Tomorrow is the birthday one positive change agent I know, whose path is strewn with success, and has spread transformation everywhere he has trod.
There are people who make a positive difference wherever they find themselves. They leave places and people better than they met them. By dint of hard work, purpose-driven life, fear of God and integrity, they become turnaround agents, impacting their environment and people around them in a progressive manner. Positive change thus becomes a trend that trails them in their journey through life. sometimes it becomes expedient to hold aloft the hand of such people, and announce them to the world, not just to encourage them to remain on the path of progress, but to also show them as example to others, particularly in a clime where such men seem to be in short supply, where people seem to seek office not to impact on society through service, but to line their pockets and enjoy the perks of office. Birthdays present a good opportunity to celebrate such people and encourage them to remain on the path of progress and transformation.
Tomorrow, November 16, is the birthday one positive change agent I know, whose path is strewn with success, and has spread transformation everywhere he has trod. Rt. Reverend Professor Dapo Folorunsho Asaju, Bishop Theologian, Church of Nigeria [Anglican Communion] and current Vice-Chancellor, Ajayi Crowther University, Oyo, deserves accolades in many ways.
In the nearly two decades that I have had the privilege of knowing him, I can say that that there is probably no other person that has impacted me with such positive influence as he has done. This is not peculiar to me because he seeks to imbue people with his milk of human kindness even as he remains a stickler for uprightness and integrity. I shall return to his impact life in the body of Christ and the academia. He shares birthdays with other great men that deserve accolades though they have ran their race and dropped the baton. Dr. Benjamin Nnamdi Azikiwe and Professor Chinua Achebe have passed to the great beyond, but they were transformation agents as well. The great Zik of Africa, as Nnamdi Azikiwe, was fondly known, was one of the purveyors of Nigeria’s political independence from the colonialists. The details belong in the realm of history but the story of Nigeria’s independence, and the nationalists struggle, would be incomplete without copious mention of his pivotal role in the nationalistic struggle for independence. He made indelible mark in the sand of Nigeria’s political annals, just like the Awolowo’s and the Ahmadu Bellos of this nation. I have singled him put because of his birthday falls with that of the subject of this article, and both men are great transformation agents.
The late writer, teacher and thinker, Chinua Achebe was also an agent of positive change. Before his monumentally successful novel, Things Fall Apart, hit the bookshelves, in 1958, stories about Africa were written from the skewed perspectives of colonialist, who saw Africans as fools and never-do-wells. Achebe told the African story from the African perspective, and thus liberated African literature from the clutches of colonialism. Achebe’s birthday is also tomorrow. He eminently qualifies as a transformation agent. His Things Fall Apart is listed amongst the top 100 books of all times as published by The Guardian of back in 2002. The situation has not changed. He would have been 88 tomorrow had he not passed to the great beyond on March 21, 2013.
Tomorrow November 16 is the birthday of another transformation agent, who still contributes his significant quota to the development of the church, the academia, and the nation. Dapo Asaju, Professor of Biblical studies, the bishop Theologian of the Church of Nigeria [Anglican Communion] and Vice-Chancellor Ajayi Crowther University, Oyo, has straddled the church and the academia with equal zeal and impact. He is a highly sought-after preacher of the gospel, who has taken the gospel to all parts of Nigeria, parts of Africa including Congo, Germany, United Kingdom and sundry places. His messages are impactful and devoid of theological complications as would that of some professors. He has made as much impact in the academia, where he has written no less than 100 papers, apart from his seminal books, making him an authority in his field of specialization. He began his academic career at University of Ilorin, his alma mater, before he moved to Lagos state University, Ojo, where he rose to become Deputy Vice- Chancellor. When he was in charge of General Studies in the University, he did something phenomenal, resulting in the graduation of thousands of students held back by that compulsory course.
But it is in his tour of duty as Vice-Chancellor of Ajayi Crowther University, Oyo, that his capacity to transform an environment has become more evident. In the three years he has sat on the saddle, the campus has transformed even beyond imagination. All roads in the campus have been asphalted, and speed breakers put in place to curb the temptation of people to go at full speed on the roads. The largest hall in Oyo state is located in the University. It is called Crowther hall, built under his watch. The 2000 capacity hall can take additional hundreds in the gallery. The University’s last two convocation ceremonies took place there. The latest addition is a 500 capacity Students Centre, complete with recreational facilities. The University games village is being transformed with seats installed in the football field. It is expected that as the students compete in the forthcoming Vice-Chancellor’s cup competition, seats would have been installed for spectators. In the area of academics, the University has been transformed. The Vice-Chancellor has ensured that new courses have been added to programmes in the university. These courses include, but not limited to Mechanical, Electrical/Electronics and Computer Engineering, Architecture, Estate Management, Education, and postgraduate programmes. There are several existing courses in University. During his tenure, learning has been improved, resulting in a sharp reduction, almost nonexistence of third class degrees juxtaposed with what happened in the past. All courses in the University have full accreditation from the National Universities Commission (NUC).
He has intensified attention on the spiritual lives and discipline of the students, insisting that education must come with character. The University has acquitted itself creditably in discharging the duties of teaching and research. It is critical to add that Professor Asaju has accomplished the foregoing through prudent management of funds. He engages in direct labour, which is a sure way of reducing cost. He goes on daily inspection of ongoing projects, except he is out of town. The transformation of that University under his watch, should recommend him for higher national responsibility. He is a tested and trusted transformation agent. As you clock 57, I wish him well and pray that God continues to use him as a transformation agent, even beyond the Church and the University.