• The story of Olatunbosun, KDU VC
From Yinka Fabowale, Ibadan
It was popularised by politicians of the Second Republic in the old Oyo State. But it has stuck. It is “son of the soil”, the tag Ibadan indigenes flaunt with pride.
Adeniyi Olatubosun, Professor of Law, SAN, fittingly fits the bill. He would appear destined to always settle for no less than a royal rank and foremost position in whichever endeavour or fields he finds himself.
He is Vice Chancellor, Kola Daisi University (KDU), Moniya, Ibadan, Akinyele Local Government.
Remarkably, “Ade” the prefix of his name and even “Niyi” mean crown or head and “one who attracts or emanates nobility or greatness.” Who says what’s in a name?
As Vice Chancellor, Olatubosun is living beyond the dream of occupying the chieftaincy stool of his village in the same local government, which as a prince, he could aspire to.
He spoke Daily Sun recently. Excerpts:
Possible symbolic connection between name Adeniyi, pedigree and headship of KDU?
Well, just like any Yoruba Yoruba name it signifies that the bearer has the ambience of shinning wherever he goes, likely to be well-placed or a be a renowned or popular person in the society.
I never gave it a thought,, but, perhaps, because of what’s happening now, things just working apparently according to what God has purposed, one might say that there may be the hand of fate in it. The VC appointment was never expected or imagined but human beings propose, God disposes. I was teaching in the Obafemi Awolowo University and was going from Ibadan to Ife for about 20 years between 1994 till 2013. University of Ibadan is just close to my place here where I lived. At times I had to stay over in Ife because of the inconvenience. But as fate would have it, there was an opportunity for me to go for sabbatical in University of lbadan. I never dreamt of coming to UI to teach because once you start a career you try as much as possible to stay where you are and get the best out of it. It was during the time of Prof Isaac Folorunso Adewole as the Vice Chancellor. I had not gone for sabbatical for almost 20 years, each
time I wanted to go, the university would refuse and say “we are short- staffed we cannot leave you”. I was supposed to go Kwame Nkrumah University I was supposed to be paid in dollars but I could not go. Even I was supposed to go to Institute of International Law in India, I could not go when I was in Ife. So when this opportunity came this time around I jumped at it, but theVC said: “I have seen your C.V we do not want you to come for sabbatical we want you to join us as a professor if you do not mind. Well, I said no problem I am from Ibadan, I live in Ibadan and I worked in Ibadan before going to Ife.
That was how it started and howI came to Ibadan. At that time I was still a Senior Lecturer at OAU.
So, your’s is not the case of the community demanding indigeneship ‘rights’ to leading an academic institution, as we have had in some cases including even UI and OAU?
Certainly not. I was in UI for about seven years and I was made an HOD of Public International Law and then I became a Dean from 2014 to 2020 for six years just about two weeks to completion of my tenure, I was invited to come to Kola Daisi to assist in setting up the Faculty of Law. I took a Sabbatical, gathered our people together and we were able to get it done. The Council for Legal Education came and gave us approval to host a programme of Law here. Along the line, when the then VC was leaving, I was asked, as Dean, Law Faculty, to come and act as VC on 17th August 2020 and after about a year, exactly 2nd August 2021, I was made a substantive Vice Chancellor.
View on communities’ clamor for VC position for indigenes
For me, the university is not set up for tribal purposes or nepotism, but stakeholders can form pressure groups and they can channel their grievances in legitimate manner, not resorting to fetish or occult kind of activities as we have seen, because that is primitive and barbaric, it is not within the academic culture we were brought up with, so I believe there is a need for every stakeholder to ensure that if they want to champion the cause of their people to come in, they should make sure that they field their best if the opportunity comes because they would be examined alongside their other colleagues.
Here at Kola Daisi University, the former Vice Chancellor was not from Ibadan, he was from Kwara State. So, a university should not base the criterion for appointment of VC on the tribe, clan or the community where the university is based. That is against the ethics and culture of university system.
Building world class university from the scratch no tea party, but…
To every organization, there are areas of strengths, weaknesses and there are challenges and opportunities. As a growing private university, the KolaDaisi University was setup in 2016 and the academic activities commenced in 2017. In November 4, 2021 we had our first graduation, where we graduated 52 students from various programs in two faculties- Faculty of Applied Sciences and Faculty of Arts, Management and Social sciences. The two previous vice chancellors we had, the first spending about a year and thereafter Prof. Ayorinde, who left about two and half years, started on a very firm ground. In terms of development of academic programmes, they have done their bit and established those faculties fully accredited by the National Universities Commission, NUC.
So, when I came on board, I had to also bring up faculty of law which the Council of Legal Education has now also accredited and which has increased the enrolment of the school. One the things is that we have competent staff. Of all the programs we have in the various faculties, 90 per cent of lecturers have PhD in their various disciplines. So, we do not mitigate that. So, we take it as very important and those who do not have are almost at the verge of getting, if not for the strike here and there. It is known that if you want to work as a lecturer here you must have a PhD and we endeavor to keep that standard. That also gave us a leverage of a good academics to train our students. We also have modern facilities including laboratories in the various programmes – Industrial Chemistry, Microbiology, Biology, Biochemistry, Physics and Computer science.
Also, we have good studios for our mass communication students, four studio in television, in radio. We have put in place, the photography session is also very good. Apart from theoretical training, we also
offer our students practical trainings so as to prepare very well in their various disciplines. In addition to, we also have a kind of networking of organization, like New Horizon which is also an outfit that also gives certification to students in the various discipline.
We also have entrepreneurship skills for our students and we trained them to get these things, so that they would also be relevant in the society. Our accounting students are also exposed to ICAN, and other professional certification courses. We expose them to these programmes for them to be able to keep abreast of latest industry trends. Our founder, our benefactor, Chief Kola Daisi, has been supporting us very well in terms of ensuring that we have some form of grants, because the salaries of lecturers and other things that we are to generate revenue are not enough to run the school, it’s not based on what the students are paying as fees either. Every quarter, he gives us like N200 million to support whatever we have. So, in terms of funding we are properly funded. In just this last year, he gave us N1billion as endowment for the purpose of taking the university to further heightsin the nearest future. And we are vigorously working towards that.
We have an agenda to translate the founder’s vision into reality. The first is to build up a very robust structure for the university and part of what we need to grow is to let our lecturers understand that there is no shortcut to success. Because of the increase in the universities here and there, there is pressure on young upcoming scholars not to actually take their time to have a career line. Many of them have been either poached or lured into coming to other places.
But there is something important for everybody to have a career projection, so we are training them. We are encouraging them to ensure that they keep up to that. And we also offer opportunities for them to be retrained from time to time. We are organizing conference, seminar, workshops and other programmes that can also keep them abreast of their areas of expertise so they can also compete, give their best and impact our students positively. So, we have a place that in the next five years our enrolment should be in the neighborhood of about 3,000
Mayflower School resurrected?
We have lots of programmes and plans in place to ensure self dependence and sustainability. For instance, apart from the tuition fees and the subvention we get from our founder on quarterly basis, we also have in place some business strategies related to the locality we are in – farming and other kind of projects that can give us additional prop. We have a farm manager, who is in charge of our farming activities. We are also going into fishing Our university is also open to those who may be ready to key into supporting us as stakeholders and also as partners in that regard or other areas.
Already, we are working with some foreign universities, we have entered into memorandum of understanding with some universities in United States such as Central State University in USA, University of Indiana for media science and mass communication. We are also partnering with American University in Cyprus. We are also going to have joint certificate programmes including at postgraduate level for which we will jointly award the degree certificates. We have entered into one with a University in Malaysia, it is also partnering with us in the area of Economics.
We are also working on some projects that are community-oriented based project. For instance, we are situated in Akinyele, we have two commercial businesses, we have abattoir here, pepper and tomato markets and a cattle ranch here. So, we are trying to invest in producing some technology so they will be able to preserve their tomatoes and peppers because at times when they have higher supply and the demand is low they are forced to sell at a lower price sometimes at a disadvantage position. We have about 10 to 12 communities we are trying to harness to form cooperative society for a farming project so that we can put resources together for them to produce crops like cassava, cashew and some others in commercial quantities.
CBN is encouraging this. The CBN has written to some universities to explore such initiatives.
We have ready- made markets being organized by the CBN whereby we can sell and process the farm products.
We have people in Biochemistry, we have people who have agric-oriented background coordinating the project which will also help our students identify, develop and apply their own special skills and knowledge to give to the farmers the modern techniques and technologies to improve farming activities and yields. So, invariably it will serve dual purposes for us; one in terms of research, it will provide an avenue for us to further our research activities.
It will also translate to commercial venture for us in terms of
proceeds. We intend to do it based on the proportionality of our
involvement and it will also be making the university relevant in the