One way of getting students of the Faculty of Engineering University of Lagos excited about themselves is to toss a discussion on their PAADC. I am aware that the project, Prof Ayo Awojobi Design Competition, in its third year, has quickly grown from its initial concept of a day’s event into an annual ritual that lives for several weeks (perhaps months) at each anniversary.
A team of three led by Mr. Kolade Makinde, President of ULES, visited me yesterday to spend what ended being the quality time of my life.
They were searching for anyone who knew Prof Ayo Awojobi and was ready to answer three questions: “Who was Pro Ayodele Awojobi? What made him the great teacher of Engineering that they had read of him and what were his legacies?” They were advised by one of their Professors to put the questions to me, so they came searching for answers. I did, and suggested more names.
After a long discussion, they let roll their video camera, got an interview, did lunch, partied with my household, before hitting the road back to Lagos.
The Team : Kolade Makinde, Dayo Aruwajoye and Omoniyi Fasasi came prepared the ‘ULES manner’, a tradition of paying attention to details for which UNIVERSITY OF LAGOS ENGINEERING SOCIETY(ULES) is renowned.
They had, since April 2019, invited me to the July grand finale of the Competition and duly got a confirmation that I would be part of the crowd, come July 27, 2019 at the Prof Ade-Ajayi Auditorium in Akoka.
Ayodele Oluwatuminu Awojobi (1937 – 1984), also known by the nicknames “Dead Easy”, “The Akoka Giant”, and “Macbeth”, was a Nigerian academic, author, inventor, social crusader and activist. Controversial, impatient, and brusque (intellectually), he was considered a scholarly genius by his teachers, peers and students.
He quickly advanced in his field to become the youngest professor in mechanical engineering at the University of Lagos, Nigeria in 1973. Earlier the same year, he became the first African to be awarded the degree of Doctor of Science (DSc) in mechanical engineering at the then Imperial College of Science and Technology, London (now Imperial College London) – a degree only exceptionally and rarely awarded to a scholar under the age of 40.
His impatience grew too large for the campus and he loomed large into the murky waters of Nigerian politics. In the arguable position that some of us hold of him, he lived and died for the fatherland.
If the genius had lived long, he would have been celebrating his 82nd birthday about now.
OPINION by Haruna Aigbonotsumhuai Ellams
You’ve said it all, however when Nigeria changed from left hand to right hand driving, he made tremendous contributions. I cannot recall all of it now as I was just a school library prefect then. He testified in the Court in the 1979 general elections as to what constituted 12-2/3 of a state or of human beings. He also presented and demonstrated the use of electronic voting in the National Assembly then. He was a “Jack of all trades, master of all”. He was said to have registered for a degree in law at Unilag when his classmate who was a judge to him he couldn’t speak in court except through a counsel, he was said not to have finished the program. Ayodele Awojobi and Edwin Madunagu made Unilag tough and always in the news for good in the early seventies smarting from the troubled late sixties when a student activist/leader Ted-Kayode Adams stabbed(?) the Vice-Chancellor Professor Saburi Biobaku. What does his middle Oluwatuminu mean and how did it reflect his life style sir?
Oluwatuminu – ‘God comforted me’ (suggested – Titi, Thanks to Olu Lipede)