“Respected Evil Perpetrators As Well As Human Serpents To Change Or Else Steer Clear Of Me” – OAU Acting VC
The acting Vice Chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University, Professor Anthony Elujoba has warned members of the University Senate who have a different agenda from his, to change or steer clear of him as he takes the University back to path.
Last week Thursday, while Elujoba addressed members of the Senate, he told them that his 6-month period, which he has to act as the Vice Chancellor will be remarkable for the institution.
Here is the full text of the Vice Chancellor’s speech at the Senate meeting.
Distinguished members of Senate, ladies and gentlemen, I welcome you all to this special Senate Meeting. I salute you with a heart of gratitude and hope, that in spite of the unique challenges of our time, we have all united to reposition the university and move forward to greater glory. I thank you ALL especially for the confidence you reposed in me in facilitating my appointment as Acting Vice-Chancellor to serve our great university for the next 6 months. I salute you all, distinguished members of this Senate, for your tenacity, abiding faith and love for this great University. Also, to formally salute the great men and women of vision, the forerunners that have selflessly nurtured this institution on the tortuous and sometimes traumatizing journey of leadership and institution building. More often, it was at great personal costs. We are now on the path to a re-positioning of our University to reach the height of greater progress, rebuilding and mending our broken fences in order to leap in bounds of greater achievements. Our common journey to victory is to consciously protect the ideals and legacies bestowed on us by our fore-runners.
Ladies and gentlemen of Senate, this is not the right time for long speeches or jubilation but time for swift actions that bring dividends of institutional change and progress. You will agree with me that this change has to be swift, drastic and radical and must be fast-tracked with all our available resources both human and material at our disposal. The Great Change in OAU needs to be on-board: to stabilize the university, in terms of restoring the culture of inclusiveness and transparency in governance that respects our collegial enterprise, stable academic calendar, attaining industrial peace, peaceful and conducive environment that will enhance the university’s mission of teaching, learning, research and social engineering services to the community, a culture of prompt release of students’ examination results, to encourage and sustain self-uprightness and diligence at work, to restore our good image and the public confidence, among others. Therefore, as a joint workforce, let’s put the past behind us but together approach the next 6 months as the dawn of a new day and new beginning with vigour, in unity, TRUTH, FAITH, love, full of hope and expectations. I am not a 5-year-tenure Vice-Chancellor, the 6-month-Acting status has merely made me the head of a transition to which all other staff belong as transition officers. On your behalf therefore, and in the interest of the university, I will fearlessly attempt all the changes that glorify the life of this institution in fairness, TRUTH and justice. While by the grace of God, I will work tirelessly to restore the integrity, sanctity and vibrancy of the university system and to ensure that our working environment is safe and congenial to effective teaching and productive scholarship, yet all these are not achievable without your prayers and support. I therefore humbly beg for genuine and honest support from all of you; I believe we are all in agreement that our greatness lies in unity of purpose.
Meanwhile, I have plans to seek to gather the main lessons derivable from the last unfortunate episode that brought the university to where we are today and make recommendations to prevent similar occurrences in the future. I have FAITH in our capacity to use our hard-earned AUTONOMY (if rightly applied), to an advantage in choosing the next Vice-Chancellor without any dilemma. It is not greatness nor popularity that our dear university is known to shut-down for periods almost longer than it has remained open for academic and intellectual work nor will it enhance our good ranking! Therefore, I have plans to raise a group of intellectual helpers that will research into immediate and remote causes of incessant closure and provide appropriate recommendations to the university. By the grace of God, I am going to use task-force tools within and outside Senate to do these many onerous assignments before us to move our university forward within the shortest possible time; I believe every member of this respectable body will kindly take this cross and follow me as I face the fire of temporary leadership and like the truthful story, there is an invisible forth group behind us that will turn-on the air conditioners to lessen the heat of the fire. Yes, I can be assisted with suggestions and proposals of how to run this 6-month period successfully from kind-hearted women and men (which all of you are).
Honourable ladies and gentlemen of Senate, please let the interest of our great university prevail so that we can leave our memorable footsteps in the sand of time. I humbly appeal to pseudo-helpers, sycophants, schemers, divide-and-rule, unexpected and respected evil perpetrators as well as human serpents to change or else steer clear of me. Please join me in praying for the success of our collective efforts. There is hardly enough time for all things to be achieved but the most mandatory assignment on which to dedicate all the 6 months is to create the all-enabling environment to usher-in a credible selection of the next substantive VC as well as provide proper and credible records to submit to the in-coming Council. I will do all within the available material and financial resources to reduce the inevitable but temporary pains of rebuilding on all of us the stakeholders, especially staff and students.
Distinguished colleagues, I want to leave you with a plea that as Senate members, we continue to provide bold, strategic, stable and imaginative leadership in our different academic domains, conduct the business of Senate, and all meetings for that matter, with promptness, timeliness and determination. For nothing other than this can portray us as leaders of the academic enterprise with the capacity to drive the University into the attainment of its lofty ideals.
Finally, as a person, I foresee that the challenges before us cannot be removed on a bed of roses. I am in an unusual situation and in some unavoidable circumstances, things will therefore be handled as such. I strongly believe that our university is again at the epoch of a greater tomorrow and I am confident that by the end of the 6 months, we would have crossed-over from darkness into light and from the tunnel into freedom,. Only with God and your support shall there be success.
Thank you for listening and may God bless you all.