By SIKIRU AKINOLA, OAU
It was indeed a week of glamorous events as the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, celebrated her golden jubilee anniversary.
The week-long event started on Monday with a press briefing which took place at the University Senate Building.
Briefing journalists, the institution’s Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Bamitale Omole, said the university has achieved some of the dreams of its founding fathers as it has grown into a very large estate.
Omole observed that research work in OAU has been globally acknowledged as the National Universities Commission (NUC) rated the university as the best in research in the country.
“As at now, the university has produced from among its academia a Nobel Laureate, and six Nigerian National Merit Award winners.
“Our students have also excelled in national and international competitions. We believe our founding fathers have left unparallel legacy for us and we are endeavouring to keep the flag flying.
“The university landscape which epitomizes this is being improved upon and all abandoned projects are being completed. OAU has been acclaimed the most beautiful university campus in Africa and fifth best place of real estate in the world. It hosts the only museum of Natural History in West Africa which edifice sits like a colossus on the scenic terrain of our university campus.”
On the second day, academic and economic activities were paralysed at campus and Ile-Ife township as students, staff and university authorities walked round major streets in the ancient city in celebration of the institution’s 50th year anniversary.
Led by the VC, the walk attracted unprecedented numbers of students who used the opportunity to tour the ancient city.
On Thursday, a lecture with the theme: Possesors at the Gate was delivered by Dr. Christopher Kolade, chairman, Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme, Dr. Christopher Kolade, called for full autonomy for Nigerian Universities.
“Each University should be able to decide which course to teach, what research to pursue and how the advancement of members of faculty should be determined.
“Even though, universities were created initially by government decision, it was recognized that such institutions must have considerable autonomy”.
University autonomy, he said, would provide the platform for good decisions to thrive in the universities but it could not be an end in itself.
He maintained that the university should be able to justify the belief that scholarly expertise enables society to address economic problems.