“Reflections on The Ambali Years” By Olusegun Adeniyi

The story of the University of Ilorin as captured by the author is also scanty. In a generation where enrolling for a four year course could translate into spending six or more years, this University has been an exception; and with that, it has maintained the first position as the most sought after federal University in Nigeria today.

As an aside, although I understand the position of the institution in its long-drawn battle with ASUU, especially given the insight provided by Professor Ambali in two of his interviews reproduced in this book, there are also those who argue that the University of Ilorin is allowed to eat its cake and at the same time have it since it benefits from the fallouts of the agitations by which other campuses suffer. But that is not an issue for today; in any case, Akogun’s book, which is largely celebratory, is very silent on such controversial issues.

While celebrating the achievements of the outgoing Vice Chancellor, the author also draws attention to the challenges he faced as a man who wants things to be done the right way. And there are several photographs in the publication even though some of them can be described as pointless.

Meanwhile, I agree with the author that a body of work that details the achievements of an administrator of this great school would serve as a reference point for those who run other universities and “create an information data bank that would preserve for posterity the numerous legacies of the administration of this erudite Professor of Veterinary Medicine”.

What enriches the collection and provides a window into understanding the distinguished professor and his choices are the republished interviews and excerpts from some of his speeches, including the maiden one he gave on assumption of office in 2012.

In all, while I commend the author for the effort, I must nonetheless say that I am disappointed on several fronts. For someone who worked at THISDAY where we place premium on both content and visuals, I believe Akogun could have done a better job. Since I am aware that this book was rushed, I understand whyit didn’t benefit from any serious editing assuming there was one but at least the layout and the entire production could have been better.