By Opeyemi Olawore
It was a day of tribute as the Board of Studies holds a special valedictory session in honour of the outgoing deputy rector for Oyo State College of Agriculture and Technology, Igboora, Dr. Oluwasanjo Ariyo Okunlola on Friday, October 2, 2020 at the Boardroom of the institution.
The special valedictory session chaired by the Acting Rector, Mr. Isiaka Olaniyi Adekunle had in attendance, the representative of the Governing Council Chairman, Dr. Amos Abegunde, the Acting Registrar, Mr. Paul Oyediran, the Chairman Committee of Deans, Dr. Wasiu Bello, Deans of Faculties, Directors and Heads of Departments among others.
Addressing the Board of Studies meeting, the acting Rector commended the outgoing deputy rector for his commitment and dedication to duty since 2008 that he joined the services of the Oyo State College of Agriculture and Technology, Igboora as one of the foundation staff.
The Acting Rector extolled the good virtues of Dr. Ariyo Okunlola, especially his doggedness in pursuing his doctorate degree and for becoming a PhD holder barely at the age of 60.
The acting rector, Mr. Olaniyi Adekunle therefore, admonished the staff members to emulate the commitment and dedication of Dr. Okunlola to duty.
While giving her tributes in an emotional laden voice, the immediate past Director of Global Consult, Dr. Taiwo Akinyemi described Dr. Okunlola as a God fearing, honest, worthy leader, mentor and close associate as well as practical oriented man.
According to Dr. Akinyemi, “we achieved greatly during the biennial conference through his wealth of experience. I will greatly miss him.”
Also speaking, the Chairman Committee of Deans, Dr. Wasiu Bello thanked the outgoing Deputy Rector for his contributions towards academic matters in the College. Dr. Bello described the outgoing deputy rector as someone who does things on merit and does not believe in manipulation. Dr. Bello equally described him as a selfless and sacrificial man.
In his words, the Dean, Faculty of Management and Communication Studies, Mr. AKintunde posited that the outgoing Deputy Rector is irreplaceable considering the rate at which he mingles with the young lecturers, irrespective of their age.
Mr. Akintunde described Dr. Okunlola as a go-getter, tolerant, religious but non-fanatical.
The Acting Registrar in his tribute referred to the outgoing Deputy Rector as a straight forward, dutiful and committed man who plays advisory roles at all times.
They all prayed God to continue to help him in his future endeavours, while wishing him a pleasant rest after hard labour.
In his response, the outgoing Deputy Rector, Dr. Ariyo Okunlola who expressed surprise at the level of love demonstrated towards him by staff of the institution, thanked everyone for their affection and gifts.
Dr. Okunlola appealed to both the teaching and non-teaching Staff to remain united, ready to work and mentor others.
Dr. Okunlola emphasized the need not to relent in writing award winning proposals and papers for publications.
He also enjoined staff to maintain high level of discipline.
Dr. Oluwasanjo Ariyo Okunlola had his WASC O’Level at Igboora High School in 1976 and G.C.E. A/L at the Polytechnic, Ibadan.
He proceeded to the University of Ibadan for his Bachelor of Science (BSc.Hons.) in Forestry Resources Management in 1979 and graduated in 1983.
In 1987, Dr. Ariyo Okunlola returned to the University of Ibadan for his Master’s Degree and was awarded, Master of Science in Forestry Resources Management in 1988.
The dogged Ariyo Okunlola returned to his Alma Mater, the University of Ibadan for a PhD programme and in 2017, he bagged his PhD in Forestry Resources Management.
Ariyo Okunlola started his career with the Ogun State Forestry plantation Project in 1983 during his Youth Service Corps Scheme (NYSC).
Upon the completion of his NYSC programme, he was privileged to work with the Ogun State Forestry Plantation Project as Research Monitoring and Record Officer between 1984 and 1987 under the World Bank Assisted programme.
He rose to become Plantation Officer between 1990 and 1991 under the ADB assisted programme.
Between 1994 and 2002, Dr. Okunlola was the Project Manager and Senior Consultant to different organizations.
In 2002, Ariyo Okunlola joined Leventis Foundation LTD/GTE in Lagos as a trainer in Agroforestry and Head of Deprtment, Crop and Agroforestry Leventis Foundation Agricultural School, Dogondawa, Kaduna State.
Dr. Okunlola joined the services of Oyo State College of Agriculture, Igboora, now Oyo State College of Agriculture and Technology, Igboora as Lecturer 1 in 2008 and rose to the position of Chief Lecturer until his retirement in October 4, 2020.
As a forestry expert and a passionate teacher, Dr. Ariyo Okunlola has taught so many courses in the field of forestry and had served in various capacities at the Oyo State College of Agriculture and Technology, Igboora some of which include; Head of Department, Agricultural Technology, Head of Department, Forestry Technology, Sub-dean, School of Plant Sciences and Director, Academic Planing unit.
Others include; Chairman, Committee on Land Matters, OYSCAI Ventures, Students’ Disciplinary Committee, Inter-Religious Committee among others.
Dr. Okunlola has published several articles and attended several conferences and seminars both locally and internationally.
Dr. Okunlola served as Vice Chairman, Forestry Association of Nigeria, Oyo State Chapter, Resource Inspector to National Board for Technical Education, Member, Optimal International Klobb, Igboora, Member, Men’s Missionary Union, Nigerian Baptist Convention and Life Member, Bible Society of Nigeria among others.
Dr. Ariyo Okunlola is married to Mrs. Yemisi Okunlola and the marriage is blessed with three children.
Dr. Okunlola retires from active service in October 4, 2020.