The outgoing president of the Association of African Universities (AAU) governing board, Prof. Antonio Orlando Quilambo, rector of Eduardo Mondlane University, Mozambique, has announced the appointment of Prof. Olusola Bandele Oyewole as the secretary-general for AAU, effective October 1, 2021.
Oyewole, a former vice-chancellor of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Ogun State, emerged scribe of AAU after a competitive recruitment process. He will take over the running of the 54-year-old association, replacing Prof. Etienne Ehouan Ehile, an Ivorian higher education scholar, who has led the association for the past nine years.
Oyewole, a professor of food science and technology, specialising in food microbiology and biotechnology, is not new to AAU as he has been a staff of the association in the past, as well as a board member and president of the body. He has also worked as a senior expert in higher education for the African Union Commission in Ethiopia.
The former VC’s work experience at the national, regional and continental levels has endowed him with a wealth of knowledge in coordinating multinational research and development programmes. He, therefore, comes to AAU fully equipped for the job ahead of him.
In his acceptance remarks on August 9, 2021, during the virtual extraordinary general conference organised by the association, he paid tribute to the outgoing Ehile, saying he was aware that he had “big shoes to fill.”
He recognized the outgoing scribe’s sterling work that saw AAU increasing its visibility, decentralizing its functions through regional offices, diversifying the capacity-building initiatives, identifying new partners, nurturing the relationship with the government of Ghana and continuing the advocacy to various stakeholders to support higher education in Africa. Oyewole thanked the AAU governing board for the opportunity to serve the body.
“My vision is to amplify the relevance of AAU as the voice of higher education in Africa,” said Oyewole in his acceptance.
He said, during his tenure, his focus areas would include identifying and implementing strategies for sustaining the association during and post- the COVID-19 era and helping African universities to overcome the challenges of the pandemic.
Oyewole said he deemed the collaborations and dialogues with development partners and other stakeholders as key for the successful future of AAU, adding, “Without strong partnerships and collaborations, the association would be unable to achieve her grand mission of improving the quality of African higher education.
“Through honest, sincere, visionary, committed, transparent and disciplined leadership, I intend to build new strategic partnerships and revive old partnerships for the sustainability of the Association,” he added.
Through vibrant platforms for learning and knowledge exchange, Oyewole envisions the building of the next generation of academics in Africa, stronger intellectual engagement and the full engagement of AAU member universities – and African universities in general.