His first-class was where he set the tone
Unlike other lecturers who came to class
rambling about introduction to this and
that and talking generally about the course
they would be teaching
He gave a test!
He gave a test to fresh students!
He gave a test on the first day of lecture!
He gave a test on Newswriting to students
who knew next to nothing about journalism!
Of course, the students were caught unawares
They paid attention to him afterwards
Gave him their ears!
He was unconventional and different
His style of teaching and mannerism was fearless
He would put students on the spot on a whim
He paid attention to everything
Body language, eye contact, mood, mannerism,
mode of dressing, state of mind, everything!
He knew all the 125 students in that class
He would come into class determined to make an
impact every time
Some students hated him for it
They felt he was deliberately set on embarrassing
They hated the fact that he would ask questions
and when they ramble or seem unprepared he
wouldn't let it go!
I can still hear his voice in my head
Gerard! Owoola Kazeem
He would reel off names and demand of each
an immediate cerebral engagement!
other lecturers came to class, teach as best
as they could and plaster the board with notes
He would plaster the board with notes,
teach and engage our intellect without
Sometimes he would motivate the class
by attaching marks to questions!
"This question is for 5 marks!"
Our ears would stand tall like the horns
of a deer
We could all do with the extra-marks!
I remember his first question to me
"Sowemimo, what do you understand by
the expression "cub reporter"?"
"An inexperienced reporter" I answered
He beamed with pride and asked the
class to clap for me!
He didn't stop there!
"What other expressions can be used to
describe an inexperienced reporter?
"A greenhorn, amateur or learner sir" I replied
He was pleased!
He didn't ask the question with
the intention of making a fool of me!
He asked to test my depth and I loved that!
He talked about my potential and how I
have impressed him, he also talked about
the people I associated with in-class and
how the friendship was benefitting the
(Kemi Agunbiade (Now Mrs Kemi Dada) and
Motilola Akinfemisoye now a lecturer with the
University of Botswana (both females) were
my friends on campus!
The three of us rocked our set academically!
(Many lecturers called us the Advocates!
We stirred many students to envy and jealousy
especially me and my big ego before I met the
Lord! I remember those days with joy)
We eventually broke up but that is a story
for another day!
We were students of Human Communications,
Bowen University, Iwo, 2004 set!
I remember a discussion I had with
him in 2006, we just resumed a new semester
He said while he was marking the script of
our previous examinations discovered two of
my classmates (A male and a female)
had copied each other verbatim!
He had the moral responsibility to report
them to the school authority for disciplinary
But he had been their lecturer for two years
and knew something must be off somewhere!
He asked me if they were dating
I had no idea and I told him so
He thought about it for a long time then he
told me to tell the culprits to see him
When they got to his office he berated them
He said "I know how you guys write, you are
my students! I know your writing style!
What do you want me to do with you now?
The students apologised in tears!
The lady explained that she was very sick
during the examination and asked for help!
He told the two of them to leave his office!
Weeks later when the results were released
they both got C's in the course
He told me he marked them based on their
strength and disregarded the indiscretion!
I admired him a lot for that!
I once met a fellow student in his office,
the class representative of the 2005 set!
Miss Uju Okoye, now Mrs Uju Okoye Okpalugo,
we became friends and started studying
Then she wrote a class test of his course!
he sent for me afterwards and said "I can smell
your friendship with Miss Okoye when I marked
her script! She used a curious phrase in one
of her explanations "Whims and Caprices"!
That was your signature phrase!
He was that particular and attentive!
When he taught us Integrated Marketing
Communications, he made us to everything!
We designed adverts, formed mock media
agencies and pitched for accounts!
As I write this, I am laughing at some of the
pranks I pulled on him in that class!
We were supposed to design a product and
Somehow my group didn't take the assignment
On the pitch day, the other groups came
to class with their creative products!
We dare not fail to make a presentation!
So we came up with a very hastily branded pen
and I presented a garble!
I leveraged on many things for that pitch,
my reputation, my track record and our friendship!
I dare not say this to his face but I considered
him my friend and friends cut each other some
Of course, he knew I was being smart by half
and berated me but somehow my group scaled
Our friendship scaled through!
When our department invited to participate
in the Best of the Best TV exposition in
Abuja, he assembled the team and prepared us
Only for the school authority to pick another
lecturer to lead the team to the event because
the lecturer had written and produced a
He didn't like it but he wished us well!
He wrote some plays and novels!
I was privileged to act in one!
It was titled "Waiting for Godot"
He was also one of the judges on our campus
version of dancing with the stars in which
I featured as one of "Campus stars" partnered
by a lady whose dancing skills were out of
He helped me in so many ways that even he
wouldn't know about!
He was that one man that wasn't cast in the mould
of conventionality and he wore his identity
with great swagger!
He was happy to be himself, he was a
While others are busy building replicas,
he insisted on polishing the originals and
helping them shine!
After graduation, John Julius (A classmate) and I
went to pay him a visit at his house in Surulere!
He had left Bowen University as a lecturer to
set up Greenview Advertising Agency!
We talked at length and even drove him to church
later that evening!
The one thing on my mind was that he shouldn't
But I couldn't say it!
I felt it would be out of place and selfish to
offer such an opinion!
I just prayed for him earnestly on my knees
that God would quieten every storm and steady
The meeting was of tremendous blessing to me years
later when I was undecided about leaving my mundane
job to pursue my calling in ministry!
I remembered this great man and his advertising
I remembered his eyes twinkling as he spoke
about his dreams and hopes
I told myself if he could be a success in both
endeavours, so can I!
He was by many miles the best lecturer I ever had!
His Advertising agency was doing very well but...
I felt it would be a shame to see his career head off
in another direction instead of nurturing young minds!
The coming generations need him!
Creative minds need him!
And God did it!
I doff my hat to this great man
A lecturer like no other
A big brother and a friend
You occupy a special place in my heart
I love you, and I thank you, Sir!
For the phone call when you saw my name
on the end credit of a television show
For the counsel when I went into news
For nods and the smiles on your face
as you observed my evolution
I am saying a very big thank you!
May God keep you for all of us
May we impact the world just
as you impacted our lives!
Once again, Thank you, sir!
Dedicated to Dr Godswill Okiyi