By Oluchi Chibuzor
Celebration rented the air, recently as a former Lagos State Commissioner for Education and father of contemporary journalism in Nigeria, Professor Idowu Shobowale, turned 80 years.
The birthday celebration was also an opportunity for the icon who introduced opinion polling to journalism in Nigeria, to launch his autobiography titled, ‘The Unexpected Turns’ which x-rays the lows and highs of his endeavors in farming, journalism, education and how he was able to overcome many challenges.
The event which was marked virtually and physically, saw family members, contemporaries, friends, mentees, and well wishers, eulogising the man Who founded the department of Mass Communication in Lagos State University (LASU) and developed postgraduate studies in same field for Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State.
Giving testimonies in honour of the celebrant, guests described him as a man who despite his shortcomings and circumstances in life emerged as the pioneering founder of opinion writing in the country, while shining the beacon of journalism education in Nigeria.
Mr. Oluremi Beckly, who spoke on behalf of class 64 of Baptist Academy, which Pa Shobowale belongs, noted that attaining the new age in a country where life expectancy for men and women was 62 and 58 respectively, calls for celebration.
According to him, “You were detribalised in nature and always encouraged many young ones to aspire to their greatest height in life and we are greatful to God for keeping you and the work you have been doing in the house of God.”
In his remarks, a Professor of Mass Communication, Lagos State School of Communication, Lai Oso recalled the several occasions when the octogenarian played critical roles in the development of Mass Communication in some universities in the country.
“I stand here as one of your many academic children. He cares a lot for those under him prompting us to see him as a leader and not as a boss. He is our academic research consultant because he is always ready to teach anybody and I am blessed to have you as a leader. I remember how you helped a young lady to finish her Phd.”
On his part, Professor Oluranti
Olurinola said despite his wealth of knowledge, he brought humility to bear anytime they both had an opportunity to interact.
“He is a man of impeccable character, down to earth and a man who loves God. At an encounter in our university when I was the dean, he would always come to my office even when I told him to call me. He will say we do not neglect the head, with this, I learnt a lot in the areas of humility, character and living a good quality life. “Because we know he is our father, he still humbles himself to follow protocols,” he said.
One of his daughters described him as “a sweet man, but a disciplinarian who made us know five definitions to every word: we are better off for it. Having a man who wants to be a farmer only to be persuaded to have some education by the community, only comes with pride and adherence to good ethics and manners.”
His wife said, “the lecture instinct in you keeps motivating me and pushing me to dream more in life. You promised to show the world to me and indeed you have shown me the world.”