My vision is to improve IGR, reposition varsity – New VC
The third substantive Vice- Chancellor of the Federal University, Oye-Ekiti (FUOYE), Prof. Kayode Soremekun, last week, rendered account of his administration’s stewardship, as he bowed out of office following expiration of his five-year tenure
My tenure was daunting, challenging –Soremekun
Varsity inaugurates 81 infrastructural projects
After five years of holding forte as the third substantive Vice-Chancellor of the Federal University, Oye-Ekiti (FUOYE), it was time for Prof. Kayode Soremekun, who bowed out of office last week to give the score card of his administration.
Soremokun, who bade the university community farewell following the expiration of his five-year single term on Thursday, February 11, 2021, was appointed the Vice-Chancellor of the 10-year-old university in February 2016. The Federal University of Oye- Ekiti was established in 2011 alongside other eight Federal universities by the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan. Following the completion of his tenure,
Soremekun, however, handed over to Prof. Abayomi Fasina, a Professor of Soil Sciences, as the fourth substantive Vice-Chancellor of the university at a two-day handing over and project commissioning ceremony, held amid tight security.
This was as a group had earlier kicked against and mounted opposition that Fasina should not be sworn in by the Federal Government, citing some allegations against him.
However, for Fasina, the two-day event presented a time for his preparation and determination to take up a new challenge and responsibility of lifting the university to greater heights. In his inaugural speech during his swearing in and inauguration, Fasina promised to introduce an aggressive process of dialogue and reconciliation with all aggrieved parties in the institution with a view to collectively moving the university forward.
Thus, he stressed that “we need everybody to be on board to build the FUOYE of our dream,” even as he pledged the readiness of his administration to immediately initiate a vigorous Internally Generated Revenue IGR) drive, and academic retreat/summit in order strategise on how to reposition the university globally.
“We will try to create wealth for the university through what I called Risk to Wealth Initiative,” the new Vice-Chancellor said, disclosing that two eminent Professors of the university would be saddled with the initiative to attract consultancy for the university.
Fasina added: “This brand has to be leveraged upon so as to move FUOYE to the next level. We have the right calibre of staff and our strategic plan is appropriate as a compass to becoming the leading institution in academic and research excellence.”
The new Vice-Chancellor, while highlighting his administration’s vision, anchored majorly to refocus on academic and research excellence, as well as inclusive administration, however, pointed out that the strategic plan had been crafted to serve as appropriate tonic and a compass to reposition and re-energise FUOYE as leading academic institution with global rating.
While handing over the mantle of leadership of the university to his successor, the outgoing Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Soremekun solicited the support and cooperation of the university management, academic staff, students and the entire university community for the new Vice Chancellor in order for him to succeed in his tenure.
“It is possible to disagree, but not disagreeable. It is from disagreement that we get new insight to move forward,” he said, urging the new Vice-Chancellor to take the university to an enviable position such that it could be compared favourably to the first and second generation universi ties in the next five years.
Soremekun, however, pleaded for forgiveness from those he might have offended or crossed their paths in one way or the other in the course of carrying out his duties of managing the university.
On his part, the Chairman of the Governing Council and Pro-Chancellor of the university, Dr. Mohammad Lawan Yahusa challenged the new Vice-Chancellor on the need to ensure inclusive administration and run an open management. “There should not be cabals in the university. Give every member of the university community the opportunity to contribute his or her quota to the growth and development of the institution,” he said.
As part of activities lined up for the handing over ceremony, no fewer than 81 infrastructural projects executed by the outgoing administration of Prof. Soremekun, as part of his score card were inaugurated.
Soremekun, however, described his five-year tenure as most daunting and challenging, as he listed the problems of inadequate funding, among others major challenges that confronted the budding university during his administration, but noted that he was able to overcome the challenges through collective support and efforts of all members of the university community, and other critical stakeholders in the university project.
According to him, prudent management of human and limited material resources available to the institution, and particularly the courage to leverage on the cooperation of the management team enabled him to surmount the obstacles to record the sterling achievements of his administration.
He added that the outstanding performance propelled him to achieve the execution of no fewer than 81 infrastructural projects primarily executed to bolster quality teaching and learning, as well as create an enabling research environment in the university.
Dignitaries at the event include the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu; Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Bisi Egbeyemi; the Chairman of Council/Pro-Chancellor, Dr. Yahuza; the Ewi of Ado, Oba Rufus Adejuyigbe; Ekiti State Commissioner for Arts, Culture and Tourism, Prof. Radaki Ojo Bakare, other top government functionaries, federal and ministries officials, and traditional rulers, as well as staff members and students of the institution.
Some of the projects commissioned include the abandoned projects inherited by Soremekun’s administration, but were completed to boost infrastructural facilities and foster qualitative academic and research activities of the institution.
The projects include construction of an access road network, which link the once inaccessible two campuses in Ikole and Oye for the students.
These are the central roads linking the Phase I, II and III parts of the Oye campus of the university, which was recently asphalted and tarred.
Some of the abandoned projects of the predecessor completed by the Prof. Soremekun administration include the Central Administrative Building and the university main library complex, among others, while other projects started and completed by the administration also include the ultra-modern Faculty of Pharmacy Building; Faculty of Agriculture; well-equipped Multi-Media Studio for Mass Communication Faculty; Faculty of Basic Sciences building, Faculty of Management Science complex and academic buildings for the Faculty of Sciences, among others. Given his administration’s score card,
Soremekun, said the university which had about 6,000 students enrolment when he assumed office in 2016 as the Vice-Chancellor, could today boast of over 24,000 students’ population across the various faculties, departments,and programmes.
Basking in the euphoria of his achievements, Soremekun said of his tenure: “The university can presently boast of peaceful academic calendar, and introduction of new faculties such as the Faculties of Pharmacy, Management Sciences, Basic Sciences, Law and Environmental Studies, which were established to complement the existing faculties, which were less than seven when I assumed office.”
“Besides, four years ago, FUOYE could not claim to have 50 per cent of the infrastructural and learning facilities the university now enjoys in terms of well-equipped classrooms, offices, faculty buildings, sports complex, regular power supply, hostel accommodation for students and other social amenities, but today the bar of infrastructure of the university has been raised.
“The university under our five-year management now has a well-equipped Information Communication Technology (ICT) Unit with independent and expanded bandwidth website and internet connectivity.
“As part of our deliberate efforts to enhance electricity supply to our campuses, the university is today connected to the National Grid which has enhanced regular supply of electricity to the two campuses, while deliberate efforts were also put in place in the area of staff development programmes such as conferences, workshops to enhance their competence, teaching and research capacity.
“There is a tremendous record of academic successes achieved by students and members of the academic and administrative staff in the last few years in the areas of laurels and research grants.”
Soremekun, who said that FUOYE under his administration won several national and international awards in academic feats, which have gone a long way in repositioning and placing the institution on path of reckoning, however, added: “These include the African Drum Festival held in 2019 in which the university’s Department of Theatre and Media Arts emerged third position in the maiden edition of the contest, while the institution also won laurels in other contest in Engineering, Food technology, Agriculture, Soil Science Mechatronics and others.”
Other achievements of his administration, according to him, is also in the area of staff welfare and development, which did not only assume a top priority of the management in the last five years with the payment of special allowances to the workers, but also dissuaded the workers from militant unionism, as well as set the university on the path of academic and administrative stability.
The university management, the outgoing Vice-Chancellor noted, opened up several windows for academic activities and opportunities for students and have further generated huge economic benefits for the institution.
This, he said, include the introduction and commencement of Distance Learning programme, online teaching programmes, as well as partnership with some polytechnics across the country on numerous entrepreneurship and skill development programmes.
Another landmark achievement of Prof. Soremekun’s administration, New Telegraph learnt, was that take-off of the university Law Faculty and attainment of full accreditation status for all the academic programmes offered by the university.
The outgoing Vice-Chancellor, who expressed delight over the progress achieved by the university in the last five years, recalled that FUOYE emerged the first among its peers to commence the Postgraduate School, as well as introduction of inaugural lectures.
The maiden inaugural lecture of the university, he recalled, was delivered by a Professor of Biochemistry, Prof. Akintayo Cecilia on her ground-breaking research work, while the second inaugural lecture was also delivered by another Distinguished Professor of Dance,
Prof. Rasaki Ojo Bakare. Soremekun, who added that the university under his watch was able to record these sterling achievements despite the fact that his tenure hamstrung by the advent of COVID-19 pandemic, insisted that Coronavirus posed a great challenge globally and to the country, but despite the university during his tenure did not shirk in its responsibilities to the immediate community. Rather, he stressed that the university did not only brace up for the challenge, but had to deploy technology via online and virtual platforms to deliver the university’s functions and mandate under the ‘new normal.’
For his administration’s achievements, various stakeholders in the university project, within and outside the university community showered encomium on the outgoing Vice-Chancellor for his performance and accomplishments.
Soremekun, however, lauded the Federal Government, Governing Council, the Senate of the university, principal officers of the institution, members of teaching and non-teaching staff including ASUU, SSANU, NASU, NAAT and other members of the university community for their support, saying that without their collective efforts and cooperation his administration would not have achieved the desired goals.
The outgoing Vice-Chancellor, who reiterated that there were still much ground for the university to cover in order to reach the pinnacle and zenith of its development, said: “Today is a day in which I am very grateful to the Almighty God because within a space of five years, we have achieved greatly.
Our Bursar once said that we have had storms. Indeed we had it and it was as if we were passing through the furnace of troubles. But like my mother used to say, “With Christ in the vessel, we have been able to smile over the storm.”
Soremekun, however, reaffirmed that the challenge to the Nigerian university system is funding, insisting that universities could not go beyond what they are receiving in terms of funds from their proprietors.
The outgoing Vice-Chancellor, who decried what he described as over-unionised university system in the country, and said that in a context where you have an overunionised university system, that system can never grow, noted: “I am yet to see any university in the world where we have this kind of over-unionised system like Nigeria.”