fellow. In 1996, he won the “Best Paper Award” at the Eighth annual conference of the International Association for Conflict Management in Helsignor, Denmark. Professor Osaghae also won the “Best Article Award for 2004” of the African Politics Conference Group – a coordinate group of the American Political Science Association, African Studies Association, and International Studies Association. The same article also won the 2004 Lawrence Dunbar Reddick Memorial Scholarship Award for the best article on Africa published in the Journal of Third World Studies.
Professor Osaghae served as Chair of the Panel on Quality Assurance Assessment, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, 2011-2012, Chair of the Pan-African Working Group on “Building Institutional Effectiveness in Africa” hosted by the Institute for Global Dialogue (South Africa) and Federal Trust Fund (UK) between 2005 and 2006, UN Expert on Somalia (2010-2016), and has been a member of the Technical Advisory Panel and Network on Parliaments and Parliamentary Institutions of the African Capacity Building Foundation, Harare, Zimbabwe, since 2003.
Between 1998 and 2004, he was Africa’s representative on the Steering Committee of the Civil Society and Governance Project based at the IDS of the University of Sussex, UK, and between 2006 and 2010, was a member of the Centre Advisory Review Group, Development Research Centre on Citizenship, Participation and Accountability, which was based at the IDS, University of Sussex. He also served on the Steering Committee of the Consortium for Development Partnerships, a successful model of North-South intellectual collaboration that involved institutions from North America, Europe and Africa between 2005 and 2012.
Osaghae is a member of several learned societies and editorial boards. In 2002, he was Consultant to the African Development Bank’s Country Mission to Zambia and produced the country’s Governance Profile. Between 2001 and 2003, he was a member of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Political Affairs in Nigeria, and is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Nigeria Development Forum. He has consulted for the USAID, DFID, UNDP, and the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), and is Founder and Chair of the Governing Board of the Community Relations and Conflict Resolution Centre in Ibadan.
Professor Osaghae has published extensively on governance, state politics and globalization in books and journals, and attended over 300 conferences, workshops and seminars in different parts of North America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Amongst his books are Federal Character and Federalism in Nigeria (1989), which he edited with Professor Peter Ekeh, Between State and Civil Society in Africa (1994), Ethnicity, Class and State Power in Liberia (1995), Crippled Giant: Nigeria Since Independence (1998), Researching Conflict in Africa: Insights and Experiences (2005), a co-edited book published by the United Nations University Press, and Federal Solutions to State Failure in Africa (2020). In addition, he has published well over 150 articles in books and learned international journals.
Western Delta University held her first of the Inaugural Lecture series on Thursday 14th July, 2022. The event began with the Registrar introducing members of the Vice Chancellor’s procession to all in attendance. Thereafter, The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Augustine Ikelegbe presented his opening remark titled “The University, The Professor and The Inaugural lecture”. He said a university is a community of scholars and students learn under the guidance of their lecturers. The title Professor is the highest rank a lecturer can attain in recognition of his/ her research works and contribution to knowledge. An inaugural lecture announces a professor’s research outcome as well as prowess to the university community and public.
The Inaugural Lecturer, Prof. Emmanuel Okaka was called upon to deliver the lecture entitled: “Man, Work and Conflict: The Search for Solution through an Unsavory yet, Necessary Triad Relationship.” He started by saying that wherever humans exist, work is there and conflict must occur. If not resolved, such conflict can lead to breakdown of law and order. Government, management and labor unions are the actors with regards to labor relations. Workers are registered under labor unions, just as management serves as a link between workers and government. The government ought to provide an enabling environment for development to take place.
He highlighted the reasons for unresolved conflicts between trade unions and government in Nigeria to include: refusal of government and government agencies to implement agreements reached with labor unions, contempt of court orders that favor workers, selfishness of labor union leaders, just to mention a few. This is what the inaugural lecturer termed “unsavory nature of labor relations.” He chronicled the history of trade unions in pre-colonial Nigeria from 1938 to our present democratic era.
For industrial crisis to be thoroughly resolved, Prof. Okaka proposed that Government should always implement all agreements reached with trade unions, involve all parties in the process of conflict resolution, create a working environment for development, synergize with union members and management. Union leaders on their part should not be self-centered by calling for strike just to align their pockets. They should keep the interests of the workers in mind when negotiating for better working conditions and salary packages.
The event had in attendance dignitaries from all works of life, including the Pro Chancellor of the University, Emeritus Professor Andrew Onokhoraye, Principal officers of the university, lecturers, students, Head of the Nigeria Navy command, Oghara, Local Government Chairman of Ethiope West local government area, a representative of the Niger Delta Development Commission, Delta State, renowned media consultant, Mr. Tony Abolo, family members, friends and well-wishers of the inaugural lecturer. The maiden inaugural lecture was climaxed with the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Augustine Ikelegbe decorating the Inaugural Lecturer, Prof. Emmanuel Okaka in the presence of his family members to the admiration of attendees.
In line with the desire of the Vice Chancellor to improve the quality of research activities executed by students and lecturers, the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, Western Delta University, Oghara organized a Seminar on ‘Research Citation with Ease Using Mendeley’ on Tuesday 7th June, 2022.
In his presentation, Dr. Richard Oveh highlighted the demerits of manually keying citations during research reports to include time wasting, use of effort and susceptibility to errors. He therefore recommended an automated software system for managing research citation. Mendeley is a free citation management software that can assist in managing huge reference library. It can be downloaded online and installed on computers.
A researcher who needs certain information to be part of his or her work can simply use Mendeley. He can just click on add library on the reference manager and instantly, all the meta data i.e information about a book / journal (author, date of publication e.t.c) will be added to his work. No manual entry is required. Mendeley makes it easy to quickly search for journals, highlight required sections of the journals/books, generate index citations, share references with Co-Researchers in same group, access library, choose a reference style and check details of any document before inserting to a research work. The Software can be used alongside Microsoft office Word documents.
Emmanuel Onibere, the first Professor of Computer Science in South-South geopolitical region of Nigeria gave the closing remarks. He urged all to use Mendeley software to manage references when reporting their research, as it is easier, quicker and aids accuracy. In attendance were Students, Lecturers, Heads of Departments, Deans of Colleges and a representative of the Vice Chancellor.
The event was held at the Main Auditorium of the institution on Wednesday 29th and Thursday 30th of June, 2022. In his opening speech, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Augustine Ikelegbe highlighted the regulations of the school, which include academic freedom that must be exercised without infringing on the rights of others. He said the vision of Western Delta University is to produce academically competent and productive young men and women who in turn will meet the labor demands of Nigeria in the future and be capable of resolving societal problems using technological solutions.
Mrs. Eliano of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) gave the orientation lecture. She harped on the need for students to avoid drug abuse. She defined drugs as any chemical substance which when taken alters everything about the body system. Drug abuse involves taking drugs beyond the limits prescribed by health care professionals. According to the guest speaker, people abuse drugs due to depression, to enable them commit crimes, to aid sexual performance e.t.c. Those who abuse drugs usually wear dark glasses, spray perfumes to hide the smell of the drugs, chew gums; they are secretive, experience memory lapses and have short attention span. The Speaker listed drugs that can be abused to include alcohol, cocaine, and tramadol, just to mention a few. Drug abuse has negative effects ranging from infertility, nausea / vomiting, constipation, high blood pressure and premature death.
Matriculating students were taught how to make payments within the university. They were told to make good use of the library, get registered and borrow books as and when they need them. They were reminded to regularly exercise using the sports facilities in the institution, to drink water first thing in the day and last thing before going to bed. The role of the ICT unit was emphasized. Students got to know what they can do on the school’s website as it relates to academic activities. The Head of the sick bay was on hand to briefly talk about management of sick students and prompt referral to the Navy hospital when critical cases occur. Thereafter, the Vice-Chancellor and Management team met with the matriculating students to highlight practical ways of managing time, avoiding cultism, drug abuse and maintain security consciousness to conclude the orientation day.
The Matriculation day began with the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Augustine Ikelegbe constituting the assembly, declaring the ceremony open and extending a warm welcome to all in attendance. The Registrar administered the matriculation oath on the matriculating students to the delight of their parents and well-wishers, after which the vice- chancellor formally admitted the new students into the Institution.
The Vice-Chancellor later presented his address. In it, he said university education is crucial to economic development. Western Delta University is building a learning environment characterized with audio/video teaching aids, high quality academic programs, improved and well equipped laboratories, distinguished lectures /research activities, provision of uninterruptible power supply, zero tolerance on cultism, innovative curriculum, well equipped library, with both hard and soft copy of books in virtually various disciplines. He urged the students to strive for excellence, which will indeed give them a competitive edge over their peers in the years to come. He encouraged them to acquire time management, ICT, digital marketing and problem solving skills. In attendance were Principal Officers of the university, staffs, students, parents, friends and well-wishers.
Western Delta University, Oghara, Nigeria recently held a webinar on the afore mentioned theme. In his welcome address, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Augustine Ikelegbe hinted that the event will address what banditry is, its modes of operation, how it can be tackled, non-kinetic methods used for taming the situation and whether the present security architecture can successfully conduct non- kinetic measures.
The host of the event, Professor Nathaniel Umukoro thereafter called on the discussants one at a time. While presenting his opening remarks, Dr. Nathaniel Danjibo, Head of Peace and Conflict Studies Unit, University of Ibadan who also doubles as President, Society for Peace Studies and Practice, Nigeria opined that banditry can be traced to reasons ranging from agitation for Government presence with regards to economic development to criminality perpetuated by individuals for no just cause. Nigeria has used the kinetic approach for decades with little or no positive result. He recommended that for banditry that is occasioned by justifiable reasons, Government can engage the bandits with non- kinetic approach, but effect the kinetic option for activities of bandits that have criminal undertones.
On his part, Dr. Olukayode Faleye, Head, Department of History and International Studies, Edo University, Uzairue chronicled the history of banditry, affirming that conflicts which could not be resolved by colonial government were successfully defused by locals. He therefore suggested that restructuring and devolution of powers down to the local government level is the way out of the problem.
Professor Umukoro mentioned that banditry could be caused by grievances, greed as well as deprivations and asked Dr. Danjibo to speak on it. The discussant, Dr. Danjibo assessed the issue from a geographic perspective, noting that in Northern Nigeria for instance, you can travel over a long distance without seeing the presence of security operatives, thus making the area prone to the activities of bandits. Another factor contributing to the menace, he said is that some individuals see banditry as a business. They pay Fulanis to kidnap people for them and demand ransom. He recommended that an in-depth study should be carried out to ascertain the root causes of the problem so that solution can be arrived at.
There was question and answer session which was followed by the Vice-Chancellor’s closing remarks. In his closing comments, the Vice Chancellor, Professor Augustine Ikelegbe urged participants to dig deeper into the subject matter by way of a comprehensive research with a view to unraveling the causes of banditry, the non-kinetic approaches available to arrest the situation, the challenges inherent in such approaches and a lasting solution to the ugly trend. Researchers, Lecturers, and several members of the public attended the event.
The School of Applied Health Sciences of Western Delta University got its first programme approved by the National Universities Commission (NUC). The resource verification team from the NUC was observably impressed by the quality of teaching and research done at the college.
Western Delta University added another feather to its cap of approved programmes lately. The Resource Verification Team of the NUC has approved the school’s nursing science degree programme doubling the number of approved programmes of the school’s College of Applied Health Sciences.