UI, THE PRIDE OF WEST AFRICA’S HIGHER EDUCATION

The University of Ibadan was the first university established in Nigeria. Originally affiliated to college of the University of London, it achieved total independence in 1962 and began as a small institution with only three departments of science, medicine and arts which quickly became one of the most prestigious institutions of higher education in the country. Today, the university can boast of over thirteen faculties. To crown it all, the UI Postgraduate School is the largest in Africa, with a student population of undergraduate and postgraduate students reaching 50-50.

Many tales have trailed the competitiveness and how prospective students seeking admission into the premier University of Ibadan have been let down. This is not a slap on the face. Those denied entries have accepted their fate. I made three attempts having conjoined my beliefs with the majority who referred to the first and the best as a citadel of learning solely for the exceptionally brilliant students alias “ẹ̀fìwés” which is really undisputed.

Apparently, it is no joke when at gatherings or events, you mentioned to those around you that you are a student of the University of Ibadan; a “uite”- you get unequivocal stares which says it all as only you can decipher the rationale based on the calibre of students you mingle with on-campus. A higher percentage of students tend to be academically smart. As this is a testament to long-age claims that the school had pride herself with the many graduates and personalities who have made important contributions to the political, industrial, economic and cultural development of Nigeria. The list includes Wole Soyinka, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986, and Chinua Achebe, whose novel The Things Fall Apart is the most read book in contemporary African literature.

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Just to mention few things that portrays the University as being outstanding, I would say it is the condusive learning and teaching environment. Students who are goal-orientated leverage on this opportunity while some maximizes the University of Ibadan Library named after Professor Kenneth Dike, the first indigenous Principal and former Vice-Chancellor. The Library has an electronic classroom and a computer laboratory with full internet access and multimedia facilities which doubles as a niche for research and sound teaching. The Library is ranked favourably in the comity of libraries within the Commonwealth. At present, the library is well equipped and has been facilitated to subscribe to many electronic resources with which it is able to compliment its print collections and has impacted the improved quality of research, teaching and learning of staff and students within the community and outside.

Secondly, the University College Hospital (UCH) located in Ibadan, Oyo State is the country’s leading school in undergraduate and postgraduate medical education. It is the premier medical school in Nigeria and has graduated a quarter of all medical doctors in the country. In addition to undergraduate and postgraduate medical programs, is the College of Medicine of the University of Ibadan, the teaching hospital also provides facilities for Post-graduate Residency Programs in various specialties. The UCH is one of the USG PEPFAR implementing institutions in Nigeria, partnering with the Harvard Chan. It has a strong HIV research program dating back to the establishment of the Harvard and Northwestern University AIDS International Training and Research Programs (AITRP). While active research ongoing includes NINDS/NIH-funded collaboration on neurological complications of HIV/AIDS.

It should be of note that, despite all tertiary institutions on lockdown due to the pandemic, UI has received an upward shift in the global rankings twice with the latest one from The Times Higher Education (THE) for World University Rankings 2021 which saw the University being ranked the 401st position. According to the Vice Chancellor, Prof Idowu Olayinka who acknowledged this feat as the best so far since the University started featuring by the highly, respected and prestigious Universities ranking body in 2016 while maintaining the number one spot in Nigeria according to the National Universities Commission (NUC) in the month of May. More so, just in a bid to look for vaccine to the ravaging pandemic, reports has it that a UI alumnus, Prof. Babafemi Taiwo, happens to be the one leading the US search for COVID-19 drug. All these are not flukes but are metrics that “if its not the best, then it can not be from UI”.

However, it is important, also, to note the exemplary decency and leadership potentials being displayed by Uites which aligned with the school’s mission statement to “…produce graduates who are worthy in character and sound judgement” is second to none. This depicts the major constituents of a graduate degree holder must possess. It paints a symbol of academic training while not sidelining a lot of existing international partnerships between the University and international citadels of learning and research. Such collaborations cut across continents such as Africa, Asia, Europe and North America. The nature and scope of partnership are applicable and are of great benefits to students and staff of University of Ibadan.

Be that as it may, circumstances might prevent an aspirant from studying in one of the ivy league schools, but while i am in my home soil, I would rather prioritise and go for the best because “for a mind that knows is a mind that is free”. I would end this note with my University’s motto: ‘Recte Sapere Fons’, it means ‘For Knowledge and Sound Judgement’. It is also a guiding principle for the university.

Proud to be a Uite!

Oladotun Oluwafemi OGUNSANYA, Nigeria.

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