The month of July, for me, holds special imports, and, evident consequence for the world. The seventh month, on the Julian and Gregorian Calendars, has unusually dotted humanity with regard to the quality of men who, by what another opinion described as birth accident, joined the mortal earth on the wing of July.
July gave the world real men. It brought Julius Caesar, the legendary Roman General and ubiquitious political phenomenon. Recall, the same month was labelled by the Roman parliament as a memorabilia in honour of Ceaser. July also gave heroic President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela of South Africa as it did Professor Wole Akinwande Soyinka to the human race. All, enigmatic human species that have done humanity, albeit differently, much help.
The first rate Professor of Agricultural Economics, veteran academic administrator and the 5th Vice Chancellor of Adekunle Ajasin University, Igbekele Amos Ajibefun, my subject, is also a gift of July. But that is not to be the hub, except for the say of those profound personality traits he shares with the men of example. Treatise is supposed to be a tribute to him – Ajibefun- whose birth commemoration falls on this date and whose mortal deeds have caused various contestations.
Debatement bothering on unbroken ten straight years atop academic governance; the putative magic wand or talent of lifting institutions in care at various times; the consummate managerial skills and suave human handling that punctuates his leadership, or the immense intelligence attributable to July men. These dipsticks, at best, are mere manifestations that should not lead diligent discuss.
Professor Ajibefun was differently grown. Nurtured under tough but thorough weather, yet had reprieve in fine father figures whose lives impacted him quite profoundly. Nature provided him early enough with learnings that would prepare him for today. From the preparations, he picked hard work, diligence and raw compassion, attributes that have since enabled him through the routes.
A tough guy, rarely shaken by tides and times, and does not regard impossible situations. He enjoys tough times and savours the taste of winning. Ajibefun likes courage and expresses it. And quite significantly, this punctuates his achievements at various rungs. He likes challenges too, a penchant which he has brilliantly deployed at forks and which has marked him out as a sturdy figure of force. Small wonder he daintily dots his works with daring distinctions.
Not to preempt points meant for other days, not to bore this day with facts already served, or tales that ooze no new steam, we borrow this moment to tell him how well his deeds are estimated and how his years of deliberate and consistent contributions to institutional development are appreciated.
Poignantly too, one may be constrained to tell him of the need to leave cues behind him since his sterling years as Vice Chancellor now winds up.
The present preferment , for those who know, is particularly testing. Yet gifts and grace have kept him afloat so well his successes dumbfound many who would believe that pecuniary drought should hitch laudable feats, but the genius flawed same theory, schooled doubters in financial management, and yet sustaining the leading university on critical fronts.
Until that morning comes for another walk, one reminiscent of that seismic welcome walk where members of sister institutions thronged the streets to honour the genius for a job well done and to spur him on to deliver a more taxing another. Looking back, he has done the job, and brilliantly too. He did, victoriously, in the scorching face of daunting challenges.
True, the reward for hard work is more work. But before another call to service comes, make this July count. Celebrate this moment in top spirit, dear accomplished Vice Chancellor, with the assurances that your new year will bring forth fine fulfilments and strength for greater accomplishments.