By Sunday Adegoke
What will motivate a 76-year old to return to school? What will he do with the certificate obtained from such programme?
Lt. Col. Olayiwola Adegunju (rtd) just graduated in Law from Lead City University, Ibadan. He graduated one month from his 81st birthday.
Looking younger than his age and full of energy, the new Law graduate will daze anyone meeting him for the first time. He is full of smiles and positive in attitude to life and everyone around him.
The octogenarian retired as a Lieutenant colonel In the Nigerian Army in 1990, and has since been living a quiet life without giving up on his ambition to become a lawyer.
Prof. Kabiru Adeyemo, who is the Vice Chancellor of the university, introduced the special graduate to the guests in the packed full convocation hall while giving his speech. All eyes turned to the grandfather, as he rose up to acknowledge the honour done him.
In an interview with Newspeakonline, the new graduate revealed that his admission to Lead City University was the fifth time he would be offered an opportunity to study Law. But only the last one materialized, according to him.
He said: “When I finished my three A level subjects at North Western Polytechnic in London, that was 1964, I passed British Constitution, Economics and General Principles of English law. Then I started to study for the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators of London. I qualified in 1968. I worked in England up till 1971 with the Temperance Permanent Building Society, Sussex, UK. I came back in 1971 and joined the Army in 1972 as a full lieutenant.”
As the octogenarian rose through the ranks to become Lieutenant Colonel, he said he kept applying to study Law at his different postings but never had the opportunity to complete the degree programme.
He said: “ In 1978, I was serving at Akure, I applied to the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University), I was admitted for Law. It was a three-year programme then but I couldn’t continue because of the nature of our job. I had to go back to my unit at 6 Brigade, Akure. I didn’t lose hope, I knew God’s time is always the best. I would still do this thing later. Later on, I was also admitted to the University of Lagos, I couldn’t go because of my job. 1985, I was also admitted for the part-time Law degree at the University of Lagos part time programme. I did well for the first year. Because of the nature of job, I couldn’t continue in the second year but God so good, in 1991, I reapplied, I was readmitted but you know one thing, the tuition fee had gone to N25,000. I couldn’t pay it, I couldn’t pay N25000 but I knew that God’s time is the best, that there will still be a time I would have the opportunity to do this thing.”
When asked what he would do with his Law degree, Adegunju said he was going to the Law School, and would begin practice thereafter, to render free services to those who are unable to afford legal fees in the society.
The new Law graduate also shared his experience as a student at Lead City: “I am very very happy that God spared my life to go through the rigours of four years studying in this university. The lecturers are very kind and supportive. The students assisted me, my fellow students who can pass for my grandchildren.
“My nickname is grandpa and that’s what they call me at home. Everybody in this university knows me
He described his day of graduation as a memorable day.
According to him, the secret behind his health and energy is regular exercise and moderate food as well as contentment.
His words: “I do regular exercises, I don’t think about money too much. Be contented with what you have. I am from a very poor home but my dad taught us to be contented with what God gives us and that’s the principle I have been following.”
Adegunju also listed other memorable days in his life. “My happiest day is today, apart from the day of my marriage and the birth of our first son in England. Others are the day of my marriage, the day of the birth of my first son, the day I qualified as a chartered secretary and administrator and today that I received an hon ours degree in Law. I am very very happy. These are memorable days in my life,” he said.