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Chief Mojisola Olusola Ladipo (nee Thomas), first female Registrar of the University of Ibadan and in Nigeria, Fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Management (Chartered), outstanding Member of the Association of University Administrators (AUA), United Kingdom, worthy alumna, University of Ibadan (UI), Lagos Business School (LBS) and the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), gifted administrator, exceptional mentor, kind boss, accommodating leader and quintessential family woman.
This characterization is even a pale reflection of one of the people who contributed in various ways to making UI a global brand through her professional excellence and scholarship. She stands out as one of the best of her generation.
In 1997, Chief Moji Ladipo, whom I fondly address as CML, was appointed Registrar of the University and served in that capacity for unbroken ten years (1997-2006), the first to be appointed in the Nigerian University system. In that capacity, her attributes of professional, intellectual and administrative industry were thrown into heroic relief. She served with unassailable integrity.
CML was responsible for merit-driven recruitment that was open and inclusive both internally and externally, thus injecting fresh blood and vigour into an ageing Registry. This initiatve restored dignity, professionalism, efficiency and effectiveness to the Registry. I am a beneficiary of this signature initiative in 2000 when I was appointed as the University Editor/Publications Officer 11.
Through her kindness and recognition of abilities and aptitudes, I was redesignated an Adminstrative Officer and promoted an Assistant Registrar in 2003. An archetype of modern innovation in University governance, she tacitly and courageously supervised my initiative in changing the Annual Convocation Ceremonies’ Order of Proceedings in 2001 from a rag-tag ensemble to a quality publication befitting the status of the University of Ibadan and became an example for other Universities.
Like a perfect mentor, she made me feel good about my work. Enabling us to find a way to perfection makes her the best mentor ever.
We cannot thank you enough for all the positive changes you brought to the life of UI. CML ensured that UI Graduation and Matriculation Ceremonies became the template others emulated.
Throughout CML’s tenure, UI’s Registry, became a reference point on issues of management and administration and true reservoir of institutional memory. We are grateful for the prosperity she brought to UI’s Registry. A Professor of Crop Protection and Environmental, Biology, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Ibadan, once related to me how he intended, at a time in his career, to join the Registry because of CML’s unique work ethics and proficient use of English Language at University’s meetings and functions. According to him, her carriage was delectable, cute, elegant and refreshingly different. She is still the same mould!
It is amazing how many roles CML fulfilled to guide UI towards the best path in Council, Senate, Congregation and Convocation.
CML is the pot of coins at the end of the rainbow. She supported the University administration in its institutional advancement drive and personally initiated and followed up on much needed benefactions to our University, the dividends of which included (i) the University Advancement Centre Building (ii) the Bode Amao Creche (iii) the General Abudsalami Abubakar Hall of Residence (iv) the 1000-seater Faculty of Science Building (v) the Students’ Affairs Building and (vi) the Kola Daisi Foundation Building for the Department of Computer Science, among other remarkable achievements.
CML surely comes into reckoning as one of the builders of modern University system through her productive Chairmanship of the Committee of the Registrars of Nigerian Universities (CORNU) now renamed Association of Registrars of Nigerian Universities (ARNU) from 1998 to 2006, the longest serving Chairman so far. She served the Association with diligence, integrity, probity and sacrifice worthy of emulation which contributed to setting high standards for University administrators.
In all the places where they have the services of CML after retirement, they have benefitted greatly from her accumulated experience, knowledge and wisdom. The country owes CML huge debt of gratitude for the leadership she has exhibited and still exhibiting for being responsive to the demands that were/are often made of her. She dedicates her life to engagements that enrich University governance, administration and community development.
Mention must be made of her serving in an advisory capacity to the Executive Secretary on matters of administration within the National Universities Commission (NUC) and in Universities across the country in crisis situation, Pioneer Registrar/Consultant, Veritas University (the Catholic University of Nigeria), Abuja (Take-off site in Obehie, Abia State) and Associate Expert (Publications and Administration), Institute for African Culture and International Understanding (IACIU), UNESCO Institute, Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Abeokuta, Ogun State.
For her academic output, CML has written copiously on University Governance and Administration, her major constituency. This, no doubt, ensures her a place of honour in the roll of outstanding scholars, administrators and statesmen and women of our generation.
A mentor to the core, CML has trained and mentored many generations of University Administrators in Nigeria, some of whom are now Registrars of other Universities. She knows how to raise the bar when those she mentored rose to her level. CML has the formula for true leadership.
It is your dedication that contributed to our sustainable success. Every idea shared, and every opportunity seized by you helped us achieve the heights our University has reached today. Thank you for your efforts. I am not aware of any Vice-Chancellor, Pro-Chancellor and Chancellor that you worked with who would not have super-duper stories to tell about you. When people pointedly labelled me “omo Moji ni”/ He is Moji’s mentee”, I acknowledged. Today, I publicly acknowledge, affirm, admit, declare, accept and concede that you mentored me!
Between 2003 and 2005 when I served as the Acting National Secretary of the Central Council of Ibadan Indigenes (CCII), the umbrella body of Ibadan indigenes at home and in the diaspora, the then National President, Chief Jacob Olabode Amao, OON, Asiwaju of Ibadanland, approached me to nominate a notable Ibadan indigene who could assist the Council in enhancing its fund-raising portfolio, I suggested Chief Moji Ladipo. Because of the pressure of her official responsibilities in the University, CML reluctantly agreed to serve as the Chairman of 2004 Ibadan Week Planning Committee. Having her on the team made a huge difference. The pride she took into the assignment was truly inspiring. She came up with fantastic ideas, robust perspectives that changed, till today, the face of the all-important festival for unity and harmonious relationship in Ibadanland. She found a way to get it done – and did it well.
Her outstanding performance helped push up our Council’s revenue for that year to greater heights. Is there anything CML cannot do for her native land?
Chief Ladipo holds the traditional title of Aare Alaasa Iyalode of Ibadanland hailing from Ile Baale Olosun, Ori Eeru, Ibadan South East Local Government Area.
Here comes the great woman of God, humility personified, gentle and firm, considerate, accomodating and highly principled, bundle of knowledge, an encyclopedia of University administration, an excellent family woman, a philanthropist and patriotic citizen of Nigeria at 70!
Dear ma, you are one in a million: a mother, grandmother, guiding light, trailblazer and great inspiration. Even the stars in the sky don’t shine brighter than you. And there can only be one sun and likewise, one you! A rare gem who gives wise words like a fresh breath! We are really grateful to you for turning us into over-achievers.
On this occasion of your platinum birthday, I specially celebrate you, the pacesetting Registrar, University of Ibadan and matriarch of University system in Nigeria. You are a fantastic example of wisdom, leadership, and foresight. I wish you peace, good health, and happiness.
You have done everything beautifully well.
CONGRATULATIONS AND HAPPY 70TH BIRTHDAY MA!!!
Olatunji Muhammed Oladejo, JP, MNIPR is the Director of Public Communication, University of Ibadan; former Acting National Secretary and National Public Relations Officer, Central Council of Ibadan Indigenes (CCII).