(Published in The PUNCH on Monday, August 16, 2021)
Over the weekend, I gave thoughts to the snowflake nature of Man. I arrived at the conclusion that the mind of Man is a tragic theatre with a cast, whose hero commits an error which turns into a horror that smashes him down below zero in terror.
I also gave thoughts to how the proverbial Monkey attempted to change its hirsute destiny but painfully missed being transformed into Man.
Furthemore, I spared a thought for the Frog’s zig-zag thighs and a life condemned to ceaseless leaping about – on land and in water, like Sisyphus and his untiring rock.
Surely, the reality of the above-mentioned animalism themes affirms Man’s ever evolving quest for change – either for good or for bad or for both.
Immersed in my stream of thoughts, I put a call through to the Araba of Osogbo, Chief Ifayemi Elebuibon, and I asked, “Baba, do you know the Yoruba worldviews of how the Frog fractured his thigh and how the Monkey missed a lifetime chance to belong in humanity?
“Yes, I know. Part of it is in my book, Oyeku Palaba: The Adventures of Obatala, Part II, published in Los Angeles in 2004,” Elebuibon said.
But I won’t bother the reader with the popular fable of how the Monkey, aka Obo Idere (not Obo Idanre), failed to exercise patience for seven days, and broke the magical potion he was given to rub off the hair on his body, thereby missing the opportunity to become human.
I’ll dwell on the less popular but more appropriate parable of how the Frog broke his thigh as a result of indiscretion and overexuberance.
Recalling that the Ifa corpus on Mr Frog springs from the theme of conspiracy, Elebuibon said in Yoruba, “The person who runs away from conspiracy is only being cautious, (a d’Ifa fun Akere omo oni Ture), a divination for the Frog, the son of Ture..”
In a bid to secure his future, Elebuibon said the Frog went to the house of the Diviner and requested to know what lies ahead in the belly of time. Ever accurate, ever truthful, the Diviner told the Frog three joyous incidents would happen in his life in rapid succession, warning, however, that the Frog must be cautious in success.
On his way home, the Frog branched off to his farm, to complete a chore he had started the day before. As he tilled the land, he uprooted a twig which made a big hole in the ground. Curious, he looked into the little hole and saw a pot of money.
Gingerly, he dug out the pot and hit a jackpot. In a dazed dance on the farm, news came that his wife had been delivered of a baby, the Frog became drunk on joy. Right on the farm, he ordered various food and palm wine to be taken to his house preparatory to a feast never witnessed in the land.
Mr Frog called on dancers, drummers, relatives and friends to come and share in his joy, pomp and pageantry. In the middle of the electrifying jubilation, words came from the kingmakers that Frog had been chosen as the next king of the land.
Frog climbed the peak of gladness, leaving the realm of dance for the realm of acrobatics, leaping and stomping in a frenzy until he tripped and crash-landed, breaking his thigh bones and ultimately losing the crown because the palace forbids a paraplegic as king.
Like the Frog, who was foretold three transformative incidents would happen in his life, UNIOSUN has had the opportune luck of being headed by three amazing vice chancellors, who were successively chosen through the laws establishing the 15-year-old university.
The pioneer V-C of UNIOSUN, Sola Akinrinade, a distinguished Professor of History at the Obafemi Awolowo University, is a first-class intellect, whose tenure witnessed groundbreaking achievements in the areas of quality faculties, sustainable academic calendar, quality of governance and massive infrastructural development.
A medical doctor and Professor of Chemical Pathology, University of Ilorin, Bashiru Okesina, succeeded Akinrinade, recording giant strides that firmly planted the institution on the national education map.
The incumbent V-C, Labode Popoola, a sterling Professor of Forest Economics from the University of Ibadan, has improved the fortunes of the university in the areas of increased academic programmes, including the re-establishment of medical studies.
But barely 10 weeks before the curtain falls on the tenure of Popoola on November 4, 2021, UNIOSUN is on the boil. Professorial eggheads in academic gowns, hoods and tams are set to abandon classroom teaching for courtroom fighting in the bid to clinch the heavyweight title of the Office of the Vice-Chancellor.
Like the vulture, unease has shown up on the UNIOSUN horizon, gradually encircling the citadel and threatening to exchange UNIOSUN’s peace for war. Like Nigeria’s self-determinism battle, many UNIOSUN professors are poised to defend their space.
This is what a newspaper advertorial calling for applications from interested candidates for the post of V-C has caused UNIOSUN. The ominous clouds are threatening acid rain in UNIOSUN.
The content of the controversial advertorial is a drastic departure from the academic requirements and the UNIOSUN extant laws that produced Akinrinade, Okesina and Popoola, fuelling the suspicion that there’s more to the advert than meets the eye.
Specifically, a simple search on Google reveals that neither the two past V-Cs nor the incumbent V-C and the two past acting V-Cs, exceptional Prof Gani Olatunde and illustrious Prof Oguntola Alamu, meet all the requirements announced by the Popoola-led institution.
The advert demands a ResearchGate Score of 15.0 and 800 citations from each applicant, which neither the incumbent nor the past V-Cs meet.
Indeed, the incumbent V-C has an H-Index of 11 on Google Scholar instead of the advertised 15. In ResearchGate Citations, Popoola has 284, instead of the advertised 800, and has 15.29 in ResearchGate Score.
The questions on the lips of stakeholders are: What is the sense in setting requirements unattainable by even the vice-chancellors of Harvard, Cambridge, Oxford, Yale, Princeton, and Columbia universities? Does the UNIOSUN frog want to break its thigh bones like the proverbial frog? Does the Popoola-led administration, like the proverbial monkey, want to smash UNIOSUN’s pot of success on the eve of mantle passover?
Pointedly, Harvard University V-C, Prof Lawrence Basco, has a ResearchGate Score of 14.5 and 582 citations; Cambridge V-C, Prof Stephen Toope, has a ResearchGate Score of 14.5 and 701 citations; Oxford V-C, Prof Loiuse Richardson, has NO ResearchGate Score, laughably rendering her ineligible for UNIOSUN V-C post.
The Presidents of Yale and Princeton, Prof Peter Salovey, and Prof Christopher Eisgruberi, respectively, don’t have ResearchGate Accounts nor Scores just as their counterpart in Columbia University, Prof Lee Bollinger, has neither, also.
Back home in Nigeria, the acting V-C, University of Ibadan, erudite Prof Adebola Ekanola’s ResearchGate Score is 7.5 with 64 citations while the ResearchGate Score and citations of ABU V-C, the distinguished Prof Kabir Bala, are 3.58 and 108 respectively.
In the contentious advert, prospective candidates, who MUST meet all the requirements, were directed to send their applications to the Vice Chancellor, in a clear usurpation of the Office of the Registrar, UNIOSUN, and a travesty of the laws setting up the university.
Similarly, the requirements which stipulate that candidates must possess 10 local and international research grants, and to also have attended 20 international conferences are ridiculous given the fact that UNIOSUN cannot boast of full sponsorships of her professors to international conferences nor fully sponsoring their researches in the last five years.
The Visitor to UNIOSUN, Governor Gboyega Oyetola; should quickly wade into the travesty before the head of baby UNIOSUN is twisted backward.
By the provisions of UNIOSUN Law 2006 and UNIOSUN Condition of Service 2019/2021, the advert is clearly skewed in favour of candidates in Pure/Applied Sciences against those in Law, Education, Arts, Social/Management Sciences and Humanities – with the non-acceptance of book publications, monographs, plays and visual arts from candidates.
I wonder what the thoughts of the founder of the university, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, and his predecessor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, are right now.
Oyetola, now is the time to act.
Facebook: @tunde odesola