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Let me thank the numerous readers of this column for your text messages on last week's piece, "Who lied"? I am sure that we will find space to pubish as many of them as possible shortly. It is all too easy for the columnist to comment week after week on the sickening putrefaction, vileness and sheer idiocy that characterizes the Nigerian polity.

 

Or, what do we make, for instance, of members of the country's apex judicial disciplinatory and regulatory body, the National Judicial Council (NJC), not only allegedly trying every trick in the book to avoid being served litigation notices but going ahead to purportedly suspend Justice Ayo Salami, President of the Court of Appeal, (PCA) from office? And this for reasons so deficient in fact and logic that any school boy would laugh in derision at the pitiable characters behind this utter madness and ultimatively self destructive impunity.

 

But today, I write not about the ugliness of contemporary Nigeria but one of the beautiful ones that still abound, even if silently, in our midst. We must beware of falling into the type of pessimistic trap we find in the Ghanian novelist, Ayi Kwei Armah's classic, "The Beautiful ones are not yet born"; a work that vividly captures the moral rottenness that characterized the last year's of Kwame Nkrumah in office.

 

Although he averred that the "Beautyful ones are not yet born", Armah's leading character in the book is an unnamed man who maintains his moral integrity and refuses to give or receive bribes despite the most intense family and societal pressures. He was certainly a beautiful one in spite of his lowly station in life.

 

No matter the degree of decadence in which any nation is trapped, there are still always some beautiful ones, even if a microscopic minority, who give hope that a better, saner society is possible.

 

One such person is one of the country's most eminent political scientists; a committed, meticulous, industrious and passionate academic who has dedicated the last forty years to cultivating the life of the mind. I write of none other than Professor Bayo Adekanye who 

clocked 70 yesterday.

 

Professor Adekanye has touched and added value to the lives of thousands of students who passed through his fulfilling, even if exacting, tutelage at the famous political science department of the University of Ibadan. I am indeed very proud to be one of them.

 

I can still picture Prof. promptly arriving at his office at 8 am every morning and not living for home until late in the evening. His ubiquitous, inseparable companion was that flask of teaming hot coffee dutifully prepared for him by his loving wife, Professor Tomi Adekanye, herself a distinguished professor of Agriculture who recently retired from the services of the University of Ibadan.

 

Professor Adekanye was an engaging and most exciting teacher. He taught his classes with passionate fervour and did everything to ensure that his students understood the ideas he was trying to pass across. Prof's undisguised love for political science, referred to by Aristotle as the master science, was infectious.

 

In spite of his compassionate nature, however, Professor Adekanye was a thorough scholar and teacher who had little patience for shoddiness or mediocrity. He tasked you to the limits but at the end of the day you realized it was all for your good.

 

For instance, for his political theory class, Prof. insisted that we read and digest Thomas Kuhn's not too easy book, "The structure of Scientific Revolutions"; a book described by the Times Literary Supplement as one of "The hundred most influential books since the Second World War".

 

As I grappled with this work striving to come to terms with the history of science, the trajectory of scientific enterprise and the revolutionary revisions arising from paradigmatic changes, I often wondered what this had to do with political science but at the end of it I thought it was a rewarding endeavour afterall.

 

When I wanted to write my first degree research project, which was a critique of Chief Obafemi Awolowo's political thought, it was only natural that I chose Professor Adekanye to my supervisor.

 

I was overjoyed when this was accepted by the Department. There were four of us assigned to Prof. I can still remember our first meeting with him before the commencement of our research. Ushering us warmly into his office, Prof proceeded to lock the door with his key.

 

Had we committed some crime I wondered quietly to myself. Then Prof picked up a chalk from his table, walked to the black board and wrote the word PLAGIARISM in bold letters. Turning to face us, Prof said most solemnly: gentle men, the first thing you must know in academic work is that plagiarism is the academic equivalent of bank embezzlement. Prof uttered the words "bank embezzlement" with utter disgust and disdain evident on his face.

 

I am sure that if any student is told today that plagiarism is the academic equivalent of bank embezzlement, he would embrace the vice with relish and great excitement hoping it will bring the kind of mind boggling wealth associated with bank executives today. Ah! This surely is a different Nigeria.

 

Professor Adekanye's insistence on the highest standards of academic integrity is only a reflection of the elevated moral values that guide every sphere of his life. His specialization in the field of civil- military relations, strategic studies and conflict resolution has, over the years enabled him enjoy the acquaintance of top military officers and others in the corridors of power.

 

Yet, Prof. never sought any political appointment or lucrative contracts; not even during military rule. He was one of the leading members of the Nigerian Political Science Association (NPSA) who insisted on the sanctity of the annulled June 12 mandate and the restoration of democracy in the country.

 

This was not an easy position for Adekanye and his like minded colleagues to take especially when they saw the conspicuously exhibited opulence by their erstwhile colleagues who were shamelessly in bed with the military oligarchs.

 

A scholar of international distinction, Professor Adekanye did the country proud when he was appointed to the faculty of the International Peace Research Institute, Norway after a vigorous competition featuring scores of professors from every continent in the world.

 

Having served with distinction and completing his term, Prof. returned to Nigeria and was appointed Consulting Coordinator, Policy Analysis and Strategic Planning Unit of ECOWAS as well being a Security analyst in the office of the Vice President of the institution.

 

One of the most prolific contemporary scholars with hundreds of journals in the field of political science, he is a fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Social Sciences, the highest honor that can be achieved by any social scientist in Nigeria.

 

When I told Mr. Odia Ofeimun over a week ago of Professor Adekanye's birthday, the celebrated poet and public intellectual re-called: Ah! we used to know prof as Adekson in those days.

 

But 70 is the age when the academic really starts to blossom. He can look at the whole terrain of his field and make magisterial and authoritative pronouncements that expand the horizons of knowledge. I wish prof. well. Yes, Prof. is retired but definitely not tired.

 

He is currently on the faculty of Babcock University doing what he knows best imparting knowledge to young minds. I wish you a very Happy Birthday sir. Surely, it is morning yet on creation day and the best is yet to come.

Let me thank the numerous readers of this column for your text messages on last week's piece, "Who lied"? I am sure that we will find space to pubish as many of them as possible shortly. It is all too easy for the columnist to comment week after week on the sickening putrefaction, vileness and sheer idiocy that characterizes the Nigerian polity.

Or, what do we make, for instance, of members of the country's apex judicial disciplinatory and regulatory body, the National Judicial Council (NJC), not only allegedly trying every trick in the book to avoid being served litigation notices but going ahead to purportedly suspend Justice Ayo Salami, President of the Court of Appeal, (PCA) from office? And this for reasons so deficient in fact and logic that any school boy would laugh in derision at the pitiable characters behind this utter madness and ultimatively self destructive impunity.

But today, I write not about the ugliness of contemporary Nigeria but one of the beautiful ones that still abound, even if silently, in our midst. We must beware of falling into the type of pessimistic trap we find in the Ghanian novelist, Ayi Kwei Armah's classic, "The Beautiful ones are not yet born"; a work that vividly captures the moral rottenness that characterized the last year's of Kwame Nkrumah in office.

Although he averred that the "Beautyful ones are not yet born", Armah's leading character in the book is an unnamed man who maintains his moral integrity and refuses to give or receive bribes despite the most intense family and societal pressures. He was certainly a beautiful one in spite of his lowly station in life.

No matter the degree of decadence in which any nation is trapped, there are still always some beautiful ones, even if a microscopic minority, who give hope that a better, saner society is possible.

One such person is one of the country's most eminent political scientists; a committed, meticulous, industrious and passionate academic who has dedicated the last forty years to cultivating the life of the mind. I write of none other than Professor Bayo Adekanye who 
clocked 70 yesterday.

Professor Adekanye has touched and added value to the lives of thousands of students who passed through his fulfilling, even if exacting, tutelage at the famous political science department of the University of Ibadan. I am indeed very proud to be one of them.

I can still picture Prof. promptly arriving at his office at 8 am every morning and not living for home until late in the evening. His ubiquitous, inseparable companion was that flask of teaming hot coffee dutifully prepared for him by his loving wife, Professor Tomi Adekanye, herself a distinguished professor of Agriculture who recently retired from the services of the University of Ibadan.

Professor Adekanye was an engaging and most exciting teacher. He taught his classes with passionate fervour and did everything to ensure that his students understood the ideas he was trying to pass across. Prof's undisguised love for political science, referred to by Aristotle as the master science, was infectious.

In spite of his compassionate nature, however, Professor Adekanye was a thorough scholar and teacher who had little patience for shoddiness or mediocrity. He tasked you to the limits but at the end of the day you realized it was all for your good.

For instance, for his political theory class, Prof. insisted that we read and digest Thomas Kuhn's not too easy book, "The structure of Scientific Revolutions"; a book described by the Times Literary Supplement as one of "The hundred most influential books since the Second World War".

As I grappled with this work striving to come to terms with the history of science, the trajectory of scientific enterprise and the revolutionary revisions arising from paradigmatic changes, I often wondered what this had to do with political science but at the end of it I thought it was a rewarding endeavour afterall.

When I wanted to write my first degree research project, which was a critique of Chief Obafemi Awolowo's political thought, it was only natural that I chose Professor Adekanye to my supervisor.

I was overjoyed when this was accepted by the Department. There were four of us assigned to Prof. I can still remember our first meeting with him before the commencement of our research. Ushering us warmly into his office, Prof proceeded to lock the door with his key.

Had we committed some crime I wondered quietly to myself. Then Prof picked up a chalk from his table, walked to the black board and wrote the word PLAGIARISM in bold letters. Turning to face us, Prof said most solemnly: gentle men, the first thing you must know in academic work is that plagiarism is the academic equivalent of bank embezzlement. Prof uttered the words "bank embezzlement" with utter disgust and disdain evident on his face.

I am sure that if any student is told today that plagiarism is the academic equivalent of bank embezzlement, he would embrace the vice with relish and great excitement hoping it will bring the kind of mind boggling wealth associated with bank executives today. Ah! This surely is a different Nigeria.

Professor Adekanye's insistence on the highest standards of academic integrity is only a reflection of the elevated moral values that guide every sphere of his life. His specialization in the field of civil- military relations, strategic studies and conflict resolution has, over the years enabled him enjoy the acquaintance of top military officers and others in the corridors of power.

Yet, Prof. never sought any political appointment or lucrative contracts; not even during military rule. He was one of the leading members of the Nigerian Political Science Association (NPSA) who insisted on the sanctity of the annulled June 12 mandate and the restoration of democracy in the country.

This was not an easy position for Adekanye and his like minded colleagues to take especially when they saw the conspicuously exhibited opulence by their erstwhile colleagues who were shamelessly in bed with the military oligarchs.

A scholar of international distinction, Professor Adekanye did the country proud when he was appointed to the faculty of the International Peace Research Institute, Norway after a vigorous competition featuring scores of professors from every continent in the world.

Having served with distinction and completing his term, Prof. returned to Nigeria and was appointed Consulting Coordinator, Policy Analysis and Strategic Planning Unit of ECOWAS as well being a Security analyst in the office of the Vice President of the institution.

One of the most prolific contemporary scholars with hundreds of journals in the field of political science, he is a fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Social Sciences, the highest honor that can be achieved by any social scientist in Nigeria.

When I told Mr. Odia Ofeimun over a week ago of Professor Adekanye's birthday, the celebrated poet and public intellectual re-called: Ah! we used to know prof as Adekson in those days.

But 70 is the age when the academic really starts to blossom. He can look at the whole terrain of his field and make magisterial and authoritative pronouncements that expand the horizons of knowledge. I wish prof. well. Yes, Prof. is retired but definitely not tired.

He is currently on the faculty of Babcock University doing what he knows best imparting knowledge to young minds. I wish you a very Happy Birthday sir. Surely, it is morning yet on creation day and the best is yet to come.