Dear Faculty Member,
It is election time again. And, I have two duties to perform. I will do both right away:
First, as your Dean, it is my duty and my joyful responsibility to inform you that our elections for the position of Dean and that of Subdean from August 1, 2014 to July 31 2016 is to be held on July 10, 2014. Notices for this were sent to all HODs for further dissemination to interested members in the departments. Needless to say, these notices were dispatched as soon as we received them to ensure fair play.
In making this announcement, I also seize the opportunity to express thanks for the opportunity you have accorded me to be your dean for two years. They have been two tremendous years of my life and I relish the opportunity to serve you to the best of my ability.
It has been a thing of joy to expend the energies and make a small contribution to the future of our careers and our faculty.
In the past two years, I want to specially thank you for the cooperation you gave me especially during the difficult time of the national strike that affected us all. In that period, we were able to keep our passions in check and maintain unity despite the different ways we reacted to the tensions generated during the strike. We all bore in mind the simple fact that when the strike was over, we would still have to deal with one another. Thank you for keeping faith and the bond of unity. I have got to know more people personally than I would have been able to if I did not have the privilege of functioning as dean.
Of course, there are people that some of the decisions taken at this level may not have pleased. Even in such cases, I hope we have not been unjust when we have tried to be firm and consistent. Where there are genuine errors as all humans are prone to, please do forgive, and remember that God is not finished with me yet.
Second, I want to address you as a candidate for the next election. Here, I formally announce my interest and candidacy for dean again. Before I say any more on this, I want to begin by imploring you to continue in the same spirit as during the strike. The principle is simple: After this election, we will still need to relate to each other. We will, together, attend marriages and chieftancy titles, among other happy things. We will also be there for one another when things are not so good. Life is always like that. Let us bear that in mind.
Some think it is better to have deans chosen by acclamation. I respectfully disagree. Let us have contests. Electoral contests put paid to impressions we may have about ourselves that have not yet been tested by the fires of reality. All we need to do is to ensure that we choose facts over rumors and courtesy over abuse. If we make such choices, our faculty will actually become healthier than those where they opt for selection over election. Of course, elections are disputes and nerves will get frayed. Don’t worry, we will get over it soon enough if we keep simple rules.
Lastly, I want to share some things: (Sorry, it will not be rice and Milo – I don’t have Fayose’s resources and connections) but I will share with all interested people the following web pages:
www.oafak.com is the web site I use as my dumping ground. My lecture notes, Articles in response to public issues, proposals for a better university, even sermons I preach in the church – surprise surprise, is the dean also among the preachers? Find out; Go to this site, there are some things you don’t know about me, and you may be in for a surprise! There is a collection of readable articles on this page about the upcoming elections. They are eponymously titled under a heading as you will see. I will be grateful for critical comments and will reply as many as I can. Notice that panegyrics and accolades often disturb useful critical conversation where we may share facts and ideas. I want ideas! I will not get angry if I am criticized!
www.e-jer.com is our Faculty site. It was created primarily for the Faculty Journal. You will find that we have done a lot of work on that site in the past 18 months – working quietly for you. We really do not think we have reached the end yet as there are still things we thought we could further do that will advance the cause of our faculty. Please check this site out. You will know for example, by perusing this site, if it is really true that our Faculty Journal is dead. Maybe you can then find out how to wake it up. Or you may in fact discover you were “seeking the living among the dead”! Please go there and find out for yourself! Don’t cheat yourself by settling for rumors!
www.e-jer.com/prospectus You recently received our new faculty prospectus. What you probably did not know that the dean’s office continues to add value to simple things such as this. Of course, we knew, even as we went to press, that there were a number of issues in the new prospectus that are neither current nor even correct. Not to worry! There are two online versions: One is the verbatim e-version of the one in your hands. If you need to print more copies for yourself, there you go; its all in pdf.
The other incarnation of the prospectus on this site is even more useful. It is the HTML version. That is the version we will edit on a monthly basis. Please send your comments, corrections and additions in. We already have the staff in place to effect these corrections on the fly! What happens is that, for future generations, faculty prospectuses will become more and more accurate, and easy to deliver, as we will all participate in ensuring that the information there is always current from now on. This process, of joint responsibility to do it right, is a bequeathal of the present deanship to the future deans that we will elect. If in a small way, we make their work easier, then we are so glad and grateful for the opportunity to be useful. I will only add, as Mr FeebleMind in John Bunyan’s inimitable classic, Pilgrim’s Progress said:
“And I am determined
To run any time that I can;
To go when I cannot run, and
To crawl, when I cannot go!”
So, don’t you ever stand still! And thanks very much for your attention!
And we are greatly humbled by what they have entrusted us with. Come August 1, 2012, the change in the saddle of deanship of engineering at Unilag begins a challenge to live up to the promises of this campaign. It is not going to be a picnic in the park but we shall try. We are sufficiently realistic especially considering the numerous challenges that face every effort at doing things right here in Nigeria. A campaign run on Integrity must also beware of the “banana peels” that caught a vaunted “Mr Integrity” – among Baba’s famous “400 Thieves”. We can even dare to fail. Whatever happens, it shall NOT be said of us that we did not try!
Let me begin by complimenting Professor Afolabi Kehinde. As a distinguished fellow member of the Maple-Leaf club and my senior in several ways, I want to thank you for running a dignified race. On several occasions, at the campaign trail, we met and instead of trading insults, we spent time to joke and exchange pleasantries. I am grateful for the sportsmanlike way you took the outcome of the elections. I will make a serious effort to show you that we are in this together and that the respect I have for you has even grown the more.
Professors Sadiq and Falade from Civil and Environmental Engineering are also to be praised. On Saturday, Sadiq and I travelled to Erin-Ijesha to pay our last office of friendship to our late mentor, professor CO Orangun. We argued and talked all the way about how we can make things better. We assured ourselves of cooperation for whoever won the election. Professor Falade always made sure he had a word of brotherliness to say to me every time we met on the trail. Even on the very last day, he was not found wanting. My brothers, I want to thank you for making the race, difficult as it may have been, a worthwhile thing and an example to all that competition can be in a civilized manner and that people can disagree without being disagreeable. Professor Frank Okafor, a distinguished fellow Akokite, has been my neighbor for a while. In the course of time we are even getting to know family members and other mutual friends. Our faculty will continue to need the immense contacts you have developed over the years with industry and government. I will work hard to ensure that our comradeship grows and that we shall be an example to others in the way we ensure that the larger interests of our people looms larger in all our considerations than immediate personal goals. Thanks for bringing out the best features in our election. Your participation made it more competitive and I believe our people will be better off as a result of the way we have conducted ourselves.
I congratulate the foursome for their brave act of not only respecting the people’s will but in cheerfully congratulating and wishing me well in the onerous task of rekindling the hopes of our people.
I have never seriously sought elected positions before this. I am ordinarily very insistent on whatever I think is right. An elected office is a position of collective responsibility. There are compromises to be made. Compromise! A very bad word? Not necessarily! Our people say, “Ona kan ko w’oja”. O poor poor English! There is no way to translate that without losing something. It roughly means that there are usually several ways to reach the market – Never only one way. In that sense, we shall compromise on issues of tactics while our strategies and principles of operation remain well-defined and unyielding. And we shall endeavor to learn to disagree with you without being disagreeable. We shall try to open things up especially when they are difficult and allow the “two heads better than one” rule to guide us.
To the electorate. I salute you. I salute the women; I salute the men. The women must come first because they are our mothers. They work harder than us because they are in a man’s world and are making success. To achieve this, they raise families and often do school runs. They work up to twice as hard, have fewer choices and still excel. I salute you. Some of you are great encouragers and your families are greatly blessed to have you. We will work to understand your special needs and ensure they are looked after as much as it lies with us. To my men comrades, I say it like old Buka Suka Dimka did in 1975, “We are all together!” I also salute those who worked hard for the campaign of my competitors for this honor. You worked doggedly and you were faithful to your principals till the end. Kudos! I will work hard to earn your trust and make sure your rights are protected. I want to congratulate those members who worked for me and encouraged me. Ola yin ni o! I will work hard to not disappoint you and make you look foolish. We can only have one dean at a time. Other people will have their turn as God gives us life. To my predecessor, Professor Ajibade Salau, the people’s dean, I say congratulations on your run. You have set for us a standard we will try to match, and, with God’s help, we shall endeavor to exceed. You have put your imprint on our faculty and it is our prayer that your continued work in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department as well as other future opportunities will be met with the same kind of success. You are a great mobilizer and go-getter. While you were dean, you not only listened to ideas shared with you, you supported them vigorously to fruition.
From now till the end of July, we shall be planning to engineer the issues that have been lingering in the minds as dreams. The web pages we have used for the campaign will become a veritable tool for bi-directional communication amongst us. Let us share freely what we think should be done. Let us not be shy about it. We all have a stake in the future of this place where we spend most of our productive years.
I am humbled by your choice of me. I take the challenge seriously. It is a blessing, it is a honour. In my mind, the words of the old hymn resonate:
“When with blessings sated,
Or by praise elated,
Blessed Jesu, hear us!
Let Thy cross be near us! Amen!”
When tomorrow fully comes, it will be time to vote. Once you do that, you must await the consequences of your action. Take this voting seriously because it is important. Vote wisely, Vote oafak.
The Dean is, among other things a representative of the Faculty. Who will you trust to champion the cause of this faculty? Who can put our case persuasively in a senate debate or a Budget hearing? Throughout my four-year tenure as the Head of Systems Engineering, I obtained more funding at Budget defense for the simple fact that the demands made did not emphasize the usual perquisites that HODs wanted but facilities to enhance our work. I was constantly entrusted with more funds. These funds were distributed justly and fairly so that lecturers at all level were treated with equity. That is why your colleague in Systems Engineering probably got a notebook before you did! Vote wisely, vote oafak!
I have been a Director in Federal Parastatals for 8 solid years. That was before a four year stint as an HOD. Please note, these were substantive appointments – not in acting capacity! It is easy to see why I can be decisive in taking actions that will move us forward. When it comes to leading the faculty, who will not require on-the-job training? Vote wisely, vote oafak!
The most critical issue facing young lecturers is that they get the training and the environment to be internationally competitive. You need the confidence to excel. You need to be able to deliver confidently. You need the skills to grow to be the professor who can stand his ground. Who will you trust improve our environment so we can deliver? I have been trained in Unilag and at Alberta in Canada. My stint in Canada was as a post-graduate student and later as a Post-doctoral Fellow and researcher. When I talk about how things are properly done in other places, I know what I am saying because I have been involved, and it shows! We need to increase our establishment positions and bring in more qualified people to drive our vision to be more competitive internationally! Vote wisely, vote oafak.
The deanship is not a gift to be bestowed by sympathy! It is an opportunity to serve to be given to who can make it work for the greatest benefit of the faculty. When there was the MAU controversy, who stood up to be counted? Remember, when things are tough, you need someone you can trust to give a sense of direction. You need someone to make a sound case for the faculty and be fair to all. You need someone to give academic leadership. The passion for this place is in one person – more than others. No more grey hairs before you get your doctorate if you do it right and Vote wisely, Vote oafak!
It is heartwarming that Geomatics Engineering has won a latter-day convert in the run-up to the election on Thursday. It is a win-win situation for those who deeply believe in this issue and will actually want it to get implemented. The addition, today of this convert means we have 40% of the present corps of aspirants support the idea. Its chances are therefore twice as high as previously when I was a lonely bearer of that idea. The Congratulations should go round. Please also pay attention to http://www.scribd.com/doc/97333942/Vote-Wisely-01 as the voting day gets nearer.