To wrap up his 59th birthday celebration, the Vice-Chancellor of Federal University Lokoja (FUL), Prof. Olayemi Akinwumi along with families, friends, colleagues and well-wishers gathered today in their numbers at the Chapel of Grace, FUL to give thanks and praises to God over his life, and for the rapid transformation that is taking place in FUL which is opening up new vistas of opportunities for the fast-growing University under his purposeful leadership.
The event which took place at the Chapel of Grace Sanctuary, Adankolo Campus on Sunday, January 22, 2023 attracted dignitaries from within and outside the University including the Christian and Muslim Communities who thronged the church auditorium to appreciate God on behalf of this self-effacing and first-rate chief administrator of the prestigious University. Also, Principal Officers/members of Management, Deans, Professors, Directors, Heads of Departments/Divisions/Units, staff and students were not left out as they dressed in their beautiful attires with elegance and grandeur at the Chapel auditorium that was filled to the brim.
It was indeed a memorable occasion organized to celebrate a worthy and selfless servant of the people whose pragmatic leadership has engendered peace and unity, and advanced new frontiers of unprecedented development in the twelve-year-old Institution in less than two years of his assumption of office as many have alluded to during the epoch-making thanksgiving service.
Professor Akinwumi, who was highly elated and filled with gratitude to God for seeing him through another exciting year in good health, specially thanked the leadership of the Chapel for putting together the colourful event in his honour. He equally expressed profound appreciation to his friends and distinguished colleagues in the academic for coming to felicitate on the auspicious occasion of his 59th birthday anniversary.
Speaking further, the erudite Professor of history went down memory lane to recount before the large gathering his vows to God while battling with a severe health challenge that almost claimed his life in 2016. He noted that during the fierce struggle between life and death, he promised that if God would spare his life and deliver him from the terrible sickness, he would appear before Him every year on his birthdays to roll on the ground as a sign of appreciation.
Prof. Akinwumi maintained that though he made the promise long before dreaming of becoming a Vice-Chancellor, he would not renege on that pledge despite his new status. He, therefore, rolled on the altar to thank God for His mercies and saving grace before the congregation as he had vowed.
Similarly, the Vice-Chancellor said he made another pledge not to appear before God during his birthdays empty-handed without giving something tangible in appreciation of that great deliverance which has become his annual ritual anywhere he finds himself because God indeed heard his plea. For him, all activities usually put together to mark his birthdays since then including going to orphanages and giving to charity are memorabilia of that encounter.
In fulfillment of his second oath, Prof. Akinwumi mobilized his well-meaning friends and associates, most of who are Muslims, to raise the sum of Nine Hundred Million Four Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira (N9,450,00.00) only out of his ten million Naira (N10,000,000.00) target this year which he handed over to the leaders of the Church as part of his personal contributions to the Chapel building project ongoing at the Permanent Site. Consequently, some notable individuals, in their magnanimity while speaking at the event, promised to augment the amount amidst other generous donations.
In his sermon, the Chaplain of the Chapel of Grace, Pastor Kayode Ajibade, admonished the Vice-Chancellor not to be dismayed nor relent in his good works because God was with him. While encouraging him with God's promises in the Scriptures, Pastor Ajibade prayed for him to finish well.
There were goodwill messages and presentation of gifts from some eminent personalities who graced the event, including leaders of Jama'atu Nasril Islam (JNI), an umbrella group for the Nigerian Muslims community, led by the State Chairman, Ambassador Usman Bello; representative of Kogi State Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN); immediate past State CAN Chairman, Bishop John Ibenu; Women Wing of CAN (WOWICAN); representative of the Obaro of Kabba; and members of the University of Ilorin Alumni Association.
Others included Kogi State Security Adviser, Navy Comdr. Jerry Omodara (Rtd); Kogi Commissioner for Environment, Chief Victor Adewale Omofaiye; Hon. Justice Richard O. Olorunfemi; former Solicitor-General for Kogi State; Provost, College of Postgraduate Studies, Prof. Gbenga Ibileye (who spoke on behalf of the Deans and Directors); and the SSA to the VC who is a former Registrar University of Ilorin, Mr. E.D. Obafemi, among several other dignitaries who paid glowing tributes to the sterling leadership qualities of the VC while giving their speeches.
Other highlights of the event were the cutting of the birthday cake by the Vice-Chancellor along with his amiable wife and daughter while prayers were offered for the family. See more pictures here