Eminent personalities, including the Vice-Chancellor, Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), Ago-Iwoye, Professor Ganiyu Olatunji Olatunde, have showered encomiums on one of the distinguished pioneer staff of the University, Professor Kamaldeen Abdul-Azeez Balogun, for his meritorious service to the institution.
Prof. Olatunde, while speaking at the retirement ceremony and book launch organised in honour of Balogun on Thursday, December 10, 2020 praised the erudite scholar’s commitment and massive contributions to the development and growth of the University. The event, which was organised by the Department of Religious Studies, Faculty of Arts, OOU, was held at Ago-Iwoye Town Hall with several distinguished scholars, traditional, political, community and religious leaders as well as well-wishers in attendance.
In his address, the Vice-Chancellor, who was also the Chairman of the occasion, congratulated Prof. Balogun on his retirement from service, saying he has bequeathed a worthy legacy after serving for 37 years. He described Balogun as a disciplined, committed, forthright and hardworking academic, who was always willing to positively impact on others and ready to offer guidance.
“I honestly can confirm the massive contributions of Professor Balogun to the development and growth of Olabisi Onabanjo University,” Prof. Olatunde stated.
He further disclosed, “Since my assumption of office three and half years ago, I had always deferred to Professor Balogun on a number of issues relating to the development and growth of the University and there was not a single time that I needed his advice that he would hesitate to assist.
In Olabisi Onabanjo University, we have a lot of eminent professors. But I want to affirm that Professor Kamaldeen Abdul-Azeez Balogun is the most eminent and I believe that a lot of people will agree with that, in terms of carriage, contributions and commitment to the development of our University.”
The Vice-Chancellor noted that despite the fact that Prof. Balogun has retired, the University Community would always defer to him and drink from the fountain of his knowledge. In his words, “He is one of the pioneer staff of this University and the Chief Imam of our Central Mosque, but I must confess to you that whether you are a Muslim or Christian or traditionalist, Professor Balogun would always walk up to you and give you honest and specific advice if you are having challenges,” he added.
Olatunde prayed God to grant the retired Professor long life and good health for him to continue to render service to humanity.
He, thereafter, commended the organisers for coming up with the colourful event, just as he thanked guests and well-wishers who came from far and near to honour the illustrious lecturer.
In his keynote address, the Dean, Faculty of Arts, Prof. Oladipo Olubomehin, declared that Prof. Balogun remains one of the finest scholars to have worked in the University. According to him, Balogun’s dedication and commitment to the progress of the University is worthy of emulation.
“He is indeed a father to many not only in our Faculty but in the University Community. I specially acknowledge with thanks the experience and leadership he provided for the growth of the University at various stages,” Olubomehin stated.
Recalling his own undergraduate years as one of the pioneer students of the then Ogun State University, the Dean noted that Balogun was a disciplinarian who never came late to his classes.
His words:” As a pioneer student of the then Ogun State University, I was one of the students of Professor Balogun. He was a disciplinarian; he never came late to his classes. He taught with authority and expertise. It is, therefore, a thing of personal joy for me that I stand before you today as the Dean of the Faculty of Arts to welcome you all very warmly to this ceremony.
As Dean, I am delighted that the Department where Professor Balogun worked for thirty seven years, training generations of students has decided to honour him. I know that when the ASUU strike is over the Faculty of Arts will also give to the celebrant the honour due to him.”
Earlier in her speech, the Acting Head, Department of Religious Studies, Dr (Mrs) Tosin Akintan, in her welcome address, described Prof. Balogun as an icon, exceptional leader, mentor and a man of impeccable integrity. She observed that the retired Professor spent the last 37 years of his career guiding and inspiring both staff and students in the University, adding that as part of his indelible impacts, the Department of Religious Studies could boast of successful accreditation exercises. Akintan said, “As a Department, we have organised this great event to express our sincere gratitude to Professor Kamaldeen Abdul-Azeez Balogun in recognition of his roles as a pioneer staff and for his significant contributions to the Department of Religious Studies, Faculty of Arts, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye. Prof. Balogun’s administrative expertise and ability to motivate people has enabled the Department to set and achieve remarkable goals in all the programmes of the Department, both at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
The skills, values and other positive qualities which Prof. Balogun has instilled in us through his exemplary life of dedication and commitment to duty, punctuality at meetings and lectures, hard work and selflessness cannot be over-emphasized.”
She, therefore, wished Prof. Balogun a happy and fruitful retirement and expressed the hope that all those who have had the privilege to be under his tutelage would continually enjoy his support and mentoring.
In his remarks, Ambassador Sarafa Isola, who is also the Baba Adinni of Yorubaland, Edo and Delta, thanked
the University Community and the Ago-Iwoye people for showing love to Prof. Balogun who hails from Abeokuta.
“We appreciate the fact that you acknowledge his scholarly work, we also appreciate the fact that you have taken him as a son. In actual fact you have adopted him as one of you and this is something we appreciate. So, on behalf of all the traditional rulers in Egbaland, we say thank you for showing love to one of our own,” he said. Isola stressed that Prof. Balogun “is an embodiment of humility and knowledge” whom Egbaland is very proud of.”
He added: “ I always call him Professor of Professors. He is quite unassuming. Until when he is introduced, you never know the kind of person that he is. That’s why you can see that all of us have really come out to celebrate him on this occasion.
So, I wish him the very best. Because to retire in public service is a great thing; some colleagues have died, some have been disgraced out of office, some have health challenges.
But to come out of this place with flying colours is a great thing and that’s what we are celebrating.”
Isola expressed the hope that Prof. Balogun, who is currently the Chief Imam of Gbaguraland, Abeokuta, would continue to impact his knowledge on people towards advancing the cause of Islam and benefit of humanity. Both Raji and Kaka, who also corroborated Isola, spoke highly and glowingly of the integrity and character of the retired Professor and wished him a long, prosperous and fulfilled life.
The event featured the unveiling of a book written by Prof. Balogun with the title, “Islam’s Response to the Quest for Peace, Orderliness and Well-Being in Nigeria.”
The book, which was reviewed by Dr Saheed Ahmad Rufai of the Department of Curriculum Studies, Sokoto State University, was launched by the various dignitaries in attendance with handsome donations.
In his appreciation, Prof. Balogun, who was accompanied by his wife, Alhaja Mistura Tanwa Balogun, expressed gratitude to Allah for making it possible for him to start his University career “through the gate of honour and bringing it to a successful ending.”
“I also appreciate the several Vice Chancellors that I have served, particularly, Professor Ganiyu Olatunde, for his kindness, trust and support. All of you have made me what I am today. I thank you all and pray that you are blessed,” Balogun further stated.
Born on January 3, 1951 in Abeokuta, Prof. K.A. Balogun joined the services of the University in 1982 as Assistant Lecturer and rose through the ranks to become a Professor in 2001.
Notable among those that graced the occasion were former military governor of Bauchi and Sokoto States, Navy Captain Rasheed Raji (rtd), former Deputy Governor of Ogun State, Senator Adegbenga Kaka, former Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Ambassador Sarafa Isola, and Aranse Adinni of Egbaland, Alhaji Tajudeen Olori.
The University’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Administration, Prof. Charles Adekoya; the University Registrar, Mr Femi Ogunwomoju; President, Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, who was represented by his wife, Dr (Mrs) Taiwo Ogunyemi; Baba Adinni of Gbagura land, Alhaji Abdul-Hakeem Agbaje; founder of Al-Khaleeq Society of Nigeria, Alhaji Mikhail Atanda; Principal of Turkish College, Lagos, Mr Sahid Hassan, and former National President, National Council of Muslim Youth Organisations (NACOMYO), Alhaji Kamaldeen Akintunde, were present.Before his retirement, Balogun, who has been the Chief Imam of the University since 1983, served OOU in different capacities, including Head of Department of Religious Studies, Dean, Faculty of Arts, Director, Centre for Sandwich Programmes (CESAP), Provost, Postgraduate School, and member, University Governing Council.