For the former Vice- Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Prof. Rahmon Bello, the dance may just have started. He has been celebrated by several groups and many people after leaving office about two months ago. But some top shots in his Yewa, Ogun-West base, seem to have a grander idea of what should mark his successful tenure and exit as the varsity’s big boss.
Under the auspices of the Yewaland Development Forum, a group of concerned people plan to hold a reception in his honour.
Speaking with our correspondent on the programme, a professor of Applied Micro-Biology, Tope Popoola, explains that Bello has done well for himself as a scholar, a son of Yewaland, a Nigerian and for humanity as a whole.
He says, “Professor Rahman Bello deserves to be celebrated, based on his strides as the UNILAG VC. We don’t have many of his type coming out of our land. Although many people have also excelled in various other fields, he stands out clearly as a role model both in terms of the educational and administrative careers and as a perfect gentleman. He had the opportunity of engaging in politics when he worked as a commissioner in Ogun State. He later went back to the university and eventually made it into the office of the VC. Yewa has not really produced many people at that level.”
Interestingly, Popoola who is a lecturer at the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, took over from Bello as a Commissioner for Special Duties in the state. He has also since been back in the academia.
“So, even from a distance, he is a role model to me,” he notes.
The professor adds that it is good that the programme is coming at a time that Yewaland is trying to assert itself culturally and socio-politically. He thus calls on all stakeholders to rise above stereotypes and ensure the unity of its people.
“Yewa are a diverse people, but we are managing our diversity,” Popoola explains. “Some say Yewa and Awori are divided, but I believe this is not so. It is the anxiety of someone thinking they are being pushed into the minority that often fuels the myths. In Yewaland are the Awori, Agatu, Egun and Anago. But we all remain one. For instance, the dialects of the Yewa and Awori people are one. We intermarry and do a lot together. So, we are managing our diversity the way every other diverse people do.”
On the activities of the Yewaland Development Forum, one of its leaders, Alhaji Ayo Adeyemi, notes that it is committed to values that will ensure development. Among such is the building of the Yewaland TV, encompassing Internet TV and what he calls video on demand; development of a data base for Yewa indigenes, youth and women empowerment programmes, a business directory and a production of Who-is-Who and a Hall of Fame publication.
Adeyemi, says the forum is soliciting funds to this effect.
Bello was born in Iboro in the Yewa area of Ogun State on the October 6, 1948. He had his secondary education at Egbado College, Ilaroin; the OND in Mechanical Engineering in the then Technical College, now the Polytechnic, Ibadan and a First Class B.Sc. Honours degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) in 1974. He also holds the M.A.Sc. and PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Waterloo in Canada.
While a former Deputy Governor of Ogun State, Alhaja Salmot Badru, will chair the event, Prof. Kola Bajomo will deliver a lecture titled Ogun project: Stemming Erosions of Economic and Political Agitation of the Underdeveloped West.