By Opeyemi Olawore
The month of July is a significant month in the history of Oyo State College of Agriculture and Technology (OYSCATECH), Igboora. It marks the end of tenure and the exchange of baton between the immediate past rector of OYSCATECH, Prof. Gbemiga Adewale and the current acting rector, Mr. Isiaka Olaniyi Adekunle.
How time flies and just like yesterday, one could hardly believe that it is one year already that Professor Gbemiga Adewale left Oyo State College of Agriculture and Technology, Igboora as the Rector of the institution.
Recall that Prof. Gbemiga Adewale left office upon the completion of his tenure as the Rector of the institution on July 9, 2019, having served both in acting and substantive capacities, for over seven years.
The exit of Prof. Gbemiga Adewale from office was celebrated in grand style with a week-long activity to mark his purposeful and outstanding leadership in the administration of the Oyo State College of Agriculture and Technology, Igboora.
His send-off programme in 2019 featured valedictory session at the Board of Studies, Interdenominational prayer, send-off service by the Christian Community and Zion Baptist Church Igboora. Other highlights of the send-off included foundation laying of the College Chapel and Directorate of Part-Time programme coupled with a lecture delivered by Prof. T.M.A. Olayanju, the Vice Chancellor, Landmark University, Kwara State and the exchange of baton between Prof. Gbemiga Adewale and the current Acting Rector who had served twice under him as the Deputy Provost, Mr. Olaniyi Adekunle, a registered Soil Scientist and a Chief Lecturer.
The landmark achievements of Prof. Gbemiga Adewale cannot be forgotten in a jiffy as his tenure brought unprecedented advancement to Staff, Students and the institution in general. His tenure would be remembered for increase in students’ enrolment and the number of courses being run by the institution from five to forty programmes, at National and Higher National Diploma levels. Staff welfare and promotion were of topmost priorities to Prof. Gbemiga Adewale as staff enjoyed regular promotion, upgrading, regularization of appointments and confirmation under his purview.
While in office, the institution migrated from monotechnic to polytechnic, gaining recognition from the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) and the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund). With the recognition, the institution got listed as one of the beneficiaries of TETFund.
Under his watch, the Oyo State College of Agriculture and Technology, Igboora gained recognition both locally and internationally, leading to the institutions collaboration with Michigan State University, USA, West and Central Council for Agricultural Development (CORAF/WECARD),Winrock International, Cassava Adding Value for Africa phase I &II (CAVA I & II), Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and a host of others.
It is on record that Prof. Adewale created the opportunity for the establishment of the three Labour Unions, namely, the Non Academic Staff Union (NASU), Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Polytechnics (SSANIP) and Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) as well as the Student Union Government (SUG).
The Oyo State College of Agriculture and Technology, Igboora, while in the hands of Adewale grew speedily such that the institution became the only Computer Based Test Centre in the whole of Ibarapa since 2015.
During his time, the institution enjoyed the donation of a block of six classrooms from BOVAS Oil and Company and other infrastructural development in the college.
It is equally on record that the institution started Higher National Diploma (HND) programmes, Students Industrial Work Experience Scheme (SIWES) and National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) participation for students of the institution under him.
The active participation of the institution in different short term agricultural training programmes in crop production and animal husbandry for youths through the federal government FADAMA GUYS and Oyo State Government Agricultural Initiative programme for youths were to his credits.
The institution gained global recognition through its various collaborations with stakeholders under the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and World Bank funded projects.
Besides, graduates of the institution who have been trained as agents of innovation, food sufficiency and self-employment continue to do the institution proud in their various fields of endeavour.
Graduates of the institution who are interested in further studies were easily offered admissions and dispersed in various universities of higher learning in the country with their outstanding performance.
The Oyo State College of Agriculture and Technology, Igboora which has a vision of becoming a leading centre of excellence for the training of youths in technology, agriculture and management, towards technological advancement, self-sustainability and food sufficiency, lived up to expectation under Prof. Adewale.
It should be put on record that his tenure started the cultivation of OYCATECH Alumni Association, despite the fact that the institution was very young. This singular effort was maximized by the Alumni Association and the institution, leading to the recent donation of X-ray and Medical Laboratory building by OYSCATECH Alumni Association.
One year after leaving office as the Rector of Oyo State College of Agriculture and Technology, Igboora, the outstanding achievements and legacies of Prof. Gbemiga Adewale continue to reverberate.
Assessing the Oyo State College of Agriculture and Technology, Igboora since Prof. Adewale left office, one could submit that the institution is growing.
This is clearly evident with the crop of leaders that Prof. Adewale left behind; it is no gain saying that they have been following his footsteps. Without any equivocation, as the institution continues to build on the legacies of Prof. Adewale, OYSCATECH as a project will continue to wax stronger and stronger and deliver on her mandate.
It behooves one to commend the present administration in the college under the leadership of the acting rector, Mr. Olaniyi Adekunle for its unwavering efforts in the actualization of the institution’s strategic objectives on the production of trained agricultural and technological manpower through full time and part-time courses and training and the provision of efficient and quality physical infrastructure for training.
As the Oyo State College of Agriculture and Technology, Igboora continues to position itself as an active player and a worthy partner with the Oyo State Government in agriculture and for technological advancement, it is hoped that youth in Oyo State and neighbouring towns would take advantage of the training opportunities.
While the good works continue, it is equally hoped that Prof. Gbemiga Adewale and the pioneer management of the institution who have laid the solid foundation for the Oyo State College of Agriculture and Technology, Igboora to thrive, would as a matter of duty, continue to interact, exchange ideas and give advice to the current management of the institution on areas where they need to work on despite the fact that they have left the institution.
As we reflect on the legacies of a renowned scholar and a rural sociologist, Prof. Gbemiga Adewale, one year after leaving Oyo State College of Agriculture and Technology, Igboora, one could boldly say that the return of Prof. Gbemiga Adewale back to LAUTECH would be a blessing to the institution and his faculty in particular.
With the administrative acumen of Prof. Adewale and his contributions to the academia and OYSCATECH in particular, one could only pray that God Almighty should take him to the next level.
Opeyemi Olawore is the Public Relations Officer, Oyo State College of Agriculture And Technology, (OYSCATECH) Igboora.
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