The choice of career can often be a contentious issue between parents and children, in most cases, parents do have their way, resulting in children studying to please and massage the ego of such parents.
However, some of these young ones sometimes abandon their certificates to follow their hearts by opting for what they originally prefer as against the choices of their parents.
Speaking with Opeyemi Olawore in a personality interview, Mr Niyi Fehintola, the immediate past Registrar of Oyo State College of Agriculture and Technology, OYSCATECH, Igboora; bares his mind on the issue of choice of career with regards to parents and children; how he wanted to become a journalist; he also spoke on other interesting issues such as the need for the return of history in schools curricular.
For starters, who is Mr Niyi Fehintola?
Mr Sunday Adeniyi Fehintola was born into the family of Late Pa Amos Afodunrinbi Ayiki Fehintola and Late Mrs Rachael Adeaga Fehintola of Oje Owode, Saki East, Oyo State.
These days, children and parents are always at loggerheads on their choice of career; during your growing up years what was your career choice?
Children are always at loggerheads with their parents because, most parents, even the highly educated ones have predetermined courses that they want their children to embark upon which may not be in the interest of the children. Let me give you an instance, a student came to LAUTECH, he was enrolled in medicine and was doing well initially; later, he relaxed, and was repeating year in year out, the university had to wade in through the counsellor and he explained that it was the parents that wanted him to study medicine, so he concluded that if he was failing, his parents would allow him to do his preferred course. So, he was failing consciously because he was not interested in the course. The most important thing is that we allow our children to select the course that they want; it is not only medical doctors that are making it in life, we have people who studied law that are making it in the world of music, theatre and so on.
Initially, I had a mind of becoming a journalist because I love literary works; eventually I found myself in the university studying education, History and English language but the inclination is still in me and the use of language is still there. That was why I taught in the secondary school and the polytechnic before joining the federal college of Education as a senior member of the registry and eventually, I joined the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology as a deputy registrar. To the glory of God, I have no regret being an administrator. My intention was that whatever course I have chosen, I should get to the top of the career.
What is your advice for the youth on how to convince their parents about their choice of career?
It depends, first what is the relationship between such a child and the parent? Some parents do not have time for their children, what they believe is to just give them money because they are in school. They don’t take time to listen to them or to interact with them and there are a lot of things that the youths are contending with that they may not be able to tell their parents unless the parents are so close to them. The relationship between the parents and the children is very important. We should encourage our children to really know what they want to be; this is because there is a difference between what they want to be and their endowment. Someone may want to be a medical doctor and may not have the right subject combination.
As an administrator who has risen to the top echelon of your career, people often see administrative work as sitting down in an office to treat files; what is your take on this?
It is a misconception for anybody to think that an administrator is someone who sits down in the office to treat files. An administrator is the engine room of an organization and in the tertiary education system, the Registrar is key in the administration of the institution because he is responsible for the interpretation of the laws that establish the institution. The Registrar as the Secretary to the Governing Council has to interact with the governing council and promote the institution to the public. So saying that it is just to push files is far from it, for instance, the issue of staff welfare, promotion, upgrade, conversion among others are there, so an administrator is more than just minuting or sitting down in the office.
As a historian, would you say history should be made compulsory in secondary schools?
The cancellation of history as a course of study in secondary schools is not good enough. A Yoruba adage says, ” if we don’t know where we are coming from, how do we know where we are going? Our children need to know, if our children have more knowledge about our heroes, then they will not make the same mistakes that were made in the past. As far as I am concerned, history is important and should be reintroduced in schools.
How did you manage to successfully combine your job with the home front?
For the past six years, I have been a weekend husband. I have been shuttling between Igboora, Ibadan Ogbomoso and Saki but I thank God that my immediate family appreciates the nature of my job and fully supported my coming to Igboora. By God’s grace, I have no regrets because the family is always intact.
Looking at your blueprint at the assumption of duty as the Registrar, would you say you have achieved your objectives?
To the glory of God, we have done our own little contribution. For example, immediately I assumed duty, the first task I undertook was to reorganize the registry. Before then there were units here and there. But I created divisions, namely: Establishment, Council Affairs, Academic Affairs and Students’ Affairs.
I also created a new division and that is general administration; these divisions make my work easier. All I do is to coordinate and I thank God that I was blessed with qualified and committed staff. In terms of administration, I realized that there was the need for a broad-based decision-making system and as such, I created two fora which include; administrative officers’ forum and registrars forum.
The registrar’s forum is made up of senior registry staff from the Assistant Registrar’s cadre up to Deputy Registrar. These two bodies meet regularly and I am happy to inform you that especially the administrative officers forum that houses the growing administrators has a training session where papers are presented, critiqued and in the process everybody becomes a learner including the Registrar.
Rest they say is good after retirement, should we be expecting a chieftaincy tittle to be conferred on you?
Let us leave that to God but chieftaincy, I am not for that. I just want to live a simple life, wake up in the morning, go to farm, if there are consultancies, do it and any other good things, do it.
What are those things that you are going to miss in Igboora?
I am going to miss so many things. I will miss the good people both within the college and Igboora community. Everybody is always coming here bearing their mind, especially the unions- ASUP, NASU, SSANIP and the SUG. A number of times we disagree but at the end we always agree. I will miss the local foods, especially ‘amala ilafun and ilasa soup,’ although it is too late for me to have twins.
What advice do you have for young administrators who are behind you and youths generally?
Young administrators should make sure that they are knowledgeable about laws and edits establishing their organisations. This is because they are custodians of the laws and if they make any mistake in advising the management wrongly, they may be toiling with legal matters. So, there are certain basic terminologies that they have to understand, they have to actually know and they may not know that until they are steadfast in the laws that establish institutions. They should also be ready for further studies because knowledge does not stop at a point, it keeps increasing, so, it is very important. You just don’t come here as an Administrative Officer because you have first degree. You should keep improving yourself, self-improvement is very essential. Administrators, have to maintain their dignities because if you don’t respect yourself, nobody will respect you, especially in tertiary institutions, you have to assert your personalities as administrators, so that both teaching and non-teaching will give you respect.
Advice to the youths on vocational training and farming?
You see, the present system of education, the syllabus most especially in tertiary institution has taken cognizance of that by introducing Entrepreneurship. If you are in OYSCATECH for example, to study Accounting or Business Management, you are bound by law to take additional vocational courses, so that when you finish, you just don’t finish as an Accountant only, you may finish as an accountant and farmer, or as a tailor, or an home economist in addition to the initial course of study. Gone were the days that you are in tertiary institutions to obtain certificate but this time you have to take your certificate and vocational skills alongside.
It is expected that the economy could be worse after Covid-19. How do we handle post Covid-19 economy?
The Covid-19 is a global pandemic and no community or nation is an island of its own, so there is bound to be interaction between countries, individuals, states and so on. The number one or most important thing is that we just must be frugal in managing our resources. We pray the payment of salaries will continue to be regular but then, let each individual cultivate the habit of saving, no matter how little. It may be 10% of the salary, it may be 1% just ensure you save something so that eventually if there are eventualities, you will be able to survive it.
What are your parting words?
First and foremost, OYSCATECH is our project, OYSCATECH above all is God’s project, everybody must work towards ensuring that the project does not collapse or fail and that the project is sustainable. I will be happy in the next few years when we come back and we are able to see structures springing up here and there. For example, the institution has been registered or listed with TETfund; we pray that very soon, the institution will start benefiting from it. I also believe that very soon, this place will be a better citadel of learning than what it is in terms of infrastructural facilities.
Having said that, my appreciation first goes to God Almighty. Like one of the popular songs; Hallelujah, in every situation, Hallelujah, so I thank God who is my mainstay; I also thank the Oyo State Government, the immediate past government that appointed us and the current government that decided to retain us and not only retaining us, making everybody happy. You can now say you know your GSM date, so we are very grateful for that and I pray that God Almighty will continue to grant the authority of the state and especially our amiable Governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde all the wisdom that he requires to succeed in office and ditto for his lieutenants.
I also want to appreciate the various Governing Councils that I worked with; Interim Council under the leadership of the former PS Education, Mrs Makanjuola, and the immediate past Governing Council under the leadership of Prof. Lateef Sanni, in fact, he has elevated this institution. The Gaari industry, the TETfund, he has brought into being, his experience as an astute academic speaks a lot about him. I pray God will continue to be with him and He will be with other members of the Council. I will not forget to appreciate the management too in particular, I want to appreciate Prof. J. G. Adewale, you know I spent the first four years of my tenure as Registrar under his supervision and I am happy to report that he gave me all the free hand to operate, although as humans we may not have 100% but I give him about 97%, he really ensured that we all worked together and ditto for this present Management under the leadership of Mr Olaniyi Adekunle, the Bursar, Alhaji Sarafa Agbogun, Deputy Rector Dr Ariyo Okunlola, Director of Works, Engineer Akintunde Akinyemi, Acting Librarian, Mr Rasak Oyewo and Acting Auditor, Mr Kolawole Atanda and most importantly, I appreciate the Secretary to the Management, Mr Olajire Gbadamosi, he has been so helpful, supportive and trustworthy.
Also, I thank God for all the Deputy Registrars, they actually made my stay very palatable. I thank OYSCATECH Staff and my immediate staff in the Registrar’s Office under the leadership of Mr Adesope Lukman and the Public Relations Officer and her staff who are always projecting the image of the College.
The Public Relations is doing very well and I pray you will continue to do well. I thank everybody, I thank the students because without them we wouldn’t have been here, but they are well behaved and I can boast of them. The Alumni too are doing well, I know very soon they will be commissioning their first donation of a building to the institution, considering the fact that they were just constituted four months ago, they performed extremely well. Alumni Association all over the world have prominent roles to play in the development of their institution. it is time to give back, if they could do this when they are very young, come to think of it, the oldest year of graduation is not up to ten years. With what they just did, I am sure that they will do much more. So, I thank God, I thank everybody for making my stay here a very successful one.
Edited by Eniola Ajayi