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HOW REDEEMER’S UNIVERSITY WON UNIDO-NIGERIA NATIONAL QUALITY GOLD AWARD
It was an historic moment for the productive and service sectors of Nigerian economy as the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in collaboration with European Union and other international development partners kick-started the implementation of the first phase of National Quality Infrastructure Project for Nigeria by organizing the 1st Nigeria National Quality Award at the Banquet Hall of the Sheraton Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos.
The journey to the quality award distribution ceremony in Lagos on Wednesday 22nd November, 2017 was tough and rigorous with many small, medium and large scale organizations operating in Nigeria competing for highly coveted industrial prize for excellence through an internationally certified quality standard audit assessment of their services and products in conformity with global best practices of the world’s best in business. The call for participation in the project was advertised in The Guardian Newspapers of Tuesday 18th April, 2017 and This Day Newspapers of Wednesday 19th April, 2017 editions, respectively.
On receiving the call for participation the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Debo Adeyewa set the ball rolling by working with different process owners to meet the entry requirements for our participation in the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) National Quality Award project.
It will be recalled that UNIDO sent one of its chief assessors to carry out Quality Management System Audit (QMSA) of the university and to ascertain whether the institution is running on global best practices and standards based on ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 9004.It was the report of the management system audit that was passed to the body of internationally acclaimed jurists who critically examined all the entries and assigned scores for the National Quality Awards Levels. The winners emerged through rigorous selection process.
As an eye-witness and participant in the internal process audit that culminated in the University been invited to Lagos for the grand finale of the event, I earnestly prepared for the defining moment. I wondered in my heart whether a moment that I had envisaged to test and ascertain our institutional journey to true greatness had actually come or we may have to wait a little longer than what was anticipated. In a country where everybody is a solution provider, it is sometimes very difficult to know which idea would work in a given situation. Life has taught me to be realistic in spite of my positive disposition to people who are idealists. My professional experiences have taught me that until you are externally certified, whatsoever opinion you have about yourself is irrelevant. In real life, nobody is a polymath, every individual only knows much of a little whether you are a professor or you are a professional. It is true that knowledge puffs up. I have seen Nigerian ivory-towers being bedeviled by unfair criticisms and negative comments from self-acclaimed polymaths within and outside Nigerian educational system.
The burdens of leadership with its attendant responsibilities can make the burden bearers look unserious and sometimes unfairly criticized. Talk is cheap for non-actors. I was encumbered the night before the event with so many thoughts and earnestly prayed that Redeemer’s University would win to reconfirm a statement that there is hope for the Nigerian educational sector.
On entering the venue of the event which was jam-packed with the organizers, contestants, guests and stakeholders from all sectors of the Nigerian economy, I quickly shifted my focus to getting stories to write for our stakeholders to read.
Even though I was meant to be seated near my boss but I technically changed my seat in order to capture news items emanating from the programme. From where I sat, what was important to me was how to capture Redeemer’s University’s moment. Nothing was important to me that night than to see Redeemer’s University taking its place of pride by proving the pundits right that Redeemer’s University is a world class institution. Before the announcement I was restless considering the expectations back home. The night proved to be too long as they started with the winners of BRONZE category and gradually moved to SILVER category. It was an elimination series as announcements were made. I saw expectations of contestants dashed and their hope faded away. I asked myself a pertinent question, ‘Would the LION in Redeemer’s University roar again tonight?
The next in line was the declaration of the winner and runner-up for Gold category in which the University competed for. Something was missing up till that point in the programme. With all the claims by many Nigerian universities that they are world class, none of them could make it to the podium. Would Redeemer’s University again rescue the Nigerian university system by emerging as a symbol of globally acclaimed and respected quality management standard? As usual the runner-up was mentioned first. Guess what? It was an institution that has ISO 9001:2015 and 9004 certified organization that brilliantly carted away runner-up prize. I felt within myself that the night may likely not be ours because the happenings at the event had made me to forget the ROCK from which I was hewed. The reason was that as an institution, Redeemer’s University is not an ISO 9001:2015 and 9004 holder and how could we outrun an institution that prides itself in being a holder of internationally acclaimed ISO certifications?
Something dawn on me that Mr. Vice-Chancellor had made us to imbibe the culture of excellence across different functional areas in the university. I discovered that we have been made to live by the culture of excellence even though we have not gone for ISO certification. As I was ruminating on this, OUR REDEEMER IS STRONG came to my mind as I prepared for the long awaited moment. A moment of truth. Before the announcement of the winner of the Level 3 Category A, Gold award in which the University competed. I told one of the contestants that lost who was sitting beside me at the event that Redeemer’s University would win the Gold category. The Chief Technical Advisor, United Nations Industrial Development Organization-National Quality Infrastructure Project (UNIDO-NQIP), Dr. Shaukar Malik Hussain, did not mince words as REDEEMER’S UNIVERSITY was pronounced overall winner of the UNIDO-Nigeria National Quality Gold Award. The announcement separated MEN from BOYS. It shows that Redeemer’s University is indeed a world class institution.