Friday, February 16, 2018 9:30 pm
By Gbenro Adesina/Ibadan
Health Minister, Professor Isaac Folorunsho Adewole was among the dignitaries that gathered at the Vice Chancellor’s Lodge of University of Ibadan, UI, for the Eucharist and thanksgiving service and celebration of the 60th birthday anniversary of the institution’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Abel Idowu Olayinka.
Other dignitaries at the colourful event, which include all the institution’s principal officers, deans, Head of Departments, HOD, directors, professors, UI staff, family and friends were: former President of Nigeria Bar Association, NBA, Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, Hon. Fijabi Akinade representing Ibadan North West/South West in the House of Representatives , Registrar/Chief Executive, Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria, TRCN, Professor Josiah Olusegun Ajiboye, Secretary to the Oyo State Government, Mr. Ishmael Olalekan Alli, who led some members of the state executive council, the Vice Chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University, OAU, Ile-Ife, Prof. Eyitope Ogunbodede and his wife, Vice Chancellor, Ladoke Akintola University, LAUTECH, Professor Niyi Gbadegesin, Vice Chancellor, Osun State University, OSU, Professor Labode Popoola, Group Medical Director, GMD, University College Hospital, UCH, Professor Temitope Alonge leading the top management team of the hospital, the institution’s past Vice Chancellors including : Prof. Allen B.O.O. Oyediran and Prof. Ayodele O. Falase and Chairman, Governing Council, College of Education, Lanlate, Prof. Olanrewaju Olaniyan.
Officiating the thanksgiving service were: The Very Reverend O. K. Oyelade, The Very Reverend (Dr.) Olasode Olagbaju, The Ven V.I. Oladele, The Reverend Canon T. B. Oluwalusi, The Reverend (Dr.) Kingta Princewill, Canon (Professor) Mrs. M. Adebisi Sowunmi and Pastor D. O. George, all from the institution’s Chapel of The Resurrection.
Delivering the sermon, Reverend Oyelade emphasised the significance of life pointing out that an individual’s life becomes meaningless when his impact is not felt in the society and there is no record to show that one has positively touched the lives of fellow human beings. He added, “Professor Olayinka has made good impact in life and he has positively touched the lives of many people”.
Admonishing the celebrant to continue to move closer to God as he is advancing in age, the clergy man said, “God deserves a greater love. He wants your love. Your perfection lies in examining yourself on a daily basis and to keep telling yourself that you want to be better in your relationship with God. You must pray the more. In all situations, you must give thanks. Don’t touch evil and do not do evil”.
Showering encomium of the celebrant, Professor Adewole said, “I worked with Olayinka for some years. He was actually my deputy when I was the Vice Chancellor. He is a good man. He is an honest man. Whatever assignment I gave to him when I was the vice chancellor, I can go to bed with my two eyes closed. I am sure you know that he is a fervent believer of ‘doing things right”.
Adewole; who was not happy about the current state of the University due to the on-going strike action embarked upon by the non-academic staff, appealed to the striking staff to return to their duty posts saying, “Those that this strike action have really affected are our children. Now, when we think about this, I think no sacrifice is too much for any parent to make for his or her children. So, for the sake of our children in school, I beg the non-teaching staff to return back to work”.
Speaking about the celebrant, Chief Olanipekun noted, “What I love about this gentle man is his humility. He is humble to a fault and he is a very hardworking man. When he was a deputy Vice Chancellor, he brought many reforms into the system that has contributed immensely to the improvements that are very conspicuous in the university. He is doing his very best to ensure that the Premier University remains the first and the best”.
In the same vein, Professor Alonge eulogised the celebrant, describing him as humble and a good leader, adding “I wish him the very best in life”.
In a brief chat with our correspondent, Olayinka said that he was grateful to God for giving him the opportunity to live up to 60 years in life adding, “I know that God that has kept me till today, will continue to keep me to the end of my tenure as the 12th vice chancellor of this university. I am sure he will keep me to see many years”.
He said, “I never knew I could go this far. I came into this university as a lecturer and see me today, I am the Vice Chancellor. This means that it could be anybody. I just want to say, thank you Lord”.
On the state of the university, he said, “The only pain that I have is that things are not going the way I want. I wish there is no strike action. I wish all issues that have made the non-teaching staff to be on strike are resolved so that normalcy is returned back to the university. I pray that soon the strike is called off”.
Born at Odo-Ijesa, Osun State, on February 16, 1958, Olayinka attended Bartholomew’s Primary School at Odo-Ijesa and Ilesa Grammar School, where he obtained the WASC in 1975. He later proceeded to the University of Ibadan where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Geology.
He observed his mandatory one-year Youth Service at the Hydrogeology and Hydrology Department of the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, Port Harcourt in 1982, after which he worked briefly at Deptol Consultants as Geologist. Afterwards, he proceeded to the University of London where he obtained a master’s degree in Geophysics in 1984.
In July 1984, he received a membership Diploma of Imperial College before he bagged a scholarship award that earned him a doctoral degree in applied geophysics from the University of Birmingham. In April 1997, he was a postdoctoral research fellow at Technical University, Braunschweig and in July 1997, he was Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellow at Technical University of Berlin.
Upon his return to Nigeria, he joined the nation’s Premier University as a lecturer where he rose from the rank and file to the position of the Vice Chancellor in the institution.
As an administrative staff, he successfully worked to get grants for the development of the institution.
Olayinka has supervised hundreds of undergraduate students, 66 master’s degree students and nine doctoral degree students.
He has equally published over 50 scholarly articles in reputable academic journal as well as books and monographs.
In 2012, he was elected and inducted as fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Science, the apex academic science organisation in Nigeria. In September 2015, he was appointed as the 12th substantive Vice Chancellor of the University of Ibadan.