My heart skipped for joy on
seeing the much anticipated news of the promotion of Simon Ademola Ajayi to the
coveted rank of a Professor in the Department of History, University of
Ibadan. It is a glorious addition to History department, Baptist Historians, Ogbomoso
community, Ogbomoso-Ghanaian community and many more communities than I can
My relationship with Professor
Ajayi dates back to 2006 when Prof A. Christopher Odebode, Botany Department,
University of Ibadan, directed me to his office and suggested that he should be
one of the editors of the biography of my maternal grandfather, Rev John
Adegoke Okesiji, that I embarked on as a rookie creative writer. He was glad to
see a lad like me venturing into such a project; he corrected my intention of
fusing creative writing into the biography and
I explained why I wanted to spice up the piece with such tilt; he gave
me all the encouragement and it is a success story today.
The endless nurturing spirit in
him is also evident in his referral method. I write either in English or Yoruba,
as the muse directs. I wrote a particular poem titled Asiko
he shared the poem with Professor Dotun Ogundeji, whose wife
incidentally was my Yoruba teacher in Abadina College, University of Ibadan, I
met Professor Ogundeji through this and I must say that many of my works have
gained a larger audience through his referral method.
Professor Ajayi has truly
demonstrated his interest in the development of historical materials for the
Baptist denomination in Nigeria. He has been instrumental to the writing of
many historical books and biographies of Baptist ministers. This is an area of
studies that is novel and he has excelled in it. These books are not just
reference materials in the Nigerian Baptist academic institutions but also has rich
historical content. An important point that I want to bring out of this is his
willingness to give me such books whenever I visit his office which is an
indirect way of preparing me for more writings for the denomination as well.
There is something noticeable about
Prof Ajayi’s office; it is never under lock and key for long.There would be
someone either reading or an assistant would be there. In addition, he is one
of those lecturers who do not see students as hapless or weaklings. As such, he
reminds a reference point for other lecturers on how to handle students who
would also get to the zenith of life somewhere, somehow, someday.
After these experience, he has
been monitoring my progress. I started a botched postgraduate programme in the
University of Ibadan while I residing in Lagos. He kept a tab on me asking me
questions online about how I intend to manage the situation. Despite, my desire
to keep it away from him, I had to open up eventually.
I am glad to say that late Professor
JA Atanda, the renowned Professor of History from Ogbomoso has had a successor
with the attainment of Professor Simon Ademola Ajayi; the late Emeritus
Professor JF Ade Ajayi also of the department has had a successor with the same
surname within the department. Professor Simon Ademola Ajayi has nurtured many
people who are excelling in different fields of human endeavor and I wish him
many more Baptistic academic writings and academic laurels henceforth.
Labels: Academics, African Writing, Articles, Baptist Historian, Celebrating a Patriarch, Celebrating a writer, Fatherhood, Historical, Olutayo Irantiola, Peo Davies, Professor Simon Ademola Ajayi, University of Ibadan