25 Apr 2022

I wish Ajimobi were alive to see what Tech-U has become under Salami – Olalekan Ali

A former Secretary to the Oyo State Government, Alhaji Olakekan Ali, has said that he wished former Governor Isiaka Ajimobi were alive to witness the rapid development that has become the lot of the First Technical University, Ibadan.

Ali stated this on Wednesday when he visited the university to attend a programme organised in honour of the pioneer Vice Chancellor, Professor Ayobami Salami, whose tenure will end on May 8.

The programme was organised by Salami’s Committee of Friends, comprising many people he has worked with.
With Professor Nike Adeyemo as chairperson, many scholars and university administrators attended the party, raining encomiums on the VC.

In his remarks, Ali recalled how the cabinet conceived the idea of a unique university that would bridge the gap of technical education at a tertiary level, while combining scholarship and vocational as well as entrepreneurial knowledge with it.

He said, as a result, they needed a VC who would be able to match the vision.
Ali said, “We needed a VC who would be able to transform the idea of a university of learning and practice into reality. At the same time, we needed a VC who would be a janitor, a cleaner, coordinator, manager and an intellectual. Many people applied but we literally had to beg him to take up the job. Today, all we had seen in him have come to life.”

If the past is a mirror, the pioneer Vice Chancellor indeed had an opportunity to view it at the programme. And all he saw was an eventful epoch that he confronted with gallantry, presence of mind and a resolute zeal to positively impact humanity.

Among the veteran scholars who gathered for the celebration, at the university located on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, were Professors Olajide Oke, Henry Adyinka, Layo Ajayi, Ajayi Olajubu, Surajudeen Ajadi, Olusegun Awotoye, Theodore Bello, Steven Ojo and Adebayo Mosobalaje.
Others included Mrs Bukky Asubiojo, Mrs Ronke Akeredolu as well as a former Commissioner for Local Government in Oyo State, Hon. Bimbo Kolade.

They were hosted by Salami, his wife, Prof. Abiodun Salami; and other principal officers such as the incoming VC, Professor Adesola Ajayi; the new Deputy Vice Chancellor, Professor Iyiola Tela; the Registrar, Mrs Olayinka Balogun; and Bursar, Pastor Kehinde Olatokun.

On the importance of the gathering, the Chairperson of the occasion, Professor Nike Adeyemo, said Salami had done what was worthy of celebration at Tech-U. According to her, he had built a legacy within five years, adding, “Professor Salami, you should be very proud of yourself. It is not about starting, it is about finishing excellently well. You are leaving big shoes, but we believe your legacy will endure.”
A former Vice Chancellor at the Ladoke Akintola University, Professor Adeniyi Gbadegesin, said although Salami used to be his student at Lagelu Grammar School, he had achieved higher than him based on what he achieved at Tech-U.

The Eagle Online had earlier reported that some of Salami’s friends also reminisced on the past thus:
Among those who reflected on the battle then were Professor Surajudeen Ajadi, pioneer Dean of Students Affairs at Tech-U; and his successor, Dr Caleb Aborisade.

Ajadi recalled how dogged Salami was during the battle, to the extent that he re-contested after his victory was cancelled.
Despite his hard-fighting spirit, Ajadi said, “Professor Salami knows what it takes to be humane. He is of exemplary character.”

On his part, Professor Odeyinka said, Salami was a man of multiple anointing. He noted, “He has emphasised grace. He is a man who carries a lot of anointing – pastoral, intellectual leadership anointing and more.”
Also present were Professor E. Ajayi Olajubu, who described Salami as a man with many disciples.
“I used to be angry with what they did to us at Ife. But when I got here, I ceased to be angry. I am only sad for Great Ife.”

While Professor Remi Ogunfowokan highlighted the celebrator’s virtues to include being prudent, calm and calculated, hardworking, of high integrity and considerate to all, a lecturer at Tech-U, Dr J.E.T.Akinsola, shared an experience that confirmed to him that Professor Salami also works with the judgment and spirit of a father.

Responding to the encomium galore, the outgoing VC thanked all the parties involved, including the late Ajimobi, Alhaji Ali and the management and staff of Tech-U for allowing and supporting him to prove his mettle.
He, however, gave all the glory to God, saying all was by God’s grace.

He said, “I feel highly honoured. At a point I feel like shedding tears, and wonder whether I actually deserve this.

“Everything depends on grace and I give all glory to God. All He has spoken has come to pass. My adventure at this university is never by ambition, but by vision and mission. God told me I was going to be a VC. I thought it was at OAU where I had laboured all along. Eventually the vision has come to pass because God can never be a liar. Some of the people God used are here.

“Chief Wole Olanipekun was ready to pursue the case for me. But I told myself, if I say I want to add value and some people say no, then I can as well move on with my life. Also, I didn’t want to hold down the destiny of OAU, knowing I would get an injunction, and the university had to go on with the burden of an acting VC. For how long would that be? I felt that, whatever happened, God allowed it. And it is now I realise the significance of unanswered prayer, based on what God has established here at Tech-U.”

Salami noted that Alhaji Ali always guided him on how to relate with politicians, despite the fact that Ajimobi had given him the free hand to operate.

“Alhaji Ali was my constant source of inspiration within the government. He helped me without strings attached.”

The outgoing VC expressed the belief that Tech-U would continue to grow, adding that his successor was also a man of immense learning, passion, experience and trustworthy character.