WHEN a person offers a gift, normally what follows is expression of appreciation from the benefactor to the giver. This exactly what the Anglican community, staff and management of Ajayi Crowther University and prominent personalities, including the number citizen in Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi bestowed on the family of Ikere-Ekiti born legal icon, Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, and his wife, Prince Lara.
The couple on behalf of their family donated a multi million naira Vice Chancellor’s lodge to the University.
To Chief Olanipekun, who also doubles as the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council of the institution, this gesture was just one of his many ways of giving back to the society.
The legal icon’s gesture did not just start with Ajayi Crowther University; he proudly left a remarkable landmark as the pro-chancellor of University of Ibadan. Little wonder the management of the institution sent a powerful delegation led by the registrar of the institution to the occasion.
Though, the school was not in session, the entire university community was electrified as local drummers were around to welcome dignitaries to the venue of the ceremony, sings praises of the donor at the occasion.
The proprietors were represented from Anglican dioceses from Lagos, Badagry, Kwara, Oyo, Ibadan, Osun North East, Omu Aran, Ilesha North East, Ilesha West and others.
They all came to show appreciation to the family of a giver, who has led by example by bequeathing a befitting accommodation for the vice chancellor less than two years that he became the pro-chancellor.
As a devoted Anglican, Chief Olanipekun recalled how he accepted the pro-chancellorship of the 11-year-old university in November 2014 when the proprietors beckoned on him to take up the challenge.
Chief Olanipekun gladly expressed his commitment to serve in that capacity and has led by example.
Before the rainfall of appreciation messages on the Olanipekuns in various languages beginning from proverbial Yoruba commendation from the Alaafin of Oyo to the Queen’s English and Latin expressions of the Bishop of Lagos, The Most Reverend Dr E. Adebola Ademowo and political angles by the governor of Oyo State, the donor and on behalf of his family revealed how the “Wole and Lara Olanipekun Vice Chancellor’s Lodge” came about.
“Upon assumption of duty as pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council of this citadel of knowledge, I set about familiarising myself with the university and its attendant issues, paying close and particular attention to its essential developmental needs, with a view to executing my stratagem for the institution.
“It was thus shocking and perplexing for me to discover that the vice-chancellor had not residence conducive for habitation, where he could receive guests, lay his head, commune with his family or even recuperate, while diligently applying himself to his duties. As a matter of fact, what was available to the vice-chancellor for the purposes stated above was a rickety bungalow constructed for the principal of St Andrews College built over 100 years ago, consisting of a bedroom and one sitting room.
“It was as a result of this pitiable situation, which moved us to sympathise and empathise with the vice-chancellor in particular, and the university generally, that prompted the decision of my wife and my humble self to build, furnish and donate a befitting vice-chancellor’s lodge to the university.
“Our commitment to do this was communicated to the university at the last council meeting held in 2015. To the glory of God, the foundation laying ceremony was performed by the Primate Archbishop and Metropolitan Church of Nigeria, the Most Revd Nicholas D. Okoh on January 26, 2016. It has been exactly nine calendar months since then, less than three days,” Olanipekun stated.
He added that regardless of economic challenges within the nine months that the building was built, the Olanipekuns refused to be deterred.
His words, “Despite the economic landmines and inhibitions, we had to forge ahead to complete this project; not because we have excess resources or that we have any other means of income outside our legitimate legal practice earnings, but simply for the fact that the God Who ministered to us to donate this building to this university, is not limited by economic hindrances, inhibitions, nuances, afflictions and obstacles, but is One Who is able to provide for all our needs and genuine projections, according to His limitless riches in Jesus Christ.”
The building was commissioned by the Oyo State governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi after which it was dedicated by the Bishop of Lagos, The Most Reverend Adebola Ademowo.