I Was Pressurised To Influence FUNAAB VC’s Appointment – Obasanjo
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has said that some unnamed persons pressurised him to influence the emergence of a certain candidate for the position of the vice-chancellor, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta.
He, however, said he rebuffed the pressure and told those concerned to allow the best candidate to emerge through a fair and transparent process.
The candidate, he said, later emerged through a fair and transparent process and hailed members of the institution’s governing council for achieving this purpose.
Obasanjo disclosed this on Wednesday at FUNAAB when the acting Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Ololade Enikuomehin, handed over to Prof. Felix Salako as the sixth substantive vice-chancellor of the institution.
The former President, who was a guest at the event, said with Salako’s wealth of experience and sound academic background, he had no reason not to perform well.
He, however, advised the new VC to allow the fear of God to guide his actions.
Obasanjo said, “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 succumb to pressure to tell you what people were telling me.
“And I am happy that you will do your job with utmost diligence and the fear of God; chairman of the Governing Council, (Dr. Aboki Zhawa), 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 helm of affairs at this point in time. God will do the job for you as God helped you through the council to be appointed.
“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 why you should not do well.”
In his inaugural address titled, ‘Please rise and remain standing,’ the new VC admitted that he suffered attacks and stiff opposition in the struggle for the position.
He, however, promised not to be vindictive but would rather extend hand of friendship to his opponents.
Salako also vowed not to let the university down.
He said he would make the ethos of respect for humanity and society, integrity, justice and fair play, productivity and harmony his guiding principles in administering the institution.
Salako promised to block all the financial leakages, ensure efficient utilisation of funds and compensate hard work and efficiency.
The new vice-chancellor 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 attacks, 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, Zhawa noted that from the comments and remarks which trailed Salako’s emergence, “he has a lot of work to do.”