25 Apr 2022

All You Need To Know About How Salami Was Honoured By Tech-U’s Reading Society

All eyes were on the outgoing Vice Chancellor of the First Technical University, Ibadan, Professor Ayobami Salami, on Wednesday evening when a reading was organised in his honour. It was the first outdoor outing of the Tech-U Reading Society, where he read from his memoir-in-the-making titled ‘Thinking Without the Box’: My Memoir as Pioneer Vice Chancellor of the First Technical University, Ibadan.

The event held at highly inspiring Tunde Odunlade Gallery, Bodija, Ibadan, attracted people from all walks of life, with Professor Femi Adegbesan of the University of Ibadan being the chairman. In Salami’s entourage were his wife, Professor Abiodun Salami, who also happens to be the Dean, Faculty of Applied and Natural Sciences; the incoming Vice Chancellor, Professor Adesola Ajayi; Registrar, Mrs Olayinka Balogun; and Bursar, Pastor Kehinde Olatokun.

Other dignitaries included a former Commissioner for Sports in Oyo State, Dr Bolaji Ojooba; former member House of Representatives, Hon. Kazeem Adedeji; and Dr Wunmi Adisa.

Salami, who was roundly commended for the giant and effective steps he took at Tech-U, gave a detailed idea about the memoir. According to him, the chapters capture the genesis of Tech-U, his dramatic appointment as VC, how the staff were recruited, how the Oyo State Government relates to Tech-U, roles of principal stakeholders like the late Governor Isiaka Ajimobi, Governor Seyi Makinde, the Chancellor, Akogun Tunde J Afolabi and the Tertiary Education Fund. He added that the book also captured some aspects of his early life and adventures as a student, lecturer and administrator at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife.

He shared some of his experience thus:

“The governor (Ajimobi) gave me the free hand to operate because it is not about politics but about development. That is why the Council is composed mainly of technocrats and not politicians. I also want to thank Governor Seyi Makinde because he didn’t tamper with the government structure when he came on board. That gave us stability.

“We spend on essentials at Tech-U. There is no single messenger or clerical officer at Tech-U. Our security, health centre and accommodation units were outsourced. It is a culture we started with; when you join Tech-U, you’ll key into it. The job that four people do in other places, one person does it at Tech-U. When I was in Ife, I had about 15 staff as the Head of Department. There was a time we had one functioning vehicle and three drivers. But as VC in Tech-U, I have only five staff working in my office. I type my own memos as VC. This is how we have been able to cut down on redundancy.

“If you think within the box, you would be living in the past. If you think outside the box, you would be able to deal with contemporary issues, but if you think without the box, one would be able to do about anything.

“I can’t afford not to think without the box. We pay our staff from the resources generated by the university. However, I want you to know that our welfare package is not comparable, if not better than what is obtainable in private and public organisations. We also pay our staff on the 24th of every month to motivate them.”

With Dr Ayodeji Afolayan as the Organising Secretary, the Tech-U Reading Society targets broadening the horizon of members through exposure to intellectual resources. Also while rounding off the reading, the Director of Centre of Languages and General Studies, Professor Adebayo Mosobalaje, further noted that the society also created an avenue for robust discussion on members’ research interests. According to him, it also explores socio-cultural issues as they affect the immediate society while facilitating an atmosphere for relaxation and camaraderie.