BY DALIMORE ALUKO
On February 12, 2021, the Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, appointed a legal icon, an accomplished statesman, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), as the Chancellor of the newly established Bamidele Olumilua University of Education, Science and Technology, Ikere-Ekiti (BOUESTI).
The manners by which the university was established through the elevation of the over 42-years College of Education and the appointment of the Chancellor have generated a lot of commendations from people of goodwill within and outside Ekiti.
Looking at the geometric development in the level of education and the stiff competition for higher degrees, one could decipher that the College of Education has outlived its usefulness. This makes the upgrading of the college at this auspicious time very apt and commendable.
History and experiences have taught us in Nigeria that establishment of a university comes with a lot of price, especially the one owned by either federal or a state government. The issue of funding has become a major albatross crippling the running of university in Nigeria.
The second issue is management, which revolves around the management team and the Governing Council. The latter plays the most prominent role because having the right person to drive the university to meet the expectations of the people depends largely on the competence, charisma, resourcefulness, and administrative shrewdness of those at the helms of affairs of any Ivory tower.
This is where Chief Wole Olanipekun’s appointment becomes significantly relevant. It was widely believed that the legal icon, having superintended over a flourishing first-generation, University of Ibadan, as a pro-Chancellor and chairman of council would add values to the new university. Again, he is, at present, the chancellor of Ajayi Crowther University, Oyo. This is also another impetus and credence to his qualification to be so appointed.
In Nigeria today, he remains one of the most venerated legal luminaries, who have carved a niche for himself in the profession. His mastery of legal issues has attracted local and international reckoning to the extent that his tentacles and connections have spread across federal, states corporate and international boundaries. These can be leveraged upon to influence people of means to donate generously to the funding of the university. He did this with panache during his days at the University of Ibadan and he is still doing so now at Ajayi Crowther University.
Coincidentally, Chief Wole Olanipekun is from Ikere, in Ekiti State where the institution is located, but this was not the reason for his appointment. It was chiefly based on merit through copious study of his antecedents as a statesman with penchant for industry, success and scholarship. In the last 20 years, several thousands of students at the secondary and university cadres had savoured the gains of his scholarship scheme.
Several youths, who would have been deprived of higher education and those who could have ended as dropouts are now accomplished civil servants, legal icons, lecturers, teachers and industrialists and contributing greatly to the country’s economy. In fact, his footprints have started to be felt barely two weeks after he was appointed the Chancellor. This is shown by the way he rallied Ikere Ekiti indigenes to donate the sum of N60 million to the new university as part of its take-off grant. The target is N500 million and with people of influence like Chief Wole Olanipekun, the goal will be achieved ultimately.
With him stepping in as the Chancellor of BOUESTI, things are beginning to look up for the university. Though the task would be daunting, the expectations are very high, but he is eminently qualified to turn things around for the new university.
•Aluko is Assistant Principal, Ikere High School Ikere, Ekiti State. 08032712451, 08066181583