Everything must end one day, they will say. Always watch your back. From grass to survival, to dismissal, to tussle, and to grace finally. This is the story of Oluwarotimi Shodimu Esq. The outgoing Registrar of the University of Lagos. The man with a very poor beginning admitted in the University as a sixteen year old young man in 1978 and became the University’s Registrar twenty nine years later. It was a rainy Thursday morning- 25th July, 2013. One after another people, staff and student of the university community, media houses, family members, well-wishers and government functionaries flock into the Main Auditorium of the University to bid farewell to the seasoned technocrat, administrator per excellence, and fine gentleman.
The event was organized by the Association of Nigerian University Professional Administrators (ANUPA), UNILAG chapter for Shodimu to deliver a professional lecture titled “University Management at the Cross Road: The Registrar as an Endangered Species”. The astute administrator who worked with three Vice-Chancellors and three Pro-Chancellors highlighted his major achievement, setbacks, regrets, challenges and proposed solutions to the challenges to avoid future occurrences. Amongst some of the major achievements from the exhaustive list were; massive intervention in the students’ records keeping system for the process transformation and re-orientation, deployment of more staff on temporary basis without any financial burden to decongest the records office, created the on-line processing of transcripts and unit of certificate and verification, addressed the plight of the institution’s pensioners, provision of furniture for the library and some faculties, a boost in staff training and employment, creation of open access to all and sundry in principal officers offices.
His major regrets were the serving his tenure without a student union government (SUG) and remuneration for industrious staff of the registry. He explained the former was not commendable as students are denied ample opportunity to exhibit their leadership traits, while industry, commitment and integrity is hampered in the later. He begged the institution authority to address them speedily as possible. In his words “please pardon me to share this with you. I was a product of Students Unionism but I unfortunately operated without Students Union during my tenure. I had unimaginable trauma over the issue. How time changes, the value has been eroded. Management to an extent is justified considering the way some students’ leader arrogate to themselves non-existing powers by coercing colleagues on issues”.
The lecture largely took an appreciative note; Shodimu used the medium for felicitation. He thanked the Almighty God and all the men and women that have contributed to his luscious career.
Clusters of dignitaries that gathered to bid the registrar good bye included Prof Rahamon Ade Bello, the Vice-Chancellor, Tunde Ade-Olunusi, ANUPA chairman, all the university principal officers, professors Ibidao-Obe, Olaide Abass, Duro Oni, Babajide Alo, H.O.D Longe, family members, university staff and students,friends and well-wishers and successor, Dr. (Mrs.) Taiwo Folashade Ipaye.
Many a people franked at the poor policy that is kicking out such a fine gentle man at age 55, even without putting in 35years of service. The Vice-Chancellor said the institution was going to miss his services in the registry and not in the university because he is still a bona fide staff of the university. He challenged Ipaye to work very hard in matching the pace set and even surpass it.
When edugist speak to some members of the university, some praise his profundity. One Tope said “we’ll miss his smiles and bow-tie” One Sogo said “the beauty of the senate building is gone, baba God bless you and your family”. On the other hand, one tricenarian who simply identify himself as AY said “thank God, so he can go? He has turned UNILAG to his family business; he’s in the senate, the wife is heading ventures, his wife elder sister headed all the headable and the son is consult. Go enjoy ooo”. Another Laide lament “this is seven years as a casual worker, that man could not sign my staff letter, despite working under the wife, God dey sha.
Shodimu ended his 6-year reign as Registrar yesterday while Ipaye resume today for a 5-year single tenure.