Lead City stands tall for space tourism •Celebrates human space exploration with Space Tourism Society

Professor Olufemi Onabajo (sixth from left); Dr (Mrs) Oyebola Ayeni and other attendees of the Space Tourism Conference.

Lead City University, Ibadan, has once again  distinguished itself as one of the best private universities in Nigeria, taking a lead in space science  education,  exploration  and tapping of its benefits for the university community.

The institution, which was credited in Ghana recently as “the first and only  university in Nigeria to have ever organised its students and staff on a education tour of the Space Centre in Ghana,” has followed it up with another space education tourism programme event which attracted space tourism professionals, academics, students and enthusiasts to the school.

Lead City University, in alliance with Space Tourism Society, Nigeria chapter, recently organised a one – day conference in commemoration of 55th  anniversary  of the first human space flight made by Yuri Gagarin, the 15th  anniversary of  the World Space Tourist, Mr Dennis Tito, and celebrating human achievements in space exploration.

In attendance from the school, apart from the students, were the Vice – Chancellor, Professor Olufemi Onabajo; the Registrar, Dr ( Mrs ) Oyebola Ayeni; Mrs Olakunbi Taiwo-Taiwo, bursar; Professor (Mrs) Olusola Taiwo Ladokun; the Dean, Faculty of Science;  Head of the Department of Computer Science, Prof Gbade Lana; Dr Debo Babatunde and Dr Ayobami  Owolabi, Director of Information and Public Relations Officer of the institution who piloted and anchored the programme beautifully.

Making the day scientifically enriching, fulfilling and revealing was the presence of those who matter in the space science sector, the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology sent two representatives, Captain Onasanya Ifetayo, pilot and instructor and engineer Waheed Bamidele Disu, Technical Adviser to the Rector and Chief Executive Officer. The National Space Research and Development Agency’s team was led by  Dr Benjamin Ayantunji, Assistant Director, Engineering and Space System,   Mr Akeem Adewale and Timi Ekubor.

The governor of Osun State, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, was represented by Mr Muyiwa Ige,  while the chairman of Obat Oil Conglomerate , Oba Obateru Akinruntan, sent a powerful delegation which  did not  only grace the programme but delivered papers on space tourism.

The president of  the Space Tourism Society, Nigerian chapter, Mr Paul Oladunni, who facilitated the conference, spoke on the activities of the society and expatiated on the opportunities inherent in space  tourism movement, which he said included schorlaship and exchange programme, internship networking, mentorship, global connection and exposure and job opportunities in space related organisations and academies all over the world.

He revealed that the conference was being held at Lead City University because “Lead City University has been recognised at the World Space Centre both in Ghana and the US as the only private university in Nigeria which has blazed  an unbeatable trail in space tourism education and knowledge.”

Mr Oladunni said that, “Lead City University has set itself apart from the rest with its dispensation of total educational experience  to students which enable its students to not only be academically sound but to have  practical experience in tourism activities and travel, which is another genre of education entirely.”

Reinforcing the above reality, Dr Owolabi, the Public Relations Officer of the university, revealed that the management of the institution, in its path finding tradition in knowledge acquisition and dissemination, had decided to be at the forefront of spreading the gospel and knowledge of space science education via tourism.

The Registrar, Dr (Mrs) Ayeni, in her short but brilliant speech, pointed out that “knowledge is acquired faster when education is practically experienced by engaging not only in academic gymnastics in the classroom but also in gaining out of school experience in other lands. Hence, the chairman and Governing Council of Lead City University embraced space tourism as a platform of bringing space knowledge faster and nearer to the students  and also serve as a platform of exposing our students to myriads of beneficial activities through travel exposure.”

The Vice – Chancellor, Professor Olufemi Onabajo, who commended the organisers of the programme, assured that “Lead City University is set up to produce universal students who will be fit and proper in any knowledge based endeavour. Thus, we strive to explore other vital areas of study which are and will be beneficial to the students. We are not going to rest on our oars but do everything noble and reasonable for our students to make them moons in the midst of stars of the world.”

Professor (Mrs) Olusola Ladokun, who was visibly impressed by the programme, revealed the preparedness of the Faculty of Science not only to serve as the ventilator and distillatory avenue  of pristine scientific ideas but its readiness to embrace scientific endeavours which can improve knowledge and add value to the society.

The representative of Governor Aregbesola’, Ige, emphasised the importance of space knowledge to the development of the nation. “Space knowledge is indispensable to Geographical Information System, especially in land mapping and settlement. This has been effectively utilized in the State of Osun,” he said.

Captain Ifetayo, who gave an insight into what the College of Aviation has in stock for the nation and students, took pains to demonstrate and teach the students how to operate the various space related equipment and instruments brought to the conference, while Dr Ayantunji revealed how his agency had been able to utilize space for the benefit of the nation and the world.

Both Captain Ifetayo and Dr Ayantunji commended the chairman and Governing Council of the university for registering the name of the institution in the annals of space science and tourism development in Nigeria. According to Dr Ayantunji, “there is no gainsaying that Lead City is living up to its name of leading others in space tourism knowledge dissemination and education. This is a value added to the institution, the management and the students.”

They both agreed that the institution should not only maintain the credibility and visibility which it has garnered for itself in space science and tourism discourse  but sustain the pace by engaging in sequential tourism and academics induced travels.

Dr Tunde Oseni, Head of Department, Politics and International Relations, who had earlier enumerated the various reasons why people are curious about space and space tourism, described the event as commendable and inspiring, adding that the purpose was to notify the world of the brilliant, brave and courageous acts of men of history whose deeds are points of reference today.

He described Lead City University “as an oasis and  a conducive and fertile academic  arena  where vibrant knowledge and ideas fester, sprout and germinate with the prompt support of the management  and where the futuristic  catalysing factors of  development are sowed, nurtured and weaned just like  the Space tourism programmel.’’