Conduct Research That’ll Impact Lives, Cardinal Onaiyekan Urges Dons

Ola ‘Kiya, Reporting 

THE Archbishop Emeritus of Abuja Catholic Archdiocese, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, has enjoined Nigerian dons to conduct research that will impact societal needs.

Onaiyekan said that there were many professors around, but that not many of them could boast of how their academic research and efforts had impacted the life of the ordinary person.

The Cardinal Archbishop was speaking to newsmen at the 80th birthday celebration of Professor Emeritus Seth Sunday Ajayi, which held at the International Conference Center of the University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Oyo State.

He lauded the celebrant, who was the pioneer Head of the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries of the University of Ibadan, for his scholarly accomplishments attained in his 30s.

Onaiyekan said the research efforts of Professor Ajayi and his colleagues gave birth to the domestication of ‘cat fish’ as well as the breeding of ‘bush rat’ and ‘grass cutter’.

“It’s not for nothing that former President Olusegun Obasanjo has been here as part of this celebration. Because as president, he fully supported and encouraged the work of Professor Ajayi. And he took up much of his research, and he has been breeding ‘grass cutters’ and ‘bush rats’ in his farm. This is where academic research impacts lives of a people.

“There are many professors around, but not many of them can boast of how their academic research and efforts have impacted the life of ordinary person.

“We see how Professor Ajayi, in his 80s, can face all of us, and proudly say that it was through the research efforts of himself and his colleagues, some of whom are here, that brought about the domestication of a special kind of fish which we are now familiar with as the ‘cat fish’.

“We took it for granted, but we forget that before they came, we could not grow the ‘cat fish’. We could not, as it were, breed it in our houses. He has worked the same way on ‘Okete’ (bush rat) and ‘Oya’ the one we call ‘grasscutter’.

“Today, we have young professors like him, and my advice to them is to continue to work. They should not run away to foreign universities for teaching jobs. They should stay at home and do their part, and no matter what the situation is, good work will always speak,” Onaiyekan enthused.

In his congratulatory message on the occasion, former President Obasanjo said: “I celebrate with you and the entire Ajayi family on your 80th birthday. Since we met in 1986, I noted your selfless service to our beloved country, Nigeria, especially through your outstanding contributions to the academia in your chosen field. Your exemplary pioneering role in the study of Wildlife and Fisheries Ecology in Africa is a legacy to be proud of, and you have shown that a lot can be achieved silently through hard work, resilience and without undue self-advertisement.”

Chief Obasanjo also harped on the need by everyone to prioritise the preservation of the environment, as according to him, climate change is a reality.

Speaking to journalists at the event, the celebrant said: “It’s the grace of God that spared my life, not by power or my worth, and I thank God. It’s by the spirit of God, lest anybody should boast.”

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