After years of graduation, many former students can still remember teachers who impacted their life with words of encouragement in and outside the classes. Such teachers are usually celebrated when opportunity arises.
This piece provides insights about two professors who have been making significant impact in Nigeria and outside the country in the last few years. Ayobami Ojebode and Ndubisi Ekekwe are two distinct professors from different fields contributing to personal and societal growth.
The duo share similar humble background. Professor Ayobami Ojebode grew up in Igboora, Oyo state, while Professor Ndubisi Ekekwe was born and bred at Ovim in Isuikwuato Local Council of Abia State. According to many sources, the two places are rural communities in Nigeria. While Professor Ojebode had a high affinity for English Language and literary studies during his childhood education, Professor Ekekwe developed interest in Integrated Sciences. These subjects eventually became the fulcrum of their professorial sojourns in arts and engineering respectively.
From personal life to the elevation of the society they found themselves, these great Nigerian professors have either undertaken greater ventures singlehandedly or in collaboration with their colleagues and students. After several weeks of mapping many sources, analysis shows that these professors are good in capitalizing on strengths of individuals and society as well as engaging in humour to diffuse pain points towards collective goal realization and sustainable development. Not only these, their philosophy of leaving the comfort zone has really paid off.
For instance, at a recent forum, Professor Ekekwe hinted that in the early days of their career young people can connect their passion to actualize their purpose and mission. “There would be challenges on the ways – deal with them and stay on track. Unless you are aware and very observant, you may not notice that a skill you may have cherished has expired. So, your antenna must be sharp to ensure while pursuing the vision, you are attentive to the realities of markets and shifts. And finally, it is important you define your career fulfilment. Yes, you may be made to work for someone while your friend is cut for starting things. That your friend is a founder does not mean you have to leave your progressing career in a bank to start a company.”
Professor Ojebode’s skill in identifying people’s strengths and exploring them for the benefit of everyone is better understood from Kamorudeen Salaudeen, one of his students, who says: “I can’t forget his Introduction to reading class in 100 level, a course that linked reading and writing together in an applied fashion through weekly summary exercise. The bundle of skills acquired in the course has connection with all branches of communication studies. This is just one of his functional teaching techniques.
Theory and research are both trouble spots to all students, not only of communication. Ojebode has the key to their simplification. Those who read should still remember how “Quick Walk through Research Methodology”, a study material he wrote and distributed free to his students, Kamorudeen Salaudeen, ex-student and lecturer at Fountain University, said during an interview.
As a tech genius, Professor Ekekwe has many incredible world class inventions. Despite being a village boy, he has met and still dining with global political and business leaders. With his applied communication researches, Professor Ojebode has met and still engaging with the people at the top, middle and bottom of the pyramid in Africa and other continents.
Over the years supporting their country’s growth has been the focus of the professors. While Professor Ekekwe continues searching for the right processes, products and people to fix paralyses in socioeconomic and political aspects of Africa, Professor Ojebode has searched for voices and given a template for the actualization of the real development during his inaugural lecture.
Based on their contributions, these professors have been celebrated by people and communities. With his strategy of combining academic activities (as adjunct lecturer) with the identification of frictions in the society, mapping and analyzing people’s appreciations of Professor Ekekwe would take a thousand years.
Demystifying Ojebode’s Celebration
However, to further substantiate our hypothesis -what great university teachers do and how the world celebrates them-, we asked a few former students to tell us about Professor Ojebode’s indelible impression on their lives. From their responses, we found a total of 651 words used to describe Professor Ojebode’s teaching and human relations capabilities, which ensured success for everyone. Analysis shows 50.9% connection of the level of happiness of the ex-students and lexical density. Analysis suggests that the level of happiness with the use of specific words (see chart for each comment) among the former students increases when they expressed how he changed their life.
Professor Ojebode is an inspirational teacher. He is a man with immense cranial powers. He uses a combination of wit and humour when he teaches. There is no boring moment with Professor Ojebode. Most importantly, he has the milk of human kindness flowing in his veins.
Tunji OLA, PhD Candidate
Professor Ojebode is indeed a rare gift to academics worldwide and to budding scholars like us. He is a very good teacher who teaches to impact knowledge by all standards. He knows research methods like the back of his hands and he was the one that spurred my interest in research from my undergraduate days till date.
Oluwasola, Omolola, Department of Communication & Media Studies, Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti
His human relations appears ethereal in nature. That is because, at times, one wonders at the personal aura surrounding his person. I have met him on a number of occasions when I had thought he was not hearing me, but gave perfect answers to my questions. Again, his pedagogy is unique. He often teaches rather than lecturing.
Last Semester, he came into the class (CLA701) and told us that considering the serious nature of what he wanted to teach that day, we all were looking too happy, so let us all try to be sad (and he frowned, adopted a mournful look, and walked from the lectern to the end of the lecture-room, and back to the lecture, before announcing) what he wanted to teach was “Causation”, an issue that had made innocent people to be unjustly punished! That was the way he tested our” Entry -Behaviour “as a seasoned-Teacher! A whole lot to say, and write, about him! Best wishes to him, this day of his glory, and always!
Kayode Adebayo, PhD Candidate
Professor Ojebode’s teachings are result oriented, well explained, interactive, and humorous. The humour assists the teaching to be memorable.
Moshood Ajibola, Area Manager, Globacom Nigeria Limited
If you abhor a course and think you can never get it right, Professor Ojebode will dissect it to your level whenever he teaches the course. His humour and scholarship (vast reading) make him distinct in knowledge management. His office is always open for discussions. When he speaks, you will surely demand more.
In the area of research, he is not a static applied researcher; his studies aren’t for shelf-deco. His choice of research topics, innovative theories and designs always make me yearn for his papers. Our Yoruba people will say, “Ise yen yé ?- You understand the job.” “Ise research yen yé Prof.”
I give him 100%. It is not an exaggeration to say his person is not from this world! Ojebode will never be angry at you; he feels happy seeing you grow. The moment he believes in you, just don’t fumble; he will always be proud of you. I am really indebted to him because his referrals have opened many opportunities for me. Honestly, Professor Ojebode is a rare bred! Most of us, his students and mentees, desire to take after him in many areas of life.
Ajetunmobi Umar Olasinle, ex-student
Professor Ayobami Ojebode is a great teacher. He is a man of good character and with so much simplicity. Aside that he taught me, he supervised my B. A project. His teachings are simple and very difficult to forget. On my career path, by so much grace and privilege I have played host to Professor Ojebode on my radio show and the memory is well treasured.
Opeyemi Lawal (nee Ojabanjo)
Professor Ayobami Ojebode is a teacher and researcher per excellence. He is always there to encourage you to strive for the top. For him, the top can take everyone so instead of removing the ladder like some others do, he rather duplicates ladders.
Seyi Omotayo, ex-student
Ojebode, Ojebode, Ojebode! A teacher of teachers. He is a thorough and painstaking researcher. You are a model to me and the rest of class ‘010’. You gave me a privilege of working with you on ‘Arugba’ by Tunde Kelani. Indeed, you are an all-round communicator.
Paul Kolawole, ex-student
Additional information by Rasheed Adebiyi, Fountain University, Osogbo, Osun State.