The outgoing Vice-Chancellor, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), Professor Oluwafemi Olaiya Balogun, last Thursday added another feather to his cap as the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN) conferred on him, the prestigious Award of the “Most Enterprising Vice-Chancellor in Southwest, Nigeria”.
The Award ceremony took place at the King’s Hall, Yewa Plaza, Abeokuta and was graced by the Paramount Ruler of Egbaland, HRM (Dr.) Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo, Okukenu IV; prominent Egba High Chiefs; representatives of FUNAAB community, CIIN leadership and members as well as veteran broadcaster and General Manager, Ogun State Television station, Mr. Ayinde Soaga, among others.
Explaining the rationale behind the Award, the National President and Chairman of Council (CIIN), Dr. Julius Adetimehin, said it was borne out of the genuine intention of the Institute to exclusively honour Professor Balogun for his unprecedented transformation of FUNAAB, while in office.
He particularly lauded the Vice-Chancellor for his feat in the areas of physical development, academic excellence, management of personnel and resources and judicious utilization of governmental allocations.
Presenting the Award plaque to Professor Balogun, the Paramount Ruler of Egbaland, HRM, Adedotun Gbadebo said, “Professor Balogun has changed the University radically. This is one University that had no place in ranking but has now been brought to second position, under Professor Balogun”.
The Monarch stressed that “the movement of the University to its permanent site at Alabata has become a reality under Professor Balogun. In the next few days, he will move the Vice-Chancellor’s Lodge from the Ibara Housing Estate to the Alabata (Road) Permanent Site”, he added.
Responding to the Award, Prof. Balogun stated: “I am humbled by this Award. It is least expected from the Institute. I never dreamt of it, neither did I have any information as to my nomination for the Award. I must say that I have rejected several awards, based on the understanding that many of such had been on cash-and-carry basis.
“I don’t believe that I should buy any award. It is my belief that to whom much is given, much is expected.
We have been given the opportunity to serve and we have served meritoriously. One does not need to bribe or coerce anybody before he’s honoured”.
Speaking further, Prof. Balogun challenged the gathering, “if you have any reason to doubt my legibility for this honour, you have the ability and right to protest and ensure the withdrawal of the Award”.
Professor Balogun, however, thanked the Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo for being his strong pillar of support as Vice-Chancellor.
The Vice-Chancellor also expressed satisfaction and joy that “I have not misplaced the confidence reposed in me by the Egbas ”, praying God to grant him a successor that will perform better in office.
Professor Balogun, thereafter, donated the Award to the FUNAAB Community and Egbaland, declaring that “without them, I am nothing”.
The ceremony, which also witnessed the investiture of new CIIN Executive Council, Abeokuta Branch, was graced by the University’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic, Professor Toyin Arowolo; Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Development, Professor Felix Salako; the Bursar, Mr. Moses Ilesanmi and the University Librarian, Dr. (Mrs.) Mulikat Salaam.
Others were the Director, Centre for Internationalization and Partnerships (CENIP), Dr. Olukayode Akinyemi; Director, Physical Planning Unit, Mr. B. A. Ayodele; Director Centre for Entrepreneurial Studies (CENTS), Prof. Kayode Bamgbose; Director, Works and Services, Engr. (Mrs.) Omolola Banjo; and the Deputy Director, Public Relations, Mr. ‘Lasun Somoye.
The VC, Professor Balogun displaying his Award.