Tech-U Outgoing VC Honoured As Friends Celebrate His Achievements

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    It was another moment of grand honour for the pioneer Vice Chancellor of the First Technical University, Ibadan, Professor Ayobami Salami, on Wednesday April 20, when his friends and associates held a farewell programme for him. Among those behind the memorable programme are Professors Olajide Oke and Henry Odeyinka, who had respectively been the Dean of the Faculty of Natural and Applied Sciences and that of the Faculty of Environmental Sciences at Tech-U.

    Salami’s tenure will end on May 8, paving the way for the incoming VC, Professor Adesola Ajayi.

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    Many egg heads whom Salami has always related with, and other stakeholders who find his strides at Tech-U worthy of celebration, gathered in the Library Hall of the specialised institution, with everyone having great things to say about his character, efficiency and legacies.

    In her opening address, the chairperson of the occasion, Professor of Veterinary Public Health and Preventive Medicine at the University of Ibadan, Olanike Adeyemo, said it was great that Salami started well and completed the assignment well.

    She said, “Professor Salami, you should be very proud of yourself.  It is not about starting, it is about finishing excellently well. You are leaving big shoes, but we believe your legacy will endure.”

    Also in attendance were outgoing VC’s wife, Professor Abiodun Salami; incoming Vice Chancellor, Professor Adesola Ajayi, and his wife, Mrs Ibiyemi Ajayi; Tech-U Registrar, Mrs Olayinka Balogun, and the Bursar, Pastor Kehinde Olatokun.

    A former Vice Chancellor of the Ladoke Akintola University, Ogbomoso, Professor Adeniyi Gbadegesin;  Professor Layo Ajayi, veteran librarian, Mrs Bukky Asubiojo, former Bursar at OAU, Mrs J. A. Akeredolu; Mrs Modupe Ajayi and  OAU’s Academic Staff Union Chairman, Dr Adeola Egbedokun, with some of his colleagues.

    President of the Lagelu Grammar School Old Students Association – Salami’s alma mater – Dr, Kayode Afolabi, who described Salami as a man of impeccable character, also attended, alongside other members, while from Tech-U were also  Professor Olusegun Awotoye, Professor Steven Oke, Professor Olatunji Okesola, Mr O. M. Ariyibi, Barrister Yomi Opakunle, Mr Adekunle Adebisi,  Mrs Esther Aina and many others.

    Those who know the genesis of the First Technical University, which was established during the tenure of the late Governor Isiaka Abiola Ajimobi, also graced the occasion.

    Among them were the then Secretary to the Oyo State Government, Alhaji Olalekan Ali; and a former Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Hon. Bimbo Kolade. Both gave a background to how Tech-U was established and how Salami emerged the VC out of the many top scholars who applied from within and outside Nigeria.

    Ali expressed fulfilment at the solid foundation Salami has given the university in terms of sound academic heritage and infrastructural expansion.

    According to him, he wished Ajimobi were alive to see how beautifully the dream has unfolded.

    He said, “We needed a VC who would be able to transform the idea of a university of learning and practice into reality. At the same time, we needed a VC who would be a janitor, a cleaner, coordinator, manager and an intellectual. Many people applied but we literally had to beg him to take up the job. Today, all we had seen in him have come to life.”

    As far as Kolade is concerned, that  the institution has survived and developed rapidly is amazing because even he and some people in the Ajimobi government doubted if it would make it due to the prevailing economic situation when it came on stream.

    He thus thanked Salami for turning the dream into a reality.

    It was also a day for reminiscences especially by those who were with Salami when he went through the battle to become the vice chancellor at the OAU.

    He was duly appointed and got his letter before the process was cancelled in a way that they believe was unjust.

    Among those who reflected on the battle then were Professor Surajudeen Ajadi, pioneer Dean of Students Affairs at Tech-U; and his successor, Dr Caleb Aborisade.

    Ajadi recalled how dogged Salami was during the battle, to the extent that he re-contested after his victory was cancelled.

    Despite his hard-fighting spirit, Ajadi said, “Professor Salami knows what it takes to be humane. He is of exemplary character.”

    On his part, Professor Odeyinka said, Salami was a man of multiple anointing. He noted, “He has emphasised grace. He is a man who carries a lot of anointing – pastoral, intellectual leadership anointing and more.”

    Also present were Professor Olajubu, who described Salami as a man with many disciples.

    “I used to be angry with what they did to us at Ife. But when I got here, I ceased to be angry. I am only sad for Great Ife.”

    While Professor Remi Ogunfowokan highlighted the celebrator’s virtues to include being prudent, calm and calculated, hardworking, of high integrity and considerate to all, a lecturer at Tech-U, Dr JET, shared an experience that confirmed to him that Professor Salami also works with the judgment and spirit of a father.

    Responding to the encomium galore, the outgoing VC thanked all the parties involved, including the late Ajimobi, Alhaji Ali and the management and staff of Tech-U for allowing and supporting him to prove his mettle.

    He, however, gave all the glory to God, saying all was by God’s grace.

    He said, “I feel highly honoured. At a point I feel like shedding tears, and wondered whether I actually deserve this.

    “Everything depends on grace and I give all glory to God. All He has spoken has come to pass. My adventure at this university is never by ambition, but by vision and mission. God told me I was going to be a VC. I thought it was at OAU where I had laboured all along. Eventually the vision has come to pass because God can never be a liar. Some of the people God used are here.

    “Chief Wole Olanipekun was ready to pursue the case for me.  But I told myself, if I say I want to add value and some people say no, then I can as well move on with my life. Also, I didn’t want to hold down the destiny of OAU, knowing I would get an injunction, and the university had to go on with the burden of an acting VC. For how long would that be? I felt that, whatever happened, God allowed it. And it is now I realise the significance of unanswered prayer, based on what God has established here at Tech-U.”

    Salami noted that Alhaji Ali always guided him on how to relate with politician, despite the fact that Ajimobi had given him the free hand to operate.

    “Alhaji Ali was my constant source of inspiration within the government. He helped me without strings attached.”

    The outgoing VC expressed the belief that Tech-U would continue to grow, adding that his successor was also a man of immense learning, passion, experience and trustworthy character.

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