Soremekun: 67 footprints of an academic and media giant

This quote, among others, describes the affection, paternal disposition and commitment of the Vice Chancellor of the Federal University Oye Ekiti (FUOYE), Prof. Kayode Soremekun, who scored 67 on Thursday, May 21, 2020, for everything he pledges to do. The Olukayode man is many things brought together in one. For some of us who are privileged to work closely with him, he is a leader, a boss, a perfectionist with an incurable thirst for excellence, driven by passion, energy and speed to achieve established goals and objectives.

He is a nationalist par excellence and a fighter for a just nation. For some of my academic friends, one of whom was a student of his, Prof Soremekun is a father figure, a highly cerebral human species who, years after graduation, mentors and affects lives. Even for union members on campus, who often criticize him for various approaches to solving university problems or disagreements about prioritizing the agenda, the vice chancellor has been receptive, supportive and kind. How do you see yourself? Asked a journalist in 2018.

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"I am a public-minded intellectual who occupies the critical interface between journalism and academia," he replied. Born 67 years ago, in the cosmopolitan city of Lagos, this academic giant and media icon, married to Dr. Rebecca Soremekun, another academic, fits into the academic professions and the media as a key fits. Someone wonders how he manages to grow in both roles that stand out in it.

He left as a writer for the Political Affairs team at the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) and in the Times International of the Daily Times of Nigeria before becoming a member, Editorial Board of the Daily Times of Nigeria, Editorial Training Instructor, Times Newspaper Training Center , visiting board member, AM News, The Guardian, The Compass, ThisDay and The Sun. Thus, he has reached an enviable height as a media icon in the country.

Likewise, as an academic, Prof Soremekun is at the highest level, becoming not only a professor, the highest that the career offers, but also the second vice chancellor of FUOYE, working hard to proudly introduce us to the university fastest growing public sector in Africa. With trinity degrees from Obafemi Awolowo University (OUA), then called University of Ife, in English / History for a bachelor's degree and international relations for a master's and doctorate, our anniversary celebrant quickly relied on the foundations established at Kings College, Lagos and with much dedication. unusual work and scholarship, he became a National Award fellow.

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This set the tone for several awards and scholarships that he would later receive while traveling through academic life. His career in journalism and academia grew rapidly and, in 1997, he became a professor, having bagged 1.2… …. 5 postdoctoral fellowships, including the Ford Foundation Fellowship, Netherlands Fellowship, Salzburg Fellowship, Fulbright Research Fellowship and Resident Rockefeller Fellowship in Bellagio, Italy.

Before becoming vice chancellor, Prof Soremekun had been dean of the Faculty of Administration at OAU and dean of the Faculty of Development Studies at Covenant University, Ota. Nationalism in him and his search for a better equitable nation gained position and expression on two fronts.

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First, in the weekly mentally stimulating debates on the editorial boards of the national newspapers mentioned above, where, together with his Nigerian compatriots, he galvanized the nation using superior opinions, convincing analysis, poignant articles and incisive exhibitions to aggregate different perspectives and mobilize the nation for a better democratic agenda of self-government and the eviction of military governance.

Second, at the Union of Academic Employees of Universities (ASUU), where the brightest and best brains in the country, led by Prof Attahiru Jega and Lai Olorode, among others, gave guidance to Nigeria's academic policies, helping to offer university education free, higher education establishment Education Fund (Tetfund), then called Education Tax Fund (ETF) etc.

The 2006 consultant for the Heinrich Boll Foundation in South Africa, who was also a visiting professor of Peace and Development at the University of Jaime 1 in Castellon, Spain, transformed the rainforest field he met when he was appointed vice chancellor of FUOYE in February 2016. Soremekun was the author of several books and, together, another 28. He also published more than 50 academic works in respectable international magazines before getting his hands on the plow to build FUOYE, the newest agent of Nigeria for innovation and character building for national transformation.

The FUOYE family, made up of members of the Board of Governors, the University Senate, the management team and entire staff and students, in solidarity appreciates this patriotic and Nigerian nationalist, not only for his media and academic brilliance exposed above, but for your selfless service. impact on the lives of many around us and his paternal disposition, despite his brilliant achievement as vice chancellor of the fastest growing university in Africa.

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Council members who recently ended their mandate participated in 47 university projects earlier this year. Some of them were inherited as abandoned projects, but now completed. Several others were delivered from the initial stages of conception, design, implementation, execution and commissioning. Characteristically, the vice chancellor does not see all these structures as his main achievement.

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According to him, "when you talk about achievements with regard to educational institutions, many people focus only on structures and expansion, while those achievements must go beyond structures". I think my biggest achievement so far is to instill the whole idea of ​​a university, the idea of ​​a healthy, narrative and counter-narrative dispute. There were four colleges when Soremekun started, now there are ten. A graduate school already exists and the academic culture in a different community is emerging.

Admission capacity has increased from 3,000 to about 20,000. This exponential growth has not only put the federal government's goal of increasing job opportunities into action, but has also created a future for destitute students who want quality university education.

This was emphasized when the celebrant had to answer why FUOYE is hiring students for the Bachelor of Law program, considering the fact that a state university and another private university offer the same in their domain. "We want to further deepen access to the legal profession and remove any vestiges of exclusivity that people may erroneously have about advocacy in Nigeria." This is another example of your caring heart for the least privileged.

All FUOYE programs are accredited. Again, the university was connected to the national network and the FUOYE portal is now independent from any other institution. For a university about ten years old, what a turbulent start, these are remarkable achievements. Soremekun represents excellence. Any graduate of Kings College Lagos who has received scholarships year after year and Great Ife fellows who obtain scholarships on scholarships cannot fail to excel in higher calls. The foundation has already been laid for the superstructure. I love leaders who don't breathe in you. I love bosses who, having explained what needs to be done, allow you to express your creative ability. For me, this is a great weapon for a leader in search of excellence. This is Kayode Soremekun.

By marking 67 busy years, I wish you many more glorious years ahead and happy celebrations. Thank you, sir, for everything you have done and are doing, and will still do for the FUOYE family.

–Ademuyiwa is Deputy Director of Corporate Services at the Federal University, Oye Ekiti.

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