The President of the Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma Alumni Association, Professor Edward Omi Ujuanbi has stressed the need for members of its alumni association particularly those in the corporate organisations to have regular interactions with students, noting that this will provide an opportunity for them to gain insights into the operational world and transfer learning.
Ujuanbi expressed concern about the falling standard of university education due to poor funding by successive governments in the country saying that as a way of closing the gap over the years, the alumni association in synergy with the university administration has encouraged members to have interactions with students.
This, the president who grew from being a student to a lecturer in the university, said has been very impactful, adding that it has also helped in building their confidence and developing curriculum.
According to him, "This present Executive Council (EC) strongly believes that the essence of alumni associations, apart from building friendships and supporting the university, is to create platforms for networking among members. Thus, since our inauguration in 2015, we have deliberately focused our attention on establishing new branches within and outside the country and encouraging successful alumni and young graduates to attend meetings. The ultimate benefits for the young graduates would be the creation of employment opportunities, particularly from successful alumni entrepreneurs and mentorship for career development."
Being a member of the alumni association, he said aside the opportunity it creates for leisure time with old and new friends, it will provide help in the advancement of members' professional careers and growth of their business endeavours through the platform for networking and mentorship.
He said as a professor in the institution, he has leveraged on his presence to draw the attention of students to the need to take advantage of these networks, adding, "Although, ours is a work-in-progress, with the cooperation and collaboration fostered with our branches, we are presently collating a directory of our members working in critical sectors of the economy who are in positions to assist our new graduates, particularly for career placement and other support. This directory will be utilised in creating different channels of communication on several social and professional media platforms."
Asked to what extent the association has achieved its objectives in tandem with the corporate vision of the university and met its needs, the president said,: "The vision of our university is to foster the growth of knowledge for advancement of society. The core activities of the alumni have been in tandem with the corporate vision of our university. Excellence being a core value of our association, we have used multiple approaches to maximize the quality of the students' learning experience.
" In this respect, we have vigorously mobilised alumni members to support the infrastructural and human capacity development of the university through donations of books to the library, building of critical infrastructures such as students' hostel, lecture/examination halls, as well as the provision of scholarships to indigent students."
He said the association plans to hold a global event that would bring alumni members from all over the world to Lagos on the September 15 this year adding," The chairman of the planning committee and trustee of the association is working in synergy with the executive council to make it a successful and epic-event. We also look forward to having our Annual General Meeting (AGM) in October.
Ujuanbi however said alumni associations in Nigeria still have a long way to go when compared with what obtains abroad., adding that the members in the institution is leveraging on the exposure of other members in diaspora who are also participating actively in the activities of foreign university alumni, which they attended after leaving Ekpoma.
" This has kept us many steps ahead of other Alumni Associations in Nigeria, " he said"