Praises flowed on Wednesday at a pre-retirement colloquium held in honour of a consummate professor of literature at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, Olusegun Adekoya.
The event also foreshadowed his 70th birthday billed for June 26 when he retires officially from the university.
The event which was held at the institution’s Conference Centre drew Adekoya’s family members, colleagues, friends including his current and past students.
The chairperson of the occasion, Prof. Moji Olateju, described Adekoya as an easygoing person who was always ready to help others.
Olateju said, “He is quiet, easygoing and sound in knowledge. A seasoned academic. He is hard working and highly meticulous. He gives constructive criticisms meant to make the recipient better academically. Professor Adekoya is always ready to help. Even though he is on his way out of the university, I still approached him to contribute a chapter to a proposed book on research methods for our students. He agreed to write and also attended the maiden meeting of the contributors and gave useful suggestions. Socially and in terms of human relations, he is a man that has great respect for the high and the low, no matter the person’s gender. He is friendly and seldom gets angry. In fact, I don’t think I have ever seen him get seriously angry. He doesn’t dwell on issues.”
Also, Head of Department, English, OAU, Prof. Taiwo Soneye, said that the literature professor was as a good relater, adding that he never shied away from fighting for the weak and vulnerable whenever the need arose.
Soneye stated, “I have known Professor Olusegun Adekoya for about 25 years but I didn’t get to know him quite well until 2010 when he became Head of Department, English. Professor Adekoya is my father. One quality that I would like to emphasise about him is that he aligns so easily with the poor, the weak and the vulnerable. That is not common in our environment. He always stands his ground anywhere for the weak and the vulnerable. He is a hard-working man who does his work with outstanding precision.’’
In a keynote address, Prof. Austine Akpuda of the Department of English Language and Literature, Abia State University, Uturu, Abia State, said that the don was a reliable source of reference.
Akpuda said, “When you have anything to do with Professor Adekoya, you can be sure that you have a reliable reference point. You have someone who is going to guide you methodologically until you get to your destination.”
On his part, one of Adekoya’s ex-students and event initiator, Dr. Ademola Adesola, who is an assistant professor at the Department of English, Languages, and Cultures, Mount Royal University, Canada, said on January 1, 2023, he conceived the idea to celebrate the lecturer’s scholarship, pedagogy, service and mentoring commitments.
He noted that he reached out to a few friends, who were the don’s ex-students and they embraced the idea without questioning its relevance.
He added, “We called on some colleagues of our professor in the Department of English and Literary Studies, OAU. They too wasted no time in buying into the initiative. These unforced interests in the project indicate the unanimous understanding of Prof. Adekoya as a man of impact of impact and values.’’