Its a journey that started a year ago with all the hiccups. AGBOOLA BAYO reports that finally a new vice chancellor has emerged for the University of Ibadan.
After over 10 months, the controversy surrounding the selection of a substantive vice chancellor for the University of Ibadan was finally laid to rest with the emergence of Professor Kayode Oyebode Adebowale on Thursday, 14 October 2021 and is expected to resume office with effect from November 1, 2021.
It has not been the same at the university since the position became vacant on December 1, 2020 with the university authorities opting for the appointment of an acting VC in the person of Professor Babatunde Ekanola after the tenure of former VC, Professor Abel Idowu Olayinka, on December 1, 2020.
Report indicated that the entire unions in the university were all out against what they called alleged plans by out gone VC to impose his favourite on the university as successor.
Ekanola’s tenure was extended in June 2021 for another final six months following the last council failure to appoint a substantive VC for the institution.
In April this year, a new governing council was inaugurated and decided in its wisdom to start the process afresh with the commencement of a fresh selection exercise. After the expiration of the advert, 14 candidates applied for the position.
Expectedly, it was another round of war as various bodies, interest groups and others embarked on series of allegations, accusations and counter accusations on some of the candidates, the selection process and composition of those to be at the final selection stage with the University Community Forum comprising five unions: the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), Students’ Union (SU), Non-Academic Staff Union of University (NASU) and the Non-Academic Technicians (NATS) on Monday October 4, putting up a town-hall meeting tagged: ‘The Voice of the Next UI VC, Who is Next’?
Also, a group within the university under the aegis of Coalition for Autonomy of Universities in Nigeria (CAUN), midway to the selection, lauded the directive for fresh commencement of the selection process, saying it brought integrity into the process by ensuring transparency and due diligence.
The coalition in a statement by its national coordinator, Ayanteju Olaolu, charged the governing council to remain neutral by creating a level- playing ground for all the contestants so that the best candidate would emerge at the end of the exercise.
According to the coalition, this would go a long way to enable the new governing council guide the integrity of electioneering process by looking into the issues raised and learn from history.
Few days after this, another group, Education Governance with Integrity (EGI) in a statement by its public relations officer, Segun Adebayo claimed they were out with fresh call on the Chief Oyegun-led governing council to disqualify two candidates contesting as Senate representatives on the board for the appointment of a VC.
Announcing the new VC
All said and done, a new VC emerged under a free and fair selection process with the pro chancellor, Odigie-Oyegun finally announcing Professor Adebowale as the 13th vice chancellor.
He said, “The post of the vice chancellor of the University of Ibadan became vacant on December 1, 2020 and in accordance with the provisions of the extant rules, the last governing council initiated the process of appointment; however, the process was aborted by the visitor due to the circumstances beyond control leading to the dissolution of council at that time. A new governing council was inaugurated in April this year and it decided in its wisdom to start the process afresh. A new advert was placed in July this year and after the expiration of the advert, 14 candidates applied for the position.
“In line with the university acts, a search team was subsequently constituted for suitable persons who might not apply on their own volition. At the end of the exercise, additional two applications were received and this brought the number of the applicants to 16.
“On Wednesday, October 13 2021, council interacted with all 15 candidates. All members of council scored the candidates using approved council guidelines. “At the end of the exercise, eight candidates in order of merit were shortlisted for the final interview. At the meeting, two members of council, as required by law, were also appointed. Earlier in the week, Senate had elected two members of Senate to serve on the selection board.
“Today Thursday, October 14 2021, the Joint Council-Senate Selection Board interviewed the eight candidates shortlisted. Two representatives of the Federal Character Commission (FCC) and a representative of the Federal Ministry of Education were in attendance. At the end of a very thorough, transparent and highly competitive exercise, Professor Kayode Oyebode Adebowale emerged as the best candidate for the position of vice chancellor.
It is, therefore, my pleasure to present to you the new and the 13th vice chancellor of this great university, Professor Kayode Oyebode Adebowale. We wish him success in his tenure.”
Congratulating the new VC, one of the lead candidates in the contest and
former deputy vice chancellor (Academics), Professor Adeyinka Aderinto said, “It is time to move on and support the new boss in the interest of our university. Let me join others in congratulating Prof K. Adebowale on his emergence as our next vice chancellor. I also desired the position and gave it my all, but it’s not meant to be this time around. It has pleased God, the decider of all affairs, to hand over the leadership of our university to Prof Adebowale for the next five years.
“We pray that Almighty God would grant him good health, wisdom and all that he may require to succeed in the office. After more than one year of engaging contests, it is time to move on and support the new boss in the interest of our university. May Almighty God give us the grace to please Him in all our ways. Congratulations, Mr VC.”
Professor Adebowale was born on 11 January, 1962 in Ibadan. He hails from Laniisa compound, Ita Okoro, Isale Ijebu, Ibadan, Oyo state.
A proud alumnus of the university, he completed his B.Sc in Chemistry in 1984; M.Sc in Industrial Chemistry in 1986 and PhD in 1991.
Brief background of VC
The new vice-chancellor began his academic career at the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA) in October 1991 as lecturer Grade II. He came to the University of Ibadan in 1999 as senior lecturer and rose through the ranks to become a professor in October 2006. He had post-doctoral experience in Germany and Italy. His cognate administrative experiences include: dean, Faculty of Science, 2009-2011; director Special Duties Office of the vice-chancellor, 2015-2017 and two-term deputy vice-chancellor (Administration), 2018 to date.
He has supervised many B.Sc and M.Sc projects and 16 doctoral students many of whom are professors in universities and abroad. He has published over 140 peer reviewed articles in peer-reviewed national and international journals. Professor Adebowale has served as a reviewer to Journal of Hazardous Materials, Chemistry and Ecology, African Journal of Biotechnology, Journal of Environmental Management, Food Research International, Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, Thermochimica Acta, Biochemical Engineering, Carbohydrate Polymers, Food Research International, International Journal of Biological Macromolecules, and European Journal of Food Research.
His research areas include: production, optimisation and improvement of yield of ethanol and citric acid from the fermentation media; Thermo-catalytic conversion of wastes and biomass into useful industrial feed stocks; composition and possible industrial utilisation of seeds, seed oils as industrial raw materials; rheological and baking properties of non-wheat flours; physicochemical, functional properties and retrogradation behaviour of native and modified starches and protein concentrate of underutilised legumes and cereals; synthesis, the kinetics of production characterisation of oil-modified alkyd resin; kinetic and thermodynamic studies of the absorption of metals and organic materials on kaolinite clay and fuzzy logic modelling of environmental compartments.
He received the International Foundation for Science (IFS) Grant amounting to 12,000 US Dollars in 2002; the African Union Kwame Nkrumah Continental Scientific Award for Science, Technology and Innovation in the sum of 100,000 US Dollars in 2014 and Lead Researcher of the Alexander von Humboldt Humboldt Kolleg Regional and Expert Conference on Climate Change and Sustainable Development: Cultural and Techno-Environmental Responses in West Africa, worth EUR 27,000.00, among others.