•UNILAG best overall PhD graduate, Yinusa, recounts his success story

By Gabriel Dike

With course work Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 5.00, Dr. Ahmed Amoo Yinusa, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Lagos (UNILAG), Akoka, Yaba, Lagos, emerged the best PhD thesis in sciences and overall best for the class of 2021.

He spoke with The Education Report. Excerpts:

What was your journey like, from primary, secondary to university?

Fourteen years ago (in 2009), I gained admission into the University of Lagos as an undergraduate, Department of Mechanical Engineering. I finished as the second-best student with a First Class final SGPA of 5.00/5.00 and a CGPA of 4.76/5.00 in 2014.

I chose lecturing at UNILAG because I always love to learn new things, impart knowledge, do research and publish. In 2016, I was appointed to work as a Graduate Assistant in the same department. I obtained my Masters in the same department with a Distinction (CGPA of 4.90/5.00) in 2017. I became a registered Mechanical Engineer and a PhD candidate in 2018/2019.

During the course of my PhD programme, I was nominated by UNILAG to represent the university in Grenoble, France, on Smart Energy and Nanotechnology under the sponsorship of the French Embassy in Nigeria. I came back with a Diploma in Climate Change and another Diploma in French A1.

I defended my thesis, titled, Nanofluidic-Flow Induced Vibrations of Single and Multi-walled branched nanotubes resting on Winkler-Pasternak foundations in a thermal-magnetic environment in December 2022. It came out to be, not just the best PhD thesis in Sciences but also the overall best PhD thesis.

The training I acquired and the quality of my PhD have helped me to have over 100 publications with over ten (10) strictly emanating from my PhD. The nano-technological and FabLab experiences gathered during my PhD can be adopted to create solutions capable of enhancing water quality. This is a major area currently being investigated by the ARUA water research group.

I am a member of HERZER research group, climate change research group, UNILAG FabLab, ARUA water research group and cold chain research group. Furthermore, I am blessed with a beautiful wife (Anifat) and lovely children (Adam, Hikmat, Ameedat and Alim).

I have travelled to Grenoble, France; Nairobi, Kenya and Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, on my research. I had the opportunity to attend trainings, conferences and meet so many interesting people.

How does it feel like emerging overall best PhD graduate?

I was very happy when I got the news. I first got the news that I emerged as the best PhD graduate in Sciences. Afterwards, I received another great news. It was during the presentation of the 13th and first female UNILAG Vice-Chancellor (VC), Prof. Folasade Ogunsola, of emerging overall best UNILAG PhD graduate in 2023 (class of 2021).

I was so happy. In fact, I lost appetite. As the overall best UNILAG PhD graduate, I feel confident in myself and the quality of my research outputs.

How did you cope with the PhD programme?

I thank the Almighty God who is the source of my knowledge and survival. I was able to cope because I have parents who were always supporting me in prayers. I always seek for their blessings and advice when necessary.

Also, God has blessed me with a good and understanding wife.  Therefore, I would like to express my gratitude to my parents, my beautiful wife (Anifat) and my lovely children (Adam, Hikmat, Ameedat and Alim). Without their tremendous understanding and encouragement in the past few years, it would be impossible for me to complete my study.

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What prompted your quest in Mechanical Engineering?

My outstanding performances with a First Class SGPA of 5.00/5.00 and a CGPA of 4.76/5.00 in 2014 prompted me, and my Masters, with a Distinction of CGPA of 4.90/5.00 in 2017, as well as the encouragement from my supervisors including Dr. M.G. Sobamowo and Dr. A.O. Adelaja and my HoD, Prof. S.J. Ojolo. Furthermore, I have always loved to learn new things, impart knowledge, do research and publish. 

What informed the title of your PhD Thesis?

Forty-one years ago, a man Les Baugh, had an electrical accident and became amputated. He is currently making history as the first person with two mind-controlled robotic arms. However, this man vibrates a lot while trying to move the robotic arms to achieve basic tasks like carrying, moving, raising or placing objects.

Also, the idea to have lighter and stiffer part result in frequency of vibration of the order of Tera-hertz and Giga-hertz, which is not desired although may be harness to find applications in other areas of science and engineering. There is need to attenuate or dampen this vibration due to the lightweight and high stiffness properties of the material (carbon nanotubes) in use.

My PhD work provides solutions to these challenges using magnetic field and other controlling parameters. This informed the title of my PhD thesis to read: Nanofluidic-flow induced vibrations of single and multi-walled branched nanotubes resting on Winkler-Pasternak foundations in a thermal-magnetic environment.

Your experience during the eight-month ASUU strike

After my third seminar, I applied for the approval of my thesis title and supervisors. However, this was delayed by the strike embarked upon by university staff unions including ASUU, NAAT, SAANU and NASU.

Unlike other students, I was getting double blow because I was not progressing academically and salaries were withheld by the Federal Government due to the strike. I was faced with serious financial challenges like paying hospital bills for my sick mother, rents, children school fees and sustaining the family.

Many university workers had to resort to loans, which some are still servicing till date. I want to use this medium to again appeal to the Federal Government to release the withheld salaries of university lecturers and other university workers.

What can be done to boost students’ interest in science?

An ideal way to kindle interest is to establish laboratories with technology as desired by the industrial standards so that exciting experiments can be performed apart from the curriculum. Some of the students have natural curiosity that will help them provide solutions to real life problems.

Also, lecturers, teachers and staff welfare should not be neglected. Good welfare packages will definitely boost staff’s morale toward doing current research and impart as appropriate. 

Who are your mentors and how have they helped you to grow?

This achievement couldn’t have been possible if not for the support of Almighty Allah, my parents and my supervisors. Also, Dean of Engineering, Prof. M.O. Sadiq; Dean, Prof. Alabi Soneye and Sub-Dean, Dr. Caleb Gbiri of SPGS. Space and time will not permit me to mention all here.

I am extremely grateful to them for their invaluable advice, continuous support and patience. Their immense knowledge encouraged me all the time of my academic research and daily life. I am indebted to them all.

How can secondary school students overcome phobia for Mathematics?

A brilliant way to overcome phobia for Mathematics at an early age is to apply the concepts in real life as much as possible. Your everyday activities will help you overcome the fear and will guide you to develop a strong foundation to learn advanced concepts related to the same topics.