Tributes As Thanksgiving Holds To Mark End Of Prof Salami’s Tenure As VC At Tech-U
Nigerians from all sectors stormed Ile-Ife, in Osun State on Sunday to be part of the thanksgiving ceremony to officially mark the end of the tenure of Professor Ayobami Salami as the pioneer Vice-Chancellor at the First Technical University in Ibadan.
At the event, Professor Ayobami Salami recalled how some members of a fraternity were contracted to kill him when he was appointed as the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, in 2017.
Salami’s appointment was canceled due to a crisis that rocked the process even after he had got his letter of appointment before he got appointed as Tech-U’s pioneer VC.
At the program held at the Cedar Family Church, Salami said the adversity he suffered was almost endless.
He said, “My experience at the First Technical University, Ile-Ife, has been a demonstration of the grace of God. It confirms that God can never be a liar as long as one remains faithful. You cannot disgrace a man under grace.
“In Ife, the same year I got the Tech-U appointment even without applying for it, everything about my life was threatened: my personal life, that of my wife, and this (Cedar) ministry.
“At that point, people asked, ‘Why don’t you leave the matter for them?’ But I said no. It is a matter of honor, and of due process. I don’t yield the ground to the enemy. Whatever God plans for your life will come pass one way or the other, as long you remain faithful and you don’t look for any other God.
“During the Ife crisis, I got a call from a man who said he needed to see me. I asked why did he want to see me, and who he was? He just said he had something important to tell me and that he would explain his identity when he came. Then after some consideration, I asked him to meet me in the church here.
“I asked my wife to stay on the other side of the church hall, while one of our pastors, Professor Olusegun Awotoye, and some other people should hide not too far from us so that if anything happened, my wife would be able to raise the alarm and they too would respond.
“When the man came, he looked at me and said: ‘So, you are Professor Salami?’ I said yes I was.. He continued, “So, you are not more than this? I decided to come and see you because I am a member of a confraternity (a popular confraternity named). We have done everything possible to put you under six feet below the ground. But all our efforts didn’t yield fruits. I now said I needed to come and see you to really know who you are and what made you so strong. Then he left the church on the same okada (bike) he came on. That was part of my experience.
“I don’t know why people were trying to take my life just because I said I wanted to offer a service. We all competed in the open process and I emerged the winner. Yet, they insisted I wouldn’t be after I had got my appointment letter from the Ministry of Education in Abuja.”
At the program attended by Salami’s wife, Professor Abiodun Salami; Tech-U’s Vice Chancellor-elect, Professor Adesola Ajayi; Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Iyiola Tella; Registrar, Mrs. Olayinka Balogun; and Bursar, Pastor Kehinde Olatokun, and many other scholars, Salami added that he was also abducted by a group at a point but one of them eventually provided room for his escape.
“I remember how another man came to me and started begging me. He said he had offended me in a very serious way. He prostrated and just held my legs, saying, ‘i just want you to forgive me.’ The fact is that I harbor no ill-feeling against anyone. We are all friends now because I believe the crisis bordered on a lack of understanding. Everything that happened was a kind of set-up for God to achieve a purpose. Indeed, I should be grateful to every one of them involved in the set-up because if they did not bring adversity, I would not have had the opportunity to serve at Tech-U as the pioneer vice chancellorship.”
Amid tributes by several stakeholders, Salami said he met facilities worth N5bn at Tech-U, but was leaving those worth N12bn.