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Osun varsity to be branded 10th in Africa

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By Goke Awoyemi

That Nigeria University educational system rating has plummeted is stating the obvious. This has negatively impacted on the quality of graduates churned out every year. Corroborating this assertion, a former Minister of education, Professor Tunde Adeniran noted that the university curriculum being implemented in Nigeria is producing “parasites and unemployable graduates”.

He lamented in his book entitled. Some thoughts on education in Nigeria, that part of emerging challenges bedeviling university education in Nigeria is disregard for the purpose and essence
of university education.

Adeniran is not the only one lamenting the anomalous situation in Nigeria Ivory
towers. A former managing director of the old Daily Times conglomerate, university teacher, and immediate past pro-chancellor, Obafemi Awolowo
University, Ile-Ife, Dr. Yemi Ogunbiyi was quoted by the Guardian newspaper of 9 the October, 2023 to have said “I am the immediate past pro-Chancellor, and Chairman of council, Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife, and I remember
writing a paper that things were not very good with our education system”.

He further opined, that any country that lacks educational push is doomed, adding that with the condition of the public Universities, some of them might not survive the next 25 years.

But Osun State University, a multi-campus institution, which has its main campus
in Osogbo, the state capital and which was founded in the year 2006, has been
described by the pro-Chancellor and Chairman of council, Professor Wale Oladipo
as one University whose exceptional uniqueness in excellence stands unrivalled in Nigeria today, and that it is now synonymous with peace, academic excellence,
high morality, and commitment to institutional vision.

He posited that Osun
Varsity has been in the news for positive projection in the last two years on issues
of grant- winning, laurels and academic distinctions. He described the effort of the
current vice-Chancellor, Professor Odunayo Clement Adebooye as commendable
for being on top of academic and administrative issues within 22 months of
assumption of office,
In term of research capabilities, a team of researchers led by Professor Monsuru
Adeleke from zoology department won $1.45million U.S dollars research grant
from Bill and Melinda Gate foundation, just as two scholars, namely, Professor
Olukoya Ogen and John Agbonifo, won one million Euros for African Research
project entitled “The European Union and Africa in a multi-crises world.

It is equally noteworthy to say that Professor Odunayo, the University viceChancellor led a team of researchers, and won $65,000 U.S dollars from Government of Germany on biodiversity research. The University also emerged as
one of the very few universities in Africa to host Carnegie fellows this year, hosted
2 fellows from two American universities for 3 months between June and August
on collaborative engagements relating to curriculum development, mentoring and
research. Interestingly, four of the university researchers between 2022 and 2023
won a total of 80million naira, as research grant from TETfund for the execution of
various research projects, while Professor Olukoya Ogen of History department
emerged as the first university in Nigeria to win the prestigious UNESCO
International Fund for cultural Diversity (IFCD) worth $100,000 U.S dollars
among others.

Aside, the university provides extant welfare support schemes for staff and
students in all cadres, with the staff volunteer scholarship award under the indigent
but diligent scholarship scheme, with corporate organizations and individuals
voluntarily playing their part to project the university to higher level. From
engineer Tunde Ponle scholarship award scheme, Osun state Development Forum,
Texas, USA scholarship Scheme, to L.A Salami Foundation for brilliant and
indigent students of Osun indigenes. This combined effort is yielding dividend as
an almus, Adegboyega Musthafa Adebayo was selected as a recipient of the
prestigious Nelson Mandela Leadership award of excellence and integrity, and
named an ECOWAS youth Ambassador, just as a farmer law student of the
University made a first class at the final examination in the Law school.

The unprecedented level of physical and infrastructural development embarked
upon by the Governor Ademola Nurudeen Jackson Adeleke government within a
year into the saddle, which informed the completion of long time abandoned 2
storey building in the college of health sciences, with 57 staff offices, and the
ongoing construction of a dual-carriage access road from Ibokun road to Modupe
and Folorunso Alakija teaching hospital among others, must have propelled the
Vice-Chancellor, to reason that Osun varsity will be branded 10th in Africa.
While some new generation universities are excelling in all spheres some older
generation are not only declining, but they are waning in performance and
influence. Espousing this fact is the ‘Orator’ Osun State University, Professor
Anthony Kola Olusanya who was reacting to the pro-chancellor and chairman of
council, Professor Wale Oladipo’s eulogy, who had earlier referred to Obafemi
Awolowo University as “Oba awon unifasiti” translated to mean, King of all
universities, when he (Wale Oladipo) was introducing the pioneer Vice Chancellor,
Osun Varsity, Professor Sola Akinrinade, who was the 2023 convocation lecturer at the University auditorium Osogbo.

Olusanya responded by saying this attribute
to Obafemi Awolowo University was in the past, when it was known as University
of Ife. Wale Oladipo, a highly cerebral, and retired Professor from Obafemi
Awolowo must have had the mindset of how Obafemi Awolowo University was,
when the likes of world acclaimed scholar and 1986 Nobel-Laureate Professor
Wole Soyinka was there, spanning through the studentship of Akinrinade’s era,
when Obafemi Awolowo University was not only a foremost citadel of learning in
Nigeria, but also in west Africa sub-region. Today, Obafemi Awolowo is living on
past glory. Obafemi Awolowo University problem did not start today. During my
studentship at the Graduate School, Obafemi Awolowo University in the early 90s,
Professor Olusola Ojo, then head of department, International Relations rush into
the examination hall, tore my script due for submission in an examination ordered
by the Graduate school into pieces. This borders on impunity. In 1999, on Saturday
July 10 at 4:30a.m, the university community woke up to witness a violent and
gruesome attack at Obafemi Awolowo, allegedly perpetrated by 40 masked
members of the Black Axe fraternity who wore black, black T-shirts, and face

The incidence which shook the whole of Ife township left five students
including George Iwilade, the then Secretary General of the Students’ Union dead,
while 2 others were injured. Professor Rogers Makanjuola, who later became the
Vice-Chancellor, Obafemi Awolowo University, in his book entitled. “Water must
flow Uphill (Adventures in the university Administration) shortly after the attack
wrote, “Allegations that this assassination of prominent student Union members
was sponsored by the university’s Vice-Chancellor”, “It was said that a particular
Vice-Chancellor (name withheld) had a hand in their July 10 dastardly operation”.
In May, 2022, pioneer Vice-Chancellor, first Technical University, Ibadan,
Professor Ayobami Salami recalled how some members of a confraternity were
contracted to kill him when he was appointed as the Vice-Chancellor, Obafemi Awolowo University in 2017.

Except for providence, the inauguration of the
current Vice-Chancellor, Professor Simeon Bamire almost developed into
violence, coupled with allegations of fetish objects, almost marred the process. In
all these, the university was shut down. Explaining the rationale behind private
university in Nigeria, Chief Gabriel Igbinedion, Esama of Benin, who is the
pioneer and founder of the first private university in Nigeria said “ the desire to
provide enabling environment for uninterrupted quality education to future
generations propelled him to establish the first private university in 1999” it is also
on record that the first Professor sentence to six years imprisonment over sex-formark harassment, Professor Akindele was a lecturer at Obafemi Awolowo
University. Since the Punch newspaper published June 21, 2022 rating the
university for being the highest number of lecturer indicted for sexual misconduct,
other national newspapers has followed suits.

That Obafemi Awolowo university
is always in the news negatively, is further explained with the arrest of 69 students
from fine touch and superb hostels in Oduduwa estate, Ile-Ife at about 2a.m on
November 1,2023 by operatives of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission
(EFCC). 58 of them were later released after investigation, while 11 of them are
being prosecuted, an indication that the university is gradually becoming a training
ground for criminals. Similarly, a 200 level student, Gift, was reportedly turned to
a punching bag by a lecturer, for suddenly, but mistakenly entering into a lecturer
room, to mention but a few of impunities pervading the hitherto prestigious
university that was being groomed at inception to become the pride of black
Africa. However, stakeholders and the university community are trusting in the
efficacy of Professor Simeon Banire, the current Vice-Chancellor to redeem the
image of Obafemi Awolowo University for better.

The story of Ajayi Crowder University graduate, who burnt all his certificates from
Primary school to university, as a result of 13years of joblessness, Olutimain Alvin
Lanre, prompting my childhood friend, a journalist of international repute, and
former Director, Atiku/Okowa campaign organization to shed tears on Facebook,
could best be described as satire, laced with wounded irony on our systemic failure
of nationhood.

Goke Awoyemi, writes from Ile-Ife, Osun State.

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