Your statement is ridiculous, UNIOSUN was world-class before your tenure – Alumni Association fires back at Popoola

 

The Alumni Association of the Osun State University have described the statement credited to the Vice-Chancellor of the institution, Professor Lapode Popoola that he inherited a university where “anything goes” as ridiculous, deceitful,  and highly unacceptable.

The ex-students of the institution called on the Popoola, whose tenure ends in less than two weeks to immediately retract his statement and apologize to the founding fathers of the institution who laboured hard to build the ivory tower since 2007.

Popoola while granting an interview last week, said “I didn’t inherit a university in the real sense. It should be published that the university I inherited was an ‘anything goes’ setting. The academic culture was completely missing, commercialisation of everything was the norm. Corruption was the order of the day…the students were lawless, they were involved in cultism and they were always in the news.”

The statement signed by the Alumni Association President and Secretary, Kabir Oriola and Abdulbasit Abubakar, differed with Popoola and listed the achievements and laurels won by the ex-students of the school before his (Popoola’s) appointment in 2016.

The statement, tagged, “Setting the Records Straight; A Rejoinder to Professor Labode Popoola, the Vice-Chancellor, Osun State University”, the Alumni Association said the Institution has since 2007 been a world-class varsity, not only in Nigeria but globally. The queried

The statement partly read, “We wish to state that this statement is very deceitful, preposterous and an attempt to disparage the great efforts of the founding fathers and past stakeholders of the university and as well, the quality of the alumni of the university, many of whom have distinguished themselves in their respective chosen career paths across the world.

“However, we wish to state categorically that as a very respectable association, The alumni Association is not willing to join issue with Professor Popoola, rather, we are interested in setting the records straight, and educate the general public against professor Popoola’s ill-conceived statement targeted at denigrating our highly prestigious Alma Mata.

“Since its establishment in 2007, Osun State University has maintained a reputation as a world-class citadel of learning, and a mill for cutting-edge academic research, innovation, and knowledge production. This is not only contained in the dreams of the founding fathers but is also glaring through several academic feats, awards, and laurels achieved by the University within the first few years of its establishment.

“Firstly, the University before the advent of Prof. Popoola’s administration was an organised society, with well-cultured students. Stating that he didn’t inherit an organised institution is a claim very far from the truth. The students and the leadership of the institution hold dearly the mission statement of the University which reads thus; “Producing Globally Competitive Graduates”

“As an alumni association, we take pride in the performance of our university graduates in academia, commerce and industry, military and paramilitary, public and private corporations, and other walks of life. In Nigeria today, no University of its age can boast to have surpassed Uniosun in terms of achievements in the last decade.

“We must point the attention of the general public to some of the great academic feats recorded by our university, most especially, those that are manifestations of the efforts of the founding fathers, previous University management, Academic and non-academic staff, and students of the university.
One of these is the brilliant performance of Osun State University students at the Nigerian Law School in the previous years, which outweighed even some first-generation institutions that have been around for several decades. Osun State University flagged off its Law programme in the 2010/2011 academic session and graduated its first set of Law Students in the 2014/2015 academic session. Interestingly, despite being a newcomer, Osun State University alumni have continuously performed excellently in the Bar exams and have etched our Alma Mata’s name on the platter of gold. In the 2016/2017 academic session, which was the second year of Uniosun’s participation at the Nigerian Law School, Uniosun incredibly recorded three out of the overall 29 first-class graduates in the session. This performance earned our Alma Mata the award of the Best State University in Nigeria by the Nigerian Law School, during the academic year. These students included Mr. Rufai Abiodun, Mr. Akindele Towoju, and Miss Fola Abiodun. These were students that have completed their academic exercise in Uniosun before the appointment of Professor Labode Popoola as Vice-Chancellor. In the following year, Uniosun went further to produce five first Class graduates from the Nigerian Law School. Such is the quality of graduates produced by Uniosun before the emergence of Professor Labode Popoola as the Vice-Chancellor.

“We would equally like to point the attention of the general public to the brilliant performance of our colleagues who travelled to Ukraine to complete their medical programmes. Again, these were students whom Professor Popoola never had any input in their academic journey. Some of these students are Miss Lateefat Oyeleye Abiola who emerged as the best graduating medical student not only at the V.N Karazin Kharkiv National University where she studied but in entire Ukraine; and Motunrayo Oluwasayo who also bagged the award of the best-behaved student at the V.N Karazin Kharkiv National University. In the following year, Uniosun repeated the same feat as another two students; Mustapha Lateefah Kemi and Adebayo Rukayat Abiodun emerged as the students with the highest and second-highest scores in their final medical examinations respectively. Remarkably, these students not only made our Alma Mata proud but also enhance the reputation of Nigeria globally, as a nation of brilliant youths.

“We also record with pride, the performance of our distinguished alumni in the Uniosun Debate Club who participated in several debate competitions in the early years of our University’s existence. Uniosun was an undisputed Champion of Literary and Debate competitions during these days. In competitions such as the All Nigeria Universities Debating Competition held in 2014, 2015, and 2016, and also the Pan-African University Debating Championship in Ghana, our Alma Mata returned home with medals and awards that are characteristic of a great champion. Prominent among our ace debaters were Bolu Onatade, Temiloluwa Ogundele, Segun Faleyimu, Toba Ogunaike, Kola Adeagbo among others. In 2016, our Alma Mata participated and emerged as the winner of the National debate and quiz competitions of the Students’ Leadership Development Tournament (SLEDT) held at the University of Ilorin. Our great ambassadors who participated in this competition were Kola Adeagbo of the department of Political Science, Temiloluwa Ogundele of the Department of Law, and Oluwanimbe Omolaja, also from the Department of Law
In the field of engineering and technology, Osun State University has a record as one of the best institutions in Nigeria. A manifestation of this is the outstanding performance of the students at various external examinations at competitions sponsored by professional and academic organisations.

“In 2016, before Professor Popoola became the vice-Chancellor, a student of the Department of Civil Engineering of Osun State University, by name Adeyemo Kazeem Adekunle emerged the winner of the 2016 edition of the Council for the Regulation of Engineering’s Award for the overall best student in the State-owned Universities in Nigeria. Apart from the 100,000 cash prize given to the winner, our Alma Mata also benefitted from the donation of a laptop computer to the department.

“Also, the University equally emerged as the winner of the 1st National Engineering Students’ Competition, South-west zone held on Tuesday, 14th June 2016 at the University of Ibadan. UNIOSUN won first place in the individual category, while Afe Babalola University (ABUAD) placed second. In the group category, UNIOSUN bagged the first position while Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) came second and Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) came third.

“The French Village, Badagry, Lagos, University of Lomé (Université de Lomé), and other Universities across Francophone West Africa would forever doff their caps for Uniosun, given the University’s sterling performances of our products in their Year Abroad programme across various sets. We have on record, several awards and medals won by our students, at the expense of their counterparts from Universities in Nigeria and other West African countries. Indeed, the overall best student in the 2013/2014 academic session at the Nigerian French Village was proudly a student of Osun State University, Adeniyi Mubarak Ademola.

“Also, in the year 2016, another Student, Adeyemi Favour Ifedolapo hit a record 5.0 CGPA, at the Centre Internationales de Recherches et Langues, Village du Bénin, Université de Lomé, beating other students from the University of Benin, University of Calabar, Ekiti State University, University of Uyo, University of Cape Coast, University of Education, Winneba Ghana, Delta State University, among others. Again, this was before our dear Professor Popoola became the Vice-Chancellor.

“Graduates of Uniosun who chose the academic career path have also excelled within and outside Nigeria, as several of them are now proud holders of Doctor of Philosophy degree (Ph.D.) in various disciplines, while a number of them have various academic awards, and honours to their credits. This is no less remarkable for a university that is just thirteen years old. Most Private and government-owned Universities in Nigeria and the diaspora today have graduates of our Alma Mata on their academic staff list.”

“In terms of ranking, our Alma Mata fared very well before Professor Popoola came on board. In 2016, Osun State University emerged as the second-best state University and 20th best University in Nigeria (Webometrics, 2016). Therefore, we find it particularly funny that Professor Popoola reeled out drums to celebrate the University’s ranking as 29th in Nigeria amidst pumps and pageantry.

“Therefore, we not only find the Vice Chancellor’s utterance ridiculous, but also baseless, and a sharp contraction of the realities of our university. We are particularly disappointed that even though Osun State University has consistently been a very peaceful university, with no record of cultist uprising and restiveness, the Vice-Chancellor claimed he inherited a university where cultism was the order. We there make no hesitation to say that our Alma Mata has never been a den of cultism, as all stakeholders have always worked in unison to combat cultism and its consequences. The vice-chancellor should, in case he finds any, cite examples of cult uprisings in Uniosun since establishment.

“Therefore, Professor Labode Popoola owes our association, Osun State University Alumni Association; the founding fathers of the university, past management staff, academic and non-academic staff members and other relevant stakeholders the moral responsibility of retracting his highly malicious, misleading and ahistorical statement about Osun State University. It will equally be our utmost pleasure that in the future, Professor Labode Popoola should be mindful, so as not to discredit our university in his efforts at clout chasing and self-aggrandizement. In his five years tenure, we reckon with the fact that he has done his bit, just like his other predecessors.

However, unguarded statements, which are lacking in facts, would not be entertained against our university. We implore Professor Popoola to carefully manage his exit and be mindful of sayings and actions that could damage the reputation of our highly cherished institution. God bless Osun State University.”

About Jare Tiamiyu

A political and sport analyst, public speaker, writer, printer and online personnel. A development advocate with greater interest in SDGs goal 4 and 16.
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