The appointment and eventual assumption of duty of Professor Adenike Temidayo Oladiji as the new Vice-Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA), is significant in many respects. First, she would be the first female to hold that position at FUTA at a period when audacious women are making waves in all spheres of human endeavour, especially in fields that were hitherto thought to be the exclusive preserves of the menfolk.
Secondly, the appointment has been widely applauded as being strictly based on merit, as her sterling performance at the selection interview, rather than any extraneous consideration, was said to have clearly commended her to the panel of interviewers.
The renowned Professor of Biochemistry, who is also the first female fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Sciences, has always demonstrated great intellectual erudition and administrative acumen in all the academic assignments and administrative positions she had held in her career sojourn in the academia that spans over three decades.
One of the most hardworking dons of the University of Ilorin, whose immense intellectual works have contributed to the lofty heights the better by far citadel has attained, Professor Oladiji had held various positions and served on almost all University Committees as Chairman and Member.
She had also served in various capacities, including Head of Department; Sub Dean of Faculty; Deputy Director, Centre for International Education; Director, Centre for Research Development and In-House Training (CREDIT); Director, Central Research Laboratory; Dean, School Of Basic Medical Sciences (Kwara State University); Dean, School of Life Sciences and Member, Governing Council, Federal Polytechnic, Nasarawa and Crown Hill University, Eiyenkorin, Ilorin.
The new FUTA vice-chancellor, who is a prolific researcher with over 100 publications, has won many distinctions and awards, which include University’s merit award, certificate of merit and scholarships, among others.
She is a fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Sciences, in fact the very first female fellow of that academy, as well as fellow, Nigerian Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.
In the course of her exciting academic career, Professor Oladiji had served as member of various scientific committees at the National Universities Commission (NUC), the Tertiary Education Fund (TETFund), as well as the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB). She has also been an external examiner in over 20 universities in Nigeria and outside the country.
She is a Member of several Professional Bodies such as the West Africa Research and Innovation Management (WARIMA), the American Society of Nutrition, the Organization for Women in Science for Developing World (OSWD), the Science Association of Nigeria and the Nigerian Society for Experimental Biology.
It is, therefore, surprising that despite her intimidating curriculum vitae and undeniable competence, some people could still fault ProfessorOladiji’sappointment as the eighth FUTA vice-chancellor, insinuating that the selection process was “fraught with fraud”, whatever that means! These insignificant and therefore negligible few, purporting to speak for FUTA’s academic stakeholders have, however, been cut to size by the authentic spokespersons of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), FUTA branch.
In a swift reaction to the ill-advised outburst of the disgruntled duo, the leadership of ASUU, FUTA dissociated the Union from the report making the rounds in some sections of the media that the union is against Professor Oladiji’s appointment.
In a press statement signed by its Chairman, Professor O.O. Awopetu and Secretary, Dr. O. E. Rasaki, the union dismissed the said publication that claimed that the appointment of the new vice-chancellor was fraught with fraud and lacked transparency.
The statement urged all the union members and the general public to disregard the purported publication in its entirety as it is not the position of ASUU-FUTA. It said the publication in circulation was signed by two professors who are not members of the executive committee of ASUU-FUTA, pointing out that “the two have no rights, neither were they authorised and are in no capacity to speak for and on behalf of ASUU-FUTA”.
While calling on all media platforms that circulated such stories to retract them immediately to avoid other consequences, ASUU-FUTA noted that such report never originated from its secretariat, adding that ASUU is a union of intellectuals and will not result to any act that can mislead the public.
Also, the non-teaching staff of FUTA have also given ProfessorOladiji’s appointment a stamp of approval.
In their joint congratulatory message, the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities (NASU) expressed satisfaction with the processes that led to ProfessorOladiji’s appointment.
The workers, under the aegis of Joint Action Committee (JAC), said that from available records, Prof. Oladiji is the most qualified and came top in the selection process.
Addressing newsmen at the university campus in Akure penultimate weekend, the Chairman of SSANU, FUTA chapter, Comrade Felix Adunbi, who is also the JAC Chairman, affirmed that there was no law that says FUTA vice-chancellor, should be a product of the institution.
Comrade Adunbi commended the FUTA Governing Council led by the pro-chancellor and Chairman of Council, Ambassador (Dr.) GodknowsIgali, for approving the appointment in line with the law.
Meanwhile, ProfessorOladiji has promised to hit the ground running as she mounts the saddle at FUTA.
In her very first post-appointment media interview with the UNILORIN 89.3 FM, she promised to give the institution her best, assuring that she was prepared not only to maintain the shinning reputations of FUTA but also to mobilise human and material resources from within and outside the University to ensure that its positive image soars much higher during her tenure.
- Akogun writes from Ilorin.
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