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UNILORIN to train Kwara artisans for global competence



The Vice Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Prof. Wahab Olasupo Egbewole, SAN, has unveiled a groundbreaking initiative of the University, which is aimed at enhancing the skills and productivity of artisans in Kwara State to enable them compete effectively with others across the globe.

Expressing concern over the disparity in earnings between Kwara artisans and their well-compensated counterparts in Abuja and other parts of the country, Prof. Egbewole stressed the need for them to be equipped with modern training in order to elevate their competitiveness on the global stage.

Prof. Egbewole disclosed this at a meeting he held with the Kwara State Artisan Congress (KWACO), the umbrella body of skilled workers in the State, held at his office penultimate Thursday (January 18, 2024).

The distinguished Senior Advocate of Nigeria, who identified the lack of collaboration between the University and Kwara artisans as a hindrance to their progress, explained the importance of synergy for the advancement of the artisanal community.

He acknowledged the global advancements in artisanal works and stressed the significance of effective branding to establish a strong identity.

The Vice Chancellor, who said this relationship would be a symbiotic one, proposed a practical approach where the University will be sending students for internships with experienced Kwara artisans.

Prof. Egbewole highlighted the mutual learning potentials and envisioned a united effort that would benefit both parties immensely.

He also explained that the University of Ilorin aims to certify Kwara artisans as top-notch professionals, signaling a commitment to recognising and enhancing their skills.

To formalise this collaboration, Prof. Egbewole disclosed that a committee comprising representatives of the University of Ilorin and Kwara artisans will be established,as he assured that efforts will be focussed on long-term impact without overlooking cost considerations.

Earlier in his remarks, the Director, Institute of Education, University of Ilorin, and the facilitator of the engagement, Prof. Abdulraheem Yusuf, who narrated his earlier discussion with the Vice Chancellor, which culminated in the meeting, said that Prof. Egbewole was of the opinion that the University’s role is truly relevant when its positive influence is palpable within the local community.

The Director said that the view of the Vice Chancellor and his desire to ensure that the University of Ilorin positively impacted on all its neighbouring communities was the reason why management of the institution and the KWACO members had to meet to discuss the way forward.

Prof. AbdulRaheem, who is also a former Provost of the Kwara State College of Education,Ilorin, said this realisation of the Vice Chancellor prompted a proposal that marked the commencement of a journey towards prosperity. He said the proposal outlines collaborative initiatives between the University and the artisans, aimed at enhancing their visibility and supporting their growth.

The President of KWACO, Alhaji Jimoh Ayinla Adeshina, was overwhelmed with joy, as he expressed gratitude for the University’s proposals. He explained that the initiative of the University of Ilorin marks the first time a Vice Chancellor would recognise their significance and consider them essential.

Alhaji Adeshina, who is from the Nigeria Union of Tailors (NUT), pledged the full support of the umbrella body of skilled workers in the state, representing approximately 96 different groups, for the initiative.

In a show of support, the Managing Director of UNILORIN Microfinance Bank, Mr. Ayodele Olorunfemi, pledged the readiness of his bank to provide financial support to the initiative whenever it is required.

Mr. Olorunfemi observed that the initiative aligned with the bank’s ongoing programmes. He mentioned the diverse range of programmes available for financing projects within the microfinance bank’s scope as approved by the bank’s board.

The Vice Chancellor was joined at the meeting by the Registrar, Mr Mansur Adeleke Alfanla and the Ag. Bursar, Mr Oba Abdulbarki. Other members of KWACO that were at the meeting were the BOT Chairman (representing the Vulcanizer Union), Alhaji Abdulwaheed Idowu; Vice President 1, Alhaji Jimoh Salihu Ayo (Motor Mechanic); Comrade Clement Orire (Plumber, BOT member); Alhaji Waheed Adigun, popularly known as Adisco International (Generator, BOT member); Mr Adeleke Adedayo JP. (Aluminum and Fabricator, Vice President 2); Mrs Atoyebi Sherifat Olayinka (Lady Vice President, Catering); Alhaji Oladimeji Jogbojogbo (General Secretary, Polyethene) and Mr Abdulrasaq Jimba (Assistant Secretary, Satellite).

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