Celebrating My Mentor, Prof Sobowale At 80, By Gboyega Okegbenro

Dear friends and family,
I call on you with immense joy in my heart, to join me in celebrating my great Teacher, Father, Boss, Counsellor, Friend and Mentor, Professor Idowu Akanbi Sobowale OON, who turns a splendid 80 years today in good health, true happiness and peace like a river !
Prof., as his mentees, colleagues, friends and associates call him, is a man who deserves boundless accolades on a day like this for numerous reasons. And I know he shall receive them in torrents despite his strident admonitions to the contrary; and rejection of every scheme by friends and family to roll out the drums to celebrate his 80th.
If you know my Oga, that simply is who he is: a man whose life is defined by endless scholarship; simplicity; humility; service; love for his family; and passion for God!

Here’s a man whose life story runs conjoined with the development of the incredible faculty available in the discipline of mass communication in almost all universities across our nation today, given the number of his former students and mentees holding towering academic chairs in various specialisation areas in major universities; and in many foreign varsities too. A Professor of Professors; Doctorate class geniuses; and experts in different fields of communication studies; yet humble, unassuming and friendly with all that encounter him.
Even as he advanced in years, Prof. Show remains as intellectually vibrant as ever, still regularly engrossed in research work; teaching; preaching and churning out academic papers for various indigenous and international institutions.
True to character, Prof’s single form of celebration and thanking God today is in textual form as he has scheduled a Zoom Public Presentation of his autobiography titled, UNEXPECTED TURNS.

On a personal note, Prof. Idowu Sobowale’s 80years celebration today offers me a big opportunity to publicly thank him for his long-standing fatherly love, counsel and encouragement at different stages in life since I met him as a student in his PGD class in October 1988. It’s been a most intellectually, morally and professionally enriching boost for my career and growth in many respects. Though laden with a lot of twists and turns, I remain eternally indebted to “MD” for the priceless lessons in the wide gap between friendship and “workship”. Unknown to him, this was the greatest, life-changing lesson I took away in four straight years of working under him at Prime Publications Ltd., first as News Editor, Prime People; then Editor, Ikeja Prime(the first community-based newspaper for Ikeja LG,1990); and finally, Editor, Prime People between October 1989 and March 1993.
Ladies and Gentlemen, please join me in raising a toast to this great teacher, first class reporter, accomplished War Correspondent for the Daily Times during the civil war in the late sixties; prolific writer; seasoned sub-editor cum editor; Professor of Professors; Dean of Deans; first class public servant; a key figure in the incredible strides recorded by late Alhaji Lateef Jakande in the education sector as governor of Lagos State in the second republic; great humanist; and many more, at four scores.
Happy Birthday and Congratulations dear sir!

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