- What No One Will Tell You About Him
On 4th November 2017, a former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, Prof. Olufemi Adebisi Bamiro celebrated his 70th birthday in grand style.
Although he clocked 70 on September 16th 2017, he could not celebrate it because of the passing away of his classmate and friend of many years, Prof. Abolade Ajani Awotedu. For his birthday, Thanksgiving service was at the Chapel of The Resurrection, the University of Ibadan, followed by a grand reception at The International Conference Centre of the University of Ibadan.
He tagged the celebration Celebrating God’s Faithfullness. The classy birthday had Oyo Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi in attendance. Not only did he attend, he spent close to 2 hours feeling relaxed. At his birthday party many were amazed that although Prof. Baminro is 70, he looked 10 years younger. He still has this youthful look that can make him pass for a 60-year-old. At 70, he is still a bubbly man, who is full of life, zest and boundless energy. After the well-attended party, the birthday boy was up again very early the next day, a Sunday, to prepare for the marriage thanksgiving of his stepson, Abimbola.
At the birthday, everyone who spoke described Prof as a great mind, a great intellectual. His profile is equally very rich. It reveals a lot about Prof’s academic excellence.
Who is Professor Olufemi Bamiro? We can tell you. The tall and slim Mechanical Engineering is a renowned 1st Prof. of Mechanical Engineer and a celebrated VC. He was born in the ancient town of Ijebu-Igbo in Ijebu North LG. And he grew steadily and rapidly from Grass to Grace. He had a humble beginning as a young school leaver from Molusi College, Ijebu-Igbo, to GCI, Nottingham University, Notthingam in the UK, to McGill University, Montreal Canada. He had his secondary school education at Molusi College, Ijebu-Igbo, passing out with a Grade 1 in the West African School Certificate (WASC), Ordinary Level in 1965. He proceeded to Government College, Ibadan for his Higher School Certificate (HSC) and passed out in 1967 with a result adjudged to be the best in the country that year at the Cambridge Higher School Certificate (Advanced Level). He thereafter proceeded as Shell Scholar to the Nottingham University, Nottingham, England for his first degree graduating in 1971 with a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) degree in Mechanical Engineering, First Class Honours. Between 1972 and 1975, Professor Bamiro attended McGill University, Montreal, Canada where he completed his Doctorate (PH.D) degree in the record time of two years and five months after First Degree having gained special exception from Masters Degree.
Professor Bamiro joined the services of the University of Ibadan in September, 1975 as Lecturer in the Department of Design and Production Engineering which later became the Department of Mechanical Engineering. He was promoted to the established post of Senior Lecturer, 1978; Reader, 1981 and the first professor of mechanical Engineering in October 1983. He has served the University in various capacities, which include: Sub-Dean (General), Faculty of Technology; 1977-1979; Sub-Dean (Postgraduate), 1982-1983; Ag. Head, Department of Mechanical Engineering 1983-1985; Substantive Head of Department, 1987-1988; 1994-1996, Dean, Faculty of Technology, 1988-1992; Director, Curriculum Committee, September-November, 2004. He served as the 10th Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ibadan from December 1, 2005 to November 30, 2010, a period of five years. Prior to this appointment, he was the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Administration).
Professor Bamiro is a recipient of many scholarships, Fellowships and Awards. These include: Western Region Government Scholarship, 1966-1967; Shell-BP Oil Company of Nigeria Limited Scholarship, 1968-71; Commonwealth Scholarship for Postgraduate Studies at McGill University, Montreal, Canada, 1972-75; Post-Doctoral Fellowship, McGill University, Montreal, Canada, 1975; Canadian Natural Science and Engineering Research Council, 1980-82; Operation Crossroads Africa (OCA) Fellowship; UNESCO Fellowship, 1978; ANSTI Fellowship to University of Nairobi, Kenya, 1985-86. He was “Lecturer of the Year”, 1998/99 session, “Merit Award” Winner, Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), amongst others. He is Fellow, Nigerian Society of Engineers (FNSE), 2004, Fellow, Solar Energy Society of Nigeria (FSESN), 1991, Fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Science (FAS) and Fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Engineering (FNA Eng.).
At the National Level, he was the Secretary of the 24-man Panel that produced the Energy Policy for Nigeria in 1984; Member 6-man Committee that prepared the blue-print for the implementation of the National Science and Technology Policy for Nigeria in 1987; UNESCO Consultant for the Reform of the National Science, Technology and Innovation System in Nigeria. He is currently the Chairman of the National Research Fund under the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund). He is also the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council, Tai Solarin University of Education, Ijagun, Ijebu-Ode and member of governing councils of four other universities.
Professor Bamiro has close to 60 publications in learned Journals and refereed Proceedings on Solid Mechanics, Energy, Science and Technology Policy and Entrepreneurship. He is also author of several books in Introductory Technology, Solid Mechanics for Engineers, and Entrepreneurship. He is Consultant to several companies in both the private and public sectors of the Nation’s economy as well as International Agencies.
He was married to the late Mrs. Gladys Olayinka Bamiro with the marriage blessed with children and grandchildren. He is currently married to pretty Olayinka Motunrayo Bamiro.
The sterling qualities of Prof. showed in all the tributes written about him as a world renowned academic and an outstanding administrator. All his colleagues talked about his leadership skills which earned him loyalty and commitment from his subsordinates.
His senior brother, Prof. Francis Olukayode Bamiro recalled how Prof. passed O level, and A level in good grades and was given scholarship for A level and BSc in Britain. He revealed how his younger brother bagged a First Class in Mechanical Engineering in 1971 and the following year he got a Commenwealth Scholarship for his Phd in Canada, which he completed within two and half years. He noted the meticulous manner with which his brother, within his 5 year tenure as Vice-Chancellor translated vision into reality as he bult, in monumental basis, very solid infrastructures, disciplined work force, conducive atmosphere for both academic and administrative development at U.I” The Secreatry of his 1961/87 class set at Molusi College, Ijebu-Igbo Otunba Fola Akodu recalled that Prof. Bamiro was a unique talent, a born genius and someone with a formidable intellect and wisdom, even at that young age. “Femi has a magnetic brain,” he wrote in his tribute, “because once a subject or topic was taught, he immediately captured the essence and everything about it”.
He also attended Government College, Ibadan where he also dazzled them. Prof. Dele Fawole, a former President of the 1961/67 set revealed that Prof. who was fondly called Femi B joined GCI in 1966 for his HSC course from Molusi College, Ijebu Igbo and did exceedingly well in the 2 year course. “Reports indicated that he had the best result in Nigeria in the 1967 HSc examination”, wrote Prof. Fawole. And Femi B won Shell Scholarship which took him to the UK for undergradate studies.
“Again, he excelled, graduating with First Class Hons degree in Mechanical Engineering. Thereafter, he proceeded to McGill University, Montreal, Canada for postgraduate studies where he also showed his mettle, completing the Phd programme in record time.”
One of his classmates at Molusi College, Prof. Wale Onakade described him as a disciplinarian and someone who is highly principled. “Prof. Femi Bamiro is a strong, hard-working gentleman with agility and ability of a youngman. He is contented, honest, lovely, exceptionally loyal and stood by what he believes in. All these attributes made him one of the Best Returning Officers in the 2011 elections conducted by INEC. He was said to have independently developed a spread sheet that would independently test the numeric submissions made to him. He was the one who declared Senator Ajimobi winner of that governorship election. Another classmate, Mr. Kolade Mosuro, CEO Booksellers singled out Prof. Bamiros analytical mind. “As an academic, he impressed me immensely by his relentless analytical pursuit to problems.”
Others have praised his tenure as Vice Chancellor of U.I from 2005 to 2010, which they described as a resounding success. Another wrote: In his capacity as VC he turned UI to a Flower City worth emulating by other universities in Nigeria.
Prof. Akin Mabogunje revealed how he discovered that as VC of U.I, Prof. Bamiro encouraged the distance leaning centre of U.I and his Dept of Mechanic Engineering to partner with the car-selling firm of Coscharis Motors to train road-side mechanics on recent advances in car manufacturing which have rendered obsolate the carburation system as part of a car engine which has been the basis of the training fo most of them. He even encouraged the University to graduate with some form of certification those of them who had shown some proficiency in the training”.
Prof. Bamiro has served on the boards of many foundations, universities and projects. For instance he served on the board of Adeola Odutola Foundation as its Executive Director. He was appointed pro-Chancellor of the Tai Solarin University of Education by the Ogun State Government. He was also appointed to the council of Bells University of Technology. He was also invited to serve on the Committee for the establishment of the Kola Daisi University and more recently to the committee to transform the Moshood Abiola Polytechnic to Moshood Abiola University.
According to seasoned Professor, Akin Mabogunje these various assignments attest to the sterling qualities of Femi not only as an Engineering Scientist of no mean caliber but also to his personality as one of the highest integrity”.
Prof. Falase, a former VC of UI revealed how great, Prof. Femi Bamiro was, as a VC, after him. “As Vice-Chancellor, he took U.I. to greater heights, not only continuing the work of restoration that we had began but also opening up Ajibode, a feat we thought at the time was mission impossible because of lack of funds. It was also during this time that the International Conference Centre, considered nowadays as the pride of the University was conceived, designed and built.
Because of his brilliance as an academic who believes in practical solutions to issues he has become most sought after by several agencies of the Federal and State Governments and Organisations. He is the current Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Council of Tai Solarin University in Ogun State.
He believes that in the 21st century, Universities should create the knowledge that would drive the economy of a country and improve the well-being of it’s people.
He believes in Tertiary education producing cutting edge knowledge, transfering this knowledge to industries that will drive innovation and improvement in the economy of nations.
He feels that the present situation in Nigeria universities call for leadership with critical intellectual capacity to come to grip with the essence and complexity of modern governance of a university.
His Deputy VC Administration at UI for almost two and half years, Prof. Afolabi Bamgboye in his tribute revealed that frugality in spending was Prof. Bamiros watchword. He said Prof. Bamiro was so prudent to the extent that he never flew in the first and business class throughout his tenure and none of his Principal Officers ever did so. Everybody, if he/she had cause to travel by air did so, on Economy class. No wonder he left a lot of money in the University purse both in local and hard currencies at the end of his tenure in 2010. How I wish every Professor aspiring to the position of Vice-Chancellor has this passion that University resources are only meant for its development and growth as demonstrated by Prof. Femi Bamiro”.
Prof. Oluyemisi Obilade, the VC of UI wrote: Prof. Oluyemi Bamiro is an epitome of honour, integrity and Godly contentment in a world where such values have become scarce currency. He is honest with an uncommon courage not only to speak but also to stand by the truth. Prof. Bamiro is an internationally acclaimed, highly cerebral academic with a very keen analytical mind”. Prof. Labode Popoola who is the current VC of Osun State University revealed that Prof. Bamiro was a familiar name to him and his colleagues as young academics in U.I. in the late 80s all through to the 90s. He said when Prof. was VC of UI, black is black and white is white. You can predict his stand on any issue. During the several trips we made together, as VC, he never indulged in the luxury of business class air travel”. In her tribute Mrs. Omotayo Ikotun who was the Registrar of UI from 2007-2011 re-confirmed the fact that Prof. is not arrogant but a humble and respectful person, “as Vice-Chancellor, it was his right to travel First Class, but he never did, not once as VC. None of us in the Management Team travelled Business Class as stated in our letters of appointment, simply because our boss never did. Prof. Bamiro was such a practical man who led by example.
He was an Ijebu man to the core when dealing with money tagged Government Money. He strictly adhered to due process and it was not surprising that when he left office after his 5 year tenure in November 2010, the University account was very bouyant.