FUOYE: Giant strides of a man with culture of excellence

 By WOLE BALOGUN

Recently, members of the Governing Council of our great University, the Federal University Oye-Ekiti (FUOYE) embarked on an inspection of the various enviable projects that now dotted the landscape of the twin campuses of Oye and Ikole respectively.

The distinguished gentlemen and ladies comprised the representatives of the Federal Government of Nigeria in the Council and the representatives of the Federal Ministry of Education in the persons of Mr. Sabo Inuwa, and Mr. Abdullahi Jibrin respectively, among many others. There were also top management functionaries of the University, Principal Officers, Deans and Directors as well as some senior lecturers and newsmen.

The Vice-Chancellor, (VC) Professor Kayode Soremekun and his deputies in charge of Administration and Academic, i.e Professor Abayomi Fasina and Ekiti born Prof.  Sola Ojo respectively, led the inspection team that went round the twin campuses to assess the level of infrastructural development.

FUOYE's Director of Physical Planning Unit (PPU) served as the projects inspection tour guide and introduced the various projects to these assessors one after the other, revealing when construction or rehabilitation began, when they were completed or projected to be completed as well as what purposes they are to serve among others.

Indeed, without mincing words, it was an exciting tour for the team who expressed deep appreciation and satisfaction over the level of infrastructural development the current Soremekun led Management of the University has achieved in the past four years.

As the Vice Chancellor recalled, there were 47 projects already completed, of which some were inherited as abandoned projects from his predecessors, while many others were started and already completed by the current administration. Some others are currently on going, and yet others are still being proposed for construction!

The inspection teams were awed with such outstanding projects as the new roads network which now serve as links for places hitherto inaccessible for students on the twin campuses. Such roads include the central road linking the phases one, two and three parts of the Oye campus which was tarred recently.

The abandoned projects now completed by the Soremekun administration include the Central Administration Building, the Library and some others.

Those started by the current administration and already completed included the utra-modern faculty of Pharmacy building, ultra-modern faculty of Agriculture, the well equipped media studio facility for students of Mass Communication, the ultra-modern faculty of Basic Medical sciences, faculty of Management sciences complex and academic building for the faculty of sciences among others.

Determined to do more, the VC listed some other projects he would be embarking on and which would be completed before the end of his five-year tenure on February, 2021. They include the on going road construction scheduled to be completed by end of February, 2020, and a new Faculty of Arts complex among others.

Flashback to four years ago, FUOYE didn't have the number of students' population, (almost 20,000) she now has. The University could not boast of having the peaceful academic environment, smooth running and stable academic calendar she now enjoys as it was almost a one-week, one trouble saga where angry staff unions used to stage weekly protests and disrupt academic and business activities on the twin campuses. It could not also boast of having up to seven faculties which it now has with the recent addition of faculties of Pharmacy, Management sciences, Basic sciences, Law and Environmental studies, all of which were made possible by the current administration.

Over fours ago, FUOYE could not boast of having 50 percent of the infrastructural and learning facilities she now enjoys in terms of well constructed classrooms, offices, faculty buildings, sports complex, power supply, hostel accommodation and other social amenities. The University didn't have her own independent Information and Technology (ICT) unit and could not operate an independent website until Soremekun came on board, neither was the University connected to the national grid for adequate supply of electricity on the twin campuses until the current administration came on board.

What is more? , there have been tremendous records of academic successes on the part of both FUOYE students and many members of the academic and administrative staff courtesy of the current tenure of Prof. Soremekun.

For the records, FUOYE has won several national and international awards on academic feats.  These included the recent African Drum festival of 2019 where the University's Department of Theatre and Media Arts clinched the third position within their maiden participation in the contest, and other contests in Engineering, Food technology, agriculture, soil science, Mechatronics and others.

The staff welfare have been well taken care of by the current administration such that staff members no longer have cause to grumble and resolve to incessant militant unionism while performing their duties; a recent subtle move in payment of some token as special allowances testify to this assertion.

The University Management has opened up several windows for academic activities which have further provided huge economic benefits, these included the just commenced Distance Learning programmes, On line educational programmes, and Top Up programmes for the Polytechnics in some parts of the country among others.

Just last week Tuesday, February 25, 2020, a high powered team of the Nigeria Council for legal Education were in FUOYE for resource verification exercise that will give birth to accreditation of the Law programme of the University.

FUOYE has emerged the first of its peers to start a Post Graduate School as well as annual inaugural lectures and these were achieved when Prof. Soremekun mounted the saddle of leadership!.

Erudite Professor of Bio-Chemistry, Prof. Akintayo Cecelia gave the first FUOYE inuagural lecture on her ground breaking research work, while another distinguished Professor of Dance and Performance Aesthetics, and Nigeria's first Professor of Dance, Prof. Rasaki Ojo Bakare gave the second inuagural lecture and Prof. Omotola, current Dean of the faculty of Social Sciences, has been scheduled to give the forthcoming inaugural lecture of our great University.

Having noticed the University Management's giant strides in the aforementioned areas, the Federal Government and the Ministry of Education poured encomiums on the Prof. Soremekun led Management team and the University Governing Council recently.

Hear what they said: Mr. Sabo Inuwa, a representative of the Federal Government in FUOYE's Council said. "I am satisfied with the level of development in FUOYE. I am very happy with the administration of Prof. Kayode Soremekun. Already, FUOYE has been ranked first among its peers in infrastructural development and academic performance. It is the best. So, ignore all the bad elements spreading bad rumours to spoil the school.".

Mr. Abdullahi Saliu Jibrin, a representative of the Ministry of Education who stood in for the Minister of Education said. "It is an excellent performance that the Prof. Kayode Soremekun team has done in FUOYE. As for the criticism against the management, we have taken that positively. It is natural, no matter how good you are, you will get criticism but we are not distracted.

Asked what makes him an astute administrator who has been able to achieve so much, Prof. Soremekun told newsmen: "What drives me is the culture of Excellence. If you know about my background, you can call me an authentic part of the Floria's tradition, that tradition has been responsible for my motivation. Above all, God is involved because with Christ in the vessel, we have smiles at the storm.

“I want to tell you with deep sense of sincerity that most of the facilities we have in FUOYE today were started and completed by our team. We met some abandoned projects such as the central administration building and the library, but all have been completed. But like Achebe said, it is still Morning yet on creation day. We are hoping that before the end of the year, we will have more projects, because by the end of the current admission exercise, the students' population would hit 20,000. That means we will need more facilities, but certainly, we are much better now than what we met four years ago," he said.

The VC while advising FUOYE students, staff and the FG, said: "Government should not relent on its efforts at funding FUOYE and other Federal institutions because the bedrock of development is education. For the past few years that this institution has been in this part of Nigeria, there has been substantial change socially and economically.

“Students are urged to make judicious use of the facilities because they are the future of the nation.    The staff should cooperate with the authorities and be more patient. Rome was not built in a day so FUOYE would not be built in a day, but surely, what the horizon looks like is that we will be looking more like the Obafemi Awolowo University in the next five years," he assured.