Producing five doctorate degree holders in an academic year may not have been newsworthy if all he ever does is supervising postgraduate students. One would have simply argued that, that is what he is paid to do! But combining such an arduous academic enterprise with administrative responsibilities in a capacity as Deputy Vice-Chancellor is clearly illustrative of industry.

Prof. Benjamin Olumuyiwa Popoola, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Ajayi Crowther University, Oyo is indeed an eager beaver who seems to believe that 24 hours is not enough for him to work! All day long, he is as busy as a bee. Clearly, his present position in the university may not have come by a happenstance, rather, on account of his assiduousness and doggedness.

Perusing the Order of Proceedings for the recently concluded 15th Convocation Ceremonies of the university, this writer was dazed by the academic achievements of this burner of midnight oil who produced five doctorate degree holders in the Faculty of Communication and Media Studies in addition to his daily assignments as second in command in ACU. It was against this backdrop I asked him to gather his academic mentees for a group picture. He agreed.

His supervisees are Akintunde, Adegbenga Raheem whose dissertation title is “Newspaper Reportage of Environmental Health Issues in Southwest Nigeria, 2012-2023”
Babatunde, Lanre Tope with “Radio as a Tool for Alternative Dispute Resolution in Ibadan, South West, Nigeria, 2012-2023”

Bobade, Felix Ayodeji “Corporate Public Relations Intervention in Health Crises in Nigeria”
Emokhare, Paul Antony with dissertation title “Management Structure and Programme Output of Campus Radio Stations in Federal Universities in South West, Nigeria”

Oguntoye, Charles Abiodun whose work is entitled “Channels Television’s Politics Today and Political Participation of Lagos Residents in 2019 Presidential Elections”

This feat, without doubt, is Prof. Popoola’s diadem and garland of honour with which he is forever festooned, as his steady strides are impacting lives and building legacies. Prof. Popoola is not just a scholar. He is a First Class graduate of Mass Communication of University of Nigeria, Nsukka, pioneer Dean of Faculty of Communication and Media Studies of ACU who has distinguished himself in many respects.

An orator of extraordinary brilliance that he is, however added glamour to the recent 15th Convocation Ceremonies when he read the citation of Barrister Dr. Taiwo Afolabi, one of the honouress. Those who were at the event will testify to the fact that when this Communication expert mounted the rostrum, the entire Alakija Hall literally shook in awe. The delivery was not only enthralling, the diction was enchanting as the voice modulation was alluring and mesmerizing just as the appreciative audience roared in celebration of artistic flourish of this aesthetician!

Since I began my sabbatical in ACU, however, I have been studying both the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Timothy Abiodun Adebayo and his Deputy with a deliberate attention with a view to learning from their leadership styles. The results have been so amazing. Interestingly, both of them have a similitude of carriage and conduct. They are both workhorses. They are both committed to the development of the university with uncommon passion. Their big talent is their persistence.

For Prof. Popoola, with a gleeful disposition, he accepts every assignment from his boss and loyally completes any task given by his boss with customary promptitude and efficiency. For instance, Popoola was the Chairman of the 15th Convocation Ceremonies. We worked together. His humility is both amazing and edifying. His sense of modesty is very compelling. He is quiet but not silent, tenacious without being overbearing, accommodating, but not permissive, he is firm but fair.

In the run-up to the convocation ceremonies, he informed me that we would be going to Lagos the following morning by 6. I took the take-off time with a pinch of salt, wondering how possible we could leave by 6 am when we have been so used to what we call “African time” Surprisingly, the DVC was already in the official vehicle before 6 am. He called me at exactly 6 am and instructed the driver to move towards my official residence. I was shocked by the seriousness of this live wire! That is Popoola for you.

Across the campus and beyond, you see him with the buoyancy of his outlook, you admire his vibrancy of his intellect and cherish his optimism of granite will. He sounds modernist and progressive. Popoola is certainly blessed with the soaring swiftness of an eagle. His equanimity of spirit makes a profound impression on me. He remains a man of deep convictions and a scholar driven by concrete principles rather than situational ethics. He is clearly charting a future rich in promises and possibilities. One of his mentees told me how he used to call him in the middle of the night to add or delete certain aspects of the work so as to make it perfect.

By and large, Prof. Popoola remains an asset to the Communication Study community, Ajayi Crowther University and humanity in general. Well done, handsome gentleman.