It is with fullness of joy that I write this piece to celebrate my very good friend and brother, an iconic intellectual of gargantuan proportion, Professor Rasheed Aderinoye, as he takes a dignified bow from the premier University of Ibadan today, October 9, 2020 upon the attainment of 70 years.
At birth, especially on the naming ceremony, all that we hear by prayers is that this child will be great in life and he will be a lawyer, or doctor, engineer or veterinary doctor! Even parents who are teachers themselves hardly add “teacher” to the wishlist or prayer points for their newborn.
Such is the aversion to the teaching profession up till today even amongst ranking schools teachers and university professors! I don’t know what his parents wished for him at birth, but Prof Aderinoye has excelled in his career, an internationally acclaimed authority in Adult and Mass Literary Education.
Writing about Professor Aderinoye will naturally evoke some emotions and passion from me because in the last twenty years or so, I have become mentally and permanently joined with him like a brother from another mother. We have shared great and memorable moments together. Hardly would a Sunday morning pass without my first reporting to his house, have breakfast and exchange views on issues of mutual interests. No interaction is complete without discussions about our families’ progress, politics within the university campus and Oyo state and the state of our country in general. Given the frequency of my sessions with him, people always wondered if I kept a second home in Prof. Aderinoye’s home in Barika area of Ibadan. I recall a particular day when the Aare Musulumi of Yorubaland, Alhaji Akinola Makanjuola (De Damak) called him from far away China with a plan to have a private, confidential chat with him. Because of the time difference between Nigeria and China, the Aare had chosen the early morning time in Nigeria to initiate the telephone chat with our mutual friend. But he was pleasantly surprised when Alhaji Aderinoye told him that I was around. Until I spoke with him, the Aare didn’t believe that I was there. He then jokingly concluded that nobody can see the secrets between the two us, wondering why I had to be with him so early in the morning every Sunday! But our Rome of friendship was not built in a day! It took a long time before we could reach that level of intimacy and understanding. You need to be patient with Prof. Aderinoye and understand his mien and sensibility to get along with him.
It is at the University of Ibadan that our paths crossed in the early 80s. He was much older than me, although I never knew then. He was in Mellanby Hall while I was in Kuti. We both had friends in both halls so we constantly met during visits to the respective halls. He was always in hurry; he had no patience with those who couldn’t keep pace with his religious activities as he moved from one MSSN activity to another in and outside of Ibadan. Always restless, he used to move from one Hall to the other from one room to the other to seek the wellbeing of everyone and the progress of all of us, always reminding us our obligations as muslims especially to observe congregational prayers together. Initially, I thought that he was a student in the Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies! So I developed a distant respect for me even as I tried to avoid his type of ‘fanatical’ Muslim. He once wondered at my own solat were always very short and quick. I replied that Allah accepts my supplication, whether short or long, quick or prolonged! In the years to come, our relationship became more bonded through his association with the family of late Alhaji Atitola Adedigba, my in-law from igboora.
Prof Aderinoye hardly observed weekends on campus since he was already a responsible married man by the time he was admitted to the university On a particular Sunday I was going for the meeting of Sigma Club in Tedder Hall he met me at the book shop/ Trenchard Hall area he asked me curious “brother Gani which tie is this and where am I going?” When I told him that I was going for a meeting of Sigma Club he had never heard of the Club and at any rate his mission in the university was to obtain a degree and also be a sound practising muslim. My friend with whom I was going to the meeting burst into hilarious laughter! Days after that encounter, he developed a coldness towards me as if being a member of a social club negates our religious tenets. Stubborn as I was, I had no worries. Our relationship became strained from that time and he no longer cared very much about me again. Either at MSS meeting or at the mosque or whenever he visited other muslims in Kuti Hall, he no longer greeted me with the usual conviviality of the past. It was in this strained relationship that we parted as undergraduates from the university in the mid ‘80s.
Alhaji Aderinoye is a successful family man devoted to the training of his children all of whom are happily married. He cares a lot for the children of others. He has the energy and strength to visit children of other friends in Ibadan every weekend. He makes telephone calls to those outside Ibadan and outside Nigeria. Oftentimes, he has update on those children more than their parents! When he was Deputy Executive Secretary of UBEC and later Executive Secretary, National Commission for Nomadic Education, his reach, benevolence and support for others was legendary. He deliberately cultivated the art of lifting and helping others without religious bias. He has a particular way of ministering to the need of everyone without making noise about it I called that I followed him to UBEC at a time when another friend was the ES it was obvious that he enjoyed popular rating from the way he was being dragged everywhere by the staff
Rasheed Aderinoye was born in the rustic town of Ifetedo. He attended primary school at the Local Authority Modern School, Teacher Training College, Ota and thereafter obtained GCE O’ and A’ levels certificates, all in flying colours. A grassroots man, he has fully integrated into Ibadan because he married my sister, a most amazingly dutiful home builder, Alhaja Biliqis Aderinoye! A prodigious and sound academic that radiates native intelligence and draws strength and prominence from what could otherwise be ignored in his area of specialization, Professor Aderinoye has been both blessing and inspiration to so many. in the real sense of intellectualism, he is retiring at seventy but he is not yet tired, his eyes are still sharp, his reflexes belie his true age. I am absolutely hopeful that Professor Aderinoye will find something challenging to occupy him after months of well-deserved rest and deep reflections on “What Next”.
Congratulations sir, and best wishes. Ire o!
Dr. Gani Adeniran
Dept of Veterinary Pathology
University of Ibadan