By Wole Balogun
It is in the public’s knowledge that incumbent Vice-Chancellor (VC) of the Federal University Oye-Ekiti (FUOYE), Prof. Abayomi Sunday Fasina, had inherited a crisis ridden Ivory Tower in February 11, 2021 when he was inaugurated as the fourth substantive VC of the upwardly mobile Ivory Tower.
Starting on such a challenging threshold, one would agree that the erudite scholar and quitessential administrator has got an herculean task on his hand. The crisis that ensured before Prof. Fasina’s emergence was clearly political, borne out of selfish interests of some elements who fail to accept the fact that merit must be the hallmark of University leadership and administration. It was a crisis orchestrated by enemies of the system who wanted to sacrifice merit on the inglorious alter of mediocrity, but this is another story for another day.
Now back to FUOYE in nearly two years of Prof. Fasina’s reign as an exemplary 21st century University administrator. One will agree that managing an lvory Tower in the 21st century is indeed a challenging task given the factors that must be considered in tackling such task. Such factors include providing an ICT powered, teaching , learning, management and administrative system, providing highly conducive, friendly and peaceful academic environment for learning, teaching and research endeavours, encouraging extensive research efforts and ensuring adequate welfare and well-being of all members of staff, both academic and non-academic as well as the well-being and welfare of students, among others.
What struck an immediate difference between Prof. Fasina’s responsive administrative style and that of his predecessor was his prompt response to the welfare and well-being of staff and students. This was evidenced in his prompt procurement of a brand new vehicle for the student Union body and a 500 seater Tata bus for subsidized transport system for members of staff from Ado-Ekiti, capital city of Ekiti and the Oye main campus of the University. This provided a huge relief for the members of staff and students and they shall ever remain grateful to the VC. For the staff members for instance, the hitherto N700 or N800 they spend on transportation from Ado to Oye on daily basis, was reduced to a paltry N400 with the University bus system.
For the students, the hitherto N400 or N300 they spend from Oye town to the main campus got reduced drastically to a mere N100 and most times N50!. To this, many students hailed the VC’s caring heart.
Then, Prof. Fasina embarked on aggressive implementation of many developmental strategies which he had already planned and promised. He announced a number of initiatives geared towards increasing the lnternally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the University, these included the Institute of Part Time Studies, now being managed by Dr. Omolade Adeleke, FUOYE printing press, FUOYE bakery and staff canteen, domiciled under the vibrant FUOYE consultancy services now being managed by Associate Prof. Abiodun Arowolo, the FUOYE farm, headed by Prof Fajimi, the FUOYE Sandwich programmes for professional teachers domiciled with the Faculty of Education being managed by Prof Olajide Olujide, among other viable initiatives which are currently adding value to the system.
The FUOYE institute of part time studies began in September, 2021 by admitting over 2000 students who are offering about 19 academic courses. The institute has expanded now by admitting a new set of fresh students in August, 2022 as the first set graduates into their 200 Level.
The institute has also added five additional academic courses in its kitty and has spread to two other communities in the state, namely Ire-Ekiti and Ayedun-Ekiti. Thus, adequately fulfilling a core aspect of establishing the University which is community development.
The FUOYE printing press, Bakery and staff canteen have since early 2021 started operations, fulfilling the needs of mostly FUOYE staff and students and the members of surrounding communities.
Recently, the VC boosted the operations and impact of the rehabilitated FUOYE farm, by procuring a complete package of tractor worth several.millions of Naira. And with that empowerment, the farm has since been selling its produce, eggs, beef, yams and others to the staff, students and members of the Ikole-Ekiti community which is the host town for the campus.
Perhaps most outstanding of Prof. Fasina’s expansion is the establishment of a College of Medicine for the institution which has already reached it’s concrete stage. The charming people of Oye-Ekiti had donated a 100 hectares of land for the College of Medicine and the VC promptly swung into action on assumption of duty. His great efforts are already yeilding great results.
As regards staff’s career progression, the Fasina administration has ensured the prompt promotion of over almost 500 members of staff, academic and non-academic who are duly qualified to be so promoted.
To cater for the immense digital needs of the University, the Fasina administration has opened up partnership with several muilti-national and also telecommunication firms and this has yeilded remarkable improvement in the digital environment of the campuses.
Many departments that lack basic infrastructural projects such as classrooms, water , and generating systems have been provided with these basic needs. These include the University library, the Faculty of Arts, Faculty of Agriculture, Management Sciences, Law and medical sciences among others.
So also has the VC ensured that accommodation issues on campus for students is being aggressively handled.
The VC has also made efforts to provide better road network which has opened up the campuses for easy transport system within the premises.
Prof. Fasina’s purposeful leadership has paid off for the University as it recently was rated by the Prof. Isah Oloyede led JAMB as the fifth most sought after by Nigerian University admission seekers. The students from our Ivory Tower has equally made us very proud by winning both national and international laurels.
Recently, students of the Engineering faculty of FUOYE made the institution really proud by coming tops in the academic contest among engineering students in some Nigerian Universities, others also made the University proud by winning golden laurels at the SWEGA, international Centre for Biotechnology academic contest and the Ooni of Ife annual academic contests among others.
Another remarkable way the students are responding to the VC’s exemplary leadership is in emerging leaders and winning enviable scholarships in top rated Universities abroad. For example, while a first class graduate of FUOYE’s department of Theatre and Media Arts, Miss. Emmanuella Oluwanifesimi Bakare, has emerged as the face of Muilti-choice talent factory, the owner of DStv and Gotv, Daniel Whyte, first class graduate of English and Literary Studies, FUOYE, just graduated as Mphil candidate in African Studies in the University of Cambridge, Feranmi Agbolade, also a First class graduate of FUOYE’s Department of Mathmatics has secured scholarship with the Louisiana State University, U. S. A for post graduate studies, among others.
Another fresh graduate of FUOYE and an ex- member of the student Union government, Mr. Femi Williams Esan recently won double awards from the Ekiti State government for emerging an outstanding budding journalist.
The list of students making FUOYE really proud is endless and the Institution is really proud of them…
(To be continued in part two, Wole Balogun is Special Adviser on Media Matters to the VC, FUOYE, Prof. Abayomi Sunday Fasina).