By Gbenga Gbelee
As Nigerians still grapple with the latest realities of the Nation’s economy, the Vice Chancellor, Sokoto State University and Former Vice Chancellor, University of Abuja; Professor Nuhu Yakub (OFR) has cautioned that the present relief should be seen as temporal.
Speaking on Friday (May 12) at the University of Lagos, Professor Yakub charged the government at all levels and all stakeholders to see the present reliefs as windows to embark on prudent planning and evolve policies which would forestall the dire consequences of the previous episodes of recessions on the Nigerian populace.
Prof Yakub’s warning is coming on the heels of the federal government and the Central Bank of Nigeria’s position that the Nigerian economy has wriggled out of the present recession.
He was of the view that the Nigerian economy has always been in recession but with varying effects, a trend which he attributed to decades of improper planning, mismanagement of funds and resources, policy summersault and other corrupt tendencies in the nation’s governance system.
Prof Yakub made this known at the J. F Ajayi Auditorium of the University of Lagos where he was the guest lecturer at the 5 th Memorial lecture of the immediate past Vice Chancellor of the University; late Professor Adetokunbo Babatunde Sofoluwe .
The don who spoke on the theme “The administration and management of a University in a recessed economy; the case of Nigeria” commended the management of the University of Lagos headed by the Vice Chancellor; Professor Rahamon Bello for what he called a humanistic disposition in sustaining the legacies of the late Prof Sofoluwe just as he recalled the incongruous acts of his own successor at the University of Abuja whom he said did everything he could to destroy his track record of achievement on assumption of duty.
Prof Yakub paid glowing tributes to Prof Sofoluwe, especially his rare humility and efforts in demystifying Mathematics and demonstrating its usefulness to even mundane, everyday issues of life.
The guest speaker and national honours holder spoke elaborately on the concepts of administration and management, governance, features and governance structure of the Nigerian University system and the Nigerian economy in recession.
While hinging the woes bedevilling the Nigerian economy on the continued capitalist tendencies, Prof Yakub faulted none of the managerial and administrative structures of Nigerian universities which he said differs based on ownership structure and objective patterns.
On the whole, the Sokoto state Vice Chancellor said the administrative and managerial system of Nigerian universities has not been adversely affected by the economic recession pointing out that “most Nigerian Universities are generally reported to be carrying out their mandate of teaching, research and rendering community services. It would appear therefore that the administrative and management systems put in place in various campuses of the Nigerian university system are performing reasonably well; they probably need some tinkering here and there to make them more effective and more efficient”.
The guest speaker also identified the relative industrial peace and sanity across most universities despite pockets of agitations as further indications of a stable University system in Nigeria not minding the economic recession.
While emphasising the place of further improvements in the policy direction of Nigerian Universities, He implored operators and stakeholder in the Nigerian University system to hold tenaciously to the statutes which governs the administrative and management system for continued better performance in line with National goals and development.
The 5 th Professor Adetokunbo Babatunde Sofoluwe memorial lecture according to the Vice Chancellor, University of Lagos, Prof Rahamon Bello was targeted at preserving and further immortalising the deceased for his attributes of love, integrity, scholarship as well as development and preservation of a human community.
The Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly; Honourable Mudashir Ajayi Obasa was there as the special guest of honour, he also spoke glowingly about the Late Prof Sofoluwe especially his love for the downtrodden and less privileged.
Highpoint of the event was the presentation of one hundred and fifty thousand naira cheques each to 20 indigent students of the University of Lagos as scholarship courtesy of the Lagos branch of the UNILAG Alumni association, a gesture which the Chairman, Dr. Lukuman Adeoti said is in memory of the late Prof Sofoluwe.
In a reaction, the wife of the late Vice Chancellor, Dr Funmilayo Sofoluwe was filled with gratitude to the rank and file of the University of Lagos describing the annual memorial lecture as a laudable gesture.
Dr (Mrs) Sofoluwe noted that what UNILAG has done has been an encouragement for the family and has assuaged the pains of the untimely exit of Professor Adetokunbo Babatunde Sofoluwe.
The event featured launching of a compendium of abstracts of the intellectual works of the deceased as well as an exhibition of some of his letters and cherished documents all held to climax his fifth posthumous anniversary.
Prof Adetokunbo Babatunde Sofoluwe was born on the 5 th of April, 1950; he began his career in 1976 as a Graduate Assistant in the University of Lagos where he later became a full Professor of Computer science in October 1996. He served as Dean of the Faculty of Science for two consecutive terms. He had also served as the Director of Academics Planning Unit of the University before his appointment as the Deputy Vice-Chancellor in charge of Management Services, He was appointed vice chancellor on 31st January 2010, to succeed professor Tolu Odugbemi.
Professor Sofoluwe holds a place in history as the third Alumnus of the University of Lagos to become Vice Chancellor of the Institution after Prof Ibidapo Obe and his immediate predecessor, Prof Tolu Odugbemi.
He has authored and co-authored numerous academic books and articles in several reputable local and international journals before his death exactly 5 years ago (12 th of May, 2012.)