The august people of August

Though the month of August 2016 will be remembered by millions of people as the month of the Rio Olympics, where the Nigerian athletes ran well like pregnant women and our poorly motivated football team managed, in spite of all odds, to return home with bronze, it was the month that the University of Ilorin won many gold medals through the achievements of some of its august members. Three  of the developments concerning the University that made August memorable, at the beginning, middle and end of the month,  are thus highlighted:

Like Oloyede, Like Aina

August started with the cheery news that two august members of the University have been assigned national responsibilities. While the immediate past former Vice-Chancellor of the University, Prof. Is-haq O. Oloyede (OFR), was appointed Registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), the former Dean of Communication and Information Sciences (CIS), Prof. Lenrie O. Aina, was appointed Chief Executive of the National Library of Nigeria, Abuja.

I had interacted with Prof. Aina when I served on the Editorial Board of the “Centrepoint” journal of the University. Anyone who worked with him would be struck by the quality of his work and the profundity of his ideas. That his research versatility and administrative sagacity put the young but vibrant CIS Faculty on the spectrum of global visibility is well known not only to the Faculty but also the entire University Community.

It would be recalled that when the Ministers of the Federal Republic were appointed last year, the University of Ilorin could also not be ignored and Prof. C. O. Daramola of the Faculty of Education made the list. The recent national appointments in the Education sector are a further testimony to the fact that when quality is being sought, those who know know that it is best found in a University that is better by far than others.

Shortly after the announcement was made, Prof. Peter Okebukola, former Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), issued a release that spotlighted the University of Ilorin: “With the appointment of Professor Is-haq Oloyede as the new Registrar, JAMB is in for a revolutionary time in terms of delivering more effectively on its mandate. Prof. Oloyede parades excellent credentials to lead a whole section like education in Nigeria, hence asking him to head a parastatal in education is like asking a 5-star, battle-tested general to quell a fight between two boys in Ajegunle!

“Professor Oloyede ran the University of Ilorin as a model for the Nigerian university system and served dutifully as Chairman of the Association of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities and at the continental level, as President of the Association of African Universities. He is a no-nonsense, clear-headed scholar who is globally consulted on higher education matters including issues dealing with admitting quality students which fit in with the JAMB mandate.”

Predictably, those who do not want anything good to be associated with the better by far University launched futile attacks but various people, including students, unions in the University and alumni rose in defence of their own during the month. As I posted on my Facebook wall on August 7, “…it is not the fault of the sun that the blind cannot see it.” Those who know the scholars of the University of Ilorin appreciate their mettle, their character and learning.

Obafemi’s NAL Presidency and Olasehinde-Williams’ Fellowship

Also in recognition of the excellence of the University, the Nigeria Academy of Letters (NAL), the highest body of all intellectual groups and academic associations in the disciplines of Humanities in Nigeria, elected a prolific Professor of English and celebrated writer, Olu Obafemi, its President.

Prof. Obafemi, a former President of the Association of Nigerian Authors and ex-Dean of Student Affairs, University of Ilorin, has been consistent in bringing accolades to the University through his multi-layered engagements with teaching, research, journalism, literature, society and polity.

Barely three days after Prof. Olu Obafemi was crowned NAL President in Lagos, a former Director of the Centre for Peace and Strategic Studies, University of Ilorin, Prof. (Mrs) Felicia Olasehinde-Williams, was admitted into the Fellowship of the Society for Peace Studies and Practice (SPSP) in Asaba, Delta State. The occasion was the 10th International Conference and General Assembly of the Society.

With the award, Prof. Olasehinde-Williams has joined the rank of distinguished Nigerians acknowledged for their contributions to the quest for a peaceful and prosperous Nigeria.

Akogun’s son’s wedding

As if to cap the month of honours and recognitions with festivity, the last Saturday of August (i.e. 27th of the month) was the day the nikkah and marriage ceremony of Abdulllah Oluwadare Akogun, son of the dynamic Deputy Director of Corporate Affairs, Mr Kunle Akogun, took place in Ogun State. The University of Ilorin, led by the always supportive Vice-Chancellor, Prof. AbdulGaniyu Ambali (OON), practically relocated to Sango-Ota venue of the event, in honour of an amiable master communicator and astute information manager. Apart from the spiritual menu provided by the Dean of Postgraduate School, Prof. Badmas O. Yusuf, there was abundant food for everyone. I wish the young couple a blissful married life.

Vice-Chancellor’s Work

Of course, all the honours, recognitions and celebration here highlighted and others would not have been possible if not for the tremendous work being done by the Vice-Chancellor in making the University of Ilorin a force to be reckoned with both nationally and internationally. The Alma Mater therefore salutes and congratulates the Vice-Chancellor on the garlands of successes his Administration has brought to adorn the University and its staff members.

Happy Eidul Kabeer to all!