Dear colleagues, students and other stakeholders in the Great Ife Project, it gives me great joy to welcome you to the dawn of a new era as I assume office today (24th June, 2016) as the new Vice Chancellor of this University. I am not unmindful of the humongous challenges of my new responsibility as the 11th Vice Chancellor of this great institution, especially within the context of our experience of the most recent past. We cannot lose sight of the fact that it is a very trying period of our enviable history. Nonetheless, the work of moving our university to the next level must be done, as I pledged to do prior to my appointment. Let me make a clarion call on all stakeholders, including all staff, our alumni, friends, benefactors as well as all and sundry to join hands with this new administration which has pledged to be firm, just, equitable and independent in running the affairs of our institution. If there are groups or individuals with any concern, this administration is ever ready to engage such constructively in a round-table so as to amicably resolve matters, instead of resorting to any self-help that may lead to disruptions and disturbances to members of the community. Let us all remember that this is our common heritage and whatever we do to promote, nurture, sabotage or destroy it will be documented for posterity.
Our university, as an enviable citadel of learning thrives on hybridization and cross-fertilization of ideas. In Ife, there is always and always will be space to think, express our views both in words and enlightened actions or else, we are not worthy of our name as a university. OAU is therefore, a freedom land where intellectualism must drive our differences and harmonise our energies for the sole purpose of enriching our students- the only reason for the existence of this university community. This is no doubt, a noble time of courage, discipline and daring vision. However, our community cannot sacrifice two dynamics of freedom and academic progress: truth and discipline. It was Plato who said to Aristotle, “You are my friend but truth is my greater friend.” In a time when tertiary institutions like ours are competing with the ever-increasing but much newer universities, we must as a community shun untruth and embrace our opportunities. On the other hand indiscipline is neither a friend of truth nor progress. This is the time we must celebrate our values, uphold our principles and stick to our laws.
I know the time has come for a constant dialogue between the leadership and the community about our common interest and I shall practice that. I wish to assure everyone that yesterday is gone, and a new dawn is here! This is a University with great potentials that we must all agree to properly harness for the good of all.
I once again pledge to work for the greater good of our great citadel of learning, and making the legitimate welfare of all stakeholders a priority. The time-tested committee system of the university shall be upheld and the administration shall adopt an open door policy where anyone with any valuable contribution shall be welcomed.
I hereby appeal to all and sundry to join hands with me in a bid to move this institution to higher grounds. I envision this administration as the bridge between our past that we cherish and the future that we admire. As encapsulated in my Vision Statement, I am aware that history beckons on me as the new Vice-Chancellor not only to be able to sustain the gains of the past, but to also be able to capacitize the system for innovative strides at the onset of a new ‘decade’ in the annals of the governance of the University. It is now my responsibility for the next 5 years to be a catalyst for change by demonstrating a genuine commitment to academic renaissance, re-invigorating the learning environment, staff and students’ welfare, networking and consensus building within the system. I must hasten to add that all these laudable objectives can only be achievable if we all join hands together to move our beloved institution forward. It is my strong desire and hope that this new dawn will be remembered for progress, academic breakthroughs and our citizen’s great welfare. This requires that all hands must be on the deck and I, on my part, hereby extend my hand of friendship and reconciliation to everyone. I am determined to embrace this opportunity for service with singularity of purpose, majesty of the spirit and fidelity of intention. Individually we can make a difference but together we can make an impact.
God bless you.
Professor Ayobami Salami