By Prof. Musbau A. Akanji
I am late in writing this tribute (about 76hrs late) because I have been living in denial. I had been hoping that the news of MM’s death is a
hoax and that it would be refuted. I am away somewhere in East Africa when the occurence occurred. Having interrogated the concept of death severally in the past, I never contemplated that the Angel of Death will visit MM so soon at 51.
Am I crying? No, I am not. I have witnessed and read so much about death and the after effect it leaves in the family and society. It is just that my face is wet with hot tears, because I can now understand the passion and anguish on MM’s face the last time I was with him in his office in August and the excitement in his weak voice when I spoke with him on phone in October, informing him about the positive resolution of previously intractable MLS problem as well as the approval of commencement of Medical degree programme by the NUC!
Looking back, I can now testify that Professor Akanbi seemed to have a premonition that he may not complete his 5- yr term as Vice- Chancellor which would have been due in April, 2025. He was so much in a hurry to impact a definitive culture on Kwara State University. Few examples of actions taken within his short reign at KWASU include: reform of the lyrics of the music for the university anthem, thereby making listening to it, heart- moving; introduction of a definitive way of conducting Inaugural lectures; delivering a First Class Convocation ceremony, in line with Keffi Declaration of the Association of Vice- Chancellors of Nigerian Universities; engineering production of a new Strategic Plan (2022 – 2027) and commencement of its gradual implementation; revolutionizing administrative set- up at Council, Management, Faculty and sub- set levels; introduction of Green Campus initiative; engendering a new lease of inter- personal and inter- group relationship; broadening of academic activities with introduction of new programmes; according due respect to all persons as humans irrespective of their positions in life; working hard to correct past errors and administrative shenanigans; engagement of Alumni and pro- active resolution of potential student problems; real time sanctioning of erring staff and students; bending over backward if he is made to realize that he took what appears as ‘harsh’ decision on any matter, especially concerning matters of discipline; and so on and so on and so on (too numerous to attempt listing here). He was fond of saying that a number of his initiatives will mature long after he must have left KWASU, but we did not know that he was predicting his premature(?) leaving not only KWASU, but the world itself.
In fact, in retrospect, I now have reasons to believe that the last birthday ceremony he organized was his way of saying ADIEU to us. He said some things on that day that are now indicative of somebody who suspects that his end is near.
His immediate family, his friends and KWASU community should take solace in the fact that his 51 years on earth and 32 months as KWASU Vice- Chancellor is so IMPACTFUL, so much so that his Legacy is already stamped on the sand of time.
Bye Bye, our brother, our friend, our Vice- Chancellor.
From: Professor Musbau A. Akanji, FAS