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The IFS Nigerian Alumni Association (IFS-NAA) is Launched

Published: 2019-11-22

Launching of the International Foundation for Science (IFS) Nigerian Alumni Association.

An inaugural event for the launch of the International Foundation for Science (IFS) Nigerian Alumni Association was organized by former and present IFS grantees in Nigeria, held on November 9, 2019 in Abuja. Among those in attendance were a number of former grantees, undergraduate and postgraduate students, serving Nigerian Youth Service Corp members, staff of the Department of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicine in the Federal Ministry of Health and the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development. The inauguration was organized following agreement between IFS representatives and Nigerian alumni at a meeting hosted by Dr Oludare Agboola and chaired by Prof John Igoli on 7 May 2019 at the University of Lagos, leading to the formation of an interim executive to coordinate the process, comprised of the two aforementioned colleagues as Chairman and Vice Chairman, respectively, and Dr Adedotun Onoyinka Afolayan as Secretary. The Alumni Association's inauguration plan then kick started immediately after this meeting with the opening of a WhatsApp group to which all consenting Nigerian alumni were added. The WhatsApp group had 72 IFS alumni from which a three-member Local Organizing Committee (LOC) was constituted with Dr Aliyu Ibrahim Dabai, Dr Obiageli Umeugochukwu and Mrs Ifeoma Ezenyi.

At the IFS-NAA inauguration Prof John Igoli gave a welcome address, followed by an opening prayer, self-introduction by all attendees, and a reading of the draft notes of the May 7 alumni meeting. The keynote address was given by Pharmacist Zainab Ujudud Shariff, who is a Director in the Federal Ministry of Health, and Head of the Department of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicine in the Ministry. In her talk entitled “Translating research from bench to market and industry,” she charged scientists to conduct marketable and commercially viable research rather than the sort that ends up in cupboards and shelves. Prof John Igoli then gave a short presentation on the essence of research collaboration and the need for the inauguration of the IFS-Nigerian Alumni Association.

An election was then held to appoint executive members to replace the interim ones, as below:

  • Chairman: Prof John Ogbaji Igoli, Department of Chemistry, University of Agriculture, Makurdi, Nigeria.
  • Vice Chairman: Prof Bernard Iorwuese Babatunde, Department of Animal and Environmental Biology, University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria
  • Secretary: Dr Adedotun Onoyinka Afolayan, Tissue Culture Unit, Biotechnology Department, National Center for Genetic Resources and Biotechnology (NACGRAB), Moor Plantation, Ibadan, Nigeria
  • Assistant Secretary: Mrs Adeola Agbeleye, Institute of Agricultural Research and Training, Obafemi Awolowo University, Moor Plantation, Ibadan
  • Treasurer: Mrs Ifeoma C Ezenyi, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development, Abuja
  • Interim Public Relations Officer: Dr Abosede O Olufunso, Federal University Otuoke, Bayelsa State
  • Youth Mentorship Manager: Dr Aliyu Dabai Ibrahim, Department of Microbiology, Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto

A Board of Trustees was suggested to be comprised of 50% from policy-makers - including representatives from both the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology and Nigerian Academy of Science - and 50% from IFS Nigerian alumni. Pharmacist Zainab Ujudud Shariff was chosen as the first member of the Board of Trustees.

The meeting concluded with an agreement to carry out the following tasks before March 2020:

  • Open a website for the Association; Prof Bernard Babatunde pledged to pay for the website design and hosting.
  • Open a bank account for the Association
  • Draft a constitution for the Association, and
  • Register the Association with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).

Recommendations from the meeting included:

  1. Mentorship of upcoming researchers who are IFS grantees
  2. Raise awareness among young scholars on the role of IFS
  3. Be a stronger voice for policy makers
  4. Foster collaboration among IFS grantees, and
  5. Organize workshops for mentorship and research outcome presentations.

Prof Bernard Babatunde appreciated the efforts of Prof J Igoli, Dr Adedotun Afolayan and Dr O Agboola and the LOC, who worked tirelessly to ensure that the inauguration of the IFS-NAA was successful. Altogether, twenty-four alumni registered for the meeting and twenty attended it. Then, the meeting wound up with a vote of thanks by the newly elected public relations officer, Dr Abosede Olufunso.

IFS's Director Message for the IFS Nigerian Alumni Association (IFS-NAA) Launch on 9 November 2019, Nigeria Abuja.



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