The National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) has commended the Management of Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye for living up to expectations in the administration, maintenance and functionality of the Youth Friendly Centre built in the University premises through the collaborative efforts of MTN and NACA since 2012. The hint was dropped by the NACA team led by Mrs. Ope Abegunde of the NACA Resource Mobilisation Department during a courtesy call on the Vice-Chancellor and other members of the Management on Tuesday, 21st May, 2019.
Giving a brief on the essence of their visit, Mrs. Abegunde who regretted the Agency’s delay in visiting the facility for a long period after inauguration, attributed the gap to inadequate resources in maintaining and sustaining the array of projects under the management of the Agency, occasioned by the dwindling support from the Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) including MTN Nigeria among others. She remarked that globally, funding had reduced drastically, even from the foreign donors and this, according to her had affected the operational activities of the YFC. Unfortunately, this has led to the collapse of one of the 11 Centres established in some University campuses, accross the country. Inspite of this challenge, she disclosed that NACA had been able to sustain the YFCs with its meagre contributions, ever since, with varying supports of some University including OOU.
These, she said, prompted the frantic efforts of the Agency through the Resource Mobilisation Department to embark on Save-Our-Soul visit to the concerned Universities as a way of buffering the effects of the withdrawal of the NGOs. She, therefore, solicited for the support of the Management for more involvement in terms of funding and administration of the affairs of the Youth Friendly Centre on the campus. However, Mrs. Abegunde was full of gratitude over the current functional state of the Youth Friendly Centre on the Olabisi Onabanjo University campus despite the seeming neglect by the donor partners since the Centre was established in 2012, adding that the unflinching supports and immeasurable contributions of the Vice-Chancellor and his team to the Youth Friendly Centre, especially, during the World AIDS DAY, and Campaign Awareness deserved commendation.
Receiving the NACA team on behalf of the Management, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Ganiyu Olatunji Olatunde who was represented by the University Librarian, Dr. Adebambo Oduwole, reiterated the commitment and holistic approach of the current administration at ensuring that every segment of the University community had its own fair share in the development of the University, prominent among which was the Youth Friendly Centre . He disclosed that apart from elevating the status of the worker in the Centre from volunteer arrangement to a permanent and pensionable appointment, the University Management had over time been very responsive on issues relating to the functionality and management of the Centre as and when due.
He recalled how upon receipt of a recent request from the Coordinator of the Centre, Prof. (Mrs.) H.T. Benedict, the Management directed with despatch the implementation of major repair of the floor of the Centre and netting of the entrances and window openings among others. While re-emphasising the need to place high premium on the contribution of youths vis-à-vis the essence of human capital development in nation building, Prof. Olatunde observed that the Centre would continually be accorded its place of pride among competing needs in the University.
In her response, on behalf of NACA, Mrs. Abegunde who spoke from the University Radio Station was elated and felt fulfilled in their mission to ensure the survival of the Youth Centre. This according to the NACA official was evident in the managerial style and administrative acumen of the Vice-Chancellor and his team. She, thereafter, congratulated the team for maintaining a clean environment all over the campus which will in turn aid teaching and learning . On the NACA team with Mrs Abegunde were Barrister Cyril Ojeonu, Mr. Mohammed Haruna, and Kate Anyanwu, while the University Bursar, Mr. Semiu Makinde, the Acting Director, Health Services, Dr. Mrs. Ogunbowale and other University functionaries were part of the University team.
It would be recalled that the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) in collaboration with MTN (Nigeria), ECOBANK established the Youth Friendly Centres in eleven Nigerian University Campuses including OOU, to prevent further spread of HIV/AIDS scourge by engaging the youths meaningfully in combating the pandemic through counselling and testing in a friendly environment. The Centres came into being following the need to focus more on the youths in curbing the spread of the scourge by encouraging and motivating them to voluntarily present themselves for counselling and testing in a friendly and non-threatening environment, through peer education strategy.