The Global Publicity Secretary of Great Ife Alumni, Professor Akeem Amodu is an associate Professor of Philosophy and Public Affairs at the Lead City University, Ibadan. In an interview with TUNDE BUSARI, he goes down memory lane on the journey so far. Excerpts
Can you let us into history of the alumni?
In the late 60s, graduates of the then University of Ife made efforts to form Alumni Association of the institution especially in the cities of Lagos and Ibadan. The Ibadan Branch of the Alumni Association was, according to records, formally inaugurated at the then British Council Hall, Dugbe, in 1974. Afterwards, there was the spread of the branches of the Association across major cities in Nigeria.
What does the alumni stands for, in terms of relevance to ex-students, in particular?
Officially referred to as Great Ife Alumni Association, the Alumni Association of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, is a pacesetting Alumni association in Nigeria set up with the vision of creating a global network of graduates of Obafemi Awolowo University as a platform for harnessing benefits for the institution and, in the ultimate, our country Nigeria. Graduates of Obafemi Awolowo University have benefited immensely, and continue to benefit, from the coordinated synergies and structures at the Branch, National and Global levels of the Association.Ultimately, our vision is to create a global network of Great Ife Alumni that will generate tremendous benefits through synergy, for our alma mater, our home country- Nigeria, and the various countries that we are residents/citizens. Through our interactions, we intend to foster the interest and welfare of the alumni. The hall mark team spirit of Great Ifes (as we refer to ourselves), our idealism and sensitivity to national issues all combined to motivate this spirit of coming together to give back to the university that immensely contributed to the attainment of our life goals and ambitions.
How is it run across the world?
Great Ife Alumni Association has a governance structure that is founded on a generally adopted constitution. Membership is open to all graduates of the pacesetting Alumni Association. Branches are formally recognized on the fulfillment of constitutional provisions. The Association is financed mainly from contributions from members in the form of membership fees, annual dues and philanthropic donations from members.
What are the accomplishments you met when you became a member?
The accomplishments of Great Ife Alumni Association cut across. Within the campus of Obafemi Awolowo University alone you can count several infrastructure facilitated by the Alumni Association and by various groups, sets and individual members. The Alumni Hall for example was facilitated by the Alumni Association to help the Management of the great citadel of learning address the annual problem of students accommodation (arising mainly from the fact that Great Ife remains an institution of first choice for admission seekers). Prior becoming a member of the Association, and as an undergraduate, I witnessed several interventions of the Association in the provision of water, electricity, laboratories, departmental libraries and medical supplies to the University Health Center, among others.
When and how did you emerge the global publicity secretary?
I emerged the Global Publicity Secretary of the Association on the 29th of May 2021 following an election held as part of activities marking the 24th Biennial Convention of the Association at Ife. The ever conscious, vigilant and progressive graduates of Obafemi Awolowo University are rule-following, thus my emergence as the Global Publicity Secretary started from being a delegate and a financial member from my Branch here in Ibadan.
What’s the attraction in the designation?
The ultimate attraction is having the trust and confidence of generations of graduates of OAU to serve alongside distinguished members to deliver on the constitutional mandate of the foremost Alumni Association in Africa.
What are your responsibilities?
Going by the adopted constitution of the Association I am the image maker of Association. I oversee and coordinate relationship with the press and the general public towards sustainable image making for the Association.
How would you describe your president style of leading the executive council?
Engineer Wale Olaleye FNSE is the Global President. The Association is blessed to have him as the Global President for a second term. That he got a second term (unopposed) at the last convention of the Association is testimonial to his impactful leadership style.
What role did the alumni play in the recent 60th anniversary?
First, permit me to congratulate every Great on the occasion of the 60th Anniversary of our alma mater. Congratulations to the founding fathers, the Governing Council, the Vice Chancellor, Management, Staff and Students of Obafemi Awolowo University as the institution clocked 60 on the 08th day of June 2021. As part of activities marking the 60th Anniversary of OAU, the Alumni Association recently concluded a one week Alumni Retreat that attracted active participation of Greats across the globe.The historic 60th Anniversary Retreat featured Carnival Procession, Special Prayers, Novelty Match, Medical Outreach, Donation of Drugs and Medical Equipments, Gyration, Public Lecture, Gala and Awards Night, among others. Themed “Repositioning Nigerian Universities Towards Achieving Sustainable National Growth and Development” the Retreat Lecture was delivered by Prof. Babatunde Ayeleru, Director General, Nigeria French Language Village, Badagry. Climaxing the memorable Alumni Retreat was the Gala and Awards Night during which the following distinguished members were conferred with honorary and constitutional Awards as ratified by the Global Executive Council, Great Ife Alumni Association: Dr. Yemi Ogunbiyi – Excellence in Leadership Award; Prof. Eyitope Ogunbodede – Grand Commander of Great Ife (GCGI); Alhaji Rafiu Ebiti – Grand Commander of Great Ife (GCGI); Barrister Olasupo Ojo Esq (Composer, Great Ife Anthem) – Grand Commander of Great Ife (GCGI). The Alumni 60th Anniversary Retreat also featured launch of Great Ife Alumni Subscription Portal and viewing of a documentary on the history of Obafemi Awolowo University (produced by the Alumni Association).
What are the legacies for which the school is known?
The legacies for which Great Ife is known for are well encapsulated in the captivating and often recited Great Ife Anthem. Kindly permit me to sing at this juncture:
Great Ife! Great Ife!
Africa’s most beautiful campus.
Conscious, vigilant, progressive
Aluta against all oppression
Forward ever, backward never
For learning and culture, sports and struggle
Great Ife! I love you
There’s only one Great Ife in the universe
Another Great Ife is a counterfeit
Great! Great! Great! Great! Great!
The University has contributed, and continues to contribute, to national and global manpower development in various sectors. As OAU celebrates 60th Anniversary I urge all Greats to further give support to the institution in her drive to continually expand the frontiers of knowledge for sustainable development.