Thursday, 1 May 2008

Professor Jadesola Akande

Rest in peace.

I remember those days in The University of Ibadan. Wandering the campus with my over sized glasses and my ankara tops. I was always in the Faculty of Arts hanging at the court yard listening to people talk and reading the notice boards. I made so many friends in that Faculty some who are still in my life today.
Sometimes I wish I had the courage to change from Law to Dramatic Art or something that 'ridiculous' or maybe Psychology or even drop out of school completely. I guess we would never know how that would have turned out.

During one of my numerous visit to the courtyard I read a notice about a talk at the Institute of African Studies if I can remember correctly and amongst the numerous speakers were 2 women who I admire greatly Professors Bolanle Awe and Jadesola Akande. I dragged my BBF Joc along to the event. Joc wasn't 'crazy' ( she had her head in her books) like me but would readily follow me to any of such symposiums, poetry reading, or seminars as long as there was food. I remember how we would go to the conference center on campus and seat listening to long talks which had no meaning or relevance to our Law of Torts or Jurisprudence just so we can have a drink and just hang around 'intellectuals'.Those days were fun.( This was before wind of fellowships blew and it was almost impossible to get away from any activity that wasn't church related. Story for another post)

I love life on campus. I had dreams yet unfulfilled. I could see myself be all that I want to be and much more. I look at these women and I knew I just had to reach out and grab it. I once took a job on campus doing research work for one of my Lecturers. I had to read loads and loads of books. I read so much about Prof Jadesola Akande and her late Husband Debo Akande. I would pause and wonder what the conversation would be like at the dinner table? How their children would relate to them? Both of them so brilliant in their own right. I have read s many interviews about about them and it was clear that she indeed knew how to juggle the many 'balls' we have to juggle as women and through it all never lost her sense of purpose.

She was very passionate about the falling standard of education. She was a disciplinarian. She was all to many. I remember my last encounter with her was at a talk she gave at the Lady Kofo Abayomi Hall in UI. I was in my final year and Joc and I went to listen to her speak in between lectures. She was talking about empowering the girl child and the pro life choices. She also talked about the importance of sex education. She told us she was constantly learning new things. She was learning to use the computer so she doesn't become outdated. I still have pictures from that event. It was the International Women's day.

She was at the event held in Lagos to celebrate Chief Gani Fawehinmi's 70th Birthday. To learn of her death in her sleep is shocking! I screamed in pain when I saw the Newspapers. I regret never walking up to her to say how much I admire her. I regret never going to the Onikan address of the NGO to see and volunteer like I wanted to so many times.

The lesson is clear there is no time like the present. Why leave till tomorrow what you can do today.

More than ever before I know now I have to set forth at dawn if I want to get to my destination. The road is long and the journey hard but then the race is not to the swift.

Rest in peace.