By Femi Ogbonnikan

Apopular declaration in the past is that “a teacher’s reward is in heaven”, but not anymore, as teachers now live to witness and receive what is due to him or her in this world. In his or her presence, students and colleagues would attest to his or her behaviour, whether good or bad. Consequently, this analogy aptly applies to a scholar of international repute who is bowing out of active service at the University of Ilorin.

Students and colleagues will greatly miss one of their own, as Isaac Olakanmi Abimbola, a Professor in the Science Education Department of the university, bows out of active service, having put in 35 years, the statutory retirement age.

Gentle and suave, Abimbola is a professionally-trained and certified teacher of over 50 years. He is a certified Applied Scholastics International Master Instructor and has taught at all levels of education.

He was born on August 2, 1948 at òdò-ìjèsà, in Àtàkùnmòsà East Local Government Area of Osun State to the family of late Papa Abraham Abimbola Olowookere and Mrs. Rachael Adewola Abimbola.

Prof Abimbola’s early education began at St. Bartholomew’s Anglican Primary School, Odò-Ijèsà;  L. A. Secondary Modern School, Òké-Oòyè, Ilesa; and subsequently at Wesley College, Ibadan; The University of Ife, Ile-Ife, and finally, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, USA.

His research is in the area of “Student Misconceptions and Alternative Conceptions in Biology” that focuses on how students can learn with perfect understanding and apply their knowledge in problem solving.

Being a prolific writer, the retiring Professor has several publications-scholarly articles in reputable home-based, national, and international journals to his credit. Among his numerous publications are many books on Curriculum and Instruction, Integrated Science, Biology, History and Philosophy of Science, Research Methods, and Study Technology.

Besides, he has supervised several thesis and research projects of many science teachers and educators, holding important teaching and other positions in Nigeria.  

Abimbola has been an External Examiner to several Colleges of Education and Universities in Nigeria. And these include External Assessor of Ph.D candidates’ thesis in many Nigerian universities and an External Assessor for promotion of senior academics in Colleges of Education, higher education regulatory agencies and Universities within and outside Nigeria.

Abimbola was a regular participant in NUC and NCCE accreditation exercises and a regular presenter of research papers in local, national, international conferences and capacity building programmes. He has served as Member of Editorial Boards of several national and international Journals. He has delivered awareness-training programmes on Study Technology to many secondary school and university students and teachers. He is a member of many professional associations in science education, which include Science Teachers Association of Nigeria, National Association for Research in Science Teaching, USA, The National Association of Biology Teachers, USA, and The Association for Science Teacher Education, USA.

Speaking on his post-retirement plan, he said: “I plan to rest for some time to put myself in a retirement mode before re-launching myself into the life after retirement. I have already registered a limited liability consultancy company, named ‘Excellent Learning Technology Ltd.’ I plan to train all stakeholders in education on how to teach students to enable them achieve perfect understanding. Perfect understanding is achievable by students if they learn the technology of how to study and learn. This requires self-discipline, grit and self-tutoring, and group work through systematically graded instructional materials.”

Professor Abimbola has been Martin Luther King, Jr.—Rosa Parks- Cesar Chavez Visiting Professor, Visiting Professor to Michigan Technological University, Houghton, Michigan, USA, and Tai Solarin University of Education, Ijagun, Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, the premier University of Education in Nigeria.

He was previously a Clerk at Blessed Joseph Bookshop, Okesa, Ilesa (January to September 1964; and IgbayilariBookshop, Okesa, Ilesa (September 1964 – December 1965). He had a brief stint as a primary school teacher and later a Headmaster, Methodist School, Pápá, in Olójúoró Area of Ibadan (Jan-April, 1969). He was later transferred, on request, to serve as a classroom teacher at Wesley College Practising School, Elékùró, Ibadan (April 1969-September 1971); He was an NYSC teacher at Teachers College, Bama, Borno State (August 1975-June 1976) and Education Officer II, Ministry of Education, Ibadan, Oyo State (July-12 September 1976).

Professor Abimbola is leaving rich legacies in his positive personal attributes of integrity, scholarship, hard work, thoroughness, professionalism, and his useful books. He is leaving behind important research legacies in the areas of Student Misconceptions and Alternative Conceptions in Biology, and Study Technology, as represented in misunderstood words, situations, and symbols, and perfect understanding as the ultimate goal for knowledge, happy life and living.

“We believe we shall hear more from him in the immediate future about his Excellent Learning Technology Ltd. In addition, we look forward to further works on his passion for ‘how students can learn how to learn’, and his advocacy for multiple-choice testing as a panacea for students learning difficulties that may prevent perfect understanding,” said Babatunde Abimbola (a cousin).

Professor Abimbola is married to Mrs. Comfort Nihinlola Abimbola and they are blessed with wonderful children and grandchildren.

He loves photography and varieties of music.