Heart of Arts

Professor Toyin Falola, a humane and compassionate scholar at 70: A tribute

As you attain age 70 today, 1st January 2023, I salute you, Sir. Your achievements and accomplishments in the world of academia are well documented. You are reputed as a prolific scholar by all and sundry. People who are much closer to you than my humble self have alluded to your compassionate nature. You are very selfless. And loyal to your friends.

One can easily point to at least two instances when you have demonstrated fidelity to these attributes. First, a few weeks ago, my immediate predecessor in office as Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) at the University of Ibadan, the notable Professor of Political Science, Adigun A. B. Agbaje, was involved in an unfortunate incident of kidnapping on the Lagos-Ibadan highway. In spite of your numerous travels across the globe you immediately rose up to the occasion by rallying people in Government and numerous colleagues to secure his release unhurt. Thankfully your kind initiative and those of others yielded positive results and Professor Agbaje was released about 48 hours after the incident. We cannot thank you enough for your kind concern, Sir.

Second, more recently one learned that a very good friend of yours had a medical emergency. You swung into action again by reaching out to people in your very wide network, including many serving and former Ministers, Governors and academics both within and outside Nigeria to provide moral, logistic and financial support to take care of his hospital expenses. The good Lord will bless your kind efforts by granting your (and our) friend a speedy recovery.

Moreover, one was not unaware of your high level behind-the-scene efforts aimed at resolving the protracted national strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities. We shall not forget.

This is wishing you many more years ahead in the service to humanity. Good health, sound mind, abundant joy, sustained prosperity and happiness shall be your portion.

Igba odun, odun kan ni oh (Translation for the non-Yoruba speakers: Two hundred years will be like one year).

Happy Platinum Jubilee, Sir.

Idowu Olayinka
University of Ibadan
1st January 2023

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