Of leadership, legacy and UIWS
Sir: A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. S/he does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the quality of his or her actions and the integrity of his intent, says Douglas MacArthur.
This definition is perhaps the motivation behind the interrogation of a five -year leadership qualities displayed by the President of the University of Ibadan Women Society (UIWS), Dr. (Mrs.) Eyiwunmi Olayinka, who practically turned around the lot of the society for the better, impacting the society positively and leaving worthy legacies.
UIWS is a voluntary organisation with membership comprising all female members of senior staff and wives of male members of senior staff of the university.
It was established many years back to, among other functions, take care of the interests of the members, seek the welfare of the members as well as strive to improve the living conditions of the members. it is expected that the wife of the sitting Vice Chancellor will drive the Society in order to ensure greater impacts throughout the tenure of her husband. It is against this background therefore, that the wife of the 12th Vice Chancellor of the University, Mrs. Olayinka assumed the leadership of the UIWS, consequent upon the appointment of her husband, Prof. Abel Idowu Olayinka in 2015.
No sooner she assumed the leadership position of the society that fortune began to smile at the UIWS. Her remit included the then crèche which is now known as Bode Amao Creche, Nursery and Primary School. The school is the creation of the UIWS. The school rejected interests from parents as a result of inadequacy of classrooms and facilities. But with the assistance of Chief Bode Amao, the initial benefactor of the school, Mrs. Olayinka, a lecturer in the Department of European Studies, of the university, was able to achieve her motivation to expand the school. Today, the school boasts of so many classrooms and facilities just as the enrollment capacity increases.
Mrs. Olayinka bought shares in some companies with the N30 million she met in the account of the school, generating N8 million dividends over time and began to erect fences around the school with the return on investment. She has indeed taken the school to higher heights. Under her leadership, the school’s curriculum was improved with the introduction of two European languages: French and German to pupils in KG1.
Apart from the success story of the school, Mrs. Olayinka attended to the plight of some female students of the university who lived off-campus. “Today, we can boast of having developed technologies for the production of export quality pure shea butter, plantain chips, cassava flour, maize biscuit known in common parlance as kokoro, different kinds of soaps made from plantain and banana waste, tomato and pepper paste, tomato and pepper pellets, briquettes made from wood waste.” She does not come to follow the trend, rather she prefers to blaze a trail. Mrs. Olayinka will be leaving the UIWS with her head held high. Her story is the greatest legacy that she is leaving behind.
Sunday Saanu is media assistant to Vice Chancellor, University of Ibadan.