Friday, July 22, 2016 10:27 am
For two reasons, University of Ibadan, UI, recently stood still. First, mandatory silence was maintained in all the classrooms where the students were busy writing their examinations. Secondly, there was an epoch event, a colloquium organized by the institution’s Department of Communication and Language Arts, CLA, for the platinum anniversary of three scholars from the department: Emeritus Professor Abiola Ibidunni Odejide, the institution’s first female Deputy Vice Chancellor, DVC, Academic, Professor Festus Agboola Adesanoye and Professor Ebenezer Oludayo Soola. The occasion was either pre or post birthday celebration for the trio. While the youngest, Soola will clock 70 on October 2, Adesanoye and Odejide had their 70th birthday anniversary last March 22 and April 17 respectively.
The institution’s historic Trenchard Hall was filled to capacity, with the CLA musical band on handy to entertain. Among the dignitaries in attendance were: the former Vice Chancellor and his “twin brother”, Professor Ayo Banjo and Professor Ayo Bamgbose, the incumbent VC, Professor Abel Idowu Olayinka, represented by his deputy, Professor Ayelari EmilOlorun, Professor Femi Osofisan, Director of the Institute for Peace and Strategic Studies, Professor Olawale Albert, Professor Daniel Izevbaye, the institution’s former DVC, Administration, Professor Ayoade Ogunkunle, and Professor Adigun Agbaje, former Director of Distance Learning and a linguist, Professor Francis Egbokhaire, his wife, Yinka, Professor Ademola Omobewaji Dasylva, Professor Stella Odebode of Agric. Extension, Professor Ayo Alo, Professor Mufutau Temitayo Lamidi, former Secretary to the Government, Niger State, Professor Mohammed Kuta Yahaya, Emeritus Professor J.A.A Ayoade, Professor Kunle Adeniran, Professor Ayo Kehinde, and Professor Lekan Oyeleye.
Others were: Dr. Ibidunni Adeleke of Geography Department, Dr. Gbenga Elegbe, Dr. Babatunde Ojebuyi, Dr. Lawrence Adegoke, Dr. Bisi Fasuyi, and Mr. Remi Popoola of Central Council of Ibadan Indigenes, CCII.
At the event, three scholars presented papers with Professor Victoria Ajala of the Department of Mass Communication, Bowen University, Iwo, in Osun State speaking on the colloquium lecture, “Relevance of Language Arts in the Communication Studies Curriculum”. Other guest lecturers were: Professor Des Wilson of the Department of Communication Arts, University of Uyo who spoke on “Role of Language Arts in the Development of the Communication Studies Curriculum” and Professor C. E. O. Onukaogu of the Department of English, Obafemi Awolowo University, OAU, Ile-Ife, who spoke on “The Catalytic Roles of Language Arts in Our National Development”.
Ajala, whose paper centred on adequate acquisition of skills by the students of the Nigerian universities if they must be employable, supported her position with a quote from the nation’s former minister of Information, Professor Jerry Gana saying: “For Nigerian graduates to be attractive to employers, emphasis should be on skills development”. Berating the low skills acquisition in the universities, Ajala added that Gana, in 2016, revealed that while skills acquisition by Nigerian graduates stand at 10 percent, that of Germany, Japan, South Korea, and India stand at 76, 80, 92, and 23 respectively.
The scholar examined, at 100 level, 10 universities in the Southern part of the country offering communication programme under different titles to know their levels of compliance with teaching of communication skills which are basically: reading, listening, speaking and writing. In percentages, her findings showed that Adeleke University, Ede, Osun State, scored 77.7, with 14 out of 18 credits; Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti, had 87.5 with 14 out of 16 credits; Babcock University, Ilisan Remo, Ogun State, scored 85.5 percent with 18 out of 21 credits; Covenant University, Ota, Ogun State, scored 81.8 with 18 out of 22 credits; Delta State University, Abraka, had 90 percent with 18 out of 20 credits; Redeemer’s University, Ede, had 76.9 percent with 10 out of 13 credits; University of Lagos, (Mass Communication), scored 88.8 percent with 16 out of 18 credits; Lagos State University, Ojoo, scored 87. 5 percent with 14 out of 16 credits; while Bowen University, Iwo, Osun State with two communication courses: Mass Communication domiciled in Social and management Sciences and Communication and Performing Arts domiciled in the Faculty of Humanities had 100 percent compliance with 18 out of 18 credits with the former having 88.2 with 15 out of 17 credits and UI CLA having 100 percent with 18 out of 18 credits.
The summary of her findings revealed that, though, no department under study had less than 70 percent compliance with teaching communication skills, both departments of UI CLA and Bowen’s Communication and Performing Arts, have 100 percent compliance with teaching communication skills.
Citing Bovee and Thill, she highlighted organizational activities that rely on an exchange of views and facts to include: setting goals and objectives, making and implementing decisions, measuring results, hiring and developing staff, dealing with customers, negotiating with suppliers and financiers, producing the product and interacting with regulatory agencies.
Pointing out that the importance of communication skills could not be over-emphasized, she noted that it is used for the success of all areas of mass communication professions including sports and news reporting, newspaper review, journalistic interview, press conferences, advertising and public relations practices, print and broadcast journalism, book publishing and editing, radio and TV drama including music dance and comedy, and graphics of communication, essentially for TV programmes.
Concluding, she advocated communication skills for all professions adding, “May it be recommended that teaching of language arts subjects in Nigeria should start from JSS I as it is done in developed countries. It can be termed “catch them young” by laying the foundation as early as possible. The language arts skills possessed by our undergraduates both at entry level and throughout the 4 to 6 years at the university/polytechnic (depending on their choice of study) are grossly inadequate, making them face great tribulations with Writing, Reading, Speaking and Listening during their studies and even after earning their degree certificates. I know that the more one reads and listens, the better his/her writing and speaking ability. Most of our broadcasters today kill the joy of listening because of their pronunciation of H where there is none. I hear the experts call it the “H Factor”.
She concluded, “I know what Communication and Language Arts Departments, Mass Communication/Communication Studies programmes can do at early university life to stop this pollution of the airwaves by our unskilled Radio and TV announcers, newspaper reviewers, news correspondents and broadcasters who insert “H” in English and Yoruba words that begin with a vowel. I know we should teach more language arts skills, and we should do so fast, but not as a GES course because of our students’ attitude to the GES programme”.
Speaking in the same direction, Wilson who added viewing, visual presentation and silence to the skills of communication, though not bothered about the name each university gives to their communication programme, suggested communication studies as a course programme with a priority to communication skills saying, “ That way, we will end the Nigerian communication problematique”.
Onukaogu, in his paper, faulted the amalgamation of the Southern and Northern Protectorates by the British Government to form a country called Nigeria saying that the unholy marriage among the various tribes of the country without their consent laid the foundation for the problems the country has been enmeshed with since her creation.
Onukaogu said, “Good governance has continued to elude us because the generality of our people do not have any say regarding who should govern them. Before the 1914 amalgamation, the ethnic groups that constituted the then British protectorate were not consulted regarding the amalgamation. The 1959 elections were rigged by the British to install surreptitiously those who would do their bidding. The result was a crisis in the Nigerian middle belt, The Western Nigerian crisis and the enthronement of military governance. From 1966-1979, Nigerians had no say regarding who ruled them. From 1979 to 2010, elections in Nigeria were sham and mimicry”.
Continuing, “Nigerians witnessed a revolution in the conduct of elections because INEC provided a level playing ground in which the generality of Nigerians had their say to a seating government being replaced at the polls. We need electoral literacy empowerment in order to sustain the gains of the 2011/2015 efforts of INEC and make Nigerians choose those who are to govern them at the federal, state and local government levels. This can be attained through Electoral Literacy Empowerment (ELE). Electoral Literacy Empowerment is an autonomous and ideological based literacy programme or drive in which the variables of the electoral process are systematically taught the generality of our people so that they are empowered to make sound choices in voting for their candidates. Ideologically based ELE enables us to empower our electorate to listen, speak, read, write and discuss electoral issues”.
The Professor of English, who noted that Language Arts is the pivot for the attainment of sustainable development, said that language arts promote literal interpretive, critical, creative reasoning and thinking.
After the lectures, people took turns to shower encomium on the celebrants. Among those who paid tributes to them were: the institution’s former Vice Chancellor, Professor Ayo Banjo, Professor Bolanle Awe, daughters of Adesanoye and Soola, Dr. Adepoju, and Kemi, and Professor Kunle Falade of the Faculty of Technology.
All the celebrants were described as erudite scholars, disciplinarian, kind, heroes and heroine, God fearing, blessings to many people, frank and honest, caring, diligent, mentors, intelligent, and producers of many doctorates and professors.
Professor Awe pointed out that there is no height women could not attain, saying concerning Odejide, “No one will forget her contribution to gender equality. She is the first female DVC academic in UI. She was the first to be considered for the position of VC but male factor in the council stood in the way. She is quite humble”.
Professor Falade added, “She is a heroine that is worth celebrating alive. She is an elephant in her own right and she has been a blessing to many persons”.
Adepoju, who described her father as fashionable said, “My father is a lover of cars. He is a very traditional man, blunt. And, he dresses well”.
Kemi, said, “One thing people do not know about my father is that he is a farmer. My father is an industrious man, caring, gentle in nature, accommodating, pillar of support, father, mentor, and friend. My father taught me how to cook. He taught me how to cook Ogbono soup and other delicacies. He taught me how to price anything I want to buy. I am proud of him”.
Head of Department, CLA, Dr. Ayo Ojebode, in his remarks said that the gathering was meant to celebrate productivity, uniqueness, and secret of success.
Soola was born in 1946 in Boodo, a village in Egba-Obafemi/Owode Local Government Area of Ogun State to very humble but hard-working parents. He had his first tutelage in the village primary school before proceeding to Abeokuta and Ibadan for further primary and post-primary studies. In 1970, he was admitted to the University of Ife now Obafemi Awolowo University, OAU, Ile-Ife where he read for and obtained an Honours Bachelor’s degree in English. He later proceeded to Brooklyn College, City University of New York in the United States of America where he obtained a Master’s degree in Broadcast Communication. On returning to Nigeria, he crowned his academic laurels with a Ph.D. from the prestigious University of Ibadan.
Soola joined the services of the University of Ibadan in 1984 as Lecturer II and rose through the ranks to Lecturer I in 1987, Senior Lecturer in 1990, Reader in 2003, and Professor in 2010. He has served the University of Ibadan in various capacities in his Department, Faculty, Senate and Council.
In addition to the supervision of over 250 Masters Dissertations, Soola has successfully supervised 21 Ph.D. theses both for the UI and other notable universities such as Covenant University, Ota. He has also served the National Universities Commission, NUC, as a member and Chairman of accreditation panels to a number of universities.
In the field of communication, he was, for four years, the National Coordinating Secretary of the African Council for Communication Education (ACCE) and then the National Coordinator for another four years.
To the community at large, Soola has been a professional adviser to many local and international organizations. These include: United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA), the Central Bank of Nigeria, the National Assembly, Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, Nigerian Ports Authority and numerous others. Indeed, for 20 years, Prof. Soola provided professional advice to UNICEF and only recently, he was awarded 25 years long service award as Examiner/Chief Examiner in Business Communication by the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN).
Adesanoye was born on March 22, 1946 in Ode-Ondo in Ondo State. He had B. A., M. A. and PhD in the Department of English, UI, between 1966/76 session and 1974. He was also certified d’ Assidinite from the Universite de Dakar now Cheikh Anta Diop University as well as a postgraduate diploma in communication policy and planning for development, Institute of Social Sciences, The Hague.
He started his working career in UI in 1971/72 as assistant lecturer where he rose to a professorial cadre. He had once worked as publishing executive and editor, African Universities Press and Heinemann Educational Books, Ibadan respectively between 1978 and 1982 as well as a director of publishing between 1991 and 2001 with Ibadan University Press.
Odejide was born on April 17, 1946 in Ibadan to late Chief Joseph Akinyemi Ayoade of Ede and Princess Alice Faderera of Ile-Ife. After primary and secondary education, she was admitted to UI in 1965 to study English language. She earned a Master’s degree with distinction from the University of Leeds in 1974 and in 1986, she earned a doctorate degree, specializing in children’s literature.
She started her career in UI as assistant lecturer in 1974 and by dint of hard work and wealth of experience rose to the post of DVC Academic from 2004 to 2006.