Outgoing Vice-Chancellor of the Federal University Oye-Ekiti (FUOYE) has recalled how he survived five stormy years in office, saying his prudent management of resources and readiness to face challenges enabled him to end his tenure with admirable records of performance.
It is on records that Prof. Soremekun built not less than 74 infrastructural projects to boost both learning and teaching environment in the university.
His outstanding performance has continued to receive accolades from stakeholders from several quarters, including the FUOYE community, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Ekiti State council, and the Civil Society Organisations (CSO), among others.
Speaking with newsmen during the recent inauguration of the 74 projects, Prof. Soremekun said: “I want to appreciate all my colleagues, the professors, deans, non-academic staff, NASU, NAAT, ASUU, and others. You are all important to this project called FUOYE. I also recognise my colleagues in the media. Today is a day in which I am very grateful to the Almighty God because within a space of five years, we have achieved greatly. Our bursar said we have had storms and indeed we had it. It was as if we were passing through the furnace of troubles. But as my mother used to say, “with Christ in the vessel, we have been able to smile at the storm”.
“I give glory to Almighty God for bringing us this far. I am also standing here with a measure of sadness because we have a country that is punching below our weight. As far as the production of vaccines is concerned, Nigeria is not featuring as usual at the production end but at the consumption end. We have also been insulted by the international community that we don’t even have the storage for what we want to consume. This is a challenge to the university in Nigeria. But even the varsity can only go beyond what they have been given as funds. As it is, Nigerian varsities are not relevant to the quest for vaccines.
I like to tell my colleagues in the media that l am going back to the media because I believe the contest for the success of Nigeria is out there.
“In a context where you have an over unionised university system, that system cannot grow. I am yet to see any varsity in the world where we have this kind of over unionised system in Nigeria.’
Congratulating the VC on his achievement, Governor of Ekiti State and the Chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, who was represented at the event by his deputy, Barrister Bisi Egbeyemi, said: “We Congratulate the VC and Chairman and members of the University Governing Council and the lecturers. We have seen what you have been doing in the past five years. As for crisis, it is not new to us, I had represented Ekiti elders in some capacity. They gave us some petitions and when we went into the matter, we found out that the VC had done the right thing.
The orator says you are a magician but as a lawyer, I can confirm that because all the pieces of evidence are there. With these projects and the ones I had seen before, I want to say Prof. Soremekun is really a magician. Before he came here, we had three faculties but now they are about 11.
“What we have here is akin to what America gives so that if you studied medicine here, you will become a doctor of medicine…We thank God for your life and pray that those coming behind you will do better.
“Since one of you, Prof. Radaki Ojo Bakare, has been with us, he has done quite a lot. He is a good representative of this university. We are proud of him. We have won laurels in many instances since he has been with us.”
Also commending Soremekun on a job well done, the Chairman, FUOYE Governing Council, Dr. Mohammed Yahuza, and the Minister of Education, Alhaji Adamu Adamu, described the out-going VC, as a very zealous performer as VC of the school.
An external member of the University Council, Olufemi Akanbi Okeowo, who doubled as representative of both the Minister of Education and the Council chairman, said: “I want to thank God for this gentleman. I have seen the zeal with which he has been working and I wished I had been working with him long before now. These are evidence laid bare and going through the projects, I want to congratulate Prof. Soremekun and his team. He couldn’t have done it all alone. He must have enjoyed the support of everyone that has worked with him. As the saying goes, no matter how bright the sky is, there will be some dark patches. We thank God that the dark patches have not overshadowed the bright sky. May the sky not limit the growth of this university.”
A human rights activist, Comrade Ogakwu Dominic, who is President, Civil Society Groups for Good Governance, based in Abuja, was at the event to present an award of excellence to Prof. Soremekun. He described the award as a victory over fake news on the social media for Soremekun, saying: “Prof Soremekun is a very sincere person, I got endeared to him after the time I met him over some unscrupulous allegations levelled against him. My team’s investigation into the matter made us find out that Prof. Soremekun is a sincere man who has no skeleton in his cupboard.”
While presenting a Letter of Commendation to the out-going VC for his meritorious service, National President of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Mr Sunday Asefon, eulogised the VC for what he described as outstanding performance as VC. He said Soremekun’s performance outshone other VCs who served in federal universities that were created by the FG at the same time as FUOYE.
“For those who are very conversant with this varsity three years ago, the buildings here were not here then. This place was a desert. We are here to appreciate Prof. Soremekun for the five years of uninterrupted academic sessions in the varsity. I have had cause to visit other universities created along with this university, Federal Universities of Lokoja, Ebonyi, Kastina and others, this is the best of them all. Prof Soremekun’s simplicity, performance, etc. is second to none.
“Prof. Soremekun operates an open door policy and that is why he succeeded because assessability is the heart of leadership. We pray as you are leaving, success will be yours in all areas. To appreciate you, we present a Letter of Commendation for meritorious service you have rendered to this University, ” the NANS president said.