Happy Birthday to a Wonderful Teacher- Prof. Dipo Kolawole

By Dr Mike Omilusi

Professor Dipo Kolawole is a Political Science scholar and former Vice Chancellor, Ekiti State University- a quintessential administrator and fabulous teacher with marvelous sense of humour. His class was always an intellectual hub for young minds in POS 101. In year one, he introduced us to different Political Scientists -through his varied definitions (of concepts)- including Joseph Lapalombara, a name I would later be called by course/hostel mates owing to my endless (or is it needless?) reference to him during many symposia in which I was speaker on campus in the mid-90s.

Prof. Dipo Kolawole

His penchant for spontaneity- regardless of the nutty nature of the enquiry- is unparalleled. The ability to keep a straight face while keeping his students rolling with laughter is what many of us were unable to unravel. Needless to say, no one could escape his jibes too.

One day, I drove to school in my official car to attend his masters’ class; he had watched me through the window with some fictitious seriousness. I rushed to the class, scrambling for a seat. His monitoring look of me had provoked laughter already among other students. And after I had settled down and ready to listen to him, he said: young man, when will you drop this ambulance and make a career out of your existence? I was speechless! Imagine someone referring to my official car with which I cruised the town- envy of thousands of jobless graduates then- as ambulance!

Apart from the degrees I obtained from the Obafemi Awolowo University and International Institute of Journalism, DK supervised all my academic Theses (BSc, MSc and PhD). When I temporarily opted out of the civil society work as a Democracy Monitor, he graciously offered me a platform to fully activate the latent intellectual part of me. He does not hide his love for me.

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Two things can be readily drawn from his personality as scholar: (1) One doesn’t need to be a sycophant (in the guise of feeble loyalty) for him to discover one’s potential (2) it doesn’t take one so long to realise that academic engagement is not all about intellectual ruggedness or pitiful physical appearance. A scholar can still look good in nice African attires (must we even dress like Oyinbo in order to impact knowledge?), without necessarily losing his/her logical reasoning!

Happy Birthday, Sir

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