Edited by: Omotosho Ayotomiwa
Recently, activities in Obafemi Awolowo University were disrupted by the protesters who did not approve of the appointment of another vice-chancellor (the 12th). The claim was that Prof. Simeon Bamire from the Faculty of Agriculture hails from Ondo State. The protesters wanted the new vice-chancellor to be an indigene of Ile-Ife.
Despite the fiasco, it is important to note that what makes OAU great is the achievements of its various vice-chancellors, irrespective of their origin. So join me as we take a look at a few of OAU’s vice-chancellors and some of their most notable achievements.
Prof. Anthony Adebolu Elujoba
Prof. Anthony Elujoba served as the acting vice-chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University between 2016 and 2017. He was born in 1948 and is a professor of Pharmacognosy in the Faculty of Pharmacy, OAU.
As mentioned, he served as an acting vice chancellor for about one year, but his achievements are in no way inferior to any other VC.
He conducted an extensive renovation of all the toilets in the halls of residence. This was necessary due to many student complaints about the bad toilets in the various hostels. He ensured the supply of clean and adequate water to all areas of the OAU campus. He even gave a water pump to the water station to help with the OAU campus’s water issues.
Prof. Anthony Adebolu Elujoba commissioned the repair of various lecture theatres on campus. His goal was to restore the lecture theatres to their former glory. He was mostly successful.
He was able to stabilise the academic calendar in OAU when he served as the university’s acting vice-chancellor. This was, by no means, a small feat because OAU is famous for numerous strike actions. Prof. Elujoba was able to conduct an entire academic session in 8 months.
Prof. Idowu Bamidele Omole
Prof. Bamidele Omole was born in Oye, Ekiti State, in September 1984. He graduated from the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) with a Bachelor of Arts (B.A) in History in 1976 and a Master of Arts (M.A) in History in 1977.
Prof. Omole then earned an M.Phil. and a doctorate in International Relations from the University of Bordeaux in France. His career began in 1986 when he was employed as a Senior Lecturer here at OAU. He then rose through the ranks when and became a professor of international relations and became OAU’s 10th vice-chancellor in June 2011
Prof. Omole achieved quite a lot during his tenure as OAU’s vice-chancellor. His administration is known for 30 major capital projects. These projects include the construction of an Olympic-sized swimming pool. This came just in time for the 24th NUGA game held between the 12th of February- and 22, 2014.
Other projects included the construction of the moot court, a university hall, and a 12-story Senate building (Jubilee House). He also played a pivotal role in OAU receiving an $8 million World Bank grant to construct an African Center of Excellence, with an emphasis on the OAU Knowledge Park.
Perhaps Prof. Omole’s most noteworthy achievement has to be renewing OAU’s internet service. During his tenure, OAU was ranked number one by Webometrics for four (4) consecutive years between 2011 and 2014.
Prof. Micheal Oladimeji Faborode
Prof. Faborode hails from Akoko, Ondo State. He was born in the small town of Supare in September 1956. He attained his Bachelor of Science (B.Sc) and Masters of Science (M.Sc) at Obafemi Awolowo University (the University of Ife at the time). He then obtained his Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Engineering from the University of Newcastle, United Kingdom.
In June 2006, he succeeded Prof. Roger Makanjuola and became the 9th vice-chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University. His tenure ran from 2006 through to 2011. Although his tenure spanned one of OAU Campus’s rockiest periods, Prof. Faborede had notable accomplishments. OAU was three to four years behind other public universities on the academic calendar upon his appointment. It was so bad that the first medical induction conducted by Prof. Faborode, the class valedictorian told his colleagues to “find it in their heart to forgive the university for wasting their time.” Yes, it was that bad.
Prof. Faborede was able to normalise the academic calendar and reportedly reduced that backlog by about 2yrs. He was also able to involve the school’s alumni and parents in the affairs of the OAU campus. This helped him complete the renovation of lecture theatres around the university campus. With help from the Federal Government of Nigeria, he built a 1000 seater and 500 seater lecture theatre.
The National History Museum, with backing from the Leventis Foundation, the National History Museum was commissioned during this tenure. The Post Graduate College building was also one of his doings. He also commissioned the OAU Radio – 94.5 FM. These are some of Prof. Faborede’s most notable achievements.
Late Prof. Hezekiah Adedunmola Oluwasanmi
The 2nd Vice-Chancellor of the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo University was Prof. Hezekiah Oluwasanmi. You must be very familiar with this name if you’ve been around the University’s library. Born on the 12th of November, 1919, in Ipetu Ijesa, Prof. Oluwasanmi schooled at Morehouse College and Harvard University, where he earned a Doctorate.
His career began when he returned to Nigeria in the 1940s as a lecturer at the University College of Ibadan, now University of Ibadan. He was then appointed a professor of agricultural economics in 1958. He was made the Vice-Chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University (the University of Ife) after a military coup in 1966 saw Adekunle Fajuyi emerge as the new military governor. He remained the university’s vice chancellor for nine years, from 1966 to 1975. Prof. Hezekiah Oluwasanmi died on the 15th of August 1983.
Prof. Oluwasanmi may be called the mastermind behind OAU’s present location. The previous administration had set aside the plan to move the university to its permanent locations for reasons best known to them. Upon his appointment, Prof. Oluwasanmi worked with the government to ensure that the university was moved to its current location in Ile-Ife, where it remains today. For his efforts, the university named the central library after him.
Since its inception, Obafemi Awolowo University has had 11 vice-chancellors and one acting vice-chancellor. Therefore, this is not an exhaustive list of OAU’s vice-chancellor. It is a look at a few of the vice-chancellors and their accomplishments. So, let’s know who your favourite vice-chancellor is and why!