It does me a great deal of pleasure to celebrate an icon of many parts. Prof Sam A Adewoye. This is an academic colossus of that taught students across ages, one of the proud foundation staffs of the University of Ilorin. He is a man who believes in himself and thus distinguished himself in his own way.

This story will not be complete without a reference to my ancestry again; my maternal grandfather was the person that solemnized the wedding of Prof Sam A Adewoye. Thus, Prof Adewoye became a friend of the house. As a part-time undergraduate in the University of Ilorin between 1990 and 1996, my Mum and her niece were his students. By the time I gained admission to the University of Ilorin, I was an undergraduate in the Department of English.

In a bid to avoid history, I dodged Prof Sam A Adewoye. By the time I was in 300 level, as we call it, he had proceeded on Sabbatical leave to the United States, we were taught by Dr. Mrs Joseph, too of blessed memory, the course Prof Adewoye had taught for years. At his return, I was introduced to him by Revd W.O. Omolola also of blessed memory as the grandson of Revd Okesiji, when Prof Adewoye heard that he said, hi, that evening and requested that I see him the following day in his office. I suspected trouble brewing.

I had no choice but to visit him and this was the beginning of our relationship as Father to son and an academic mentor to a student. At times, when I get burdened I walk into his office, definitely there would be humour to saturate the environment, there would be guguru to make the jaw busy. I usually relax in his office running away from the scorching sun of Ilorin. These are some of the basic things in his office.

I can’t forget remember the number of times that Prof Adewoye would be asking me if I wanted a fellow female students and my response was usually, there is no way in which one would have two metals in the fire and one would not suffer. I can also remember vividly the many Yoruba flowery words that he uses to garnish his statement. I would also say that he has a way of making me feel important, he keeps me in his office despite the presence of other elders like Dr. Kola Lafinhan and Dn Ande. If there is no high profile discussion, I would be on seat.

This was part of what made my association with other lecturers easy, Dr Peter Balogun is being mentored by Prof Adewoye, either I am in the company of Prof Adewoye or in his office, Dr. Balogun usually meets me there and he saw me as his son too. In the company of my mentors made life easier.

Despite Adewoye’s love for me, I can’t forget when we were to write our undergraduate long essays despite the fact that I was his boy; there was no room for favouritism. I was the first to start writing and I was the first to submit. It was not a hide and seek game. I was always with him when he was reading my write up and he would nullify whatever he does not want. He directed me as far as Adeyipo to the library being built by Dr Adebowale. The high point of the experience was when one of us did not write his long essay; Prof Adewoye announced it openly in the class that he was not going to supervise that chap again. I begged him and he said, “Irantiola, you know I like you so much, stay off this matter”. I went to report to Dr Mrs Medubi and she spoke with him, he changed his position and he supervised the chap. It makes me know that regardless of your status, give regard to your contemporaries.

In my presence, there has been many requests from his old students to have him as their referee, I happen to be one of them. Whoever is in his good records knows instantly and whoever does not qualifies know instantly too. I can tell you, what he hates most is the policy of use and dump. Most people remember him only when they need his help. Learn from this; don’t forget all those who contributed in one way or the other to your life, a simple hello would keep them happy from time to time.

Experience is the best teacher, they say. Prof Adewoye would not hide his feelings when you hurt him. He would go straight into history, the time he started his primary school education, the type of uncle he had who wanted him to be a Baptist pastor, the experience he had in America etc. If it was within the academic environment, he prides himself by saying, “I am the first Sub-dean of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Ilorin”. He was recognized as one of the long-serving staffs of the University of Ilorin.

I graduated before his plans to be retired and I asked him, you still have two official years to retirement why the haste, he replied, “my health is already failing and how much will I be paid in the next two years compared to what I have earned”. So short we will say, but so well it ended.

The only occasion that I did not find Prof Adewoye and his wife was at the burial of Revd W.O.Omolola. I was expecting to see him but when I gave him a call, he said, “I can’t stand it, you know he was my close ally”. Such contrast of life, they would continue friendship in the world yonder. He is a friendly man who attends ceremonies of his old students, I can recollect, those perpetual late students that he always warns, don’t be late to your wedding ceremony like one of his former old students who he had foretold of his lateness to his wedding and he did. He is quite social.

It will be difficult for his old student to forget him, I have reasons, he had his ways of getting to the category you belong to, for the ladies that do not wear jewelries, he calls them Jesus cares, for students that knows how to cheat, he says, they would collect money from popsy, mumsy, unclecy, auntycy, cousincy etc. generally, he says, they like it per second-per second, stop looking moro-mara, stop hoodwinking yourself and a host of other Victorian English.

Sam A Adewoye, as he always wants us to write, his Samuel Adegboyega Adewoye has played his own part leaving the stage to use and see the comments that will come after our season too on this crust. Good night, Prof Sam A Adewoye, an erudite scholar, a dexterous man with words, a bold orator. May the Lord take care of his family.

(c)Olutayo IRAN-TIOLA, Lagos, Nigeria
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