- By Chris Yahaya
The Management of Federal University Lokoja (FUL) has redoubled its efforts at partnering with some notable Universities in the Republic of Cuba with a view to repositioning its medical and engineering programmes for excellent delivery and global recognition.
In a fresh move to achieve the objective, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Olayemi Akinwumi, again, led members of his management team to the Cuban Embassy in Abuja on Thursday, October 12, 2023, to meet with the Cuban Ambassador to Nigeria, Mrs. Miriam Morales Palmero, who recently assumed office, to chart the way forward.
The bid was in furtherance of the already established relationship between the FUL and Cuban Embassy under the country's former Ambassador to Nigeria, Her Excellency Clara M. Pulido-Escandell, at a meeting held earlier on Thursday, 24th November, 2022 in Abuja.
During the second visit, the Vice-Chancellor congratulated the new Ambassador on her appointment and assumption of office at the Headquarters of the Cuban Diplomatic Mission in Nigeria. Professor Akinwumi briefed the Ambassador on the ongoing efforts under her predecessor and his determination to pursue the vision to a logical conclusion for the betterment of FUL.
The Vice-Chancellor noted that he had facilitated a similar collaboration between Cuban Universities and his former University, Nasarawa State University, Keffi (NSUK) before his appointment at FUL as the 3rd VC, adding that the partnership was made possible through the buy-in of the Cuban Embassy in Nigeria. He expressed his desire and commitment to fostering such a mutual relationship that would distinguish FUL's medical and engineering programmes and place them as one of the best in Nigeria.
Professor Akinwumi, a renowned historian and scholar with vast knowledge of African history, recalled with nostalgia the cordial relationship existing between Cuba and Nigeria, as well as the rich cultural and historic ties, among other values shared by the two countries.
He maintained that his administration was poised to leverage this age-long bilateral relationship and establish a mutual collaboration with notable Universities in Cuba, which is renowned for its advancement in the medical field, through exchange programmes (staff and students), knowledge sharing, and research collaboration, among other key areas.
In her remarks, the Cuban Ambassador to Nigeria applauded the Vice-Chancellor's initiative and commitment to the development of the University. She said that despite the security challenges in Nigeria which have posed some challenges and limitations, she would facilitate the process and explore other possible avenues to ensure the success of the engagement.
Mrs Palmero gave a detailed historical background of how Cuba passed through periods of struggle and hardship, and overcame its most toughest and challenging times through dogged perseverance and determination, highlighting some of the country's advances in the medical field, specifically in biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, as well as its strong education system, which has enabled it to produce many talented doctors and scientists.
In addition, Cuba's medical advances have led to the development of new treatments for cancer, HIV/AIDS, and other diseases. The country has a high level of literacy and a strong public health system, which provides universal healthcare for its citizens.
The Republic of Cuba, located in the Caribbean Sea (south of Florida and East of Mexico), was widely recognized for its success in the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Cuba developed its own COVID-19 vaccine, Abdala, and made it available to the public at no cost. The country's success in managing the pandemic has been attributed to its focus on prevention and treatment, rather than on containment measures. See more pictures here
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