BUILDING LEGACIES OF EXCELLENCE AND CONSOLIDATING ON THE GAINS OF PURPOSEFUL LEADERSHIP THROUGH ACADEMIC AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT
For over 4 decades of its intellectual development, University of Jos has remained a reflection of its interaction with the “town and gown” and one of Nigeria’s landmark citadels of higher learning.
October 1975 marked the beginning of the University’s march towards becoming an innovative Institution celebrated not only as a most sought-after University in Northern Nigeria, but also one of the best among Second Generation Universities in the Country.
Working at achieving and consolidating more of this feat in the last four years is an indefatigable, enterprising but unassuming gentleman, Professor Seddi Sebastian Maimako, the 9th substantive Vice-Chancellor of the University of Jos, who assumed office on the 23rd of June 2016.
The University of Jos has placed itself on the pedestal of strength, character and discipline. With a vision to be a globally rated University providing an excellent educational experience with high impact on society, the University of Jos until recently, shared the fate of other Nigerian Universities in declining infrastructure and inadequate funding to cater for the increasing turnout of prospective students who want to study in the institution. However, today this is becoming a thing of the past.
In the area of infrastructural development, and particularly during the last one year, the University under the leadership of Professor Maimako completed the construction and furnishing of the Faculty of Management Sciences and Faculty of Engineering through the intervention of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETfund). Others include the construction of a Piggery, Rabbit, Poultry, Sheep and Goat Units for the Faculty of Agriculture; construction and furnishing of Block 30 at the Faculty of Environmental Sciences and furnishing the Dental Sciences Faculty at the JUTH Lamingo Campus; installation of Street Lights around the Naraguta Campus and Students Hostel among others. A was constructed as well as the ion of while has been put in place to e
Several Lecture Theaters, Conference and Seminar Rooms, Laboratories, Classrooms as well as Recreational, Municipal Services and toilet facilities were also constructed and furnished within the period under review through the NEEDS Assessment intervention and Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).
Major rehabilitation works were similarly undertaken during the period such as the rehabilitation and furnishing of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Laboratories for the Department of Plant Science and Biotechnology, Vice-Chancellors Residence, Department of Physical and Health Education among many others.
In order to reinforce its reputation for innovation in its teaching methods and leading edge research, the University Library also moved from the Bauchi Road Campus to the extensively renovated Central Library Complex in Naraguta Campus with Assorted books of various Disciplines being supplied within this period. CCTV Equipment and high grade Bookshelves now adorn the library complex with internet network and ICT Installations as well as e-resources on the University website.
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Academically, the University has continued to prove its mettle. At the 2019 Policy Meeting on Admissions into Tertiary Admissions in Nigeria held recently, the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) rated the University of Jos as the 7th most subscribed University in Nigeria with 46,082 candidates applying for admission in the 2018 exercise. From that number, 8,878 candidates were admitted into the University representing 93.79 percent of the University’s Admissions Quota, which is one of the best admission rates in the Country. From the available data, JAMB ranked the University of Jos as the Fourth (4th) among Nigerian Tertiary Institutions that had admitted candidates from all the 37 States and FCT following the 2018 admissions exercise. The University of Jos was also rated as the Fifth (5th) best Tertiary Institution in the Country in terms of the number of candidates admitted from the 37 States and FCT with 31 States having not less than 20 candidates admitted into the University during that exercise. It is noteworthy that University of Jos is one of only two none first-generation Universities rated among the top Five (5) Universities in that category.
To strengthen the adoption of preventive healthcare strategies, the University has commenced the construction of a Disease Prevention and Environmental Sanitation building facility. In the last one year alone, about ten million naira has been spent in the procurement of drugs, reagents and hospital consumables for the University Health Centre.
Academic Programmes such as Electrical/Electronics Engineering, Actuarial Science, Physical and Health Education, Dentistry, Criminal and Justice System in addition to the new Faculties of Veterinary Medicine, Basic Health sciences and Agriculture, are tailored to produce manpower that would ensure food security and adequate agricultural raw materials for industries and export; and Engineering would as well provide an excellent balance between the essential principles of engineering science and the applications to the creative world of engineering practice among others.
In line with its avowed stance, the University Administration has continued to make a conscious efforts to develop the research capacity of its researchers through the Office of Research and Development (ORD). Some of the cutting-edge researches are being carried out in the institution’s Africa Centre of Excellence in Phytomedicine, Research and Development (ACEPRD) where efforts are ongoing to develop herbal remedies for the treatment of Cancer, Diabetes, Anti-Microbial Resistance. The Centre also recently produced an Anti-snake venom called COVIP-Plus which is currently undergoing clinical trials.
The University of Jos has continued to establish linkages and affiliations with international partners towards creating a global presence and strengthening the promotion of international academic and cultural cooperation. The University was awarded a full FABLAB (Fabrication Laboratory) by the Government of France, through the France Research Team in May 2020 to enable local fabrication of some equipment that will assist local artisans and will be useful for laboratory practical.
The University also signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Universities of Lyon and Grenoble Alpes to strengthen human resource capacity, research and development. The University is one of the seven institutions involved in the Climate Change project being funded by the French Government and has also entered into a partnership with Goethe University (GU), Frankfurt, Germany, involving National Film Institute Jos (an Affiliate of UNIJOS) and the training arm of the Nigerian Film Corporation. This has resulted in the mounting of a two-year Masters Programme in Film Culture and Film Archiving, which commenced on October 2019 also involving the Arsenal Institute for Film in Germany. The programme is the first of its kind in Africa and one of about a dozen worldwide aimed at training scientific personnel for film and media archives, training institutions of film culture across Africa and building capacity for the preservation of the audiovisual heritage of Nigeria and Africa
University of Jos has had series of cutting-edge landmarks. From its humble beginnings, it has grown into an international brand with researches, partnerships, and alumni that have changed their societies for good. In order to keep tabs on the activities of Josites in the United Kingdom (UK) and other European countries, the University of Jos Alumni Association UK chapter was inaugurated in 2019 owing to massive sensitization and mobilization of Alumni to support the Administration’s developmental initiatives. Alumni have continued to support the institution.
Despite the huge successes recorded so far, the University has been confronted with several challenges along the way, one of which is issue of security. This has continued to be a source of concern, with the increased demand to protect lives and property of the University’s resilient and hardworking Staff and Students but without the commensurate financial resources to adequately and comprehensively do so. Similarly, encroachments on the land earlier earmarked for the University’s development as well as ecological issues have also posed a daunting challenge.
The great height attained by the Professor Sebastian Maimako Administration thus far could be attributed to the untiring efforts of its staff, students, friends and government at all levels. Though the University started from a modest beginning, the resilience, doggedness and zeal of the current administration in turning around infrastructural deficit and academic profile in the last four years through purposeful leadership is certainly producing lasting legacies of academic excellence.
News Commentary written by the 4th Anniversary Media Committee