Today May 4, 2023 marks a turning point in the life career of one of Nigeria’s foremost Microbiologists and current Vice-Chancellor of Elizade University, Ilara-Mokin, Ondo State, Distinguished Prof. Olukayode Oladipo Amund, as he steps into the podium for a final bow from the University of Lagos, Akoka, after 45 years academic career, since 1978.
The valedictory events, which kick-starts with academic presentations hold first at the Faculty of Science Lecture Theatre at 9am, followed by a valedictory lecture at the Distance Learning Institute Auditorium at 12:30pm, climaxes with an Academic Dinner and Night of Tributes at 6:30pm, are all specially packaged in honour of Prof Amund who had sometimes between 2004 and 2007 been the erstwhile Vice-Chancellor, Wesley University of Science and Technology, Ondo.
As an international researcher with specialization in the area of Petroleum and Environmental Microbiology, Prof. Amund is reputed to be well-horned in Bioremediation Technologies and in which area he is a well-known authority locally and internationally. His notable research works involve measuring the rate of pollutant degradation using improvised microcosm devices in aquatic and soil ecosystems. He has similarly described the metabolic pathways for degradation of environmental pollutants, just as he worked extensively on microbial corrosion and biosurfactant production by oil-degrading strains as well as sequestration of heavy metals in sewage by microbial cells. He is also an authority in the area of Biotechnology of Industrial Enzyme production.
Little wonder, the erudite professor is a ranking member, with honour, of several professional bodies and associations. The list is quite endless;
Fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Science (FAS), Fellow, African Academy of Sciences (FAAS), Fellow, Royal Society of Biology (FRSB), Fellow, Institute of Policy Management Development (FIPMD) and African Scientific Institute (FAS).
From his array of research efforts, he has published 134 research papers in reputable learned journals, presented 59 papers at local and international conferences, had 3 chapters in books, made 38 publications of gene sequences at the National Centre for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) in the USA and gave 13 Invited lectures at learned institutions. As at February 2023, his published works had been cited by 2,859 authors around the world, with an h-index of 28 as recorded by the Google Scholar citation platform and total citation of 2358 and h-index of 26 on the Researchgate platform.
For his academic sojourn, Prof Amund
who was born in Lagos on 5th May 1953 in Suru-lere Local Government Area of Lagos State, started out in Ile-Ife where he attended Methodist Primary School and St John’s Grammar School between 1958 and 1969 to obtain the First School Leaving and the West African School Certificates. He returned to Lagos to attend St. Gregory’s College, Obalende, Lagos for the Higher School Certificate (1972-73) and the University of Lagos (1974-77) from where he obtained a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc) degree in Biology, graduating with a First Class. He was the first person to modestly do so in Biological Sciences in the history of the Unilag. This earned him an in-service training scholarship for post-graduate studies in the United Kingdom between 1979 and 1982. During his undergraduate studies at the University of Lagos, he won the National Award (Federal Scholarship) for the best performance in Part 1 Examinations in his Department as well as the National Schools’ Fund Prize in 1975.
He started his Master’s degree programme at the University of Kent at Canterbury in October 1979 and after assessment of research progress within a year; his candidature was converted to Ph.D. However, he completed his Ph.D programme in Biotechnology within three years after a first degree at Cranfield University, Bedford in October 1982, having transferred from Kent to Cranfield in 1981. His post-doctoral research visit to Cranfield University in 1992 was sponsored by UNESCO Fellowship in Biotechnology.
Distinguished Prof Amund’s academic working career started after the National Youth Service Corps programme at the University of Lagos as a Graduate Assistant in 1978. On obtaining a Ph.D degree in 1982, he was appointed a Lecturer Grade II and later promoted to Lecturer Grade I in 1984, Senior Lecturer in 1987, Associate Professor in 1991 and Full Professor in 1998.
Being a quintessential mentor, He has produced 18 Ph.D graduates, including four Professors and a Former Dean of the Faculty of Science at Unilag, three Associate Professors, four senior Lecturers and four lecturers working at the University of Lagos and other institutions or in industry. He has also produced 52 M.Sc. and three M.Phil graduates till date.
His inaugural lecture titled “The Oil-Eating Microbe: A Remedy to the Menace of Oil Pollution” popularly tagged “The Millennium Lecture” was delivered on 19th January 2000.
His administrative experience at the University of Lagos is diverse, having served as Acting Head of Microbiology Unit (1987-88; 1990-991), Assistant Hall Master Sodeinde Hall (1989-92), Hall Master El-Kanemi Hall (1996-98), Sub-Dean Faculty of Science (1994-96), Head, Department of Botany and Microbiology (2001-02), Dean, Faculty of Science (2002-04), Founding Vice-Chancellor and Member of Council, Wesley University of Science and Technology, Ondo (2004-07), Sabbatical Professor and Head, Department of Biotechnology, Bells University of Technology, Ota (2009-10), Consultant in Academic Planning, Unilag (2010-2012), Dean of Student Affairs (2010-2014) and Director of the Distance Learning Institute, Unilag (2016-2018). He was member of the University Governing Council, Unilag (2013-2017).
He has equally served on several University boards and committees including the Appointments and Promotions’ Board, Honours Committee and the Housing Committee. He is currently a member of the Governing Council of Wesley University, Ondo since 2018. He has also led NUC Accreditation panels to Science Faculties of many Federal, State and Private Universities in Nigeria. He has continuously served as External Examiner and assessor for professorial candidates to many Federal and State universities.
Distinguished Professor Amund has served the larger Society in various capacities as a Resource Person to the Raw Materials Research and Development Council and the Federal Ministry of Environment Abuja for EIA reviews. He also served on the Governing Board of Grace Schools Gbagada Lagos, Wolex polytechnic Iwo Governing Council and the Board for Theological Education of Methodist Church Nigeria. He was honoured with the Knighthood of John Wesley by Methodist Church Nigeria. He was the Former Senior Church Steward of Methodist Cathedral, Yaba, Lagos. He is an accredited Lay-Preacher of the Methodist Church, a former Camp President and Area Director of the Gideons’ International. He is an Environmental Consultant to the Nigerian Oil Industry and a member of many learned societies locally and overseas. He is married and with children, one of whom is a Ph.D holder in Food Science and a University Lecturer in the United Kingdom.
He is currently the Vice-Chancellor of Elizade University, Ilara-Mokin, Ondo State, a position he has held since February 2019. A rousing applause for the erudite professor!