Members of family, friends, former colleagues, students and well-wishers have showered encomiums and rejoiced with Prof. Steve Afolami, formerly of the Department of Crop Protection, College of Plant Science and Crop Production (COLPLANT); Pioneer Chairman, Farm Practical Year (FPY) Programme of FUNAAB; and the immediate past Vice-Chancellor, Augustine University, Ilara-Epe, Lagos State; as a surprise birthday party and book launch were organised for him, as he turned 70 years.
The Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Kolawole Salako described him as a dedicated, punctual and a no-nonsense man, stating that he was endeared to Prof. Afolami when he first joined the services of the University, being one of the few people that he met. He encouraged all to learn some lessons from him, being a disciplinarian and always keeping to his words. Prof. Salako also commended the efforts of his wife, Prof. Carolyn Afolami for upholding the truth despite the fact that many people may not like such virtues, as he appreciated her and her husband for serving the University very well.
The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Prof. Bolanle Akeredolu-Ale disclosed that her first encounter with Prof. Afolami was when he was the Chairman, University Ceremonials Committee, stating that immediately he met him, his special leadership abilities and charismatic personality became apparent and which marked the beginning of their long-standing professional friendship. She noted that as a young woman, having to work with him made it possible to entrust her with many responsibilities such as chairing a committee of senior colleagues. The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) appreciated Prof. Afolami for believing in her and being supportive over the years, adding that he was always ready to provide intelligent advice. Prof. Akeredolu-Ale, who also shares the same birthday with him, revealed that working with him had been a fulfilling experience.
“Working with Prof. Afolami has been a fulfilling experience for me. His work ethics is more than remarkable. Energy, commitment, integrity are all words that I will use to describe him. His energy is boundless, his dedication is total and his insight is razor-sharp. As the Dean, Postgraduate School at FUNAAB, he was a transformational leader and a change agent, who had great dreams of what postgraduate education should be like and I will like to describe him as a genuinely good man and an outstanding personality”, Prof. Akeredolu-Ale stated.
The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Development), Prof. Clement Adeofun thanked God for the life of Prof. Afolami, whom he usually calls Uncle Steve, stating that he had impacted so many lives positively. He described him as loving and caring, adding that one cannot, but admire him as he always looked for him and members of his family. Corroborating him, the Dean of COLPLANT and Chairman, Committee of Deans and Directors, Prof. Mufutau Atayese called the celebrant as a family man and that he feels safe with him all the time. He expressed his amasement at the celebrant’s gentility, ambience and energy, saying that he was extremely thorough.
The Chairman, Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), FUNAAB Branch, Dr. Adebayo Oni stated that he knew him when he (Oni) was an undergraduate and postgraduate student in the University, stressing that Prof. Afolami was very disciplined and interested in advancing people’s progress. Dr. Oni disclosed that as a member of ASUU, Prof. Afolami was very consistent with the union and had never done anything against the decision of the union, despite being a senior lecturer. In a lecture titled, “A Man of Excellence”, the Acting Head, Department of Crop Production, Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State, Prof. Femi Sosanya observed that the celebrant was a man worthy of emulation, courageous and principled. Prof. Sosanya, who is also the first postgraduate student of the celebrant, revealed that the mentees came together about a year ago to plan his 70th birthday in agreement with his wife, who promised to keep their plans as a surprise for him.
A book titled, “Enduring Diligence” was launched in honour of Prof. Afolami. While reviewing the book, Prof. Omolayo Ariyo, a former DVC and former Dean of COLPLANT, stated that the book was a compilation of the various testimonials of friends, family members, professional colleagues and mentees about the celebrant. Prof. Ariyo stated that the compilation was also done as a surprise gift, stating that the various contributions by different people had shown that Prof. Afolami’s works and deeds go beyond the academic environment, as he recommended the publication as a guide to living a great, fruitful and productive life. Dignitaries present at the occasion included the Onitori of Orile Itori-Odo, HRH Oba (Dr.) Adebisi Adebayo; former Acting Vice-Chancellor of FUNAAB, Prof. Ololade Enikuomehin; Dean, Postgraduate School, Prof. Wilfred Alegbeleye; and the immediate Past Dean, College of Agricultural Management and Rural Development (COLAMRUD) of FUNAAB, Prof. Adewale Dipeolu, among others.