The former President of the Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo has said that despite the pressure on him to favour candidate for the office of the Vice Chancellor of Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, FUNAAB he refused to succumb
Obasanjo who claimed that he was pressurized to favour a candidate for the position, emphasized that his refusal to intervene was to allow fair and transparent process by the Governing Council chaired by Dr Aboki Zhawa.
Speaking yesterday, during Prof Felix Salako’s assumption of office as the sixth substantive VC of the Institution, Obasanjo asked him to make the fear of God his guiding principle, urging him not to take anything for granted.
The former President said with the new helmsman’s experience and sound academic background, he has no reason not to perform well. He also challenged him to turn around and improve on the development of the university.
In his words; “I know there must have been pressure on you (Governing Council). Even me, an outsider, there was pressure on me. But, I did not succumb to pressure. I did not even tell you what people were telling me.
“And I am happy that you did your job with utmost diligence and the fear of God. Chairman, may God continue to guide and direct you. “Prof Salako, the VC now, I congratulate you. I congratulate this university for having you at the helms of affairs at this point in time. God will do the job for you as God helped you to be appointed by the Council. “Judging from what we have heard about you, judging by what the university Council has found out about you, your performance before them and your brilliant speech here this afternoon, there is no reason for you not to do well.”
Earlier, in his Inaugural address titled: Please Rise and Remain Standing, the new VC admitted that he suffered attacks and stiffer opposition in the VC struggle, but promised not to be vindictive. He also vowed not to let down the guard of the University for it to be debased. Salako promised to make respect for humanity and society, integrity, justice and fair play, productivity and harmony without compromising as his core values in administering the university. He promised to block all the financial leakages, ensure efficient utilisation of funds and compensate hard work and efficiency. Salako said;
“I want to call on other contestants working in FUNAAB, who in their own rights are also erudite scholars and achievers, to accept my hand of fellowship to move our university forward. ”I have assured the Governing Council and all who listened to my earlier speeches since my emergence that I cannot afford to hate or be vindictive. I am conscious of the fact that in spite of opposition and attack, God still appointed me through the University Governing Council. Therefore, I cannot fight God’s battle. “I would rather plead that we abide by the principles enunciated above for us to be in harmony. I shall not let down the guard of the university for it to be debased. This shall not happen.
This cannot happen.”
In his address, the Pro chancellor, Dr Aboki Zhawa noted that from the comments and remarks which trailed Salako’s emergence, the new VC has a lot of work to do.” He asked him to be wary of friends whose wishes are to benefit from his administration, but have tendencies to sink his government.
Zhawa expressed the council’s unflinching supports for the new helmsman’s success and challenged members of the Senate to do same. He also asked unions and aggrieved members not to be clogs in the wheel of progress by exploring peaceful resolution and make court process a last resort. “Don’t act funny because it won’t be funny,” Zhawa warned. The outgoing acting VC, Professor Ololade Enikuomehin said it was gratifying that the university embroiled in crisis resolved collectively and put the past challenges behind them which paved way for peaceful inauguration of new VC. Present at the event were; former National University Commission Executive Secretary, Prof Julius Okojie, Pioneer FUNAAB VC, Prof Nurudeen Adedipe, immediate-past acting VC, Prof Ololade Enikuomehin, Senior Pastor Living Spring Church, Femi Emmanuel, Olosiele of Osiele, Oba Olufemi Olowonyo and members of the FUNAAB Governing Council.