Welcome back to your favorite blog, I guess…..
Well, today we introduce a new writer on the blog; Mr Vi Davies (@schouse) . He introduces himself with a memoriam to a great mentor and teacher; one who he and many other Unilag students have benefited greatly from.
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With that said, I’ll leave you to Mr Davies to be inspired.
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JULY 1, 2011
It was a Friday, the last day of the week, and usually we were billed to have the regular early morning ECN 421 macroeconomics class with our teacher, Professor Tayo Fakiyesi who was also the current head of department at that time. I individually looked forward to this class, as for someone like myself that had been bearing a deep ideological-based grudged against the system of education I met in the University of Lagos; Professor Tayo’s class was a markedly different one from the lot and his intuitively analytical and concentric way of dispensing knowledge, especially given his attitude and persona as someone who wanted to be portrayed as a running stream of intellect that arrived at theories by dialectical discourse incorporating every possible facet of relevant thought, and the privilege to have been taught by the “only one in Lagos”, the secular cliché used by colleagues, students and sundry informed admirers alike to refer to his eminent position as the only professor of economics in all relevant academic institutions within the Lagos jurisdiction was for me a joy unbounded by the continuum of being well grounded in theory on one hand and the combined psychedelic and esoteric attributes of his learned persona on the other.
On this particular Friday, he had in characteristic fashion beat the heavy rains to attend class sooner than the vast majority of us despite the toll on his own health and having found only a few of his usually large audience in turn out, he took attendance and left, and our class representative later without grace passed on to us a replica expression on his face that meant he was angry, disappointed and disillusioned with behavior one wouldn’t have expected from students in the final decisive lap in the race towards obtaining the golden fleece.
But other than possible disciplinary and corrective measures, the day was to have stern, ill-fated and gravely wicked realities for us (am in tears as I remember this). By evening, while an ergodic section of us the male folks of our class held banter and wit in the Biobaku Hall of Residence, Dami Sanni, an executive member of our class came with a grave look bearing the grim, evil news. Before voicing it out in terse and graphic Yoruba “HOD ti sha laisi” (The HOD is dead), my mind had hazarded the worst probabilities and I had come to the same conclusion. In the grave solemnity and derailing effect of that moment, I broke down in shuddered tears as my philosophical faculties tried hard to grasp the fact that I would no more maintain a physical connection with a man whom against all of my own ideological whims of not maintaining a beyond formal relationship with my tutors, I began to take on as a friend, teacher and elder companion in the quest of making sense of this journey called life, although he was not aware of the last line of responsibility I bestowed on him.
So we all accepted the truth, made an offertory prayer for his repose and then I went to the bathroom to sob. So no more Tayo again, no more that man with desire to teach and inculcate only whatever made the UNILAG graduate the best in the world. And for consolation, I tried to provide a reason why fate would do this to me of all people and then the answer came.
Work. Tayo Fakiyesi was a workaholic, he breathed his passion for education both home and abroad, office or class, meeting or relaxation and wherever or whenever an idea held sway in his mindset; he would almost subconsciously pause to think through before continuing with the matter at hand. Here was a man at 64 that wouldn’t delegate his work to junior staff, attended to treating class work at midnight and only had a small bit of exercise each day to keep in shape for the same objective; Work. But he is gone now and it’s a year now. I miss him dearly and am pained by his sudden exit but he’s gone.
But what stamps the pain and grief each time his face crossed my mind remains how his legacy left behind has not been emulated in spirit and meaning by the department he worked so hard to revive, reinvent and redefine. Fakiyesi loved to help the students learn and in the process never condemned anyone as incapable of lofty academic achievement except the person in question formally resigned his or her self to such a fate. But the department over which his tenure has H.O.D saw some remarkable changes of academic and relevant nature has made no commitment individually or collectively, formally or informally, religiously or scientifically as it were to surpass the standards of service he set.
I will not bring the details of that in public light but the Department of Economics has and is still disrespecting the dead by not honoring his life by their far from graceful and benevolent attitude to their business; the providing of concentric type heuristic based approaches as a convergent means to effectively derive leading-edge theories and an organic institutional transmission mechanism between the learned and the learned that encourages the globally adopted trend of the philosophical whole-greater-than-sum process and its products as being the final ends of the educational process.
Professor Tayo Fakiyesi’s death is a huge blow to the faint hope that I have that a new psyche will be instituted in the mass of Nigerians to be committed to a life of purpose, humanity and selfless love for societal progress. He along with the unfortunate victim of the February 23 storm in Lagos made worse by greed and collective unpatriotic attitude of the entire Nigerian society, Pastor Godspower Ekpenyong of St Gregory’s College who incidentally was another former lecturer of mine I encountered in the secondary arena were rays of light dimmed by the severely depressing and defeating dark consciousness of the rest of Nigerians awakened only to greed, self-recognition, egocentric orientations, corruption, tribalism and a laziness to break the limits of endowed potentials for the success of humanity’s ambition that we have a better world as a place to enjoy this ephemeral journey from uncertainty to uncertainty called life.
As the curtain falls on the day that marks one year since your exit from my life, Tayo, with all due respect and love, I am saddened but have decided to console myself by ensuring that my life is nothing short of the same word and elegies that were and are used to describe yours by those who truly understood, appreciated and most of all shared who you were and are.
Goodbye Professor Oluwatayo Fakiyesi.
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