By Dr. Mahfouz A. Adedimeji
He is an embodiment of scholarship and intellectualism. Apart from his astounding depth as a scholar, his thoroughness as an academic and his uprightness as a Muslim, no one who encounters this admirable personality won’t be struck by his humility.
Prof. Noah Yusuf, the newly appointed Vice-Chancellor of Al-Hikmah University, Ilorin, symbolises the best that the University system can produce. And it is highly inspiring that the authorities of that fledgling University have again put a round peg in a round hole – wonderful!
I might have handed over to Prof. Yusuf as Director of the Centre for Peace and Strategic Studies, University of Ilorin, in November 2017, but we both know he is by far my senior, indeed my teacher. Yet, to Prof. Yusuf, I am “my Director” all the time we meet, just like our esteemed Registrar, Dr (Mrs) Folaranmi Olowoleni, a sobriquet that makes me uncomfortable.
Even to his current students and subordinates, Prof. Yusuf defers and accords maximum respect. When some people assume that I am humble, I chuckle that they haven’t met Prof. Noah and Prof. Isaac Albert, the first Director of CPSS, academic tigers that don’t proclaim their tigritude – they pounce when they have to. To this jolly good Fellow, like Mozart, humility is the true mark of a genius and what a genius he is!
I owe Prof. Yusuf a debt of gratitude. Since his emergence as Director, he has been using every available opportunity to honour me. May this richly deserved assignment be a preamble to greater honours in the womb of time for him.
On many occasions when he sought my counsel, I had a feeling he knew what to do but he just wanted to make me have a sense of importance. How would I say NO when he opted to drag me from Abuja in April last year to be a discussant of a lecture eminently delivered by Prof. Matt Meyer, Secretary General of the International Peace Research Association (IPRA)?
Or earlier, how would I object to his invitation that I also be a discussant of a lecture fantastically delivered by that doyen of law, Mallam Yusuf Ali, SAN, in October 2018? On account of that occasion, Mallam Ali had himself dragged me to Lagos to review a movie being premiered in December 2018 and to his Osun State University to deliver a major lecture in December 2019.
In a world that is dominated by gung-ho tactics and cut-throat competition, Prof. Yusuf’s mien and lifestyle make a huge difference. It is laudable that the easy-going, God-fearing and cool-headed are also shot up to encourage the young that they can be humble and gentle and still remain highly competitive by dint of faithfulness and hard work. No one needs to be Husspuppi to live happy!
A man I immensely appreciate for all his graciousness, I remember Prof. Yusuf told me he was applying for the position and I had nothing other than my prayers, which he deemed important. I think I am the first person he said he told, if I recollect right.
As my able, capable, amiable and sociable Director assumes office as Vice-Chancellor at one of the fastest growing private universities in Nigeria, Al-Hikmah University, my heart cannot contain the gushes of my joy.
May his steady steps to greater heights continue to translate to giant strides and may the Almighty Allah grant him a resoundingly successful tenure.
Ilaal amaami inshaaAllah.
All hail the Vice-Chancellor!
Dr. Mahfouz A. Adedimeji is a language specialist with research interests in pragmatics, stylistics, sociolinguistics and applied linguistics.
He holds a B.A. (Honours), M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in English Language from the University of Ilorin, Nigeria, where he is a faculty member.
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