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UNILORIN: What ‘Egbéwolé’ Symbolizes For The University Community By Idris Alao

UNILORIN: What ‘Egbéwolé’ Symbolizes For The University Community By Idris Ibrahim

Torrents of congratulatory messages have continued to trickle in since the announcement of the choice of Professor Wahab Olasupo Egbewole, a professor of jurisprudence and international law and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, as the 11th Vice Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Ilorin.

The incoming VC will take over from the outgoing VC, Professor Sulyman Abdulkareem Age, precisely on the 15th October, 2022.

There are many positive attributes that go in the way of the erudite don but I will like to harp on the Yoruba interpretation of the last name of the new VC.

Egbewole, going by its morphological representation, connotes comradeship, common interest, social harmony and communal integration.

The Egbewole phenomenon is akin to the concept of social capital in a number of social science disciplines such as community studies and practice, community organizing, social work, social philosophy, collectivism and group dynamics etc.

Social capital, according to Oxford dictionary, is the networks of relationships among people who live and work in a particular society, enabling that society to function effectively. It involves the effective functioning of social groups through interpersonal relationships, a shared sense of identity, a shared understanding, shared norms, shared values, trust, cooperation, and reciprocity.

Social capital is a measure of the value of resources, both tangible (public spaces, private property) and intangible (actors, human capital, people), and the impact that these relationships have on the resources involved in each relationship, and on larger groups.

It has been used to explain the improved performance of diverse groups, superior managerial performance, value derived from strategic alliances, and the evolution of communities.

Egbewole has amassed huge social capital over his twenty-five years professional cum academic services to Unilorin, his place of primary assignment and Ilorin, his host community and has used same to the advantage of people and diverse groups that cut across religious, socio-cultural and professional associations like Unilorin Muslim Community, Muslim Lawyers Association of Nigeria, Islamic Welfare Foundation, Osun Indigenous groups, Ilorin Emirate Descendant Progressive Union, Nigerian Bar Association, the African Bar, Nigerian Association of Law Teachers among others.

At the University of Ilorin, where the learned silk has just emerged (Egbé ti wolé) as the new vice chancellor, there are ample instances to buttress his social capital worth.

As a former Acting Head of Department; Sub-Dean, Acting Dean of Law; Director, General Studies Division; membership of the University Senate and Governing Council of the University, Egbewole has impacted the lives of academic and non-academic staff positively to the attestation of the vast majority of staff and students of the institution.

For the Unilorin community, Professor Egbewole’s coming represents the proverbial Judex who is the harbinger of hope for the Hopeful and the Hopeless – to paraphrase the inaugural lecture title of the VC-designate.

Shakir Akorede, a distinguished Unilorin alumus, has aptly described the hope and abiding faith in Egbwole’s administration when he said; “Prof, fate has had you as the appointed Judex in whom the hope of every alumus, student and admirer of Unilorin lies for the Unilorin rebirth.”

For the Forum of Unilorin Former Student Union Presidents (FUFSUP), Egbewole’s emergence is a call to dedicated service to our alma mater, as the forum forecasts a working collaboration with the Egbewole-led administration given his antecedents; particularly his willingness to collaborate and bow to superior, logical and coherent views.

He is well at home with young and old generations of student leaders and has demonstrated his love for student-centered initiatives and community development on numerous occasions. It is my sincere prayer that the Egbewole days will translate into a truly better-by-far university that we pride ourselves among comity of universities in the nation.

Idris Ibrahim Alao is a former President, University of Ilorin Student Union and Lecturer, Fountain University, Osogbo.

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