As a way of fulfilling the global university requirement, which holds that every professor must deliver an inaugural lecture on his or her field of study, Professor James Dele Olowokudejo of the Department of Botany, Faculty of Science, University of Lagos (UNILAG), recently paid his academic debt, when he delivered the 14th Inaugural Lecture for the 2017/2018 academic session.
Presenting the lecture titled, ”The Enigmatic Kingdom of Plants: Their Power to Stimulate, Intoxicate, and Alter Consciousness; Their Power to Maim, Kill and Cure”, at the J. F. Ade-Ajayi Auditorium, UNILAG, Akoka, Lagos; Prof. Olowokudejo shed light on the subject of Botany, tracing its origin.
He elucidated on some of its sub-titles including recent advances and current trends and took the audience on a tour of the world of plants, letting them see how plants mould their bodies, faculties, perceptions, and tastes.
The erudite professor of Botany further submitted that the plant kingdom has an overwhelming influence on other forms of life, including humans and the environment, adding that it constitutes the foundation of all existence, including the society and civilization.
He continued: “The plant kingdom remains an enigma because the more we know about the diverse hierarchies of categories and groups, the more that remains to learn about the species and complexes”.
While calling for intensified co-operation among practitioners on the scientific field, and those in the pure sciences and social sciences, he stressed that the traditional subject compartment and categories can no longer remain in isolation from each other. Adding that all actors involved must work increasingly at the interface of discipline in order to address the complex problems of today’s world.
Affirming that education is the most effective means that society possesses to confront the challenges of the future, the erudite scholar called on government to allocate more resources to education at all levels, as well as prioritise, coordinate and intensify the conservation of plant diversity, adding that efforts should be redoubled towards the conservation of plants diversity and wise-use of all medicinal plants, so that our future benefits and knowledge are not put at risk.
In his speech after the lecture, the Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor Oluwatoyin T Ogundipe described the lecture titled “The Enigmatic Kingdom of Plants: Their Power to Stimulate, Intoxicate, and Alter Consciousness; Their Power to Maim, Kill and Cure” as apt, while assuring that the institution would continue to encourage research and innovations that could promote academic excellence.
He congratulated the 14th inaugural lecture presenter, Professor James Dele Olowokudejo for his commitment towards academic excellence, stressing that inaugural lectures are debts owed the university system.
The VC, who described inaugural lectures as one of the legacies of the global university system, however, said Olowokudejo has fulfilled his academic obligation to the university community, saying it is a challenge to others yet to deliver their inaugural lectures.
Presenting an over 120 pages lecture book, the plant expert urged the University authority to encourage the planting of trees on the campus, saying appropriate indigenous trees should be planted on both campuses, Akoka and Idi-Araba, to replace the old and aging ones, while the young actively growing trees should be trained by grooming.