By Kayode Akinmade
It’s that beautiful season again when we mark the birth of our Lord and saviour. But for Adebukola Foluke Osunyikanmi, erudite scholar and administrator, it is a time of double celebrations: the authorities of the Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko, Ondo State, have just capped a beautiful year with the announcement of her chair in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration. This is a day that The Lord has made: we shall rejoice and be glad in it. Born in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital 47 years ago but of Ondo State origin, Adebukola, proud mother of three and better half of the notable politician, Dr. Pius Osunyikanmi, studied at the then Ondo State University, Ado-Ekiti (OSUA), now Ekiti State University (EKSU), between 1989 and 1993, earning the B.SC degree. By 1997, she had completed her Master of Science degree at the University of Ibadan, Ibadan. And with yet another M.SC, this time earned at the Adekunle Ajasin University, in the kitty (the year was 2006), she enrolled in the doctorate programme in the same university, completing it in 2010.
To say the least, she has had a fairly rapid but indeed very distinguished career as an academic. From being Assistant Lecturer (2001- 2004) Lecturer II (2004-2007), Lecturer I (2007-2011), Senior Lecturer ( 2011-2015) and Reader (2015 to 2019), and now professor, she has served the town and gown in various capacities. She has at various times been Acting Head, Department of Political Science and Public Administration; welfare officer, and member of the University 5th Anniversary Ceremonial Organizing Committee, Institute of Part – Time Programme, Examination Malpractices Disciplinary Committee, Conference and Workshop Committee, Capital Campaign Committee, Anti-corruption and Transparency Unit, Vice Chancellor Monitoring Team, and Library Development Committee. She has also served as adviser and registration officer, and as resource person for the Women Studies and Development Centre of the university, among others. Apart from supervising quite a number of postgraduate students, she has covered other schedules of duties, including teaching of undergraduate and postgraduate students, supervision of students’ research projects and invigilation of students during examinations. In the area of community service, she has been to date, among other engagements, a member of the School based management board of Ijapo High School, Akure, and sponsor of the Annual Dr. (Mrs.) Adebukola Pius-Osunyikanmi Inter – Departmental Debate at Federal University of Technology, Akure, FUTA Junior Chambers International (JCI), from 2012 to date. Adebukola is a Fellow of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA) Nigeria and member, Mid – South Sociological Association, USA.
To say that she has demonstrated great acumen in her research would be an understatement. Adebukola is a multi-disciplinary scholar. From examining the challenges and prospects of Nigeria/Israeli relations and poverty alleviation as a strategy for women empowerment in Nigeria’s informal sector, she has engaged such topics as civil society and governance in Africa, qualitative millennium development goal for women in poverty, globalization as a constraint to national security in Africa, and sustainable poverty alleviation strategies for Nigerian women. She has also offered insights on the economic determinant of Nigeria’s socioeconomic and political dispositions, violence against women, gender and monetization policy, option for political stability and public financial management, globalization and the deepening of gender imbalance, and armed forces and foreign policy challenges, prospects and challenges. In addition, she has researched police accountability, education and girl-child marriage, influence of poverty on insecurity, impact of liberalization of telecommunications on commerce, women and power in traditional Nigerian market, insurgency and the shrinking space for young girl education in Nigeria’s North-East; technology, elections and democracy, and indeed the very topical issue of the sociology of the office of the first lady, among others.
Naturally, she has attended conferences around the world, including the 31st Annual Mid- South Sociological Association, Westin Atlanta, Atlanta Georgia (2005), 33rd Annual Meeting of the Mid South Sociological Association, Riverview Plaza Hotel, Mobile, Alabama USA (2007); and the Annual Conference Faculty of Social and Management Sciences, Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba (2008). She was the lead paper presenter at the 1st South- West Zonal Conference of the National Association of Women in College Of Education held in Ekiti State in March, 2012, and was at the 8th International Conference on Insecurity and Democracy in Africa University Du Benin, Abomey, Calavi, Benin Republic (2013); as well as the 39th Annual Conference of the Mid South Sociological Association, Holiday Inn: Atlanta (2013); 1st Annual Conference of the Institute of African Studies on Valourizing Africa, Senegal (2016) and World Research Conference on Sustainable Development Goals in Dubai, United Arab Emirate (2017), presenting papers that have contributed to knowledge in diverse, but still hotly contested, subject areas. It is no wonder then that she won the Rotary Club (Ondo State Chapter) Award for Educational Development, and was declared the Educationist of the year 2018.
Clearly, Adebukola’s vast accomplishments easily dwarf her years. Instructively, she has not been one of those ‘career women’ that give the home front short shrift in the name of modernity. She has shown very clearly that being a committed intellectual need not undermine a woman’s role as loving mother and wife, and active member of the extended family. She also enjoys, and actively cultivates, community development activities. Congratulations, Professor Adebukola Foluke Osunyikanmi. There are still many more laurels on the way…
Former Ccommissioner of information, Ondo State, writes from Gwarimpa, Abuja.