Friday, February 15, 2019 1:56 pm
By Emudianugbe Akinjo Abimbola
In 1990 while in 300L, a dashing handsome middle aged man, like my father’s age mate, entered the classroom to teach us ELS 310, Creative Writing, and thus began my journey with him. Professor Albert Olu Ashaolu called me after going through my assignment and told me l wrote well, that my level of imagination was high; thus encouraging me to give writing a thought. Did l? I only succeeded in writing two small unpublished stories. His words of encouragement and helping hands changed me from an “olodo” to someone who graduated with good grades.
He changed my perception of Deeper Life members as wicked and shallow dressers as this man was not only a committed member, a kind and caring heart but also a great dresser. No wonder he won me to Christ’s fold in 1991, but he couldn’t succeed in making me join the Deeper Life Church.
Can l ever forget the groceries and foodstuffs he always loaded me with? Not in this world.The relationship didn’t end at school, he followed me home and knew every member of my family. He was with me at my Introduction, Engagement and Wedding ceremonies. In fact, he was the Chairman at my wedding reception. Twenty five years after, l still have the wedding present he bought for me.
I tried contacting him in the last five years to no avail as all his numbers were not just connecting. Twice, l went to Igede Ekiti, his country home, still no luck. Even I searched Facebook to connect his children but all my efforts proved abortive. I thereafter braced up for the worse and alas, the worse came about three weeks ago that he had been on a sick bed for a very long time. And just yesterday, death closed the eyes of this teacher of all teachers.
Prof Albert Oluwatuyi Ashaolu was born on 21 January 1939 in Igede Ekiti, Ekiti State. He attended St. Augustine Grade III Teachers College Akure from 1954 to 1955; St. Peter’s Grade II Teachers College Akure 1958 to 1959 and St. Thomas University Fredericton Canada from 1970 to 1971. Between 1974 and 2979, he was at the University of New Brunswick Fredericton Canada.
From 1971 to 1991, he was a lecturer at the Department of English, University of Ibadan. He was later the Dean of Arts, University of Ado Ekiti (UNAD). He was influential in strategic changes in UNAD at the time and served as the Deputy Vice Chancellor (1999/2000) and Acting Vice Chancellor up until retirement. He spent 20 years with the University of Ibadan from 1971 to 1991 after which he transferred his services to UNAD for 12 years. He retired as a Professor in 2004 to his home in Ibadan where he passed on in the morning of February 11 2019 after fulfilling his life’s journey.
He is survived by his wife Mrs. Mary Olanike Ashaolu, four children and eight grandchildren. He was an astute husband, loving father, academic, teacher, lecturer and a devoted Christian. He will be greatly missed by all those who he touched through his gentle spirit and amiable character. He was man of great integrity and principle. Till we meet at our Lord Jesus’ feet
Can’t help the tears from flowing as l’m typing this. Adieu Prof Albert Olu Ashaolu, my helper of destiny, my daddy, my friend and confidant. Sleep on, you deserve the rest. We’ll surely meet again in heaven.