In keeping with the tradition established by his predecessor, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Prof. Sulyman Age Abdulkareem, on Christmas Day (December 25, 2017), led some Muslim Internal Council Members, Principal Officers, Deans, and Directors on the annual Christmas visitation to the families of their Christian colleagues.

Among the homes visited were those of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (RTI), Prof. Gabriel Olatunji; the Registrar, Mr. Emmanuel Obafemi; a former Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Management Services), Prof. Albert Olayemi; the immediate past Registrar, Mrs. Olufolake Oyeyemi; the immediate past University Librarian, Dr J.O. Omoniyi; and the immediate past Provost of the College of Health Sciences and  member of the University Council, Prof. A. B. O. Omotoso.

Others were those of the Dean of Basic Medical Sciences, Prof. E.A.O. Afolayan; the Dean of Physical Sciences, Prof. U.B. Eke; the Dean of the Postgraduate School, Prof. Steven Bolu and the Dean Life Sciences, Prof. T. Ande.

On the Vice-Chancellor's entourage were members of the University Governing Council , Prof. E.O. Abdullahi, Prof. A. A. Adeoye, and Dr R. A. Odunola; the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Management Services), Prof. A. Y. Abdulkareem; the University Librarian, Dr A.O. Issa; the Bursar, represented by Mr M. Dere; the Provost of the College of Health Sciences, Prof. W.B.R. Johnson; the Dean of Social Sciences, Prof. A. Salawu; the Dean of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Prof. A. Agunu; the Dean of Veterinary Medicine, Prof. S.O. Salami; the Dean of Student Affairs, Prof. T. Ajibade; the Director of the Institute of Education, Prof. Lasiele Yahaya; the Chairman, Unilorin Admission Committee, Prof. A. Mustapha; the Ag. Dean of the Faculty of Communication and Information Sciences (CIS), Dr R.G. Jimoh; and the representative of the Dean of Management Sciences, ……..;

 Others were the University Chief Security Officer, Mr. Inuwa Tijani; the Ag. Director, Physical Planning Unit, QS. A. T. Jimoh; the Head of the Corporate Affairs Directorate, Mr. Kunle Akogun, and the Protocol Officer to the Vice-Chancellor, Mr. Yinka Ademuyiwa.

While welcoming the team to her house, the former Registrar, Mrs.  Oyeyemi, appreciated the Vice-Chancellor and his team for upholding a legacy laid by his predecessors. 

Mrs. Oyeyemi explained that “the founding fathers of the University of Ilorin have a vision, which has been realised. The vision was to make the University a centre of excellence. I believe that you have been on the seat and following the tradition. I have no doubt that you will excel in the position. It is evident that you have excelled in your area of research and your achievement is outstanding. I believe you are going to excel here as the tenth Vice-Chancellor of this citadel of learning.       However, you must be fair, firm, courageous, and you should always appreciate those who tell you the bitter truth”.

The former Registrar said that “the tradition of the visitation was to further strengthen the relationship between the Christians and the Muslim communities of the University of Ilorin and to make us have a sense of belonging. This is because the University was established by Christians and  Muslims who understood the essence of religious harmony”. 

While soliciting the support of all and sundry for the new administration, Mrs. Oyeyemi said the University of Ilorin made her what she is today, adding that she would never detach herself from the institution.

In his remarks, the Vice-Chancellor noted that “the best good a man can do is the good that he does, not minding who benefits”, saying, “When you started the tradition of visiting people during Christmas, none of you knew what it would become in the future. But thank God it has become a tradition and I rejoice with you on that note”.

Prof. Abdulkareem said, “Since I assumed office as the Vice-Chancellor, I have said and I'm still on the fact that if things are done fairly with justice, there would be no limit to what University of Ilorin can achieve and that is what I am striving to do. 

“I am going to close my eyes and forget that I'm from a town or that I belong to a religion because long after I leave the seat, people will not remember me for the town that I come from or the religion that I belong to but what I was able to do to improve everybody's life will be used as a yardstick”.

The Vice-Chancellor said, “Seriously, I take everyone to be my brother and sister regardless of religion or where they come from and I thank God that most people have been relating to me on that note. Of course, everybody cannot like me and I don't even expect that. But I am going to keep on striving that everyone likes the University of Ilorin. They don't have to like me but if we all like the University of Ilorin, in the end, we will go home being happy because we have given our best and take the University to a greater height”.

Meanwhile, while welcoming the Vice-Chancellor's entourage to his home, the former Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Management Services), Prof. Albert Olayemi, pointed out that the visitation has become an honour, which eventually became a tradition.

Prof. Olayemi said that to Christians, Christmas was a celebration of what Christ means. “What we are celebrating today is that he has come to take away our sins. That is our belief and there is no major difference between Christianity and Islam. However, this tradition of visitation and celebrating with us should further strengthen the existing relationship among all staff of the University of Ilorin”.

The former Deputy Vice-Chancellor, however, pledged his allegiance to the administration of Prof. Abdulkareem, saying, “I pledge my loyalty to you. I am encouraged to do so because the majority of the people who are with you are not just colleagues, they are your friends. My stake is even higher by your appointment because it is my responsibility to join hands with you and others to enable you to succeed. I pray that as we are celebrating Christ, your tenure will also be celebrated. I trust your leadership. In the path of hard work, struggle to sustain peace on campus, I have no doubt in my mind that in this new position you will further be empowered to sustain the existing peace. 

Also welcoming the visitors to his house, the Dean of the Postgraduate School, Prof Steven Bolu, said that he was honoured to have the entire University visiting his family. “I can't appreciate you enough. I know this is happening because of the love that the management team has initiated. This kind of love I hope would not end in your administration”, he submitted.

Earlier, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Management Services), Prof. A. Y. Abdulkareem, who spoke on behalf of the Vice-Chancellor, explained that the visit was one of the traditions of the University to move around the homes of the Christian colleagues and to rejoice with them, appreciate their selfless services and to wish all members of the University community a prosperous New Year.

Prof. Abdulkareem said, “We want to thank you for the marvelous job you are doing at the Postgraduate School, which, of course, is translating to the general development of the University.

At the residence of the Registrar, Mr. E.D. Obafemi, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (MS) said, “365 days ago we were here; we thank God that those that came during the previous visit were still on the entourage this year. On behalf of Council members, Principal Officers and Deans of the University, we rejoice with you and your family on this occasion”.

“We give thanks to the Almighty for making it possible for us to be members of the University of Ilorin family and to be part of the success stories of the Institution.

In his response, the Registrar appreciated the University community, where he said he spent almost all his working life. “This is my 37th year in the University and I think having you around me this time is unique because this may be the last time I would be hosting you as Registrar of the University of Ilorin.

“But whatever it is, I remain a Unilorite and we will always and at all time felicitate with the University as long as we remain on earth. I appreciate your coming and I thank you so much for the honour you have done to the Obafemi family”.