By Joseph Ogunsemi

Saturday, July 10, 2010, no doubt, was a day of glory for Professor Olorunfemi Olaofe, as all sons and daughters of Are Ekiti, gathered at the town's hall to honour one of theirs, who through resilience, perseverance, determination and tenacity of purpose, jettisoned radio repairing, went back to school, read up to doctoral level, became a professor and appointed recently the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academics), University of Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State.

The civic reception and award of honour for Professor Olaofe, 63, which had in attendance, the wife of the awardee, Chief (Mrs ) Kikelomo Olaofe, the children; the town's monarch, His Royal Majesty, Oba Boluwade Adebiyi and Olori Bosede; Professor Femi Elegbeleye( Chairman of occasion); Barrister Dipo Anisulowo and Remi Olaofe, Chief Host and co- host respectively; Hon Taiwo Olatunbosun, who represented the Ekiti State Deputy Governor, Dr. Sikiru Tae Lawal; Hon Peter Ajayi, Mr.& Mrs Dele Adeleye, Rev. P.K Ajayi,Chief (Mrs) Tosin Aluko, Chairman Ado Local Government, Her Supervisor, Eben OLadimeji, Press Officer, Mr. O . Olujobi; Venerable Olu Ajayi, Hon Babade Ige, Secretary to Irepodun /Ifelodun Local Government Area, all Councilors and Supervisors of the Council; and the Olori of the Monarch of Ire Ekiti, Babade Abimbola.

All High Chiefs of Are Ekiti, including Chiefs Dayo Olubodun, Dayo Olugemo, Olawumi Olowojebutu, Ajayi Abifade and Patrick Ogunsemi and all Oloris, among others were present.Various town's and churches'

associations also had their members on seat. The Olaofe families, including Chief Peter OLaofe, Rev. O Olaofe, David Olaofe and Adeleye Olaofe also witnessed the event that lasted for about four hours.

The University of Ado Ekiti community was also well represented. Those include Professor J.F Jemiriye, who represented the Vice Chancellor, Professor Dipo Kolawole; Professor Eddy Olanipekun, Professor A. T.

Akintayo and a host of others who could not be identified.

In his opening prayer at the event, Venerable Olu Ajayi of St Andrew's Anglican Church, Are Ekiti, urged parents to always pray for God's favour for their wards. He made supplications to God to continue to bless Professor Olaofe and his family, saying “he is one of the Lord's anointed sons”

Are Ekiti anthem was chanted at the event, an aspect that drew accolades from the dignitaries at the occasion, prompting Professor Elegbeleye to direct the Are Progressive Union (APU) to codify it in a booklet to enable all sons and daughters of Are Ekiti to memorize it.

Professor Elegbeleye in his opening remark recalled how the awardee suffered while trying to do away with poverty. “The man we are celebrating today suffered in the past but through determination and dint of hard work he rose to his present position”, he said, urging Are people to train and counsel their wards.

Elegbeleye however lamented that most of the students from Are Ekiti did not apply for professional courses, pointing out that there was dearth of nurses from the town, who would not have experienced unemployment. He charged the well to do in the town to always assist their relations and the needy in the town, pleading with political appointees to do more.

Oba Adebiyi lauded the organizers of the event, saying “this type of reception is heartwarming. I am very grateful to the organizers. This is the type of thing I like see and hear about, not bickering and gossips that would not bring progress to the town. Enough is enough of complaints about others. You should work together to enhance the progress of our town. This is the town that has the highest number of professors in relation to population in the State”

Oba Adebiyi described Professor Olaofe as a man of destiny, who also made good use of the opportunity availed him by God. He recalled how Professor Olaofe participated in the supervision of the construction of the town hall where he was being hosted, “this is how God does his own thing. Prof never knew this type of reception would be done for him here when he was working round the clock supervising the foundation. We have heard so much from Professor Elegbeleye and I think there nothing to say other than to advise you all to always do good in your own interest. What has scattered us should bring us together and the forces that divide us should now unite us”

To Chief Dipo Anisulowo, the Chief host of the event, Professor Olaofe is a man of the people. ”we all need to emulate him .He is humble, simple and honest; he is always paying me visit such that I sometimes feel guilty of not returning such visits. Oga will come to my abode and I just want to know your condition. He is a wonderful man”, he said, promising to set up secondary school in the community, where Are Ekiti indigenes would pay minimal fees.

Representative of the UNAD Vice Chancellor, Professor J. F Jemiriye described Olaofe as “a big individual in the University, somebody you can't do without in UNAD. He got to his present position on merit, by a landslide election victory”. Professor Eddy Olanipekun of the department of chemistry added that “Professor Olaofe loves everybody irrespective of where you come from. That I am a professor today is his handiwork. He is a humble and respectful person. I pray that God will continue to be with him and family.

Hon Olatunbosun, who represented the State Deputy Governor applauded the tweam spirit with which he works with the Vice Chancellor, Professor Kolawole, saying “you are all doing well at UNAD and the government will continue to assist the institution. I am sure you appreciate Governor Segun Oni's administration that has increased your subvention. The governor is impressed with the situation at UNAD. More grease to your elbow sir. I am also happy with what people have been saying about you. God bless sir”.

Highpoint of the event was the reading of citation on Professor Olaofe by Barr. Joseph Ogunsemi, an indigene of the town. Excerpts of the citation go thus: “On the 12th December, 1947, a tiny baby christened Olorunfemi was born in Are Ekiti i9nto the polygamous Olaofe family….He was born into poverty. He did not start school early enough and when he entered Christ's school for his secondary education in January 1962, he had to withdraw in December 1963 when hen could not pay the 28 pounds fee. He then went to Lagos to enroll as a radio apprentice from January 1964 to December, 1966. When a relation of his, the late Professor Gabriel Remi Olaofe returned to Nigeria after his studies in London, he asked from Olorunfemi whether he would like to go back to school. He answered in the affirmative.

“He never went back to Christ's School but enrolled at Ekiti Parapo College, Ido Ekiti, where he completed his West African School Certificate education and made Grade One in 1969. He went to University of Ibadan for his first degree in Chemical Engineering and

passed out in Second Class Upper He went abroad with scholarships

to read for his Masters and doctoral degrees.
“Olaofe was very ou5tstanding in character and learning. He enjoyed Federal Government scholarship for his (1971-1974); Dutch Government scholarship for Masters programme(1975-77); Commonwealth scholarship for Ph. D programme in the United Kingdom(1991-1992) and the Third World Academy of Science (TWAS), Italy (1995-1998) “Professor Olaofe had taught in four universities and one polytechnic, all spanning 34 years, namely Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, The Federal Polytechnic, Ado Ekiti, University of Ilorin, Kwara State and the University of Ado Ekiti, where he was recently appointed the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academics).He had visited many countries, including United Kingdom, Holland, Germany, Poland, Italy, India and Belgium.

“The man we are celebrating today is an epitome of humility, resilience, handwork, discipline and vision. He is a man of destiny”

When it was time for Professor Olaofe to respond to all the eulogies, he affirmed all that were said about him and urged the gathering to rise for a minute to pray for the repose of the soul of his late brother, Professor Gabriel Olaofe; as well as for God's protection over the wife and children of his mentor, but for who, he would today remain a radio mechanic.

He thanked the organizers of the reception and urged people to always assist their relations and the needy around them.

Ogunsemi wrote in From Are Ekiti.