Tuesday, September 15, 2015 1:37 pm
Kano State born DR. UMAR MUSA MUSTAPHA, 54, is the current Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of council, University of Ibadan. The scholar who holds five Masters and three PhD degrees in different fields shared his dream on the institution and how its new VC emerged with
Q: What was the process that produced Professor Abel Idowu Olayinka as the 12th Vice Chancellor of the University of Ibadan?
A: After a long process, we were able to appoint Professor Abel Idowu Olayinka, as the new Vice Chancellor for UI on 9 September 2015. His appointment takes effect from 1 December and he has been given a letter of appointment. The first process was that we advertised the vacancy of the position of VC in UI in three national dailies for interested persons to apply. The intending applicants must have a PhD, be a professor of nothing less than 10 years standing, and possess relevant experience in the administration of the university. A total of 13 applications were received within the six weeks that was allowed for the submission of applications. After that the council met and agreed on certain criteria for screening, basically based on quality of application, the quality of applicant’s vision statement for the university, academic records, international publications, responsibilities held within the university, community responsibility, state and national responsibilities, fellowships and so on.
After the screening, we shortlisted a total number of six professors: Professor Abel Idowu Olayinka from Geology; Professor David Olaleye, a virologist from College of Medicine; Professor Augustine Eyiwunmi Falaye, Fisheries; Professor Ayodeji Emmanuel Oluleye, Faculty of Technology; Olusegun Olusina Akinyinka, College of Medicine and Professor Adigun Agbaje from Political Science. They were further interviewed in greater details using standard guidelines set up by the Federal Ministry of Education with some adjustments here and there to suit the peculiarity of this institution. After the interview, three candidates: Professor Abel Idowu Olayinka, and two runners up, Olaleye and Falaye, were recommended and Professor Abel Idowu Olayinka was appointed.
Q: What stood out Professor Olayinka?
A: Olayinka stood out clearly because, first, he was a former deputy vice chancellor academics, dean, sub-dean, HOD, who has many local and international papers. He is a successful manager of resources and people in the university. He is a fellow of great institutions who has attracted grants to the university.
Q: How can you describe the new VC?
A: By my judgment, he is a very humble, cosmopolitan and accommodating person. One interesting thing about him is that he keeps to the rules of the game. He is strict with the issue of plagiarism, procedure and rules. He doesn’t break the rule but bridge it. He interacts well but never compromise on what the law says.
Q: How do you feel being a part of the process that saw the emergence of a new VC in UI?
A: I thank God for giving me the ability to conduct the exercise successfully. I attribute my success to God and the fact that we stood firm on the issues of integrity, fair play and justice. I am highly honoured to be part of this exercise.
Q: What is your rating of the outgoing UI VC, Professor Isaac Adewole?
A: He is a man of great integrity. He gives necessary supports to his subordinates. He is a team player. He is very creative. He has done a lot in agriculture sector.
Q: By your posture, dressing and others, people will hardly believe that you’re an important personality. What informed your simplicity?
A: I believe that in all situations, you should always endeavour to look up and down. You will look up to see the people that are above you, and down to see the people you are above. I believe in living a simple life. Modesty to me by background and training is key to success.
Q: Despite the fact that UI is the first established university in Nigeria, it doesn’t have a place in Africa ranking not to mention international. What are the efforts of the council to ensure the premier university in Nigeria is better ranked?
A: It is true that one of the global ranking positioned UI as number eight in Africa. As regards global ranking, yes, we are far behind. One thing we can do is to increase research and development, making environment conducive for learning, be more creative and innovative in our teaching and students affairs. This will require a lot of funding, which is key to carrying out these programmes. We are going to focus on internally generated revenue, IGR, in order to meet the needs of the university. The era of solely depending on government is over; universities should be able to generate funding that will take care of immediate needs.
Q: Would efforts to increase IGR not result to increase in school fee?
A: Education is money and money is education. No matter how little you pay, it is part of investment. I am of the view that if school fee will be increased, it should be gradual, considering the fact that the economy is very bad now and many parents are striving to survive.
Q: How can IGR be increased in the university?
A: So many areas are there to be tapped. First, the expansion of distance learning programme; secondly, commercialisation of research, conducting research on specific issues for government and companies on a commercial basis. We should look at UI Ventures. The charges of UI Zoo should be affordable to attract people.
Q: What is your take on the universities being exempted from maintaining a single account with CBN as advocated by the committee of VCs?
A: They are not saying it is totally wrong but that certain accounts should be exempted. I strongly align with the universities’ position on this.
Q: In your own view, why is it so difficult for the government to commit 35 per cent budgetary allocation to education as prescribed by the United Nation?
A: I am aware of the pressure in the economy and the various sectors that are contending for the meagre resources. I will not rightly say that the government is not putting enough into education; probably the best way to say it is that the government should commit more funding into education. The institutions themselves must wake up and try to finance themselves. The era of government financing everything is over.