Abel Idowu Olayinka, a professor of Geology, was on Wednesday announced the 12th vice chancellor of Nigeria’s premier university, the University of Ibadan (UI).
Olayinka, who attended Ilesa Grammar School, from 1970 to 1975, takes over from Isaac Adewole, who attended the same school from 1966 to 1972. His five-year tenure goes into effect from December 1, 2015.
Umar Mustapha, the pro-chancellor and chairman of council, made the announcement during a press conferencel’ at the university’s senate building.
Mustapha said Olayinka, who beat 12 other aspirants, is the first person to be appointed vice chancellor from the faculty of science since the university was founded in 1948.
Olayinka is also the first deputy vice chancellor (academic) to become vice chancellor of Nigeria’s first university.
After graduating from Ilesa Grammar School, Olayinka, like his predecessor, proceeded to UI, where he studied Geology between 1977 and 1981, obtaining a B.Sc. with second class honours (upper division).
He went on to the United Kingdom in September 1983 for his postgraduate studies at the Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, where he obtained M.Sc. (Geophysics) of the University of London and the Diploma of Membership of Imperial College, in July 1984.
He attended the University of Birmingham between 1985 to 1987 for his doctoral research, with sponsorship from the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals of United Kingdom Universities, following his academic excellence.
His first post-doctoral journey was at the Institute for Geophysics and Meteorology, Technical University Braunschweig (1996) and the second was at the Department of Applied Geophysics, Technical University Berlin (1997-1999) as an Alexander von Humboldt fellow.
The 57-year-old academic became a professor on October 1, 1999 at the Age of 41.
After his graduation in 1981, Olayinka served the country as hydrogeologist in the federal department of water resources, Port Harcourt, between 1981 and 1982, during which time he participated in the national borehole programme phase I in the old Rivers state (now Rivers and Bayelsa states) as hydrogeologist.
He was employed as geophysicist with Deptol Consultants, Ibadan, from July 1982 to August 1983.
Returning from his doctoral research in Birmingham, he joined the academic staff of the University of Ibadan in April 1988, as lecturer II, rising through the ranks to become lecturer I in 1991, a senior lecturer in 1994 and a professor five years later.
As an academic supervisor, he has supervised not less than five Ph.D. theses, 76 M.Sc. projects and numerous B.Sc. projects.
As an author and editor, Olayinka has also authored and co-authored at least 41 journal articles, one book and co-edited/written 11 chapters in books.
He also was the associate editor of the Journal of Mining and Geology for a decade (1994-2004) and is currently the associate editor, Global Journal of Pure and Applied Sciences.
In administrative capacities, Olayinka has served as the postgraduate coordinator on a department, faculty and school level.
He was head of the Geology department in UI between 2001 to 2002 and 2006 to 2010. In between these years, he was also the dean of UI postgraduate school from 2002 to 2006.
Outside UI, Olayinka has been a visiting professor at the department of soil science, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife; a member of the governing council, Adeleke University; a guest lecturer at Covenant University; guest lecturer, Institute of Geophysics, Technical University, Clausthal-Zellerfeld, Germany.
He is a fellow, Geological Society of London and a member of numerous professional associations, including the European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers, The Hague, Netherlands, Environmental and Engineering Geophysical Society, Denver, Colorado, USA, Society of Exploration Geophysicists, Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA, Nigerian Mining and Geosciences Society, Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists.
Many laurels testify to Olayinka’s academic prowess, a few of them are; The Elf Petroleum Nigeria Limited /NMGS Prize (1998 and 2000), Texaco Overseas Petroleum Company Nigeria Limited/NAPE Prize in (1996), the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation/Harvard School of Public Health grant (2002).
He became the sixth deputy vice chancellor (academic) of the University of Ibadan from 2010 to 2014, before he contested for vice chancellor.
Though he is the 12th Nigerian vice chancellor of the UI, Olayinka describes himself as a lover of Christ Jesus. He is is married to Eyiwumi and they have two children together.