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‘Why SSANU, Nasu Celebrated Prof. Olatunde’

Members of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) as well as Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and other Associated Institutions (NASU) at Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), Ago-Iwoye came out in large numbers on Wednesday, 11th January, 2023 to celebrate the immediate past Vice-Chancellor of the University, Prof. Ganiyu Olatunji Olatunde. Mostly decked in white and blue attires, the non-teaching varsity workers thronged the Otunba Gbenga Daniel Lecture Theatre, Main Campus of the institution, for a send-forth programme in honour of the former Vice-Chancellor.

At the ceremony which was chaired by the incumbent Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Ayodeji Agboola, the non-teaching staff extolled the virtues of Prof. Olatunde and commended him for maintaining cordial relationship with them during his five-year tenure. While paying glowing tributes to the erstwhile University administrator, the union members also acknowledged the prompt payment of salaries, improved staff welfare, monumental infrastructural development and several reform initiatives recorded under his administration.

In his remarks, the Vice-Chancellor declared that the celebration was the result  of the good leadership  provided by Prof. Olatunde. He lauded the staff unions for appreciating the achievements of his predecessor, promising not to detract from his good legacies.

“We are rejoicing today simply because we have things to point at as achievements in the last five years. Of course, in Nigeria today, everybody wants to come to OOU. I receive an average of five applications from professors per day seeking for sabbatical in OOU,” Prof. Agboola hinted. He further said, “We will continue to do what is right. Earlier today, I met the postgraduate students because I don’t have headache about undergraduates any longer. The University has been able to sort out most of the challenges of undergraduates when he (Olatunde) was there in the last five years. From admission to graduation, everything about the students is online. So, we also want to solve the remaining problems.”

The Vice-Chancellor, who solicited the cooperation of staff in moving the institution to the next level, assured them of his administration’s resolve to prioritise their welfare.

“My prayer is that as we journey together, God will help us to be able to arrive at a destination and everyone of us will be celebrated at the end of the day,” he added.

Speaking at the event, the SSANU-OOU Chairman, Comrade Adedeji Lamina, said the immediate past Vice-Chancellor gave his best for the growth and development of the University and, therefore, deserved to be celebrated in a grand style. He noted that his achievements will remain indelible in the annals of the institution.

“We are celebrating Prof. Ganiyu Olatunde not because he is a professor, but because he was one-time Vice-Chancellor of this University and he gave us his best. When we believed things were hard, he was there for us. How he managed to do it with his team then, only him can explain. But I thank God that his team that were doing it then, about 80 percent of them are still on ground which makes me believe that they are going to repeat the magic again,” he said. Lamina also appreciated the “faithfulness, doggedness, uprightness and commitment” of the non-teaching staff towards uplifting the University and developing the society, urging them to remain steadfast in discharging their duties. Also, the NASU-OOU Chairman, Comrade John Rasaki, said the emergence of Prof. Olatunde remained a huge blessing to the institution. He described the former Vice-Chancellor as an icon, a great achiever, an exemplary and visionary leader as well as an administrator par excellence. He enthused that the University also enjoyed absolute peace and stability during the memorable tenure.

Rasaki said, “When Prof. Saburi Adesanya was leaving as Vice-Chancellor, many of us did not believe that we can find anyone again who can fit into his shoes because of his numerous achievements. But when you came and we began to see your works, we were convinced that, truly, God has answered our prayers in this University.

“Your achievements were not only remarkable but your ability to sustain the achievements of Prof. Saburi alongside your own success is worthy of note. You cannot be easily forgotten in this University. You may mean different things to different people but to us in NASU, you are a great leader, a father, a friend, and a mentor.” The union leader pointed out that junior staff in the University would always remember the Prof. Olatunde-led administration for the regular payment of salaries, especially during the periods of strike and COVID-19 pandemic. He equally stated that those who were upgraded from junior to senior cadre as well as those who got their conversion during the former Vice-Chancellor’s tenure would forever be grateful.

Rasaki added, “The staff training and workshop which commenced during your administration at both local and international levels is another area we will keep remembering you. Sir, you are indeed a blessing to this University in several forms; your presence attracted many organisations and philanthropists for the development of our University. The University enjoyed absolute peace during your tenure, both the students and staff were greatly impacted by your good leadership.”

“There is no doubt that you have engraved your name in the history of the University. You have laid a far-reaching legacy here and generations yet to come will live to enjoy and remember you.”

He also used the occasion to appreciate the former Vice-Chancellor for ensuring that the University was not deprived of good leadership by handing over to “an equally pragmatic, forthright and seasoned leader” as his successor.

In their separate remarks at the event, other notable speakers, including the SSANU National Vice President (South West), Comrade (Dr.) Abdusobur Salam, and NASU Ogun State Women Leader, Mrs Taiwo Morenike, applauded the former Vice-Chancellor for providing exemplary leadership and for promoting labour-friendly policies while in the saddle.

The send-forth programme featured drama presentation by students from the Department of Performing Arts as well as special performances by their counterparts in the Music Department while gifts from the unions and individuals were also presented to the former Vice-Chancellor.

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