UNESCO Inaugurates Plant Biotechnology Chair in Covenant University

UNESCO Inaugurates Plant Biotechnology Chair in Covenant University


The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) now has a Chair endowed in Covenant University in recognition for her outstanding contributions and performance in a particular field of competence beneficial to humanity.

The Secretary-General, National Commission for UNESCO, Mr Olagunju Idowu, made this known recently, at the inauguration of the UNESCO Chair on Plant Biotechnology. He said it was a rare privilege for a University to be singled out by a credible international organization such as UNESCO for excellence in performances.

Mr Idowu said UNESCO expected that the Chair on Plant Biotechnology would make significant contributions towards promoting research, training, information and documentation on biotechnology, not only for the benefit of Nigeria but for entire Africa. "It is also expected to facilitate high-level collaboration between researchers of this (Covenant) University and other institutions in Nigeria, Africa and the rest of the world," he added.

The UNESCO National Commission scribe reminded the gathering that the endowed Chair was also expected to maintain a regular link with other universities and research institutes with similar UNESCO category 2 Centres worldwide and, ultimately, the entire United Nations system.

"I at this moment welcome the UNESCO Chair on Plant Biotechnology of Covenant University into the family of UNESCO Chairs and UNITWINs, where each constituent part makes different contributions and pursues common goals with same values. In other words, UNITWINs and Chair programmes should be viewed as outposts of UNESCO in their different fields of competence," he enthused.

The Chairholder, Professor Olawole Obembe, said that while UNESCO did not finance the Chair, its goodwill had made the Chair so prestigious globally. He said it had contributed significantly to the profile of the hosting institution and enhanced her reputation, which was one of the key ranking parameters of the Times Higher Education World Universities Ranking.

Professor Obembe said the Chair's activities would contribute to the overall development goals of the region by creating niche markets for the novel products, thereby contributing to decent job creation, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, and ultimately enhanced industrialization.

He said that while the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the formalization of the Chair after Covenant had received a positive evaluation of her application in 2019, the University became a proud recipient of the UNESCO Chair in November 2020. Professor Obembe noted that the UNESCO Chair on Plant Biotechnology would also progress towards scientific and technological independence and regional autonomy.

In his remarks, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Abiodun H. Adebayo, said Covenant University was glad to be found worthy of hosting a UNESCO Chair on her campus and pledged the full support of the University Management towards making a success of the Chair.

Professor Adebayo said that Covenant would continue working with relevant agencies and groups to make steady progress on both the local and international fronts. The gain was exemplified by the Covenant Solution-17 initiative, part of the University's robust drive of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which found its way into the United Nations' document.

"We will support this Chair in every possible way to deliver on its mandate as captured in the expectations of the Secretary-General, Nigerian National Commission for UNESCO," he added.

Present at the inauguration were the Registrar, Dr Oluwasegun Omidiora, Director, Financial Services, Pastor Babatunde Onatola, Dean, College of Science and Technology, Professor Temidayo Omotosho, Head, Department of Biological Sciences, Professor Solomon Oranusi, Head, Department of Chemistry, Professor Joseph Olugbuyiro, and Head, Department of Biochemistry, Professor Israel Afolabi.

Also present were, Director, Vice-Chancellor's Office, Dr Omotayo Osibanjo, Dr Solomon Rotimi, Dr Adetutu Bello, Dr Opeyemi Ayanda, Dr Jacob Popoola, and Mr Olusola Oyesola.

The UNESCO Chair programme, initiated more than two decades ago, presents a unique platform for intellectual, academic and scientific networking.


Front row, 3rd left - right: Registrar, Dr Oluwasegun Omidiora; Vice-Chancellor, Professor Abiodun H. Adebayo; Secretary-General, National Commission for UNESCO, Mr Olagunju Idowu; and the newly unveiled Chair holder, Professor Olawole Obembe