From The Joinery To The Ivory Tower: The Intriguing Story Of Ezekiel Olusola Ayoola

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    By Prince Adetayo Adekunle

    On Thursday the 4th of November 2021, Professor Ezekiel Olusola Ayoola was elected by an overwhelming majority of the Senate members of the University of Ibadan as the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Administration) of the University.

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    While his appointment awaits the ratification of the Governing Council, I feel duty-bound, as an “external member” of the Ayoola Family, to celebrate this worthy academic from Oyo Alaafin, Oyo State of Nigeria.

    Prof Ayoola is the first child of Papa Samson Iyanda Ayoola and Mama Felicia Olusegun Ayoola (both of blessed memories) of Ile Jagun Omosalewa, Apaara, Oyo East LGA of Oyo State.

    My first encounter with Prof was around a decade ago when he was roofing his private residence in Ibadan. Guess who took me there? His younger brother and my all-time favourite leader who introduced me to state politics, Rt. Hon. Kehinde Olatunji Ayoola (now of blessed memory). The title of this piece was gleaned from the conversation that ensued at that construction site about a decade ago. Whilst the roofing work was ongoing on, Prof stood up and instructed the carpenters to effect some corrections.

    Prior to this visit, Uncle Kenny had regaled me with stories of their father Papa Samson Ayoola’s exploits in carpentry and furniture making at our native homeland of Oyo.

    Then I asked a probing question, Uncle K, o dabi eni wipe ise yi ye Prof daadaa o (it seems Prof is vast in this work o)…..Trust Kenny the orator. He flipped through the pages of history and said *Tayo, Agba carpenter ni boda Sola (Prof) o. He did not attend any formal secondary school o*

    It is also apposite to add that Prof was trained in painting and interior decoration at the then Trade Center Awe, before attending Methodist Modern School, Apaara Oyo and Federal Survey School, Oyo. He practiced as a private surveyor for a while. His dissatisfaction with the profession then and thirst for more knowledge, led him to write GCE by Correspondence which he used to secure admission into the University of Ibadan to study Mathematics

    Subsequently, I got to know that Prof “practically” had three different PhD thesis as his supervisors were frequently changed before he finally completed it in 1998. This was to later payback as he became a Professor within ten years. He has since served as Head of Department, Member of the Governing Council, amongst other preferments in the University before his appointment as DVC Administration.

    Can you just imagine? A man with no formal secondary education transiting to a mathematician of global repute. Type his name into Google Scholar and you will see what I mean.

    Prof Ayoola is also a man of faith. He is a Defender of the faith and Regional Overseer of the Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministry.

    His meteoric rise from a carpenter, surveyor, painter and interior decorator to a Regional Overseer of a major church and DVC Admin of Nigeria’s oldest and best University is a befitting honour to cap a glorious career.

    My family heartily rejoices with him on his landmark achievement!!!!

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