Pioneer VC | First Technical University Ibadan
Citation of Professor Ayobami Salami
Like the proverbial white pap that evolves from the black pot, Professor Ayobami Salami hails from a humble background. Today, however, he is one of the leading lights that not only Ibadan – his darling hometown – and entire Oyo State are proud of, but also an iconic brand of national and global proportion.
After consolidating the promises of childhood and surmounting the challenges of the epoch, he set his feet on the noble path of scholarship, where he has raised thousands of successful students and impacted the world through functional research, revolutionary policy formulation and development as well as visionary leadership. He is currently consolidating these at the First Technical University, Ibadan, where he is leading a team raising new future leaders with entrepreneurial, vocational and creative edge.
An old student of St. Paul Anglican Primary School, Latunde Village in Oluyole Local Government Area of Oyo State; and Lagelu Grammar School, Ibadan, Professor Salami was appointed the Pioneer Vice-chancellor of Nigeria’s premier Technical University, First Technical University, Ibadan in May 2017. He became a Professor of Environmental Science, at the Institute of Ecology and Environmental Studies, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife in 2003. He was the Pioneer Head of Environmental Science, University of the Gambia, The Gambia (2000-2001); the Director, Institute of Ecology and Environmental Studies, OAU (2006-2010); Senior Research Advisor, Health, Safety and Environment, Corporate Environment Department, Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), Port Harcourt (2010-2011); and Deputy Vice- Chancellor (Academic), OAU (2011-2016).
He was the Project Manager, the World Bank-sponsored Centre of Excellence (CoEx) in Software Engineering: Science & Technology Education at Post-Basic Levels (STEPB) Project OAU, from 2011-2013 and the Centre Leader, World Bank-sponsored African Centre of Excellence on ICT-Driven Knowledge Park from 2014 to 2016. He has coordinated many multi-disciplinary projects for several national, regional and international organisations. He was the Programme Coordinator (West and Central Africa), for the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida)-sponsored International Training Programme on Education for Sustainable Development in Higher Education, in 2008; and Consultant to UNEP for the Terminal Evaluation of Project GEF/GFL-2328-2770-4889 on Integrated Ecosystem Management in the Trans-Boundary Areas Between Nigeria and Niger in 2010. He was the Nigerian Principal Investigator for the IDRC Multi-country Research Project (N°:105714– 001) on The Practice of Ethics in Health and Environmental Research in Africa from 2010-2013. He also coordinated the Nigerian capacity building component of the EU-sponsored project on Monitoring of Environment for Security in Africa (MESA) from 2014-2017.
Professor Salami has obtained numerous grants from several organisations such as the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA), Abuja; Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA); Ecological Fund Office, Office of Secretary to the Government of the Federation, The Presidency, Abuja; the National Centre for Remote Sensing, Jos; International Institute for Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC), The Netherlands; International Secretariat of System Analysis for Research and Training-International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP), Washington D.C.; UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission; United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP); International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), Trieste, Italy; Ramboll Natura AB, Sweden; Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and International Steering Committee for Global Mapping (ISCGM), Japan among others.
He has also had teaching and research experience at the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and at the Natural Resources Department, International Institute for Geo-information Science and Earth Observation (ITC), Enschede, The Netherlands. Professor salami has been an Eisenhower Fellow since 2009.
It is this robust profile that gives stakeholders the conviction that Professor Ayobami Salami will lead the First Technical University to the top. The institution is, indeed, unique not only because it is a pioneer in its area of specialisation, but also because of its corrective orientation. The Tech-U is bold, resolute but pragmatic in terms of the core vision of bridging the skill gaps that exist in the country’s educational system.
The Vice Chancellor recently put this in perspective thus: “Far from being another factory of job-seekers, we are a nurturing ground for entrepreneurs, those who really make the difference in the life of a nation. Our ultimate dream is to become a world-class institution as soon as possible. The hallmarks of a world-class university include a pious commitment to its vision and mission, compelling scholarship on the part of its staff, high-quality research, inspiring deployment and engagement of technology as well as the production of future leaders in all sectors.
“The Tech-U is one which will be propelled into a top-flight institution by the virtue of the innovative ideas. We have set our feet on this great path, but we must not falter. For instance, at present, we teach with the best technology; we must therefore continue to develop high-quality materials. And, as technology continues to evolve, we must strive to keep abreast of it.
“As a university where graduates are strategically prepared for the transition from education to the world of work, the Tech-U will breed future investors and successful businessmen and women. We will help in reducing unemployment and engendering self actualisation by producing premium quality graduates who will fit into the industry if they choose to take up jobs or be at the forefront as well-rounded entrepreneurs. The dream is that of a university that we can rely on, to produce self-reliant graduates who will be job creators.
“Our dream citadel is the one whose graduates will be great thinkers, researchers and innovators. Nigeria boasts many universities and has produced graduates in their millions but where are our innovations and inventions? This is another major gap that our students should be groomed to bridge.”