By Mubarak Oladosu
By chance or providence, some days turn out to be the brightest, on account of a single but magical moment. One of such rare occasions was recently witnessed while the Nigerian nation, particularly the Nigerian education sector, had its heart in its mouth, as the nation was in the middle of an unprecedented season of school children kidnap. In the middle of that crisis, not one, but two stand-out moments of joy, punctuated the yet unfolding times of torment. One could therefore not but conclude that such magical moments, amid the chaos that defines parts of the Nigerian education sector lately, are divinely designed. Such moments could not have been on account of mere coincidences, they are products of providence as well.
One of such was on the morning of Wednesday February 24, 2021. That morning, as I held my mobile phone for the first time in the day, I noticed that there was an avalanche of the word congratulations in the WhatsApp group of the Directorate of Corporate Affairs, University of Ilorin. The exclusive group, which is semi-formal, is peopled by members of the Directorate at home, on loan, and in the diaspora. I attended to a few things that morning and quickly returned to the group to find out what the occasion was.
To my delight, the subject of the congratulatory messages was again Professor Mahfouz Adebola Adedimeji, and he had just been appointed the pioneer Vice-Chancellor of the newly approved but highly promising Ahman Pategi University located at Pategi Local Government Area of Kwara State. Just some six weeks earlier, the intellectual world celebrated his elevation to the professorial rank and the euphoria of the don’s Professorial elevation had just peaked when the news broke that Adedimeji had just earned a second crown. I felt sobered by the gravity of this grace and had no doubt that there would be questions on the mind of some. Perhaps, a few would even have queries. Some other people will share my thoughts: Better late than never is the common phrase for the generality, but for Adedimeji, like a few other chosen ones, his latest achievement is a case of better sooner than later. Adedimeji certainly set forth to this destination since the dawn of his education, his road was rough therefore, a great thing happening in his life is never too soon.
After a few hours on that day, another series of congratulatory messages made round in the WhatsApp group and ecstatic celebrations soon reverberated beyond. This time, it was another especial occasion as a new door to greatness had opened for the current Chairman of the Editorial Board of Unilorin Bulletin, Dr. Lukman Adeshina Azeez. Dr. Azeez was announced as a newly appointed Professor of Mass Communication at the University of Ilorin. The appointment was the first of its kind.
By his appointment, Azeez became the first home grown Professor of Mass Communication in the Department and the University of Ilorin. That elevation, carried with it, a huge weight of history as the significance of his promotion does not only pay compliments to Azeez’s sacrifices over the years, it elevates whole generations of students at the undergraduate and post graduate levels, just as it perfects a University’s Department as one that has come full circle as it completes its journey from conception to maturity, by producing its own first Professor to rise through the ranks of academic hierarchy, and reach its zenith. This appointment, is indeed, a personal and an institutional milestone.
Many would agree, that the profile of the new Professor captures the A to Z of Mass Communication, like Azeez, his name, seems to suggest. The don may have his specialisations, he is certainly not an unbundled scholar. The rounded academic, stands tall intellectually and in indeed physically, in the assembly of his professional peers. The walking encyclopaedia is blessed with vast knowledge which is preserved in his head, and not his library. To crown his gifts as an academic, he is one of those rare breed lecturers, whose classes, including data analysis, have a repute of never being boring, because he seems to be born to teach and transmit knowledge.
Apart from being associated with the University of Ilorin, and being of the same gender, a few other things bind the new Professor, the new Vice-Chancellor, and indeed the gentleman who remains the newest Director of the Directorate of Corporate Affairs, University of Ilorin, Mr Kunle Akogun, who broke the news of the double date with destiny as the arrow head of Public Relations at the University. While Adedimeji is the first Vice-Chancellor of Ahman Pategi University and Azeez is the first Professor of Mass Communication at the relatively young Department of Mass Communication of the University of Ilorin, Akogun ,the veteran but victorious Generalissimo of Media Practice, completes the triangle of titans as the first head with the nomenclature of Director of Corporate Affairs, University of Ilorin, which houses the University’s weekly newsletter; Unilorin Bulletin, as it houses Unilorin 89.3 Fm , the Fm’s marketing Unit and the University’s Protocol Office, after the expansion of the former Directorate of Information which was once known as Information Unit of the University. Azeez, Adedimeji and Akogun are also united by the Unilorin Bulletin, especially the back page of the famous newsletter where the commanding presence of the trio’s thoughts informs the world about the strides of the researchers and scholars of the University while projecting the corporate image of the citadel of learning and also shape opinion of the publics and indeed, that of the management of the University .
As though being part of the leadership that define the media scape of the University is not enough, the names of each of the A list media men also begins with the first of the English alphabet, and the first letter of some other alphabets. These alpha communication practitioners, Akokun, Adedimeji and Azeez, are indeed prominent members of communication royalty.
Mubarak Oladosu is a Principal Information Officer at Directorate of Corporate Affairs, University of Ilorin