The succession crisis that shakes the first Nigerian university; The University of Ibadan finally reached an amicable crescendo with the appointment of Professor Kayode Adebowale on October 14, 2021 as the institution’s 13th vice-chancellor. The post of VC of the University became vacant on December 1, 2020 following the expiration of the term of the 12th VC, Professor Abel Idowu Olayinka. But due to a chain of circumstances, the process of appointing a successor could not be completed, creating a 13-month succession crisis.
It is much more than a coincidence that a former university student, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, was later appointed chairman of the board by the federal government, after the term of the board of trustees expired. directed by Nde Joshua Waklek. Chief Odigie-Oyegun therefore inherited the crisis from the appointment of a new VC. The seizure had become so fierce, and like an unattended sore, it metastasized into a festering sore, the cloud turning vitriolic and acrimonious. No one seemed to have mastered the riddle until Chief Odigie-Oyegun came with his Solomonic wisdom. The former president of the All Progressives Congress creatively harnessed the instability of the system by recalibrating the nomination process, which ultimately led to the emergence of Adebowale.
Interestingly, since the nomination was announced, however, there has been a refreshing sigh of relief on the Ibadan campus. Peace has returned. Leading gladiators in the troubled contest, including Professor Adeyinka Aderinto; among others, congratulated the new VC and promised to work with him for the growth of the system. That’s good. It is political maturity. From pugnacity to pacifism, Chief Odigie-Oyegun deserves national praise for the way he handled the process as well as for his transparent leadership. He was the pride of his alma mater. He succeeded in making the lion lie down with the lamb, thus facilitating peace on campus. We are happy that the siege of stagnation is over!
Universities across the world thrive in the centuries-old tradition of unfettered generation (and contestation) of ideas, the free flow of thoughts, the cradle and melting pot of the vigorous commerce of the human spirit and its trafficking. ceaseless imagination and intelligence. In other words, controversy is one of the attributes of the ivory tower. For me, nominating a VC for University of Ibadan status, where we have over 400 professors in different disciplines, could not have been a walk in the park. In the meantime, the appointment made, it is time to move forward because we stayed too long in the same place. Let us forgive each other for forgiveness is the asepsis of the soul. It is indeed the moment of reconciliation, reconstruction, rehabilitation and reconstruction.
Now let’s see the profile of our new VC! Who is Professor Adebowale? How many of him do we know? Can he handle this job? Unintentional exaggeration, Professor Adebowale is not only qualified to operate this system, it has been tried and tested and certified to be perfectly suited to raise the UI much higher than it has encountered. His immense intellectual sense, his uncompromising sense of justice, his extraordinary courage and his unwavering courage in the defense of the existing rules governing the university are some of his references from which the UI will benefit enormously.
Born and raised in the refined blend of Christianity and Yoruba manners, Adebowale remains a perfect gentleman with all the attributes and sensibility of a cosmopolitan scholar. Having interacted with him for over five years, this writer can authoritatively describe the new UI boss as a lively, warm and highly infectious comedian. He is nicknamed “Baba mi o!” because of his popular response and signature to greetings from friends. You will feel at home with him, with his peculiar laughter rhythm.
Adebowale is intellectually dialogic, highly conversational, and chatty with his open and friendly demeanor. He is not a carrier of malice. It is a story of decency and dignity. He analyzes problems with both a scientific and a sociological mind. He has a good grasp of social anthropology which allows him to flow with everyone. Years ago I was with him in his chemistry lab where he shared with me some of his past experiences in journalism. I never knew he was at Radio Nigeria until he went back to college for an academic career. Our interaction made it clear that Professor Adebowale could easily be described as a perfect image of cordiality and civility. He has the finesse to defuse tense situations.
More importantly, judging by his performance as Assistant Vice Chancellor (Administration) for two terms, it can be confidently said that Professor Adebowale knows how to navigate the generally complex terrain of organizational governance to achieve the desired results. . He was in charge of projects and he carried out his duties with all his talents, his treasure and his time. He has the formidable gift of illuminating little-known paths and projects with a radiant light. The glowing spirit of his intellectual creativity has certainly added depth and breadth to uncharted territories and terrains while carrying out his duties.
However, it is common knowledge that he could be evil, albeit on principle. This incoming VC is not influenced by foreign emotivity and parochialism. For example, some people in the system probably may not like him because he objected to strict practices of bypassing electricity meters in staff quarters.
Others may also have struggled with him because of his role in banning commercial motorcycles otherwise known as okada on campus, following reports of insecurity. Adebowale remains a rare embodiment of courage, charisma and credibility. He is solution-oriented in all circumstances.
Again in one of our many official trips, this chemistry teacher was a wonder to watch. With it, you are assured of wise-cracks, deep thoughts, spiritually ennobling insights, sublime statements and words of wisdom. Upon meeting him, you will be struck by the strength of a gentle soul with a mental greatness that envelops kindness.
Academically, he is said to have had the highest number of citations in the physical sciences. As a researcher on SCOPUS, he was cited 3,227 times in 2,494 articles with an h index of 36. On Google Scholar, he was cited 6,922 times in 3,812 articles with an i10 index of 80 and an H index of 43. No wonder he’s described as the VC with a CV! Going through his 36-page resume, one was shocked to discover that this man had attracted several millions of US dollars worth of unemployment insurance grants. Indeed, his rich curriculum vitae replaced it with a vintage for a meteoric rise to the zenith of professional celebrity. He surely has the academic know-how, the intellectual strength, the street wisdom, the personality and the courage to do the job, because over the years he has remained unwavering in his university adventure. In the academic circle, Adebowale is recognized, respected and relevant. Obviously, he is able to do the job because he has the right mix of experience and expertise.
Always full of smiles, his serenity of mind impresses me endlessly. Despite the emotional hardships that followed his appointment, he remained stoic, yet gracious in kindness and generous in giving with a cheerful disposition. Indeed, he is a man of incredible self-control. Certainly, the fulfillment of destiny comes at a cost because it has come a difficult path to reign.
He was born on January 11, 1962 in Ibadan, Oyo State. A proud alumnus of UI, he obtained his B.Sc. in chemistry in 1984; M.Sc. in Industrial Chemistry in 1986 and Doctorate in 1991. The new Vice-Chancellor began his academic career at Akure Federal University of Technology in October 1991 as a grade II lecturer. He returned to UI in 1999 as a lecturer and rose through the ranks to become a professor in October 2006. He had post-doctoral experience in Germany and Italy. His related administrative experience includes: Dean, Faculty of Science, 2009-2011; Director, Special Functions, Office of the Vice-Chancellor, 2015-2017 and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Administration) for two terms, 2018 until his appointment.
He is a member of the following learned societies: Science Association of Nigeria; Nigerian Chemical Society; Nigerian Institute of Polymers; and the Nigerian Academy of Sciences. Outside the coasts of the country, he is a member of the Royal Society of Chemistry (United Kingdom); African Academy of Sciences (Kenya) and Alexander von Humboldt (Germany). He took the Senior Executive Course (SEC) 39, 2017 of the National Institute of Political and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru, Jos, leading to the award of mni. He is married and the father of three children.
As he takes office on November 1, 2021 as the 13th VC, one can only pray that he has a successful and peaceful tenure. UI is a brand that has a high premium even in a global context. His integrity must not be compromised by meanness and petulance.
- Saanu is with the University of Ibadan
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