I like to share the story of Prof. Peter Adeniyi with my friends. Prof. Adeniyi, former Vice Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology Akure (FUTA), in my opinion, represents a major factor in the positive turn-around that has now defined the place of FUTA as the leading university of technology in Nigeria. Adeniyi represents that rare and tiny percentage of Nigerians that can truly make great things happen for the benefit of the people – that tiny percentage that can produce good results where others have failed. The endless problems we face as a nation in the area of infrastructure, energy, education, security etc will continue to confound us until we can identify these people with demonstrable capacity and actual history of getting things done to lead the charge as we confront these various challenges. Those who know what FUTA was before Adeniyi and what it became at the end of his 5-year single term would appreciate his critical position as a change agent.

May I add quickly that once in 2002, I received my first official correspondence from Prof. Adeniyi (even though we had never met at the time) when he commended me for the modest Book, Bursary and Scholarship support programme that I started that year. That letter, which I still proudly keep in my file till today, was like a wake up call to action and an indication that my widow’s mite would affect certain lives and that my people took notice – not just my people but particularly someone as important as the Vice Chancellor (VC) of my alma mater! Again around 2006, the management of the Federal University of Technology Akure under the leadership of Prof. Adeniyi inducted me into the prestigious protocol list of the higher institution. That too, I seriously cherish.

I have mentioned to a few of my friends that the greatest leadership quality of Prof. Adeniyi is not just his ability to create funds and utilize same to provide critical infrastructure, no – but his innate capacity to identify capable hands that can provide crucial support for the attainment of his vision and that can sustain the legacy after him. What further evidence of this do we need than to consider Prof. Adeniyi’s successor, Prof. Bisi Balogun. Prof. Balogun has not only continued the tradition but has ensured he does all in his power to take it to a different level. Now, that is the right attitude.

From right, Professor Peter Adeniyi, former vice chancellor, Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA), Brigadier General Raji Rasaki (retd), guest of honour and Professor Adebisi Balogun, vice chancellor, FUTA, at the inauguration of the hostel named after Adeniyi. Credit: Tribune

If there is anyone that I have absolute confidence in in terms of inherent capacity to cause a positive change that would benefit a greater majority of people, that person is Prof. Adeniyi. If I were to also mention one person that can sustain legacies and take it higher, that person would be Prof. Bisi Balogun, succeccor VC to Adeniyi. That said, my fear presently is that FUTA may miss the opportunity of service of another “It Can Be Done” professor. That is Prof. Debo Adeyewa. Now, Prof. Adeyewa would complete the triad perfectly but alas Pastor E. A. Adeboye spotted him and has spiritually ‘arrested’ his service! FUTA’s loss is Redeemer University’s gain!

The following report by my brother and friend, Mr. Yinka Oladoyinbo of the Tribune newspaper is a focus on Prof. Peter Adeniyi and the report says it all.
Report credit to Yinka Oladoyinbo

IT is a thing of joy for one to witness the positive impact of one’s engagement, especially when such has to do with service to humanity. However, when such service is recognised and acknowledged in one’s lifetime, the joy knows no bound.

This was the story of a former vice chancellor of the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA), Professor Peter Olufemi Adeniyi, as his service to the university was last week recognised and honoured during the 23rd convocation ceremony of the institution, as a N120 million male hostel was built and named after him.

The hostel, which was constructed to further make learning more conducive for the school’s male students, was part of the eight projects inaugurated during the last convocation ceremony of the institution. Naming the hostel after the Ikole-Ekiti born academic was not a very hard decision for the university under the leadership of Professor Adebisi Balogun. The strong foundation laid by Adeniyi had enabled Balogun (the current vice chancellor) to lift the university to its enviable position as the best university of technology in Nigeria.

Speaking at the inauguration of the hostel, which was supervised by the immediate past chairman of the governing council of the institution, Brigadier General Raji Rasaki (retd), the vice chancellor described Adeniyi as a man that had added value to the university. He said, “There is no doubt everyone of us here today knows Professor Peter Adeniyi, I have to thank Professor Adeniyi for his pace-setting ability. He came when the road was very rough, when things were very hard for the institution. He came, he saw and he conquered and it is the legacy that he left that we are building upon today. At the time Adeniyi was here, he used the power of the vice chancellor to the benefit of this community; he used that power for the purpose of infrastructural development in this university; he used that power for the purpose of staff development in this university and he used that power for academic development. So there is nothing too much for this university to name after Professor Adeniyi.”

The vice chancellor, who referred to a proposition by the former Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Professor Peter Okebukola, however, said that there was the need for universities to imbibe the culture of taking care of their former vice chancellors.

Rasaki, in his remark, testified to the fact that Adeniyi came into the institution when the university was facing many crises and that he was able to lay the foundation for the development of the institution. He said the former vice chancellor was very lucky to have laid a foundation and for his successor to have continued with the work. He said it was during the time of Adeniyi that the glory the institution is taking as the best university of technology in the country started, saying that he should be happy that the university was still waxing great after his exit.

Reacting, Adeniyi, who was full of appreciation to the management of the university, said he was amazed by the naming of the hall after him. He told the gathering that it was surprising that somebody in the shoes of the incumbent vice chancellor would go ahead to recognise his activities in the university. Telling the story of how he emerged as the vice chancellor, Adeniyi said Balogun also contested to be vice chancellor when he was appointed but to his surprise, immediately after his emergence, Balogun came to him and gave him his (Balogun’s) work plan and vision for the development of the institution.

“When I got this particular information, I was very happy because this time five years ago every union, every faculty was giving me gifts. I went back to where I kept some of those gifts and I asked my wife that would I have been able to get all the gifts. if I had stolen money from the university? If you get to my house, almost everything I am using today was donated by this university and for the university to still come back and honour me with this one that will remain there for life is overwhelming. God will surely bless you.”

Adeniyi, however, pledged to do two things for the students that would be staying in the hall. First, he donated a big LCD television to the common room and also promised that the students would be organising a leadership or entrepreneurship lecture that would be sponsored by him.

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