The Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo (Centre), The Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Oluwafemi Olaiya Balogun (4th left) in a group photograph with the Presidential Visitation Panel at Ake Palace, Abeokuta
The Chairman and Members of the Presidential Visitation Panel to the University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (UNAAB), were treated to a pomp and royal welcome by the Alake of Egbland, Oba Adedotun Aremu Gabdebo, Okukenu IV, and his High Chiefs, at the Ake Palace, Ake, Abeokuta.
The Visitation Panel, which arrived Ake Palace in a convoy of vehicles at 9:40am, was accompanied by the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Oluwafemi Olaiya Balogun; the Acting Registrar, Mr. Adeleke Adeboye and the Deputy Registrar, Establishment Matters (Senior), Mrs. Mariam Popoola.
Their arrival was greeted by the sounding of the royal trumpet, which is a traditional way of welcoming eminent personalities to the palace in the culture of Yoruba people of Southwest, Nigeria.
Already waiting in the inner chamber of the palace (cozy and tastefully furnished), to receive the visitors were Egba High Chiefs.
As the Chairman and members of the Visitation Panel stepped into the inner chamber, the Royal Poet rented the air with the Shout of “Oba N kio” meaning “the monarch recognises your presence and welcomes you”, in reference to the visitors.
Hardly had the shout of “Oba N kio” died down, when a more intimidating and thunderous chorus of Kaabiyesi! (Yoruba way of paying obeisance to monarchs), seized the atmosphere, signaling the entry of the Alake of Egbaland, who adorned a regalia, resplendent of royalty and candour.
Orchestrating the Visitation Panel’s mission to the Palace and UNAAB in general, the Chairman, Professor Ochapa Onazi said “it is a great honour for me personally to lead this team to the palace of one the greatest monarchs in Nigeria”.
Onazi, who was a former Vice-Chancellor, University of Jos (UNIJOS), disclosed that “we have been sent by the President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces, to come and review the activities of UNAAB these past years”.
He stressed that, “We are here because you are the custodian of UNAAB. We have heard of how you have supported the University (UNAAB), right from the time you mounted the throne of your forefathers. That was what the Vice-Chancellor told us”.
The Chairman, who was also a former Pro-Chancellor of Bayero University, Zaria, further informed that, “this visit will enable us to inform the President of how well this University has performed and what are the challenges facing the University in meeting with its mandate”.
Professor Onazi, assured that “at the end of the exercise, I expect that the report of our mission will be to strengthen and not to destroy this University”.
Responding, Oba Gbadebo extolled the sterling qualities of the Chairman and members of the Panel saying, “it is intimidating as it is packed full of highly experienced technocrats and professionals”.
Alake expressed confidence that in view of their pedigree and acumen, “I have no doubt as to your capability to discharge the presidential assignment with utmost diligence and discretion”.
Oba Gbadebo who wished the Visitation Panel a fulfilling exercise, urged it to give prominence” to the yearnings of the community for a speedy transformation of UNAAB to a full-pledged conventional University”, in its recommendations to the President.
He commended the Federal Government for placing education especially at higher level, on the front burner, saying functional education was catalytic to youth empowerment and national development.