By Hon. Olumuyiwa Wahab Jimoh
“Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify the name of your father in heaven”
While it is good to be a light, it is however not sufficient if we hide our lights from shining not only for ourselves but for the people around us.
It is also critical that our light create sparks of vision in the minds and hearts of men and women we come in contact with so that our lights will shine on their paths and lead them on the journey of self-discovery that would propel them into innovations for building better systems of governance for more functional societies.
Today, I celebrate an erudite scholar, a cerebral intellectual; an effective teacher; a very humane individual and indeed a deep thinker and philosopher of the Marxist bent who is an embodiment of everything I have said about light. One who bestrode the academic community; like a colossus refusing to be cowed by retrogressive and antebellum forces that arose in contestation of his well-known avowals and commitment to his leftist beliefs and ideology.
Professor Osisioma Nwolise who until few days ago was a Political Science Lecturer at the University of Ibadan where he held several positions both in the Department and in the Faculty of Social Sciences taught various courses but his forte was Political theory. It was in most of his classes that some of us came in contact with Marxian thoughts and the different contending philosophies that shape our perception of social realities.
As he retires from the University, it is important that we celebrate his passage from structured Academia having attained the statutory and mandatory retirement age of 70 years. In blowing his trumpet which we know he would not want to do himself, given his humble disposition, we would want others to see the light which his time in the citadel of learning brought to many Nigerian youth. In doing this, others will be encouraged to follow in his well-respected footsteps.
As a lecturer, he was available to all the students especially most of us on the left of the ideological divide. He was not an armchair philosopher but was always involved in giving assistance to us even as we engaged in the struggle for the emancipation of our nation from the gyres of retrogression and underdevelopment. He patiently listened to us and supported our actions as student union leaders and as activists involved in the struggle. This is despite the apparent cost to his career path.
He is Igbo but most of us his students were from other sections of the country. He never showed any signs that we were not his brothers or any other biases. Very blind to ethnic and other primordial sentiments and this he taught most of us by his exemplary relationship with us. This he has continued demonstrating since all these years that we have come to know him. His standard and principles know neither tribe nor religion. Eventually, we have all become inured to the allure of ethnic and religious sentiments as a result. He was molding true Nigerian patriots and was committed to these ideals. We doff our hats for you Sir!
A man of many parts; he left the University of Ibadan for a very short stay with the Nigeria Defence Academy (NDA) Kaduna. He taught various courses here where he stayed for four years which included amongst others military strategy and tactics. His contributions to the intellectual growth of the Academy led to the injection of an understanding within the cadets of a world view that is broad and entirely holistic.
In a conservative institution like the military with narrow and highly regimented perspectives, academics of the Leftist bent may find such environment suffocating thus less intellectually stimulating. We are sure that such objective realities must have explained his informed exit from the Defence Academy back to the University of Ibadan where he continued his intellectual odyssey.
In Professor Ndubuisi, we have a detribalized Nigerian who is very comfortable with everybody no matter the part of the nation from where you come from. He is always ready to engage us in any subject especially on issues that relate with Politics and its accompanying but overlapping Social Sciences. He sought our perspectives and does not frown or derogate our positions but skillfully presents his viewpoints allowing the light of his thoughts to shine on your position exposing its dark spots thus illuminating our understanding. That was how he engaged us and that is how he still engages any conversation that he is involved in. He has a very engaging and absorbing open mind to issues be it academic, national or personal.
Professor Osisioma may be considered a lecturer but to some of us who drank and are still drinking from his deep fountains, he is a mentor and a teacher. His lights have guided us and caused the different Eureka moments that we experienced both inside and outside the University. He has let his lights to brightly light the way for our then young minds infusing its brightness into our souls that our lights began to shine brightly.
As he drops his gown, we are sure that he is not done with the Academia. He is not such a person to stop his philosophical inquiries. His quests for newer frontiers of knowledge can never be limited by the four walls of the University community. Rather, he will find his exit from the University of Ibadan as only an exit from the restrictions of the structured university environment. He will see it as an opportunity to indulge in what sometimes he calls “intellectual eclectism”.
However, we are convinced that this much sought after teacher would be poached by several Academic institutions that hunger for knowledge and where his skills and intellect would be much needed. University of Ibadan to him has become a phase in his life that must of necessity come to an end so that other vistas would be opened. He did a very good work in the University and most of us his students of which I am one attest to.
We wish him well as he journeys through this next phase of his life with the usual refrain; retired but not tired. Prof. is still very much relevant and will continue bringing his great talents to further the interest of humanity and Nigeria in particular. His community needs him; his state desires him and Nigeria would very much expect his services in the various fields of our national life. Like they say, men who are in the academia grow like wine with age; they become sweeter thus prof. with age becomes deeper and this is the most opportune time for our nation especially in these times when we seek a more potent direction for our nation’s politics for the talents of such eggheads to be tapped to deepen our various national discourses.
We join hands with other well-wishers and indeed the University of Ibadan community especially comrades from other institutions who also drank from his spring of waters to say THANK YOU SIR! MAY YOUR LIHGT CONTINUE SHINNING!.
- Hon.Olumuyiwa Jimoh is The Deputy Majority Leader Representing Apapa constituency 2