A former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, on Wednesday disclosed how he was under pressure to influence who was to be appointed as new Vice Chancellor of Federal University of Agriculture, FUNNAB, Abeokuta.
The university had been enmeshed in crisis over who would take over from the former Vice Chancellor, Olusola Oyewole, following a financial scandal which resulted in the trial of Mr. Oyewole.
Mr. Obasanjo, while speaking at the inauguration of the new Vice Chancellor, Felix Salako, in Abeokuta said he resisted the pressure to take sides during the crisis.
He explained that, he had to ”keep distance to allow fair and transparent process by the Governing Council chaired by Aboki Zhawa.”
”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,” he said.
Mr. Obasanjo congratulated the new vice chancellor on his appointment and challenged him to turn the university around.
The former president noted that with the new vice chancellor’s wealth of experience and sound academic background, ”he has no reason not to perform well.”
Earlier in his inaugural speech titled, “Please Rise and Remain Standing,” the new university head admitted the he suffered attacks and stiff opposition in the struggle to become the institution’s head but promised not to be vindictive.
Mr. Salako promised to block all the financial leakages, ensure efficient utilisation of funds and compensate hard work and efficiency.
“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”, he said.
”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 attack, God still appointed me through the University Governing Council. Therefore, I cannot fight God’s battle”, Mr. Salako stated.
The Pro Chancellor of the university, Aboki Zhawa, in his own remarks, noted that from the comments and remarks which trailed Mr. Salako’s emergence, he has “a lot of work to do.”
He asked him to be wary of friends whose wishes would not benefit his administration, rather have tendencies to sink his government.
Mr. Zhawa expressed the council’s unflinching supports for the new vice chancellor and challenged members of the university’s Senate to do same.