Ode, As ‘Mr. Projects,’ FUNAAB VC, Professor Felix Kolawale Salako, Bows Out

ABEOKUTA – On October 31, 2022, a high-level executive, an accomplished personality, disciplined, humble, expert and strategist with a sharp mind and an adventurer will step down as the sixth substantive Vice-Chancellor of Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB) with enviable records of impressive achievements.


Prof. Salako, a leader that leads by example and gave the best experience and show the world both figuratively and literally that excellent leadership extol experience through mentoring and support. Through this act, he teaches hard work, discipline, selflessness, honesty, kindness and high ethical value.


In the last five years of his reign at FUNAAB, he has won for himself a crown magnificent enough to deliver beyond many expectations. This is as a result of his humble approach to life and responsibility. His willingness to take on responsibilities, distinguishes him as a leader marked out for success.


Destiny has brought him this far and his visionary leadership has made many to appreciate God for having a pragmatic leadership at a time he reigned as the Vice-Chancellor of the most fabulous citadel of learning, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta.


In all that he did, he created harmony between the town (Alabata) and gown (the University). He maximized potential and build capacity with his creativity and strong desire for a better research driven academic institution. All these are evident in his development oriented projects and programmes.


He created opportunities where none exist. His leadership style is a calling that is worthy of emulation. He anticipates the unexpected and responds. His style of leadership has proven that dreams could be converted to perfection. Here is a man never given to any iota of hornswoggle about him, he tells it to you as he sees it. He is petrous in advocating for remarkable excellence, and his drive for the highest standards cannot be oxterized in the annals of the University history.


Speaking at an event heralding his glorious departure, Professor Salako attributed his successful tenure as the sixth Vice Chancellor of the university to the will of God. The Professor of soil physics admitted that, what he has not done while in office was what God has not made him to do.


The enigmatic administrator executed 178 projects completing 156, while 22 others are under construction. The VC had vowed to complete the other ongoing projects before his exit on October 31.


Salako who recalled efforts to destabilize his administration during the Covid-19 period, said some antagonists of the university were peddling falsehood about his administration, was able to surmounted the crisis with the support of his management team.


The outgoing Vice-Chancellor said all the projects especially the lecture room and laboratories constructed were fully equipped with furniture equipment for immediate use of the students and staff.


Prof. Salako while conducting journalists round the facility tour said majority of the projects were funded through intervention funds such as NEEDS Assessment, TETFUND, Extra Government Earnings, World Bank intervention, and Federal Government Capital appropriation.


According to him, many of the projects were abandoned by previous administrations of the institution, but in line with his 12-point agenda upon assumption of office in 2017, he accessed the intervention funds to facilitate most of the projects.


Notable among the projects are; construction of a seven-billion-litre capacity Dam in Mawuko, under Odeda Local Government Area of the state.


Others are; Construction of Bakery Building, Construction of College of Plant Science Building, Construction of Oil Palm Processing Building, Construction and furnishing of 300 seater lecture theatre with service centre equipped Digital classroom, Construction and Furnishing of Academic Office complex with Seminar rooms and E-Library, Construction of Post Graduate Students Hostel, Construction of Maternity centre, Construction of Twin 250 seaters capacity lecture theatre, Construction of X-ray building and Construction of 300 seater capacity Senate Chamber extension.


Addressing journalists shortly after the facility tour, Professor Salako said the Dam which is situated about 20 kilometres away from the campus, would serve the campus including hostels, offices, and other facilities.


The VC stated that the construction of the Dam started in 2018, adding that two reservoirs and water treatment plants are ready to receive the water channeled from the Dam before they are released for drinking and other uses.


He said each of the reservoirs has capacity to contain 1.3million litres of water, meaning that the two could carry 2.6milllion litres of water at a go.


He, however, explained that the institution is expecting fund for piping of the water, and as soon “as it is approved the pipes would be procured for seamless water supply to the campus.”


Prof. Salako said the institution is open to partnership on the Dam project but such partnership must be with equity.


Talking about the water treatment plant building and the reservoirs, Prof. Salako gave kudos to the pioneer VC of FUNAAB, Prof. Olorunnimbe Adedipe who he said constructed them but he said his own administration had to change most of the equipment because they had become obsolete.


He said, “I must commend the pioneer VC of this institution for his foresight in constructing the water treatment plant, and the reservoirs.


“But this water treatment plant and reservoirs had been abandoned for over 15 years and my administration had to renovate this place.


“And since many of the equipment had become obsolete, we had to buy new ones and remove those old ones.


“The Dam project is almost completed, as you can see the water treatment plant and the reservoirs. What remains is for us to do the piping as soon as we get the fund, which we have applied for. This Dam would solve the water problem within the campus.”


He said, though, the institution has sunk boreholes within the campus, he noted that “they are getting too many and the cost of maintaining them is getting higher.”


The Dam he added would also serve in irrigation farming during dry season.


Salako is an engild in the sphere of University administration, an inspiration for the coming, and for greater heights. He is not bumptious, but intolerant of a lack of vision for oneself. He did not absquatulate in the face of daunting challenges of facing his administration, and has soared where Eagles have dared.


He is a Vice-Chancellor who has broken barriers every day, and has written his name in the annals of the history of this great Institution with the many of firsts and accomplishment, evidence of which in the shape and manner of plaques and awards fill up the walls of his office.


At this juncture, we can only wish the Oasis in the Desert, happy retirement.


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