ADEBANJO WAS TRULY WICKED
(CELEBRATING 20 YEARS OF MENTORSHIP)
This day 20 years ago, we were as excited as those night rats in the house of Baba Lasisi when we got an information that we would have a class. We ran like primary school pupils who had been told ice-cream and lolly pop were being distributed at the headmaster’s office.
It was ENG 151!
‘INTRODUCTION TO LITERATURE THROUGH DRAMA’
As we stepped into Rasheed Raji building, we started looking for the class.
You know jambites. They behave like monkeys who had just been thrown into a new swimming pool. Restless! We were jamming everyone on the way and checking out our new abode like Jamiu from Ilorin who just landed at Murtala Mohammed Airport and thought he had got to London.
Less I forget, I attended two Universities: Ogun State University and Olabisi Onabanjo University. I had used my second year or so when Governor Osoba changed the name of school to Olabisi Onabanjo University. So while OSU gave me an admission letter, OOU awarded my certificate. So I happen to be a bridge between the old and the new.
A man was standing in front of the class. We were told that was our 151 lecturer. We were rowdy and noisy. You should understand. The SSS3 blood was in us all. The noise was overbearing and terrible. It was like the international conference of a swarm of bees.
Then thunder struck at noon before us!
‘You stand up. Go out! You! You! You! Yes you! Stand up and leave now!’
I was the 3rd you. I stood up like a freshly bathed camel and with others made our way out of the class. The noisy class in split second went calm and you could easily hear when a pin drops. I saw a snail moving on the ground and it got my attention when I heard its loud fart. I picked it and dropped it in the bag.
‘How many of you have heard of Samuel Beckett before?’
I know of Samuel Ajayi Crowther and I would later know Biyi Samuel of Igi Aruwe and Samuel Adetokunbo. But this Samuel that sells ‘bucket’? I don’t care.
That was Mr Adebanjo! He loved to bring out our curiosity and he loved to teach with simplicity. For four breathing years, we were always in his class either for Drama or poetry.
Tough, resilient, bold, disciplined and charismatic, Niyi Adebanjo made the University one of the most blessed places to be on the surface of the earth. He was a young local parish pastor at the RCCG.
Yes, he was too tough but I was not seeing that because I was raised by a tough Granma too. By the way, even at that stage, I was very tough.
When I got to 400 level, he became my supervisor. While some others were scheming to change their supervisor with all kinds of stories, I approached him calmly.
Oh, there were too many stories:
‘He is too strict’
‘He won’t release you on time’
‘You won’t graduate’
‘You will have extra-year because of 499’.
‘Adebanjo is wicked’.
Many stories from professional plagiarists who didn’t want to present an original work.
My topic was ‘THE SCRIPTWRITING TRADITION IN THE NIGERIAN HOME-VIDEO: A STUDY OF MIKE BAMILOYE’S THE WOUNDED HEART AND KOLADE DAVID OKEOWO’S SHATTERED DREAMS’.
I was the first any supervisor would release in the department.
All hail Adebanjo,
You taught me how to comprehend.
You taught me how to write.
You taught me dramatic criticism.
You taught me, from your experience, how to manage relationships.
Then you brought me into the University to teach and opened up academic secrets that have shaped my Film Academy today.
I remember when I was doing fine as a filmmaker, you took 1 hour out of your life to convince me that lecturing would expose me to intellectual depth.
Even though you didn’t initially approve my resignation as University teacher to return fully to film making, you eventually gave me your blessings.
Regardless of all, you remain forever my only B.A supervisor and my FIRST PhD supervisor even if I have 10 PhDs tomorrow.
You taught me patience and to never compare oneself with anyone. When I mentioned in those days that your colleagues had become Provincial Pastors while you still pastored a local church in Oru-Ijebu, you told me patience and fulfilment are more important. No wonder you rose from a village to becoming the Private Secretary to a WORLD LEADER who oversees 180 nations.
One of the biggest shocks I saw was when after becoming a Head of Department twice, you enrolled at UI to bag a first degree in Law.
You are not perfect but you are an excellent figure.
Thank you for your proximity with my home. My Children will continue to call you GRANPA.
Today, all my colleagues who felt you were wicked are glad they passed through you sir.
I celebrate you for these 20 years of mentorship and tutorship.
I am perhaps one of the fewest graduates who keep in touch with all his University teachers and still prostrate to greet them even when I am not looking for another degree from the department. I keep relationships a lot and I believe loyalty is royalty.
When I see young people in their thousands call me mentor, I remember you are the real mentor, not me.
Thank you for being a great academic mentor sir.
Thank you for your availability and accessibility in these twenty years and I pray to have more of such opportunities.
I do not take this access for granted.
Two hands up for a most established African Academic Juggernaut…
Prof. Barrister Niyi Adebanjo.
Please write a word of appreciation for my 20 years old academic mentor if you ever learnt anything from my articles.
Why should you?
‘Adebanjo was truly wicked’.
and please sir, STOP calling me Archbishop lolz
*Barrister Niyi Adebanjo, is today, the Private Secretary to Daddy E.A Adeboye, General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God.
ADEBANJO WAS TRULY WICKED
Read this mind blowing story > HERE