By Akinwande Soji-Ojo
The outgoing vice chancellor (VC) of First Technical University (Tech-U), Ibadan, Prof. Ayobami Salami, has said he initiated the local government scholarhsip to help students fulfill their dreams and lighten the burden of tuition fee payment on parents.
Salami stated this at a special reading,entitled, ‘Thinking Without the Box: A Conversation with the Groundbreaking Pioneer Vice-Chancellor of the First Technical University, Ibadan,’ organised by the Tech-U Reading Society, held at Tunde Odunlade Art Gallery, Bodija, Ibadan, on Tuesday.
He said the scholarship which is being financed by local governments in Oyo State is based on merit, adding that students sit for examinations at the institution before being awarded the scholarship.
Salami, who narrated how he was able to get the support of the state and local governments, said the former governor of the state, late Sen. Abiola Ajimobi, did not allow anything about the university to be politicised.
“The governor gave me the free hand to operate because it is not about politics but about development. That is why the council is composed mainly of technocrats and not politicians.I also want to thank Governor Seyi Makinde because he didn’t tamper with the government structure when he came on board. That gave us stability,” he said.
The VC also said the institution has almost eradicated redundancy, noting that the varsity only employs according to its needs.
According to him, the institution does not recruit according to establishment, stressing that the varsity does not have a single messenger or clerical officer.
“We spend on essentials at Tech-U. There is no single messenger or clerical officer at Tech-U. Our security, health center and accommodation unit were outsourced. It is a culture we started with; when you join Tech-U, you’ll key into it. The job that four people do in other places, one person does it at Tech-U. When I was in Ife, I have about 15 staff as Head of Department. There was a time we have one functioning vehicle and three drivers. But as VC in Tech-U, I have only five staff working in my office. I type my own memo as VC. This is how we have been able to cut down on redundancy,” he said.
Salami, who spoke about the challenges he encountered as the pioneer vc of the institution, said his memoir, titled, ‘Thinking Without the Box,’ will soon be published.
Explaining the reason behind title of the memoir, he said: “If you think within the box,you would be living in the past. If you think outside the box, you would be able to deal with contemporary issues, but if you think without the box, one would be able to do about anything.”
The VC further explained that the institution pays its staff, stressing that no employee of the university is on the state government’s pay roll.
“I can’t afford not to think without the box. We pay our staff from the resources generated by the university. However, I want you to know that our welfare package is not comparable, if not better than what is obtainable in private and public organisations. We also pay our staff on the 24th of every month to motivate them,” he said.
Salami, who reeled out his achievements in office, thanked former governor of the state, Late Sen. Abiola Ajimobi, and incumbent governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde, for giving him free hand to operate.
Speaking, the chairman of the special reading, Prof. Femi Adegbesan, of the University of Ibadan, described Salami as a man of vision and faith.
“He (Salami) knew what brought him to the place (Tech-U). It takes a man with the audacity of vision and faith to do what he achieved,” Adegbesan said.
The special reading was attended by staff and students of the institution.