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His appointment as the 11th Vice- Chancellor of University of Ibadan (UI) was trailed by cynicism and skepticism in some quarters. Some his critics thought he won’t be able to perform nor match the record of his predecessor, let alone surpass it. With the benefit of hind sight however, it is doubtful whether there will be one critic today who will be bold enough to say the current UI Vice Chancellor, Prof. Isaac Folorunso Adewole has not justified the confidence of his employer.

With just two years into his five year-single tenure, Prof. Adewole who took over the mantle of leadership at the Nigeria’s Premier University on 1 December, 2010 may have overwhelmed his detractors with what he has been able to achieve so far! Beyond several visible achievements, the kind of innovation he is bringing into the system portrays him as a man of an uncommon vision and dynamism, hinged on a rare gusto and determination.

In all the universities in Nigeria, the core duty of the security unit is to monitor the students, in order to curb criminality including cultism. But the UI community was dazed recently when Prof. Adewole insisted the security men and women could do more than policing the academic environment. So, what else can they do? Innovative Adewole said they could also entertain. He therefore empowered the security unit to form a musical band with a N4 million worth of musical instruments. Today, UI security musical band can compete favourably with the like of King Sunny Ade, Adewale Ayuba and Wasiu Ayinde! Apart from their primary duty of securing UI campus, the security operatives now have an opportunity to hone their musical skill. They also generate additional income to the University as people now patronize their service for fee. Who says this is not creativity? The credit goes to the VC!

In the last two years, Prof. Adewole has fortified the system with the employment of over one hundred additional staff members. Several departments and units that had suffered shortage of manpower are now up and doing. Many people who had worked as contract staff (casual workers) for the system are today praying for Prof. Adewole for employing them as permanent staff.

Indeed, the profundity of his knowledge, the thoroughness of his perception, the analytical precision of his argument as well as the courage of his conviction, have greatly rubbed off on his administrative style to the extent that Prof. Adewole is being touted “a gynaecologist of a 21st UI”. Hundreds of classrooms have been refurbished; on-line registration has been introduced to ease students’ registration and accommodation. He directs that all 100 level students must be given accommodation in the hall of residence as they are new to the system. Under his leadership, new departments and academic centres have been created just as he employed over 40 Tutorial Assistants for better coordination of large classes.

Prof. Adewole has offered postgraduate scholarship to all first class students. And this has been formalized. The system has begun; any graduating student with Postgraduate first class is entitled to scholarship in UI. This is to encourage young academics to stay in the system.

As a way of generating income into the system, Prof. Adewole in the last two years, has established UI water factory, honey project, UI Microfinance bank, Animal production venture among others. He has equally resuscitated the Zoological garden with his modernization agenda, not to talk of Teaching and Research Farm that has received considerable attention.

With a mixture of humour, firmness and charisma, Prof. Adewole is gradually moving UI towards greater heights. The recent opening up of Ajibode, the UI second phase, certainly advertises his penchant for development. The taciturn VC has been calling for private partnership with a view to developing Ajibode.

Prof. Adewole, in recognition of a modern-day demand has given impetus to the idea of establishing a UI school of Business. This is in the hope of advancing business education, management and successful operation of a world-class institution. The VC believes UI cannot just continue to teach Economics of the 1940s. There is need to diversify. Indeed, serious effort is being expended in this direction as structures are being put in place for an effective take off.

It is also to the credit of the incumbent VC that UI can boast of virile student union today. Before his advent in 2010, the University had put on hold student unionism on account of a legal battle between the then management and student leaders. For about a decade, students in UI did not know what was called unionism. But when he came in 2010, Prof. Adewole, who himself an activist organised students election. Today, virile student union activities have continued to thrive on campus. The UI boss had even gone a step further by establishing a culture of organizing leadership orientation programmes for all the student leaders every year.

But for space constraint, one would have loved to continue to enumerate some of the numerous achievements of Prof. Adewole who has always been displaying captivating leadership quality in UI.

Without missing words, the first two years of Adewole’s administration in UI have been productive and eventful. He is indeed firing on all cylinders, discharging his duties with a missionary zeal. With his unpretentious good birth and breeding, Prof. Adewole has not only lived up to expectation but dignified his office with his humane disposition to the low and mighty. He radiates love, hope and kindness. He is genuinely concerned by the plight of his fellowmen. He hates lies, he loves truth. He is ready to bend backward to assist the needy. Prof. Adewole is certainly, a leader with the milk of human kindness.

In assessing his leadership in the last two years, one is compelled to acknowledge the fact that he has not only done well, he has comported himself as a good leader. He defines issues without aggravating the problems. If Prof. Adewole can sustain the current momentum for the remaining three years he has left, UI will certainly be better off when he will be taking a bow at the end of tenure.

Sunday Saanu wrote in from,University of Ibadan, [email protected]

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