The pioneer Vice Chancellor of the University of Medical Sciences (UNIMED), Ondo, Prof. Friday Okonofua, says he accepted the appointment mainly because he is not from Ondo State.
Prof. Okonofua made the disclosure on Friday while delivering the lecture of the first induction ceremony into the medical profession, for the first set of graduates of medicine and surgery at UNIMED.
According to the Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, when the former Governor of the State, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, told him about the appointment, he felt it was an opportunity for him to change the tide of indigenization which is accustomed with most state-owned institutions in the country.
“First, the fact that I was being considered for VC in a University owned by Ondo State Government despite my not being from Ondo State thrilled me considerably. I reasoned that if I performed well in a University located in a State different from my own, it would begin the process of re-thinking the then emerging paradigm of indigenization of VCs in Nigerian Universities. I therefore vowed to ensure successful tenure at UNIMED so that going forward, VCs would be chosen for Nigerian Universities on merit rather than based on ethnic sentiments.”
He thanked Dr Mimiko for appointing him, while also appreciating the fact that the current governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu sustained him and the University when he came into power.
Okonofua also mentioned the support he got from the Osemawe of Ondo, Oba Victor Kiladejo, Jilo III and Late Emeritus Professor, Oladipo Akinkugbe.
He charged the VC, Prof. Adesegun Fatusi to continue to work towards the development of the institution.
Okonofua said Fatusi’s appointment which was based on merit had proven to be an added advantage for the University, adding that the institutions still needs more of government’s support at this stage.
He also emphasized the need for the University and the Teaching Hospital to continue to work together.
His parting words for the new medical doctors was for them to be professional in the discharge of their responsibilities.
“So, be sure that people will begin to watch you from now on to see how you have been able to demonstrate some of the best principles of medical practice that we promised to put in place.
“Therefore, you are the first ambassadors of UNIMED whose performance will determine the quality of respect that the University earns from now on.”