The Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Governing Council, Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), Ago-Iwoye, Prof. Toyin Ashiru, OON, has attributed the successes and improvements made by the University over the years to the exceptional leadership the institution is blessed with. He, therefore, said it was crucial for all stakeholders in the varsity project to build upon its strengths for further development and transformative changes.
Prof. Ashiru made the remarks at the robing ceremony of Prof. Ayodeji Agboola as the 11th substantive Vice-Chancellor of the University held on Wednesday 21st June, 2023. It will be recalled that the Vice-Chancellor formally took over the mantle of leadership on Thursday 13th October, 2022 following his appointment by the Governing Council after the completion of tenure of his predecessor, Prof. Ganiyu Olatunde.
According to the Pro-Chancellor, the investiture of the Vice-Chancellor marked the beginning of a new era. He expressed confidence that Prof. Agboola would make positive contributions to the University and leave the institution better than he met it.
Prof. Ashiru, who was delighted that OOU had grown in leaps and bounds over the past four decades, reassured the University Management of the cooperation and support of the Governing Council towards making the institution relevant nationally and globally. He said, “Olabisi Onabanjo University has been blessed with exceptional leadership and it is crucial that we build upon our strengths to further develop our intellectual pursuits and shape our strategic vision.”
“Our aim is to excel as a distinguished public university, nationally and globally. Universities thrive when they remain dynamic, engaged with their evolving environment and responsive to the changing times. OOU has undergone regular and transformative changes over the past four decades.”
“This milestone of four decades in the history of Olabisi Onabanjo University has been reached through patience, hope and resilience. These qualities will continue to drive our growth and expansion, ultimately earning us the recognition we deserve from future generations.”
“As a reputable institution,” the Pro-Chancellor pointed out that “OOU has consistently provided quality tertiary education to our State and beyond. We rank among the best in fostering intellectual growth and disseminating knowledge.”
The Pro-Chancellor, who declared that the future advancement and growth of OOU rely on the strong foundation laid in the past, said the mission of the current Governing Council is to make notable improvements in academic and administrative sectors of the University while also ensuring adequate funding for its physical projects. He added that students of the institution would remain the centre of attention of Council, which will also continue to attract and retain high quality staff to distinguish the University from others.
He added, “Our University has witnessed rapid infrastructural and academic development, resulting in an impressive transformation. The Governing Council has prioritised comprehensive accountability and transparency in financial dealings and efficient management, ensuring the maximum value for our funds. Since assuming office, we have prioritised the prompt and regular payment of salaries to boost staff morale and enhance their welfare. Our mission is to make notable improvements in academic, administrative and residential buildings, surpassing the current state. We will continue to seek funding and donors for our physical projects.”
Prof. Ashiru thanked the Visitor to the University and the Ogun State Government for the significant support given to the University to achieve its mandate.
While delivering his address on the occasion, the Vice-Chancellor reaffirmed his commitment to the goal to place OOU as a world-class University recognised internationally as a producer of first-rate quality graduates. He said in line with the vision of the founding fathers of the University, his administration would leave no stone unturned to ensure the institution’s products are not only employable but also positioned to become self-employed and employers of labour after graduation.
Prof. Agboola also expressed optimism that the students loan scheme of President Bola Tinubu would drastically reduce the number of students who drop out annually due to financial challenges. The Vice-Chancellor pointed out that before the students loan scheme was proposed, his administration had introduced work study programme to curb the high rate of students dropping out of school.
“Since the beginning of this year, he said “we have been in the euphoria of the University’s 40th Anniversary. We are celebrating the good foresight of the founding fathers who understood the very essence of holistic education in human emancipation and societal development.””From a very humble beginning when this University opened its gate to the first set of students numbering 522 on January 31, 1983, distributed across its five Faculties then, the University has grown in leaps and bounds. We now have 13 Faculties, three Colleges and a Postgraduate School. To date, this University has produced well over 270,000 graduates, many of whom are making formidable impacts in their various areas of endeavour and that include my humble self,” he revealed.
Prof. Agboola, who stated that his mission was to consolidate the achievements of the past leaders, said he hit the ground running upon assuming office and has made modest achievements in the first eight months of his administration. He explained that the achievements were made through six interventional pillars namely Academic Excellence, High Impact and Translational Research, University Administration, Improving Students’ Experience, Entrepreneurial Linkages and Partnerships as well as Improved and Sustainable Funding.
As a result, the Vice-Chancellor disclosed that OOU currently ranks ranks 15th which was an improvement on the 18th position recorded at the inception of his administration.
“The continued development of Olabisi Onabanjo University to rank as a world class University recognised for producing quality, refined and employable graduates is of great importance. “Going by what we have achieved within the last few months, for which I am indebted to our amiable Governor and Visitor to the University – Prince Dapo Abiodun, CON, the Chairman and honourable members of the OOU Governing Council, my Management Team, the Senate and the entire staff and students, for their support and encouragement, I am very much optimistic about meeting our set targets at the expiration of my tenure,” he submitted.
Speaking in an interview with newsmen after the robing ceremony, the Vice-Chancellor backed the student loan scheme of the Federal Government and urged President Tinubu to sustain it after implementation. He expressed optimism that the scheme would check the incidence of school dropouts in the country.
His words: “I think with the student loan, the government is just trying to see how the students would have access to funding to be able to pursue their careers. Let me use this institution as example. If students have access to student loans, I’m very sure 2,000 of them would not be applying for leave of absence every year out of 10,000 students.
“I believe that with the student loan, the number of students that are usually dropping out yearly as a result of lack of funding would be reduced drastically. In fact, it was because of that I decided to introduce Work Study because, at that time, no government was talking about student loan. But now with the student loan, it’s going to make life much easier for those students. I think it’s a very good development. I pray that the President should be able to sustain it and make it accessible, affordable and available for all these students.”
The ceremony had in attendance Governor Dapo Abiodun, who was represented by his Special Adviser on Justice and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Olusina Ogungbade; former Deputy Governor of Ogun State, Senator Adegbenga Kaka; and members of the Governing Council, including Chief Joju Fadairo, Chief Adepegba Otemolu, and Chief (Mrs) Iyabo Apampa. Also present were the Akarigbo and Paramount Ruler of Remoland, Oba Babatunde Ajayi and the Ebumawe of Ago-Iwoye, Oba Abdulrazaq Adenugba, among others.