Ex-lecturer dedicates N83.7m life pensions for students’ research works

Professor Ayo Ogunye
Award recipient and chemical engineering lecturer, University of Lagos, Akoka, Dr. Rasheed Owolabi (right) with, (from left) founder, Professor Ayo Ogunye Trust Fund, Professor Ayo Ogunye; wife, Adenike Ogunye; DVC, Management Services, UNILAG, Professor Emukufia Oghojafor; chairman on the occasion, Mr Joseph Apeyi, and others at the formal presentation of research grant award to Owolabi at UNILAG last week. PHOTO: TUNBOSUN OGUNDARE

A renowned chemical engineer and pioneer head of department of Chemical Engineering, University of Lagos, Akoka, Professor Ayo Ogunye, has devoted all his retirement entitlements and life pensions from UNILAG for students’ research works and scholarship.

The money, which has been accumulating from 1995 when he disengaged from the services of the university till now, plus donations from friends and former students, has grown to N83.67 million.

Professor Ogunye made the commitment known at the formal presentation of N1.5 million dummy cheque to the winner of his professorial chair award for this year, Dr Rasheed Owolabi of the Department of Chemical Engineering of UNILAG.

The annual award, which was the third in the series and held at the Senate Chamber of UNILAG last week, had produced Oluwole Olanipekun from the same department, with Owolabi and Adetayo Adeniran from the University of Ilorin as winners of the maiden and second edition respectively.

Professor Ogunye, a former president of the Nigerian Academy of Engineering, said he endowed the professorial chair in Chemical Engineering which is open to all PhD chemical engineering students in Nigeria on the platform of his foundation — Professor Ayo Ogunye Trust Fund, University of Lagos (PAFOTFUL) – to stimulate students’ interest in research and academic works on chemical engineering-related issues.

“I’m happy the endowment fund is yielding great results and I will want it to grow, for sustainability sake, to at least N150 million before I die,” he said.

Expressing his gratitude to the donor, the award recipient, Dr Rasheed Owolabi, said his research work is based on the turning of agricultural waste into bio-fuel that will serve as alternative to fossil fuel.

He said Nigeria should not wait any longer to find an alternative to diesel and related products, not only because it could dry up any time, but also because of its dwindling relevance and adverse consequences on humans and the environment.

“And bio-fuel, sourced all materials from waste, is the best alternative,” he said.

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In his remark at the event, which was chaired by Mr Joseph Apeyi, the vice chancellor of UNILAG, Professor Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, who was represented by his deputy in charge of Management Services, Professor Emukufia Oghojafor, said UNILAG strongly believes that research efforts would meet the institution’s and the country’s needs.

He expressed gratitude to Professor Ogunye for the gesture, saying it was a selflessness service to impact humanity.

He, however, urged other Nigerians as well as government at all levels to invest in research activities, saying that is how to grow the economy appreciably.