The Vice-Chancellor of the First Technical University, Ibadan, Professor Ayobami Salami has announced that his institution is about to introduce two types of ventilators to help reduce death rate as the novel coronavirus ravages Nigeria.
The university don explained that his research team at Tech-U are almost ready to formally present the ventilators – digital and mechanical.
The university don gave these submissions while featuring on Tuesday’s edition of the weekly radio magazine show, Parrot Xtra Hour aired on Space 90.1FM, Ibadan anchored by Olayinka Agboola.
He also disclosed that Tech U is giving everything at its disposal to support the state government in curtailing the spread of the COVID-19 in Oyo State. According to Prof. Salami, “one of the major functions of the university is to be able to innovatively and proactively respond to solving the challenges of the larger society.
“When the coronavirus became a pandemic, we sat down with management and we told ourselves even though, we are very young, very new, we must not fold our hands, this is time to actually look inwards and see in what ways, areas we can support the state government and by inference the entire Nigerian society.
“We decided to support the Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) of the state government in respect of the designing and reproduction of sensitization materials, so, we put our ICT infrastructure at the disposal of the Centre for contact tracing, data management and data-based development. We have also come up with face masks, which have been presented to the state government.”
Speaking about how the institution has been sourcing for funds to run its programmes and the level of infrastructure that has been put in place, the pioneer Vice-Chancellor, explained that Tech U is being run by the public, private and the parents (PPP).
His words, “when I was appointed as Vice-Chancellor, we only had two buildings donated by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to the state government and these were the infrastructure handed over to us.
“But through the internally generated revenue and from those who have been supporting us, we have been able to move higher. As I am talking to you, we have Central workshop and laboratory that is almost completed and is being built from our own internally generated revenue, we have students’ accommodation built by the private sector and we also have another set of hostel accommodation going on concurrently in the university. We have brought in a lot of infrastructure into the place.
“Thanks to the Oyo State government, you can see that Engineer Seyi Makinde’s administration has almost completed our gatehouse and the new access road to the university. It is a part of the support or facilitation that the state government is giving to us,” Prof. Salami stated.
In his submission on the employability status of Tech-U students and how they are keying into the mission of the institution, the VC noted that the institution has made it a matter of compulsion for all students to learn at least one vocation, which they can live on apart from certificate before they leave the university.
Prof. Salami revealed that the university has made it a norm and following its slogan ‘developing brains, training hands’ by involving students in any research work by the research team of Tech-U to enable them to earn some income even while on campus.
Salami, while speaking on how he managed to settle the ownership speculation and his survival during the change of government in Oyo State, he commended the state governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde, who he described as a leader who believes in politics of development.
“It is different between rumour and fact, so many things were going on during the electioneering campaign but as I said, I only restricted myself to my job, my work. Let me say that I must give credit to the state governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde because some people believe in politics of accusation, some others believe in politics of development, so, I believe that our governor believes in politics of development and he was able to see that Technical University is part of the sectors that can contribute meaningfully to the development of the state.
“Therefore, he has been able to show that he is a man that is objective and goes for what is right and he strives to do what is the best. So, my being here, number one, I will attribute to God and attribute it to the objectivity of the leadership of the state.
“Like I told you, I am a technocrat and not a politician,” Prof. Salami submitted. The debonair scholar also made shocking revelations as to how he was denied the opportunity of becoming V.C of the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, before his present appointment.
He submitted that though he had run the race and won and was appointed but denied the chance of becoming the V.C in O.A.U due to some underground politics.
“I have made my mark in Ife and anybody hearing me or reading the transcript of this interview can cross-check. I have already had my mark in that great university, which has been my platform since I entered as an undergraduate student and I want to say, to the glory of God, in Ife today, I mean in Obafemi Awolowo University, I have a memorial.
“But where I am going to have my legacy is the First Technical University, Ibadan. So Ife is a place for me to have a memorial, Ibadan First Technical University is the place for me to have my legacy. I ran the race and won. I got appointed and due to some politics and shenanigans, I was denied the chance of becoming the V.C,” Salami said.
On what really happened as it was rumoured that he was being denied the opportunity because of the fact that he was not from Osun State or an Ife indigene. Professor Ayobami Salami has this to say.
“There were so many factors. Where I came from was part of it. There were some people who were also interested in some things, which made than to go against the normal procedure and normal process. But for me, I am a person who believes in the counsel and the plan of God to channel and direct my paths.
Because with the knowledge of anxiety, I am far, far better off where I am. I have cause to give glory to God and be grateful to those who participated in the process that denied me the opportunity of resuming as Vice-Chancellor there.”
For those who blocked him from becoming the V.C, according to Salami, though they have blocked his progress but unknown to them, they were being used by God.
“The place of declaration for me is Ife but the place of actualisation is the First Technical University.
“I am very grateful to God and I am grateful to all of them and many of them are now my friends interestingly. When I go to Ife now, they are my friends. Because most of them realised they made a big mistake but I believe they were used by God.”
Ayobami Salami is an Ibadan-born Professor of Space Applications and Environmental Studies.