OPINION: Osuntokun: A Professor And Gentleman At 70

May 8, 2012

Professor Akinjide Osuntokun. Photo: COURTESY: The Nationonlineng.net

What birthday present can I give Emeritus Professor Akinjide Idowu Osuntokun, OON, FNAL, FHSN, the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council, Ekiti State University, a rare professor and a man of honour at 70? I have come to respect this man since the day I first saw him. He radiates humility, dignity and nobility.

He comes across as a very respectable, strong and solid man of character, pedigree and brilliance. He has poise and you could discern immediately that he is very cultured, experienced, exposed, and whenever he opens his mouth in a soft spoken drawl, only words of wisdom with candor and sincerity come out.

Osuntokun’s presence at the Education Summit in Ekiti State on May 4-5, 2011 lent a lot of credibility to the event and his subsequent emergence as the Pro-chancellor and Chairman of Council of the Ekiti State University came as no surprise at all. It is like they say, “a round peg in a round hole.” I have been awed by the level of depth, insight, leadership and strength that he brings to bear in directing the affairs of council.

Within a short period, he has successfully coordinated a seamless merger of the erstwhile University of Ado-Ekiti (UNAD), University of Science and Technology, Ifaki Ekiti (USTI) and The University of Education, Ikere Ekiti (TUNEDIK) into what we now have as Ekiti State University (EKSU). It never ceases to amaze me how he can sit in council from 9.00am to 11.00pm. Yes at 70, he does this on a regular basis especially when there are issues that must be resolved.

One of such issues was that of finding an excellent Vice Chancellor for the university. We needed a man of excellence who could drive the vision of Ekiti State Government of turning EKSU to a world class university and a leader who would be respected all over the world with a world view and exposure. Emeritus Professor Osuntokun meritoriously and painstakingly coordinated the process until a first class professor, Patrick Oladipo Aina, emerged.

Since their assumption of office, the university has moved in leaps and bounds. We have successfully regularized our status at the Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC) and an institution accreditation has been conducted. We have been able to clear four outstanding convocations with organized and classy ceremonies like never before experienced in the university. EKSU has commenced a biometric data capture of staff and students to meet up with today’s realities in accurate record-keeping with electronic access. This process includes the codifying of the school fees and other special charges to bring about more transparent collection of fees.

In the area of infrastructure, the university has awarded a contract for a borehole, obtained a gear-switch to connect the university to the National grid for electricity. He has also been instrumental to the corporate social responsibility projects being offered the university by First Bank Nigeria Plc and Guaranty Trust Bank Plc. He has commenced tarring of the roads and so many building projects to lift the status of the university. The university has also commenced a process to turn EKSU to a residential university for staff and students. His exemplary leadership in council is not in question at all. It is done with openness, accountability, clinical details and focus. He has no issues with age at all; he gives respect to whom it is due. Prof Osuntokun is a real man of honour, an Ekiti man indeed.

What more can I say, he is an example of the believer. Christianity looks good on him. This is just to say how much I appreciate the fact that Prof Osuntokun has made me look good as the Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology in Ekiti State and I truly appreciate him. Under his watch, I can almost say that EKSU is working on autopilot now.
While wishing him a happy birthday, I can only wish him longer life in good health, prosperity, peace and love. I pray that he will see more of his children’s children. This tribute is to a gem and invaluable partner to the process of transforming Education in Ekiti State.

Dr. Ajayi is Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Ekiti State.

Last modified: May 8, 2012

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