A short autobiography of the late Professor Gabriel Adebayo Omolewu

Late Professor Gabriel Adebayo Omolewu


“I started the academic race at Baptist Day School, Okeho, Oyo, Nigeria in 1944 and had my secondary school education at Olivet Baptist High School, Oyo. I enrolled at the Meteorological Training School, Oshodi, Lagos the week following graduation at Olivet in December 1959. At the completion of the training program in 1960, I was posted to Kano Airport and later transferred to Minna. I took the Scholastic Aptitude Test in Minna and was admitted to Michigan State University and Ohio State University. I was transferred to Lagos Airport in January 1962 to assist me in my travel plans to Michigan State University. Unfortunately, my dad became seriously ill towards the middle of the year. In June 1962, Baptist Hospital, Shaki decided that there was no hope for his recovery and he was discharged and returned home to Okeho. Miraculously, he recovered and lived until he was 114 years old. Since there was nobody else to take care of the school fees of my brother and sister at Mayflower, Ikenne, and my brother, the last born, at Olivet Baptist High School, I cancelled my travel plans to USA.

When two of them completed their high school education, I was admitted to the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. During the second week of my study at the University, the Biafran crisis broke out and all faculty, staff and students who were non-Ibos were escorted out of eastern Nigeria. I married in 1972 and after having two children my wife and I applied to Wilberforce University. Since we were to travel to Wilberforce during the first week in August 1975, we applied for passports in January but we could not get the passports for six months. Early in July, I met with the Chief Passport Officer who promised to issue passports to us the same day if were willing to apply afresh. We hurriedly applied as he directed. He wanted me to wait for the new passports but he said because his messenger would take the forms to Lions Building on bike for clearance, he suggested that I should come the following morning to pick them up. When I got there the following morning, he was very happy to see me. He cheerfully opened his drawers but the passports had disappeared. He became nervous and was sweating in the air-conditioned office. He called his staff together and ordered them to find the two passports. He apologized to me for the disappointment. A few days later, the military government closed the passport office. We gave up the hope of travelling to Wilberforce.

Luckily in October 1975, the passport office was reopened and 300 passports were issued daily starting with the applications as far back as about 1948. One day, our names appeared in Sunday Times for passports to be picked up the following day. We renewed our admissions to Wilberforce University for winter trimester1976 and left Nigeria on January 2, 1976 with my wife five months pregnant.

I graduated with BS in Accounting and studied and earned at Wright State University MBA Accounting in 1980 and MS Economics in1981. I also received DBA, Management in 1986 at international Graduate School, St. Louis, and PhD Education at The University of Akron in 2000. I was waiting for my wife to defend her thesis at Wright State University when Wilberforce University wanted me to help teach the business courses of Mrs. Derisky who went with her husband to the South two weeks into the trimester. The University offered to assist in getting Green Card for me upon accepting the position. A few days later, Central State University at Wilberforce wanted my wife to teach Economics and offered also to assist in applying for a Green card for her. That was how God miraculously opened the doors for both of us in the two Universities. During the thirty two years of teaching at Wilberforce University, I had made presentations at local, state and international conferences in USA and other countries including Canada, China, France, Japan, Russia, South Africa, and United Kingdom. I received, several times, Faculty Merit Bonus Awards for excellent teaching and University Service. I was awarded NISSAN Fellowship in 1991 for excellent teaching. I was recognized in 2002 by Governor Bob Taft, the Governor of the State of Ohio, for developing and Teaching Business Ethics at Wilberforce University.”


Culled from Voice of Yoruba Newsletter, Newsletter OF Egbe Omo Yoruba of Greater Miami Valley

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