Baba Teacher: The Epic Life of Pa Emmanuel Adesanya Abiodun

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Baba Teacher: The Epic Life of Pa Emmanuel Adesanya Abiodun

Baba Teacher: The Epic Life of  Pa Emmanuel Adesanya Abiodun
September 03
08:11 2021

Why Gov. Dapo Abiodun, Siblings Have Big Shoes to Fill

His long, steady march to academic, administrative excellence

Alive, Pa Emmanuel Adesanya Abiodun radiated a glow inside of him that never seemed to dim. It shined brilliantly and true, brightening his immediate world and framing the angelic girth that sheltered his persona. His values, like a transcendental cloak, served as a furrowed pillow to his ethics and windows to a soul that captivated everyone that came across him. Deceased, Pa Adesanya assumes a larger than life presence in the lives of his loved ones. As family, friends, and colleagues extol the virtues of the man who raised Governor Dapo Abiodun, among others, LANRE ALFRED explores the core of his unparalleled citizenship of humanity.

Angels fly because they take themselves lightly. They do not think too much of themselves, so did Pa Emmanuel Adesanya Abiodun in his lifetime. Like a dedicated seraph, he put his family and work first, in the true spirit of compassion and professionalism.

There is no gainsaying Pa Adesanya belonged to the pantheon of Nigeria’s most accomplished patriots and national icons. He assumed without hesitation, temperance and humility in the shape of a cloak and badge of honour, respectively.

These were instrumental to his attainments as a family man, dream maker and educationist. Pa Adesanya was led by uncommon will and commitment to excellence, filial ties, and continuity of the Nigerian project via progressive contributions from academics.

By many quantitative metrics, Pa Adesanya proved himself the quintessential educationist. By qualitative metrics, he was no less impressive. Arguably one of Nigeria’s most efficient and celebrated academics, he displayed the track record of an impressive leader. He was soft-spoken yet charismatic, logical yet passionate.

Born on February 23, 1932, to Isaac and Alice Abiodun, in Itasanyin, Iperu Remo, Ogun State, Pa Adesanya attended St. James’ Anglican School, Iperu between 1948 and 1950, where he obtained his First School Leaving Certificate. He then proceeded to St. Paul’s Grade III Teacher’s College, Abeokuta from 1951-1952.

Soon after he commenced his teaching career as a Grade III teacher at St. Paul’s Anglican School, Odogbolu in 1953, Pa Abiodun then went to St. Luke’s Grade II Teacher Training College, Ibadan between 1955 and 1956. Three years later, he joined the Joint Provincial Grade II Teacher Training College, Sagamu as Tutor. Baba had a stint as a teacher at Christ Apostolic Grammar School, Iperu, before returning to Joint Provincial College in 1962.

He subsequently acquired a Bachelor of Arts (B.A) English Language and Literature  from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State. He also holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE), Master of Arts in Education (M.A.ED) and a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Education (Guidance and Counselling), all from OAU.

In 1971, he became a lecturer at the Adeyemi College of Education, Ondo, where he spent the next 28 years, imparting knowledge and moulding future leaders before retiring in 1999.

At the College, he rose to become the Head, Department of English; Dean, School of Arts; Head, Department of Education Foundation and Counselling; Dean, School of Education; Director, Institute of Academic Extension Services; and Head, Department of Educational Foundation and Management.

Pa Adesanya never set limits to possibilities of success throughout his career as an academic and educational administrator’s. He challenged and inspired every member of his faculty at the Adeyemi College of Education, in Ondo, to always perform at their optimum and reinvent themselves. Many of his colleagues and subordinates attest that he was a great administrator, role model and ambassador of the academic community.

He was also a master of innovation. His ingenious approaches to educational administration and pedagogy attest to his depth, high professionalism, and work ethic.

All through his lifetime and tenure as an academic and administrator, he remained committed to the highest standard of professional and academic excellence. There is no gainsaying Pa Adesanya established himself as a super administrator. He seemed to relish challenging situations in which he could distinguish himself and demonstrate resourcefulness and ingenuity.

His associates and colleagues claimed he seemed hard-wired to attack conflict and administrative problems and resolve them, even in circumstances that many would cringe and seek the safest way out.

Pa Adesanya, however, was neither reckless nor impulsive, he simply sought, from the beginning of his career, to fulfil the demands and obligations of his calling, like a true patriot and professional.

Aside from his sterling contributions in school operations and academic management, he was also committed to the spiritual well-being and development of his family.

He painstakingly nurtured the bonds of strong filial love with his immediate and extended family members. He paid a listening ear to his children from childhood till they matured into their adulthood; to the extent that they chose him as their personal confidant and mentor.

His capacity to bond with his loved ones and sustain enduring filial ties with them may however be traced to his relationship with his father. Though he was born to disciplinarian parents, Pa Adesanya’s father, Isaac, endeavoured to give him adequate attention and guidance emblematic of a perfect father-son relationship.

Thus he was simply paying it forward while he devoted similar time and affection to his own children. Ogun State governor, Dapo Abiodun, for instance, enthused that he learnt most of his leadership traits from his late father, best friend, mentor and confidant, Pa Adesanya.

“My father taught at different levels of education. Education was his first love and teaching his ministry. He was disciplined and focused. He used his profession to affect lives positively. I learnt humility from my father because he always believed that life is transient and that we must impact positively on others,” Abiodun said of his father.

The governor also recalled his late father’s counsel on the welfare of workers and retirees. He said, “When he came for my swearing-in ceremony, he said to me, ‘These pensioners, ensure that you make their payment on time. These teachers ensure you give them an opportunity to excel in their profession; provide for them that enabling environment, he said.’ And thirdly, he said, ‘The civil servants, ensure you pay their salaries as and when due, even before the end of the month.’ Those were the three things my father asked of me and those things I take seriously.”

In a thought-provoking statement about the deceased, former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, said, “The lesson from this is that one day we will be no more. It does not matter how long we live, but how well we lived. What will people say about you? Baba lived a life of service to his community, God and his family. From what we have heard and what we know of Baba, we can testify that Baba gave his life to service. He gave his life to service to his family, his community, his country and to God.”

There is no gainsaying Pa Adesanya contributed immensely to society via his teaching career. While his peers changed their personalities and honed their skills to conform with the dictates and challenges presented by the odds, Abiodun found equilibrium by staying true to his values and innate capacities.

He pitched his stake in the turbulent grounds and battle zones of academic management with an ambitious bid to make the world recognize his presence and his exploits and eventually seek him out.

Pa Adesanya succeeded in his bid by his unusual approach to scholarship and his ability to identify and hatch practical solutions to daunting realities in his academic terrain.

While many of his rivals and contemporaries were obsessed with making money from the confusion characteristic of the country’s dysfunctional system, he  deployed moral, fair and humane administrative culture.

His strategic leadership model though fundamentally designed to make self-reliant heroes and patriots out of students, sought to increase his school’s positive contributions to nationhood by grooming and producing a ceaseless stream of leadership materials.

Early in life, he displayed foresight of a possible, hopeful prosperous future, despite all odds. Although it was mostly a sense of curiosity about the unknown that first led him through adolescence to adulthood, he persistently found himself astonished at the trials and ceaseless upsets that life continually threw on his path. But he triumphed like a true hero.

Every challenge loomed menacingly before him but at every encounter with trials, Pa Adesanya glowered back, defiantly. His resolute will to triumph against all odds and make a success of himself spurred him to rail and move against fear where all else was still. His obstinacy and determination to survive for his sake and that of his loved ones had the effect of a real spirit, an inspiring revolt against the brute force of the world.

His struggle for accomplishment amid the vortex of odds in which he was cast, necessitated a summoning of his innate strength and hunger to triumph.

The ceaseless interplay of his passion and will against the odds later forged in him that towering streak by which he qualified as an interesting mortal entity in his lifetime, and a timeless inspiration even after he departed this world.

Sadly, on Monday, August 2, 2021, Baba Teacher passed on at the age of 89 years. He survived by his beautiful wife, Madam Victoria Abiodun  and four children, Dapo, Sade, Seye and Seyi.


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