Ninety-year-old Prof Olayinka Olatunji has retired as a lecturer at the University of Lagos. In this interview with BOLA BAMIGBOLA, he shares his passion for Physics and experiences as a teacher from the primary school level to the university.
How does it feel to be 90 years of age?
Prof Olatunji expresses his surprise at reaching 90. He recounts praying fervently over the last one and a half years to see the next day due to health concerns. Following medical tests and results, he is grateful for his 90th birthday celebration after being under medical examination for five years at the loss of his wife.
When were you born and how did you know your date of birth given the low literacy level at that time?
He reveals that a literate uncle with records of family birth dates played a key role in establishing his date of birth. He shares about his late father, a trader and farmer, and his mother’s intriguing history of working as a form of slavery to offset a family debt after her father’s death.
Can you share it?
Yes, recounting his mother’s experience, he reveals the social and economic challenges she faced owing to her father’s death and the resulting family debt, shedding light on the scarcity of education during that era.
Growing up back then must have been fun, what childhood memories can you recollect?
He recalls his fascinating childhood, emphasizing his enduring friendship with a childhood companion and the humorous anecdote from his school days.
What are the schools you attended?
He narrates his educational journey, from attending a primary school in his hometown and eventually being admitted to Wesley College, Ibadan.
Prof Olatunji shares his teaching experiences and the impact of his salary as a pupil teacher. He vividly recounts gaining admission to Wesley College in 1949 after two years of teaching.
What year did you go to Wesley College?
He reflects on his four-year training at Wesley College, leading to his subsequent posting as a teacher at Oshodi Methodist School.
You said you lost your father while working as a pupil teacher, who financed your education at Wesley College, Ibadan?
He shares about financially supporting his education through savings and how his father’s death impacted the completion of his education at Wesley College.
In 1957, he received a Federal Government scholarship and enrolled at the University College in Ibadan, marking a turning point in his academic journey.
What grade did you make in university with the dedication you put into studying?
He recalls the academic achievements and lasting friendships from his university years, emphasizing the dedication and hard work that culminated in earning a first-class degree.
You took up a job in the University of Lagos after leaving University College, Ibadan. Can you describe the experience of working as a lecturer?
Reflecting on his teaching career, he emphasizes the role of a lecturer as a continuous learner and shares his love for teaching.
Did you set any targets for yourself after taking up the job as a lecturer? Did you target becoming a professor before reaching a certain age?
He dismisses the idea of targeting specific career achievements, highlighting the challenges faced in academia and the element of chance in career progression.
Prof Olatunji delves into how he met his wife in 1966 through a heartwarming anecdote involving a simple gesture of gifting her chocolate.
What attracted you to her?
He advises marrying someone with a similar outlook, citing the mental orientation as a significant factor that attracted him to his wife.
Reflecting on their marriage of 50 years, he emphasizes the importance of compatibility and shares the challenges of life, including the loss of their brilliant son in a tragic accident.
What was your relationship with the people in your hometown like back then, being an educated person during a period when many people were illiterate?
He discusses his integration into the community and his involvement in local associations, emphasizing his active participation and interactions with the people of his hometown.
Prof Olatunji emphasizes the simplicity of life during that time and the absence of certain social problems that exist today.
What do you do to pass time now?
He shares his passion for playing the pipe organ and being involved in church activities, emphasizing his enduring love for Physics.
What influences that love for physics?
Reflecting on his journey, he underscores the pivotal role of his education in shaping his passion for Physics
What is your advice to people on how to live long and happily?
He shares insightful advice about longevity, emphasizing the importance of good genes, and advises against the pursuit of material wealth and unhealthy relationships.
Did you use ‘ogun isoye’ while growing up?
He dismisses the notion of using memory-enhancing charms and encourages relying on inherent talents and hard work.
The post A 90-year-old Physics professor shares how he won his wife’s heart with chocolate in 1966 appeared first on NewsNow Nigeria.
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