UI VC meeting with artisan addressed as student sparks records controversy

Kareem Babatunde presenting the shoe he made to the University of Ibadan Vice-Chancellor, Idowu Olayinka in his office on 1st August, 2019. (Photo: Sunday Saanu/Facebook)

A controversy has trailed the publicised meeting between an artisan, Babatunde Kareem who the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, Idowu Olayinka used as an example of student entrepreneurship.

Mr Olayinka, a professor, had on 31st July, 2019 disclosed that he met Mr Kareem during his visit to Sultan Bello Hall on the university campus.

He described Kareem as a 300 level student of Animal Science but EduCeleb.com can report that the claim is not true.

He was no longer a student according to his academic records about two years earlier.

Kareem who is an artisan that runs a shoe-making outlet in the hostel and had approached the UI VC to patronise him during their brief meeting.

Olayinka used the medium to advise students to combine entrepreneurialship with their studies.

The meeting

A statement by the spokesperson of the UI VC, Sunday Saanu first revealed the meeting between the duo on 1st August.

Mr Saanu wrote that Kareem sighted the VC at the hall of residence where the UI boss had gone to appreciate the immediate past Deans and welcome the incoming ones into office.

“The student quickly ran to his hostel to fetch one of his newly-produced shoes, begging the VC to patronize him,” Mr Saanu wrote on his Facebook page.

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“In his characteristic friendliness, Prof. Olayinka invited Babatunde to the VC’s office where the student narrated the story of his passion for shoe-making to the admiration of the VC.”

Kareem was quoted to have told the Olayinka that he developed the shoe-making passion from secondary school in addition to apprenticeship.

Saanu quoted Olayinka responding that entrepreneurship by students could help reduce unemployment in the country.

The spokesperson added that Olayinka accepted to consider patronising the “student” to grow his business.

Not a student anymore

Our findings showed that while Kareem is an entrepreneur, the university management under Olayinka had previously named him among students asked to withdraw due to academic performance.

In April 2018, Olayinka had announced to the public that the UI Senate had recommended the withdrawal of 408 students due to reasons largely attributed to either poor academic performance or overstaying their studentship.

Kareem who was a 100 level student in 2016/2017 academic session was among the listed students affected by management’s decision.

But it is curious to see that the UI boss still identified him as a student despite the Senate decision.

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VC reacts

When EduCeleb.com contacted the UI VC, he admitted not being aware of Kareem’s status as a non-student as at the time of their meeting.

In his words, “I learnt he had been asked to withdraw from the University. That information wasn’t available to us when we met. We wish him all the best in his career.”

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