• Promises To Make FUL, Among Top 10 Varsities in Africa
  • To Grow Minimum of 10,000 Economic Trees in 1,825 Days
  • To Train Employable Graduates For Practical Community Service

By Samson Yaki, Mustapha Muhammad & Leeman Haidar

Professor Olayemi Akinwumi has taken over mantle of leadership of the Federal University Lokoja, with the promise to transform the University and move it to greater heights by using his network of connections, within and outside the country, and wealth of experience to make the institution one of the top 10 Universities in Africa.

Professor Akinwumi who stated this recently during his inauguration as the third Vice Chancellor of the ten-year old University at its Main Campus at Felele, said his primary goal is to add value to the university to be the best among the nine newly-established Federal universities in the country.

The University, which is currently ranked seventh among the 11 Federal Universities established in 2012, 78th in Nigeria, 255th in Africa and 10,600th in the world, the Vice Chancellor said the University has a unique mission to train employable graduates through competency-based teaching, applied research and practical community service to its catchment areas, Africa and the world.

Akinwumi who succeeded Professor Angela Freeman Miri, noted that the utmost on his agenda is to pursue revenue generation drive to augment the little subvention from the Federal Government and support from other agencies to enable the University move forward.

He said, “At the interview that gave me this job, I submitted a vision plan that outlined what I will do if I got the job. Now that I have the job, I have reviewed the plan alongside the University’s strategic plan”, adding that,  “I will share the plan with an expanded management committee and subsequently with the Senate so that it will be adopted and truly owned by the University”.

The erudite scholar, who seems to be versed in numbers and figures, was accurate in the number of days his term of office will take and more vaguely definite in the number of economic trees he ought to have planted before the end of his term of office.

“We just have to grow our bottom line and seriously washable expenditure. By the time I complete my term in 1825 days we should have a minimum of 10,000 economic trees on our campus”.

Given the fact that data is the crude oil of this information age, the Professor also revealed that it is part of his plan to position Federal University Lokoja as the data hub of Kogi State.

“We will map and capture all essential data for education, social and economic services and a repository of information and knowledge”, he said, adding that “As digital natives, our students will be equipped with skills that will help them understand the science of numbers and how to use numbers to make decisions”.

Professor Olayemi Akinwumi, a distinguished Professor of History, had his higher education at the University of Ilorin where he obtained his Bachelor’s degree in 1985 followed by Master’s and PhD degrees in History in the same university.

Professor Akinwumi began his academic career at the University of Ilorin, Nigeria and rose to become a senior Lecturer in 1996. He was at the Institut fur Ethonogie, Freie Universitat, Berlin from 1999 to 2004. He joined and has been in the services of the Nasarawa State University, Keffi since 2004.

He is a Fellow of the Historical Society of Nigeria (HSN), and former President of the Historical Society, the first Academic Society in Nigeria.

He has won many international and national academic awards. Among the awards are the Prof Ali Mazrui academic awards for Academic Excellence in Kenya, the Stellenbosch Institute of Advanced Study Award (South Africa), the prestigious German Alexander von Humboldt award, Universitat Zurich (Switzerland) Nord-Sud-Kooperation Award, Europe Research Award (in University College, London) the Institute of Commonwealth Studies award (University of London), the German Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdiendt (DAAD), UNESCO Scholar (Committee for the Pedagogical Use of the General History of African Project in 2011) and the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) scholars at several times. He also had the Bayo kuku award by the Nigeria Academy of Letters.

Professor Akinwumi has served in various capacities in the University. He was the first substantive HOD History (2004-2007). He was the Deputy Dean of Arts (2004-2006). He was the Dean of Arts (2006-2010). In 2009, he was elected the Chairman, Committee of Deans and Directors. The same year, he was elected Senate representative in the Governing Council where he served in many committees.

In 2017, he was appointed as the Director of Institute of Governance and Development Studies   In 2018 he became the Dean, School of Postgraduate Studies and in 2019, he was appointed for the second time, the Chairman of the Committee of Deans and Directors.

He is an erudite scholar with over 70 publications in national and international journals. Two of his major works are Conflict and Crises in Nigeria: A Political history since 1960 and the Colonial Contest for the Nigerian Region: A History of the German Participation. Both books were published in Germany. He has attended conferences in over 30 countries in the world.

For Professor Akinwumi, it is all eyes on him having been the one who scale through the keenly, multiply and contentiously contested stool of FULokoja, much is indeed expected from him.

Education Monitor reported that about 78 professors applied for the position, making it the first federal university in the country with such a number of applicants for the stool of the Vice Chancellor.

During the inauguration, the Kogi State Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, who was represented by the state Commissioner for Education, Mr Wemi Jones stated that the Ministry of Education had a wonderful working relationship with the university, adding that he looked forward to more synergy to achieve the New Direction Agenda of the state government.

“I am convinced that with what you have accomplished, I am just optimistic that the Federal University, Lokoja is in the best of hands and shall see glorious development going forward” the governor said.

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