Tit Bits from Prof Akin Oyebode: A Little Arrogance Helps…

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    Prof. Akin Oyebode

    Prof was concerned about the poor standard of living of students and spoke about how much he did to ensure this improved. However, there were times when he had to talk tough and sound a bit more arrogant to maintain peace. 

    University of Ado-Ekiti was located in the middle of nowhere.  It is not even located in Ado-Ekiti.  It is closer to a village called Iworoko. The challenges were many, especially provision of municipal facilities like water, power, telephone.  It was a big challenge to be in Ado-Ekiti. I had to rig the mast in the VC’s office and have it connected to my car, just to connect with the world.  So I thought of the students and how they cope.  Luckily, my sibling is a Director with MTN, so he spoke to the Managing Director, Adrian Wood who came to Ado-Ekiti and installed some bamboo held antenna for the students with a generating set to service it. So my students could make calls to their parents within the precinct. Going to school in Ado-Ekiti was challenge and that is why I said that those who went to the school should have been exempted from NYSC because they have done more than the call of duty. They go to hell and back.

    I remember an incident that happened when we had problems with power and the students came to confront us. They brought lanterns and rechargeable lamps and had banners with inscriptions “Is this how Harvard treats its students?” trying to embarrass me. So I asked them; “Do you pay the fees Harvard students pay?” I said to them “Your hostel fee cannot even fuel my official car”. So they said I was arrogant and I said “a little arrogance helps here”. I came from UNILAG just because I am from here, like a missionary and encouraged by my dad who would always ask you to help because of the joy derived from helping the people. I did not have any business being here. That was just a few of the challenges I had in Ado-Ekiti.

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    I remember an incident that happened when we had problems with power and the students came to confront us. They brought lanterns and rechargeable lamps and had banners with inscriptions “Is this how Harvard treats its students?” trying to embarrass me. So I asked them; “Do you pay the fees Harvard students pay?” I said to them “Your hostel fee cannot even fuel my official car”. So they said I was arrogant and I said “a little arrogance helps here ”.

    As a Vice Chancellor in Ado-Ekiti, I was also teaching about three courses because then, I was the only Professor of Law in the University and I felt it would be unpardonable for lawyers to be produced and not have experience with a law professor. But I also had a crop of dedicated staff who joined the institution. In addition to that, I used to come to UNILAG to ferry some lecturers to teach in the school. They come over the weekend, did marathon classes and returned to Lagos. We were lucky to have people to assist. It was difficult because we wanted to create a faculty of law that could favourably compete with any other faculty of law anywhere

    Full interview here

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