By Micheal Ahundu PhD.
A story was told of a grocery store owner whose only cow supplied the milk he sold to the small town where he lived. However, he left the cow to roam the village in the daytime in search of food. This meant that the cow occasionally wandered into people’s farms and grazed on their crops. This led to several confrontations and complaints between the inhabitants of that town and the owner of the cow until he decided to sell it off. Suddenly there was no more fresh milk again at the grocery store. People began to complain and finally realized that the poor wondering cow was the source of their milk.
The story above validates the saying that you do not know the value of what you have until it’s taken away from you. Human nature is often given to criticisms rather than commendation. Our empathy and sympathy are short-lived and often directed at people we have an emotional attachment with only. The lack of national unity or the threat to national unity has polarized us and created a mindset that is bent on discrediting even the most professional persons saddled with the affairs of the state if they fail to play according to our dictates. National interest is often sacrificed at the altar of selfishness and greed regardless of the pain it will cause others. We are always quick to attack people especially when their strength and accomplishments intimidate us.
History is replete with people whose laudable efforts are never recognized and appreciated. People who have lived all their lives offering essential services to everyone and doing their bits to make the society hospitable to others. The current vice Chancellor of federal university Lokoja, Prof Olayemi Akinwumi is one of those rare sacrificial and yet unsung heroes.The Federal University of Lokoja community has never experienced the level of academic excellence that this gentleman has brought to bear on the nation’s tertiary education system. This has been confirmed in the recent international ranking of universities. What more can we expect just under a few months in office! It is best to give him the necessary support to sincerely carry out his tenure with the vigor and enthusiasm with which he is already doing and not to discourage him with hate and petitions.
Like the proverbial cow that does not know the importance of its tail until when it’s cut off, some Nigerians have began to run down Prof. Olayemi Akinwumi’s giant strides and reforms at the Federal university of Lokoja. Unfortunately, his critics are certainly not people who can do half of what he is doing. They don’t even have any valid reasons to question his leadership and administrative credentials except that he has blocked all financial loopholes. Calling for his sack under any guise at all is just a way of distracting the public from the main issue. Mr. President and Nigerians can’t be fooled. Prof. Akinwumi must certainly finish his tenure and reposition the University to enviable heights before handing over to any other person.
Those whom for unpatriotic reasons are calling for prof Olayemi’s head less than one year into his appointment by Mr president are making a big mistake and like the little town, they might realize too late that the man burning the midnight oil to improve the standard of excellence at Federal University Of Lokoja was the person they were castigating and demanding for his sack in place of personal gains. Just like the proverbial cow, they might probably only realize the importance of the tail that safeguards them from ‘flies’ only when the tail is cut off. But fortunately, Nigerians have woken up to fight for their own, the one working for the interest of the education in general and the Federal University of Lokoja in particular. As can be seen in the public support enjoyed by the Vice Chancellor, it is a wake-up call to all well-meaning Nigerians that it is better to appreciate the brains behind Nigeria’s positive growth in education. Inciting the masses against their leaders and country is not just unpatriotic but also uncharitable. A man who won and open and keenly contested selection process must not be treated like a pauper who was brought through the back door. Prof. Akinwumi deserves better and most not be subjected to hate politics in an academic environment.
We must remember that no country will ever grow amid real and artificial crisis built on falsehood and hate. Bringing politics into the University system is a dangerous development. Universities must be autonomous of outside interference especially by disgruntled elements who see every venture as an venue to siphon money from. The University community and relevant stakeholders must not give in to this blackmail but must allow the erudite scholar to continue with the good work he is already doing.
History will be fair to Prof Olayemi for his tireless efforts and his praises will be sung on the lips of many Nigerians and scholars all over the world for the great work he is doing at FUL. That will be the best way to spur the relentless hero to greater achievements and wins. The numerous achievements so far within a short time in office to his credit such as the movement to the permanent site, revamping of the University Library, staff audit, improved ranking and many more even though not publicized, are a clear testimony that Nigerians will ever be grateful for this man who has revolutionalised excellence in education through his innovations at FUL. He has increased the visibility of the University and boosted the morale of academics and researchers in the University. This things might seem inconsequential but they are instrumental to building a viable University system