By Olubusuyi Adenipekun
Several projects worth $1,000,000.00 (One Million US Dollar) executed at the University of Ibadan by Zain Nigeria, the leading mobile operator, has been commissioned. These projects include Solar Energy Centre, renovation of Mellanby Hall, construction of a Basketball Court in the hall, construction of car parks as well as convenience and offices.
Speaking during the commissioning ceremony of the projects, the Chairman of Zain Nigeria, Mr. Gamaliel Onosode said that Zain Nigeria â€œmost graciously donated $1,000,000.00 for improving infrastructure in the nationâ€™s oldest university as part of its corporate social responsibility programme.
He said he was humbled by the fact that the donation was made to the university on the 50th anniversary of his graduation from the institution.
â€œLet me specially thank the management of Zain Nigeria for not only making me proud but for following the good example of better corporate citizens, by giving a lifeline to the University of Ibadan. This lifeline has today translated into these remarkable projects which we are celebratingâ€ Onosode said.
The solar energy centre or solar module hub houses a series of photovoltaic panels which are capable of transforming solar radiation directly into electricity. The centre is capable of generating about 4.8 kilowatt-hour of electricity which will supply power, the lighting system in a section of the campus including the university gate and Oduduwa Road.
The gymnasium, which is located at the universityâ€™s Sports Centre, is equipped with a vast array of modern exercise and fitness equipment including treadmill, free weight, trampohness, weight benches, walker, and electronic exercise bikes amongst other equipment.
Also, the fitness facility housesÂ evaluation room where exercise pre-test such as resting andÂ ECG are conducted on those who intend to use the centre, particularly, the elderly, to determine their fitness level/ state of health and the type of exercise their body and heart condition can cope with before they are allowed to use the equipment.
Conducting the team round the facilities, the institutionâ€™s Vice Chancellor, Professor OlufemiÂ Bamiro explained that the car parks are expected to help the university check indiscriminate parking of vehicles on the roadside as well as eliminate congestion especially at the main gate area of the university.
The Vice Chancellor commended Zain and Onosode for the donations, explaining that the donation by the mobile company could not have come at a more crucial time, adding that the universityâ€™s income has been on a downward drift over the years amidst mounting need for fund to revamp and expand dilapidated and overstretched facilities.
He added that the traditional sources of income for the institution such as funding from government and studentsâ€™ fees have become grossly inadequate, necessitating the need to turn attention to donation by private organisations like Zain and well-meaning individuals. Professor Bamiro said furtherÂ that the donation made by Zain isÂ indicative of the mobile operatorâ€™s unwavering commitment to corporate social investment in Nigeria and to making a difference in the lives of Nigerians.
He praised the efforts and dedication of Onosode to the development of the institution, saying the Chairman of Zain Nigeria had made personal donations to the university in the past. Speaking on the criteria for the selection of the projects, he explained that consideration was given to those that will have maximum impact on the university community and on items the chairman has particularly shown interest on through personal donations such as the enhancement of the entrance to the university including Oduduwa Road.
On the choice of Mellanby Hall for renovation work, he said the Chairman lived in the hall about 50 years ago and he has made private donations to the Hall in the past.
The Vice Chancellor also commended Stock Brokers Nigeria Limited for donating about N18.3 million for the construction of recreational park behind the Central Administration building, explaining that the contribution was made possible because of its relationship with Onosode.
Speaking in the same vein, the Registrar of the university, Mrs Omotayo Ikotun, said the donation made by Zain will enhance the ability of the institution to play its assigned role in the society.Â She lauded Zain for standing by the university, urging other corporate organisations to borrow a leaf from Zain by coming to the aid of the institution.
The commissioning ceremony wasÂ attendedÂ principal officers of the university including the Vice Chancellor (Academics),Â Professor Adigun A.B. Agbaje; Deputy Vice Chancellor, Administration, ProfessorÂ Elijah Bamgboye ; Dean of Student Affairs, Professor Faleye; Bursar, Alhaji Bankole and several others as well as the key officers of Mellanby Hall and representatives of the Studentsâ€™Â Union caretaker government. Apart from these officials of the university, the Chief Executive Officer of Zain Africa, Chris Gabriel; Chief Operating Officer of Zain Nigeria, Khaled Khorshid and Mrs Onosode were also present at the commissioning ceremony.