The Catholic Bishop of Ekiti Diocese, Rev. Felix Ajakaye, has appealed to the Academic Staff Union of Universities and the Federal Government to resolve the lingering crisis that has led to the closure of all public universities.
Bishop Ajakaye said that the resolution should be in the interest of students, parents and the country at large.
This was contained in a statement by Adegbenro Adebanjo, Deputy Director of Information and Protocol of the Federal University of Technology, Akure, on Sunday in Akure.
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 was causing serious discomfort and suffering and uncertainty among students and parents.
Ajakaye appealed to both parties to resolve the crisis in the interest of the students and future of the country.
He said: “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 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, Bishop Ajakaye described him as a God-fearing person who made his mark in the world of academic.
He said that the late VC contributed immensely to the development of his country.
He said: “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 station in life and particularly at FUTA where his legacies live on.”
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.
Arogundade said: “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 problem 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.”
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.
Fuwape said: “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, internationalisation, 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.”
Fuwape 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, President of the African Development Bank, who spoke 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.”
Prof. Daramola died on March 25, 2022 at the age of 64.