Late Prof. Cordelia Agbebaku: Missed and never forgotten in AAU


Inwalomhe Donald recalls the times of late Professor Cordelia Agbebaku as the Vice Chancellor of the Ambrose Alli University (AAU), Ekpoma, Edo State. She died on 16th February, 2017 at age 55. 

LATE PROF CORDELIA AGBEBAKU is missed and never forgotten because she had created an institutional environment for delivering megaprojects in a radically new way in Ambrose Alli University. During her tenure as Vice Chancellor, AAU was transformed in the way megaprojects are delivered, moving away from a world of fixed-price contracts, risk transfer, lowest-cost tendering and adversarial relationships.

She made infrastructure crucial to economic performance; business operated efficiently or competitively. She delivered large infrastructure projects and many megaprojects were undertaken than any time in history in AAU, majority of these projects are completed. The true force of an idea is that it cannot be held. It travels promiscuously, merging with the atmosphere, unrestrained by attachments and undisturbed by time.

Humans ­imagine themselves as the source and settlers of ideas, but we are too fragile, too temporal to do the ­dangerous work of ideas. The perishable cannot inherit the imperishable. Ideas belong to those who live and die in their practice. They belong to everyone they touch. The inheritors of an idea, any idea, are ­everyone—and fortunately, at the same time, no one-Bhutto.

Former Governor Adams Oshiomhole used the 20th convocation ceremony in 2016 to commend immediate past vice chancellor of AAU, late Prof Cordelia Agbebaku. The former Governor commendation was loud and clear during the 20th convocation ceremony of Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Edo State. The former Governor ordered everybody in the hall to stand up and give her a standing ovation during the ceremony. It was enough to make people cry. Such a farewell speech by the former Governor came up during the convocation as hundreds of students, current and former colleagues attended and he talked about her dedication to higher education, her leadership and vision, and how much she will be missed at AAU.

The immediate past vice-chancellor who assumed office in 2011 had some of her achievements, one of which included massive reduction in social ills like cultism, examination malpractices and cases of sexual harassment. Her administration was able to retrieve hitherto un-accessed funds from TETFUND and the Federal Government NEEDS ASSESSMENT intervention funds, have been directed towards developmental projects. Some other achievements include regular salary payment, computerization and internet compliance.

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Members of the academic community, the diplomatic corps, corporate Nigeria and others said thank you to late Professor Cordelia Agbebaku, immediate past Vice Chancellor of the university – who- embodied respect, admiration, gratitude. Glowing tributes flowed – all commending late Prof C. Agbebaku’s “humility”, “sensitivity”, “approachability”.

Some people referenced comments made of Moses “no more a humble man in Israel”, and credited Prof Cordelia Agbebaku with the development of “a very positive working relationship between the Government of Edo and the AAU”. People spoke of late Professor Agbebaku’ trustworthiness, honesty, and willingness to listen. People hailed the former vice chancellor’ ability to achieve stability, her patience and commitment to AAU and Edo State.

Acknowledging the difficulties of administering the AAU ,people said Prof Cordelia Agbebaku posed a realistic vision for the university – a vision which embraced the centrality of its role as the pivotal and premier Edo tertiary institution serving the governments and people of the former Bendel State and dedicated to the substance rather than the rhetoric of excellence”.

Late Prof Cordelia Agbebaku tenure as Vice Chancellor was a period of worldwide financial crisis which severely affected the fortunes of funding by Edo State Government, she led the AAU during a period of robust growth and development, driven by the campus’ determination to lessen their dependence on government financial resources.

Under Professor Agbebaku’s watch, the institution’s students enrolment increased and the expansion and modernisation of the campus that kept pace with the quality needs of a 21st century university. Former Governor Adams Oshiomhole, commended the former Vice Chancellor of Ambrose Alli (AAU), Ekpoma, Professor Cordellia Agbebaku because the university recorded several achievements and progress in the following areas appointment of a substantive vice-chancellor for the university on 8th February, 2014 that stabilized the school.

Swearing in of sets of medical doctors of Ambrose Alli University Ekpoma Laying of foundation stone of the centre science laboratory block by the alumni association Inauguration of various government intervention projects in the University by the Comrade Governor on the 29th of September, 2014.

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Inauguration of Pastor Chris Oyakhilome, Ph. D. 600 Capacity Lecture Theatre on the 27th of January, 2014.
Provision of solar light by the University from the Main gate into the university Delivery of coastal Toyota buses and hilux vans through the TETFUND intervention scheme.

Signing of agreement between the university and eight contractors in respect of project being financed with the N500 million grant to the university by the former Comrade Governor, ADAMS ALIYU OSHIOMOLE C.B.N intervention in provision of infrastructure to the tune of N1 billion

Donation of 20million to the Department of Theatre and Media Arts by the Comrade Governor
Construction of a befitting auditorium as university pavilion, near completion of the administrative building, etc. The university management continued to put in place policies aimed at improving the academic profile of the university. The university redoubled its effort in order to make AAU her (alma mater) a university to be proud of.
Prof Agbebaku has attracted the following projects:

The TETFUND projects which Prof Cordelia Agbebaku has attracted are: 1. the construction of 3-in-1 300 Capacity Lecture Theatre at Permanent Site, 2. Construction of Faculty of Social Sciences Building Complex at Permanent Site, 3. Procurement and Supply of 969 Volumes of Books in 26 Subject areas to the University Central Library, 4.Procurement of Brand new Toyota(STD) roof No. Bus Ambulance Equipped Medical Facilities at University Health Centre, 5. Procurement of 35 qualities of Electronic Library Equipment at Faculty of Clinical Science Library, 6. Procurement of 100KVA/1104C44TA922 at University Central Library, 7. Procurement of Teaching and Research Equipment for the Departments in the College of Medicine, Department of Architecture and Computer Science.

Other TETFUND Projects are: 1.Furnishing of the 1000 Capacity Lecture Theatre with Modern theatre seats including rehabilitation of the ceiling and painting at Main Campus, 2. Procurement and installation of Language Laboratory Facilities in the Department of English, Faculty of Arts, 8. Procurement and installation of Furniture and Equipment for the Department of Political Science, 9. Procurement and installation of Furniture, Fittings and Equipment for the Faculty of Law, 10. Procurement of various laboratory works Facilities Equipment for water supply and standby Generators, 11. Construction and Furnishing of Faculty of Arts Office Block and Lecture Halls.

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Edo State Government under Governor Adams Oshiomhole executed the following projects at Ambrose Alli University: 1.Construction of 500 Capacity Lecture Theatre at Main Campus, 2. Construction of Lecturers Office Block at Main Campus, 3. Construction of 500 Capacity Lecture Theatre at Emaudo Annex, 4. Re-roofing of Central Library Building at Main Campus, 5. 500 KVA Generator,6. 2 Comrade Luxurious Bus (42 Seated) and Rehabilitation of Provost Lodge, Ogbeha Quarters and other numerous projects.

Construction of workshop building for department of building and studio for fine and applied arts department in the faculty of Environmental studies. Location: Main Campus.
Construction of 2-in-1 Laboratory Block for the department of Medical Laboratory science. Location: College of Medicine.

Furnishing of 2-in-1 Laboratory Block for the Department of Medical Laboratory Science, Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences. Location College of Medicine.
Construction of Library Building in Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences. Location: College of Medicine.
Construction of 500 Capacity Lecture Theatres in Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences. Location: College of Medicine.
Completion of Abandon Moot Court Building in the Faculty of Law. Location: Main Campus.
Furnishing of Moot Court Building in Faculty of Law. Location: Main Campus.

Construction of departmental building for the department of Agricultural Economics. Location: Emaudo Annex.
Suffice it to say that no amount of cheap publicity and blackmail can erode the outstanding performance and good works of Professor Agbebaku as Vice Chancellors of the University. The former AAU VC has attracted from Tetfund both in infrastructure, library and capacity- building. She is known for her goal oriented approach to educational management, Professor Cordelia Agbebaku achievements at the helm of affairs at the Ambrose Alli University, has continued to earn herself the respect and love of the university’s management, staff, students as well as parents and guardians

Mr. Inwalomhe Donald, a public affairs analyst, writes from Benin City, Edo State

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