By Mutiat Olushola
As the battle for the nomination and appointment of a Vice Chancellor to replace Professor Abdulganiyu Ambali of the University of Ilorin gathers momentum, strong indications have emerged that the frontrunners for the seat would be invited for interview on Wednesday, this week.
A competent source from the University, who confided in National Pilot yesterday, also stated that about 20 of the 30 candidates who had shown interest to contest the seat may likely be called for the interview.
Some of the leading contenders according to the source include: Prof. Olorunfemi Funsho; Prof. Hassan Saliu; Prof. Raheem Adebayo Lawal; Prof. Joshua Ayoola Obaleye; Prof. Ageh Abdulkareem; Prof. Mrs Omosewo Esther Ore; Prof. Alfred Adegoke and Prof. Omotesho Abayomi.
Others are: Prof. Abdulsalam S. Ahmed; Prof. Olutimehin Atteh; Prof. B. I. Adeleke; Prof. Oloyede Opoola; Prof. E. T Olayemi; Prof. Bolaji F. Sule; Prof. Imam Oyewole and Prof. Abiodun Adeloye.
However, the emergence of an Ilorin indigene as VC seems bleak as the pendulum may swing in favour of non-emirate candidate this time around since the outgoing helmsman of the Better By Far university hails from the emirate.
It would be recalled that this medium reported a fortnight ago that the university council may likely interview the contestants this week.
Prof Hassan Ajisafe Saliu: A professor of Political Science from Unilorin and a brilliant academic, who obtained distinction in his PhD with over 250 publications to his credit. He is from Ilorin, Kwara State and contested with Prof Ambali in 2012, but was reportedly asked by the emirate to step down for the incumbent VC.
*Being an indigene of Ilorin and a former contestant for the apex seat, Prof Saliu still has the backing of the emirate and stands a greater chance of being picked.
Prof Suleiman AbdulKareem Age: a professor of Chemical Engineering from Oro, Irepodun Local Government Area, Kwara State is a former Dean, Students’ Affairs, Unilorin and former Vice-Chancellor of Al-Hikmah University, Ilorin. He graduated from University of Detroit in 1980 where he obtained BChE and MChE in Chemical Engineering; and obtained Ph.D. in (Chem. Eng.) from the University of Louisville in 1988. His area of specialisation is Heterogeneous Catalysis/Reaction Engineering.
* As a former VC of Al-Hikmah University and having occupied key positions at Unilorin, Professor Age has the vast administrative experience to run affairs of the institution. The fact that he is from Kwara State may work in his favour and he is said to be close to the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who is his kin.
Prof. Abayomi Omotesho: A professor of Agricultural Economics. He is a former Dean, Faculty of Agriculture, Unilorin and also the Dean, Students’ Affairs, Unilorin. He is currently the Director, Academic Planning, Unilorin. He is from Kogi State.
Prof. Funsho Olorunfemi: He is a professor of Geography Department, Faculty of Geography & Environmental Science, Unilorin. He coined the appellation “Better By Far” for Unilorin.
Olorunfemi too contested against Prof. Ambali in 2012 and was one- time Commissioner in Ondo State.
* He is very popular in the university community having coined the widely accepted sobriquet of the institution. He is believed to have garnered administrative experience while he served as former Commissioner in his home state.
Prof. Joshua Ayoola Obaleye: A professor of Chemistry and one time Dean of Science, Unilorin, he hails from Ilesha, Osun State. The don was born July 3, 1954 in Ilesa, Osun State. He obtained both his B.Sc. Chemistry degree in 1977 and Ph.D. Radiation and Inorganic Chemistry in 1981 from USA. He joined University of Ilorin on July 31, 1987 as Senior Lecturer after serving in some other universities. He was promoted to full professor in 1996 and was the former Head of Chemistry Department and former Dean of Faculty of Science, University of Ilorin. Prof.Obaleye has received several awards both nationally and internationally. Currently, he is a fellow of many professional organisations. He has served as the Corresponding Editor of many journals. He is the Editor –in- Chief of Centre-point journal (Science Edition)-University of Ilorin Journal. He has served both as member and chairman of many Boards and committees; including Board of Trustee of some organisations. He is a public analyst. He was a recipient of the Development in Nigeria Merit Award presented on 18th of August, 2007 in Abuja. He has published widely both nationally and internationally. An Inorganic Chemist, he has special interest in Medicinal/Coordination Chemistry.
He has served as resource person and guest/key note speakers to many national and international conferences and workshops, including serving as accreditation panel member and chairman to many Universities. He has served as Chairman, Kwara State Chapter, Haggai Institute Alumni Association of Nigerian for over ten years. He is a National Board Member of Haggai Institute of Nigeria. Prof.Obaleye is a member of American Chemical Society (ACS) and the chairman of ACS Nigeria International Chemical Sciences Chapter. He is also the Faculty advisor for ACS University of Ilorin Students Chapter. He is married with children and has travelled widely.
*For Prof. Ayoola, his wealth of experience and exposure is an advantage but being a non-Kwara, may pose as obstacle to his ambition of clinching the top seat in the federal university.
Prof. Esther Ore Omosewo is from the faculty of Education.
* For Professor Omosewo, who is seemingly the only female contestant, not much is known about her in the University community, however, she may likely be considered if the appointment panel deem it fit to give a female chance to pilot affairs of the school for the first time in the history of the 41-year -old university. She must have to put up a fierce battle to occupy the seat.
Prof. Oloyede Opoola: A professor of Mathematics is currently the Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Kwara State. Opoola also contested against Prof Ambali, the present Vice Chancellor.
* For Professor Opoola, he is on familiar terrain having contested the seat before. He is well known in the university and that may count for him
Prof. Babatunde L. Adeleke – He is a professor of Statistics and former Dean, Faculty of Science. He is the current H.O.D, Statistics Department and Chairman, Muslim Community, Unilorin and hails from Osun State.
* Professor Adeleke is a well-known face within the University community and is widely travelled. He is believed to have vast knowledge in both administration and academics.
Prof Abdulsalam S. Ahmed: Professor of Linguistics and former Dean, Faculty of Arts, Unilorin. He is from Ilorin, Kwara State. He has travelled far and wide and joined the University of Ilorin some few years ago, when he returned from Malaysia.
*Professor Abdulsalaam, being a well-known son of the soil, a renowned Islamic scholar from the Ilorin emirate, who has equally occupied some key positions at the University of Ilorin, may give him edge over other aspirants if he meets the criteria stipulated by the nomination and appointment committee of the university.
Prof. Alfred Adegoke A: A professor in the Department of Counselling Education, Unilorin, he was a former Dean, Faculty of Education, Unilorin. He is from a royal family in Ekiti, Kwara. He specialises in Guidance and Counselling/Developmental Counselling. Prof. Adegoke A. also acquired additional studies including Certificate in Advanced Leadership, Haggai Leadership Training Institute, Republic of Singapore, 1988. He was honoured a Fellow, Counselling Association of Nigeria in 2004 and was a Visiting Professor, Department of Counsellor Education, Counselling Psychology and Rehabilitation Services of The Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA. from 1997 to 1998.
He had worked at different levels in the university, including H.O.D Department of Guidance and Counselling, Adjunct Lecturer, Centre for Peace and Development Studies, University of Ilorin, 2008 to date.
The renowned professor has contributed to some national services and made his wealth of experiences bear nationwide.
* Professor Adegoke being a former Dean of Faculty of Education and H. O. D of his department is expected to bring to bear his administrative skills if he replaces Professor Ambali as VC. However, he may be in for a tough contest with his colleagues from the emirate.
Professor Job Olutimehin Atteh: He hails from Kogi State and is professor in the Faculty of Agriculture and one time Dean of the faculty. He has for so many years been the Chairman, Ceremonial Committee, Unilorin. He currently heads the Unilorin 1.2billion oil palm plantation launched in May 2014. He contested against former Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof is-haq Oloyede.
*Professor Atteh, is well-known within the University community and well-respected. He has chaired key committees in the university apparently he stands a chance to become the next VC of Unilorin based on the influence he wields.
Prof Raheem Adebayo Lawal: A professor of English Language Education, born on the 12th May, 1958 in Offa, Kwara State. He joined the Institute of Education, University of Ilorin as Lecturer 1 in 1990. He rose to the position of Senior Lecturer in 1993. He became a full fledge Professor of Language Education, Department of Arts Education, University of Ilorin in 1998. He was formerly the Chairman, ASUU, Unilorin (1995-1997) and Dean Faculty of Education, Unilorin (August 1, 2016 – July 31, 2008). He was appointed the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academics) of Unilorin in 2012. He contested for Vice-Chancellorship, UniAbuja in 2013 and came second.
*Being a former DVC of Unilorin and one-time contestant for the UniAbuja VC’s seat, he is believed to have the requisite experience for the office. He stands the chance of being picked.