Rev. Felix Ajakaye, the Catholic Bishop of Ekiti Diocese, has urged the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the Federal Government (FG) to address the lingering crisis that has resulted in the closure of all public universities.
According to Ajakaye, the resolution should be in the best interests of students, parents, and the country as a whole.
This was said on Sunday in Akure by Mr Adebayo Adegbenro, the Deputy Director of Information and Protocol at the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA).
The statement was made on the sideline of the burial ceremony of the former Vice-Chancellor of FUTA, Prof. Adebiyi Daramola, on Friday at Okemesi in Ekiti State.
The bishop said that the fight between ASUU and the Federal Government is causing serious discomfort and suffering and uncertainty among students and parents.
He appealed to both parties to resolve the crisis in the interest of the students and the future of the country.
“Students, parents and the country are being adversely affected because of the fight between ASUU and FG
“Both sides should devise a new way to resolve the crisis and save the country’s university system,” he said.
He said the time has come for managers of the country and Nigerians, in general, to have the right attitude and get the country’s priorities right.
Speaking on Daramola, who served as the VC of FUTA between 2012 and 2017, Rev. Ajakaye described him as a God-fearing person who made his mark in the world of academics.
He said that the late VC contributed immensely to the development of his country.
“Let’s do good and leave good legacies. Daramola was a courteous and courageous person.
“He was humble; he reflected his good upbringing in his relationships with people. He left worthy legacies of excellent services in all his stations in life and particularly at FUTA where his legacies live on,” the Bishop said.
The statement noted that a commendation service in honour of the late VC at FUTA was held before the funeral.
At the service, the Catholic Bishop of Ondo Diocese, Rev. Father Jude Arogundade, said the former VC played important roles in FUTA, Nigeria and in the global arena.
”He went through many ups and downs, he had his own crisis, sometimes we may think that it’s the man who is in charge that has problems without minding the roles we play.
“Prof. Daramola was not perfect, but he gave the system his best and contributed immensely to the development of FUTA and the country’s university system,” Arogundade said.
Also speaking, the incumbent Vice-Chancellor of FUTA, Prof. Joseph Fuwape, highlighted many contributions of Daramola, saying FUTA and the academic world would miss the erudite scholar.
“Prof. Daramola served as the sixth substantive Vice-Chancellor of the University from May 2012 to May 2017.
“He consolidated on the gains of his predecessors and charted new frontiers of development, particularly in the areas of rebranding, internationalization, as well as renewal of critical infrastructure.
“He succeeded in ‘Taking FUTA to the Market Place’, as he articulated in the blueprint which he created for the development of FUTA.
“He also leveraged on his cosmopolitan connections to attract collaborators to the university in the form of advancement in academic programmes and infrastructural development,” he stated.
He described the death of Daramola as a “big blow to human capital of FUTA, Nigerian University System, academia and to Nigeria.
At the ceremony, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, the President of the African Development Bank, who talked in a moving tribute via video feed, said ‘your brilliance was clear to all ever since we were together at Ibadan Polytechnic, and also together as classmates at the University of Ife.
“You were our pride when you got elected as VC of FUTA.
“You contributed greatly to making FUTA what it is today, with your usual honesty, penchant for professionalism, uncompromising integrity, doggedness, vision, passion, and drive for excellence.
“I am at a complete loss of what to say now to your dear wife and your loving and caring children. We have lost a wonderful friend and colleague. Your life and how you lived with impeccable integrity, and Godly faith, will always remain an inspiration. You left a legacy of truth, godliness, kindness, generosity and care for all your friends,” Adesina said in the tribute.
Prof. Daramola died on Friday, March 25, at the age of 64.