By Sunday Saanu
Former University of Ibadan (UI) Vice-Chancellor, Emeritus Prof. Ayo Banjo has instituted an annual prize for the Best Graduating Student in English Language as a way of giving back to his alma mater.
Prof. Banjo who was the vice-chancellor between 1984-1991 quietly walked into the VC’s office recently to announce the donation, saying “as a way of appreciating the university, he felt moved to establish the annual prize.
The one-time VC who expressed gratitude for the overwhelming support he received during his tenure proudly declared “you can take me out of UI, but you cannot take UI away from me.
As a mark of the fond memory and as a way of giving back to this great university, I hereby institute “Ayo Banjo Prize for the Best Graduating student in English,” the former VC said.
While congratulating the incumbent VC, Prof. Isaac Folorunso Adewole on his smooth take-over, Prof. Banjo enjoined the new VC to keep up the good job, pointing out that with the track record of the new VC, UI is surely in a safe hand.
Responding, Prof. Adewole thanked his senior predecessor for giving back to UI describing the gesture as uniquely encouraging.
The new VC recalled that Prof. Banjo served the university when funding of higher education was at the lowest ebb, wondering how the Emeritus Professor managed to survive the harsh weather.
Emeritus Prof. Banjo remains the longest-serving VC that UI has ever produced having served out his two terms.
During his tenure, the quintessential democrat in the liberal-humanist tradition brought sanity back to university business, restoring committee system, just as he reinstated the credibility and primacy of senate.
His humility is both amazing and edifying, his sense of modesty compelling and challenging relating to all and sundry with an uncommon sincerity.