Professor Bolaji Aluko must remain as Vice Chancellor of the new Nigerian Federal University, Otuoke! sign now

In times of great national need, a country calls upon people of exceptional ability and courage to perform feats that will contribute to transforming the nation. So it was when Harvard University begin in 1636 with one lecturer in one classroom and a library and money donated by John Harvard. From those beginnings Harvard has shaped the destiny of the world as a cradle where some of the most powerful global figures and far reaching global achievements have been nurtured.

Now, in 2011, the Federal Government of Nigeria, in a bold move to reshape higher education in Nigeria, has created nine new universities in various geographical zones of the nation and as part of this bold initiative, has appointed the esteemed Professor Mobolaji Ebenezer Aluko to head the new Federal University at Utuoke, Bayelsa State.

What better kind of person could the custodians of the nations future have chosen for such a delicate task? Bolaji Aluko is an expert in both the skills of chemical engineering and political and social engineering.

His expertise as an engineer is gained through study at some of the most prestigious institutions in the world, including Imperial College, London, an unmistakable luminary in the world of science.

Beyond his PhD and post-doctoral studies at these institutions in Nigeria, England and the United States of America, he rose to become full professor in 1994 and subsequently head of the Department of Chemical Engineering from 1994 to 2002 at Howard University, a university central to defining the history of the United States of America.

Bolaji Aluko, Kenneth Ekechukwu, David Akers and Howard Lebowitz were awarded United States Patent 6156281 in 2000 for developing an improved process for removing hazardous air pollutants from coal. The Howard University announcement states the patent was based on work in collaboration with CQ Inc., a small business in Pennsylvania, and was funded by a Department of Energy grant. Howard University and CQ Inc., patent designees, stand to gain financially if the patent is exercised commercially.

Bolaji Aluko is presently President/CEO of Alondex Applied Technologies. He is Lead Consultant and International Coordinator of the LEAD Program at the National Universities Commission (NUC) in Nigeria; and Principal Academic Consultant of AfriHUB (Nig.) Ltd., an ICT resource provider for universities in Nigeria. Aluko is also Vice-President of NITPA (Nigerian Information Technology Professionals in the Americas).

His research interests are mathematical modelling, chemical reaction engineering, electronic materials processing, energy systems, information technology, reactor modelling, microelectronics, educational methods and systems and process control.

He also plays a central role in a number of organisations dedicated to the growth of Nigerian and African social, economic and political space.

The contributions of Professor Bolaji Aluko have proven central to redefining Nigeria from within and beyond cyberspace where his critical and overwhelmingly knowledgeable presence pervades all aspects of discourse on Nigeria and affects action on the ground in the country, as demonstrated by his taking the time to pursue initiatives in Nigeria physically or through long distance communication.

Anybody who wants a powerfully intellectual, multi-talented, cosmopolitan mind, adept in the worlds of academia and in the management of human and material resources to contribute decisively to building great academic institutions in Nigeria should support Professor Bolaji Aluko in his new assignment as Vice-Chancellor of the Federal University, Otuoke.

Such support is crucial against those people who, rather than content themselves with criticising Bolaji Alukos appointment, as all humans are open to criticism, being human, these figures insist that Aluko should be denied this unique opportunity to contribute to reshaping the history of Nigerian education and of Nigeria in general through the ultimate effects of his pioneering efforts as first Vice-Chancellor of this new university.

Let they who are without sin cast the first stone, but if you seek men from heaven you will never find them. Aluko is a diamond. Perhaps not always a smooth diamond, but a diamond. Do you want that diamond to shine in contributing to uplift Nigeria in the midst of her enormous challenges, or remain in the United States shining to the benefits of the Americans alone?

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