Tasks Ahead For Oyo Education Varsity VC | Muftau Gbadegesin

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Over the years, the enclave known today as Emmanuel Alayande University of Education, Oyo, has weathered all sorts of existential storms. But like other institutions etched on solid foundations, it continued to emerge stronger. Perhaps no tertiary institution in the country has undergone a series of changes and dramatic transformations not just to its name but also to its locations, identity, and overall essence of existence than EAUED.

In 2010, for instance, former Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala announced a change of name from Oyo State College of Education to Emmanuel Alayande College of Education, apparently an attempt to honour one of Oyo’s most illustrious politicians, Pa Emmanuel Oladipo Alayande, who’s also a respected figure in the Anglican Church of Nigeria, the undisputable founder of SACOED.

Founded as Saint Andrew College of Education, SACOED, Oyo, as a grade 11 teacher’s college by the Church Missionary Society (CMS) in 1896. Plus it’s also one oldest teacher’s training colleges in Nigeria, renowned for its sound intellectualism and incredible activism. By 1976, the clamour for the upgrading of the training college had reached a fever pitch, and in October 1980, the government of Oyo State acceded to the call for the upgrading. On October 1, 1985, the college gained full-fledged College of Education autonomy. Interestingly, those who attended SACOED, till this day still take enormous pride in the kind of training they received at the school. Professor Tella Adeyinka (Unilorin) and Dr Fatai Bashiru (NISER) are always proud in identifying with the school that nurtured them into far-more ambitious people. By the time SACOED was renamed OYSCOED, it had shed some of its rare qualities, but the school still retained some of its brilliant attributes. It is as if the more changes to the school’s name, the more difficult it is to continue with the standard.

   Today, the school has been stripped of its standards, qualities, and uniqueness. In part because of administrative malfeasance, government policy, industrial actions by its staff, and infrastructural decay, among others. Added to this is the introduction of degree awarding program, a step that’s disrupted whatever is left of the school’s connection with the past. For the first time since its foundation, Ekiti State University degree-awarding program, now outnumber their NCE counterparts, a slap in the wrist of those who envisioned the creation of the foremost teacher-training college. But that’s not to say the school should stagnate. In fact, the latest transition of the school to a full-fledged university of education is another bold step in the right direction. Now to the tasks and challenges ahead.

Perhaps since the remarkable tenure of Dr. Adekunle Ogunmola as substantive college provost (2000–2008) ended, the school has been in a bind, searching for visionary leaders who will raise the leadership bar of the college to greater heights. It was during Dr. Ogunmola’s time that the college moved from its mini campus to the permanent Erelu campus. Indeed, the adaptive leadership style demonstrated by Dr. Ogunmola in ensuring the seamless movement of the college didn’t go unnoticed, as his efforts were not only acknowledged but equally appreciated with the renaming of the college library in his name.

Professor Olaniyan, the pioneering Vice Chancellor of the University, should endeavour is endeavour to lay a rock-solid foundation that will stand the test of time. Right from the main gain, there is a sense of foreboding that the university has lost its touch not just with reality but also with its glorious past. It’s pretty difficult to believe that such a bushy, unkempt, and messy campus is conducive once houses eminent teacher trainers in the past. Professor Olaniyan has the chance to write his name in gold, not just as a globally reputed economist with close to three decades of experience but as the first Vice-Chancellor who defied all odds to set in stone the foundation of an outstanding ivory tower. And it starts with clearing all the thick bushes that have overshadowed the glory and prospect of the school. If Professor Olaniyan is committed to transforming the lot of this university, he needs to start by taking little, infinitesimal, and incremental steps towards that dream. Once those tiny steps begin to yield the desired results, he can now move towards the big ones. But then, we await Professor Olaniyan’s blueprint as he takes over the mantle of leadership at the university.

Just as Professor Olaniyan will soon realise upon resumption of office, the number one obstacle confronting the institution is not just infrastructural decay. When EACOED was ranked as the choice of students, the staff was the reason. Many years ago, the recruitment process for the college was one of the most tedious. It wasn’t just for Tom, Dick, and Harry. You have to be sure of yourself before applying to work with the system. That standardisation helps attract the best brains, which in turn helps to churn out the best brains. The aphorism is that you give only what you have.

But that recruitment standard suffered a huge blow during the tenure of Dr. Rasak Adefabi. It is on record that the Iseyin-born economist recruited not just his family but all sorts of people who had little or nothing to offer. The result is the ugly reality that now stares us in the face. Today, the college is full of all manners of staff who have nothing to do with an institution of learning like EAUED. Professor Olaniyan must brace up for staff who will resist his changes. He must be ready to step on the toes of those who want to drag the university to the stone age. And there are plenty. But dealing with staff might be more direct given that their economic survival is tied to the apron string of the government; for students, it is not so easy. Quite disturbingly, EAUED is notoriously home to advanced internet fraudsters, aka YAHOO YAHOO, and trailing schools like LAUTECH and TASUED, among others. And they have infected the system like a virus in ways never practised anywhere. Students now pay their way to grades. They even oppress their teachers with their flashy cars, flamboyant lifestyles, and fabulous spending sprees. That umbilical cord must be severed head-on.

Once the staff and students are brought back to academic normalcy, the rest, such as infrastructural revamping, academic standardisation, and closing the gap between town and gown, will simply be achieved with superior thinking and dexterous implementation. There is no doubt Professor Olanrewaju Olaniyan’s new job will stretch his thinking, advance his intellectual prowess, and challenge some of his intellectual assumptions, we can only wish him well.

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