By Jummai Oluyede-Mohammed
When I was asked to write a speech, I was told to write about Prof and relate it to the topic “live to learn.”
This is a topic I didn’t have to dig deep or search out an interesting way to write. This topic which is a phrase is simple, Period! And Prof is as simple as the phrase “Live to Learn”. But just like the topic, don’t let its simplicity fool you, as simple as the topic is, it is robust and deep! And just like Prof, in his simplicity is where you find a most remarkable individual.
Prof reminds me of Multifaceted pyramid. When you first meet him you see just one side but as you get closer you see different sides which represent many different expressions of the same pyramid. All these expressions coming from one location which stems from the pursuit of knowledge and an insatiable appetite for learning; if you meet Prof for 5 secs you will know this.
Prof is not just one thing, he is a retired paramilitary, an educationist, a gemologist, a scientist, a historian (on this one I have said he has to write a book) and YET a friend, a big brother, a mentor, and YET kind-hearted, a thoughtful person, a selfless individual and we can go on and on.
Another way to describe Prof is a masterpiece music composition that first starts as an uncomplicated and quiet tune but crescendos into an orchestral symphony. Many variations of the same composition yet undiscovered. By the time he is 70, we will have much more to say.
Anyway to proceed, even in his pursuit of knowledge and the many expressions of his learned self, Prof has remained consistent in one pursuit and that is the pursuit of growth; both of himself and of others.
“Live to learn”, there is no better way to describe Prof, a man who through selfless dedication for the advancement of growth, through the ideology of “we can do it together” has helped many of us grow.
Prof is a team builder and has built many teams. There is no better leader than one who cannot see the impossible, only the possibilities of achieving anything and everything. IMPOSSIBLE! Is just a word that doesn’t exist in his vocabulary. Once Prof thinks it, he believes it, pursues it and pushes all of us around him to achieve the reality of that possibility. Upon attainment we usually hear… wait for it… FANTASTIC!!!
This is a rare way of thinking and very few people I have come across embody this important principle. This reminds me of what Akiana Kramarik one of the world’s renowned artist and poet said when she painted the LIFE MAZE (a picture of many beautiful trees in the middle of a green grass embedded labyrinth).
“Sometimes it appears that we are planted like trees somewhere in the middle of the most bewildering maze of life without any map and without any way out. Because of exasperation, self-preservation, or domination, many have tried growing over the weakest and the youngest in order to see their own way out of the dead end. As soon as the first glimpse of the horizon becomes visible, we quickly get disillusioned that we will never be able to escape this meticulously managed labyrinth. It takes much time and maturity to find out that we need each other’s guidance and trust in order to make this intense lifetime to be purposeful and fulfilling. Only when we connect our roots and branches with one another, and only when we help others grow and reach higher, can we discover our best course through life. Indifference of our mistakes makes us different. Elegance of intelligence ensures challenges. We cannot complain to the possibility.
I speak not only for myself but for so many people, both old and young that Prof has connected with and inspired, pushed us and helped us attain that aspired “higher”. We treasure you and value our relationship with you.
We thank God for you and we also thank you for letting Him use you as an instrument for good!
To all seated today, in the words of Lev Vygotsky who was a Soviet psychologist, the founder of an unfinished Marxist theory of human cultural and bio-social development, he said, “Through others we become ourselves”; and in my own words, “when you see a life worthy of praise, emulate it”
Prof’s life is worthy of Praise so let’s emulate it! I leave you with this, “live to learn and in doing so, help others Grow.”
Thank you and have a FANTASTIC DAY!