By Ademola Adedoyin
“When one is diligent on his job and he is Godly in his disposition and relationship with his fellow man, the sky is not even the limit for him. No doubt, this is a great attainment, but rest assured that, In sha Allah, greater accomplishments lie ahead.”
– Ademola Adedoyin, on Prof Yusuf’s recent appointment as VC, Al-Hikmah University Diligence. Serenity. Level-headedness.
Those three words aptly describe our subject. They sum up the personality and the characteristics of the man of the moment.
Professor Noah Yusuf, the Sociology scholar, outstanding academic and university administrator recently appointed as the Vice-Chancellor of Al-Hikmah, University, Ilorin, has proven that truly, as the Book of Proverbs in the Bible noted when a man is skilled in his work, he will stand before kings, he will not stand before obscure men.
Without being immodest, this writer will, perhaps, pride himself as one of the most qualified to do a character sketch on the gentleman who, from modest beginnings, through diligence, untiring pursuits of excellence and, above all, grace of God, has climbed the academic ladder to the top, in a career that has spanned a little over two decades.
In a brotherly relationship that has spanned 45 unbroken years, and that does not include the primary school years, one has come to appreciate the essence and attributes of this academic gentle giant whose life is a lesson in God’s grace and man’s tenacity to climb the success ladder to the top.
The year was 1975. Precisely Friday, September 5th. That was the day yours truly left his beloved Okeya-Ipo for Omupo Grammar School to commence his secondary school education. A year earlier, 1974 that is, Professor Noah Yusuf had arrived the same institution and had already adjusted to life in a boarding school by the time one got in a year after.
I arrived Omupo Grammar School to the welcoming arms of three senior students: Ganiyu Akande, final year student, who magnanimously immediately became my college father, my caring, beloved sister, Sikirat Ronke Amolegbe, a Form 2 student, and, of course, Noah Yusuf, also a form 2 student.
With these three, settling down to boarding school life and class works was made seamless and stress-free.
At that early stage of our lives, Noah’s caring attitude, peaceful disposition and genuine concern for the plight of others stood out. While yours sincerely was on the lively, sociable, brilliant but restless side, Noah was reserved, contemplative and studious. Even at that early stage, he was a sort of restraint factor, who tried to rein in the restless spirit in the newcomer who appeared to be too much at home than his ‘hosts.’
Throughout our remarkable and exciting sojourn at OGS, I am sure there was no one who could suggest, let alone allude to any infraction against the school’s rules and regulations by Noah. Not just that he was studious and focused, he was obedient and law-abiding.
Noah was too serene, quiet and affable to cause any upset. One would not be surprised if some students who were in school with us didn’t know him or couldn’t recall who that was. He was just a man at peace with himself and who wanted to just excel in his chosen path without causing a stir.
When he left OGS in 1979, it was only a matter of short time for us to reunite again. He gained admission to the School of Basic Studies, SBS, Kwara State College of Technology, Ilorin, in 1979 for his Higher School Certificate, HSC studies. Yours sincerely joined him in 1980.
If Noah’s protective disposition at OGS made one’s academic odyssey at OGS high yielding, his brotherly guidance and love at Ilorin was no less so. We got even closer at Ilorin as were roommates and had to share a lot of our items together. A gentle and organized soul who is a stickler for all the rules, he had to endure the carefree, and, at times, the disorganized temperament of his brother. His lecture notes were handy to make up for lectures that were missed.
In spite of his organized, quiet nature, he tolerated Mola and his crowd who could even make studying in the room unbearable for him once in a while. And when we were out of pocket for reasons not too valid to disclose, Noah’s meal tickets came handy.
Even after parting ways in further pursuit of our academic, professional and work careers, we never lost touch. Prof possesses lofty and noble ideals and can be tenacious in the pursuit of them. It may not be wrong to say that he probably has found a similar trait in this writer, hence his love for running ideas by him for his inputs, especially when they relate to our community and the issues of our nation.
I still recall the two idealists sitting over a portable typewriter at his elder brother’s clock/wristwatch shop at Oyingbo, fashioning out how we will form a club that will be a reference point in our community. That was how Dynamic Club, Okeya-Ipo was born. That was the club that drew up the proposal that was used to organized the first Okeya Day in 1994. The club and its members have continued to make themselves available for valuable community service.
Professor Yusuf’s style reflects his personality. He’s deliberately serene and gentle. He does not seek to force his view on you but to logically win you over to his position. But beneath that gentle mien, is a man of steely resolve. Once he is convinced about his cause of action, I pity he who thinks he can persuade him to the contrary. It is not just that he will not engage you further, he will execute his conviction to the last letter.
It is for this reason that one is convinced that the Al-Hikmat university authorities just made a great choice in Professor Yusuf. If the person you need to run a university is a man of great erudition, of steely conviction, noble deeds, moral values and peaceful disposition, you have one in this affable fellow.
I say Congratulations to Al-Hikmah University and to the brand new VC. Ademola Adedoyin Otunba Onigegewura of Esieland.