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Gani Adeniran: Bowing out when ovation is loudest

By Sulaimon Salau
14 August 2022   |   2:38 am
The legacies and footprints of Dr. Ganiyu Adetunji Adeniran on the sands of time in diverse areas have been described as impactful and of immense benefit to humanity.

The legacies and footprints of Dr. Ganiyu Adetunji Adeniran on the sands of time in diverse areas have been described as impactful and of immense benefit to humanity.

  
This was brought to the fore as he celebrated his 65th birthday and retirement from the prestigious University of Ibadan on an occasion where he was honoured with the presence of the crème-de-la crème in society.

Gani Adeniran

  
Chairman of the Body of Benchers and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Chief Wole Olanipekun while eulogising Adeniran, described him as an enigma. Adeniran was one of UI’s most versatile veterinary medical scientists.
 
He said Dr. Adeniran, otherwise called Gani, has some very peculiar idiosyncrasies, one of which is his early morning messages to friends and associates. “Gani uses the instrumentality of such salutations to convey prayers, good wishes, and also express his views about the goings-on in Nigeria, applying some satiric phrases and metaphors, and ending it all with his accustomed cliché: ‘Ire o.’”
 
 
Gani, according to him, has been committed to people, ideas, and ideals. “He is dependable and trustworthy – a gentleman of the highest grade – with good and excellent character; an unmitigated success story when it comes to parentage and family issues…All surmised, his career has been most successful, both vertically and horizontally!”
 
Speaking on the topic: ‘A Man And His Worth: The Imperatives Of A Lasting Legacy,’ Olanipekun said there is currently a disturbing endemic decline in societal values, conscience, ethics, morals, scruples, ideals and strength of character.
 
He expressed disappointment about the situation in the higher institutions today where even graduates are unable to commensurately demonstrate their learning and character. “Is it not unfortunate that the only stable thing about education in Nigeria is the industrial action of the various unions,” he stated.
  
Olanipekun said: “Growing up in an average home, we were inundated with repeated reminders of: “remember the son of whom you are.” We were also not spared from the resounding admonition of King Solomon (Suleiman in the Holy Qur’an)- “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, loving favor rather than silver and gold.” 
  

“These cautions speak to the high esteem with which family values and reputations were held. To us, it was a healthy competition to sustain the family legacy and not to bring the homestead into disrepute. It is, however, most unfortunate, utterly disheartening and excruciatingly disturbing that just like you have in the macro level of our national polity, the family, which is the cell and smallest unit of the society, has also lost this cohesive element. Vain quests have eroded all that used to be, of discipline, prestige, honour and the grace with which our badges were carried. At the macro level, starting with academics, the decay and decadence stare very menacingly into our faces,” he stated.
  
On the economic flank, he said Nigeria is indeed in a paradoxical situation, where experts claim that growth prospects have comparatively improved, but inflationary and fiscal pressures have considerably increased, thereby, leaving the economy much more vulnerable.
  
He said a conversation of this nature affords all the rare privilege of introspection about life and its purpose in tandem with the dictum of the enigmatic and inscrutable thinker who has impacted humanity positively.
  
Describing Adeniran as a good man, an omoluabi in Yoruba, he said, “I will elect to stick to the conception of man along the virtue lines of shrewdness, forthrightness, courage, determination, resoluteness, responsiveness and the value he adds to life.”
  
He classified Adeniran among global heros who have left legacies and footprints on the sands of time in diverse areas, including science, innovations, literature, religion, governance, law, politics, academics, et al.
  
He cited Alfred Nobel – the man of prize and patents; The Wright Brothers and the legacy of the flying machine; Nelson Mandela for freedom, justice and peace; Lee Kuan Yew, the man that birthed the new state; Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum and his giant strides in the UAE; Thomas Edison, the man of light; the photoelectric effect of Albert Einstein; the unflinching Abraham Lincoln; Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill; the sage called Obafemi Awolowo; Bishop Ajayi Crowther of the faith and his immortal translation; William Shakespeare, the byname bard of avon; the master of the rolls, Lord Alfred Thompson Denning; and finally Gani, the enigma.
   
“Contrary to the oft-quoted expression of William Shakespeare that “The evil that men do lives after them, the good is oft interred with their bones,” Gani’s book – My Footprints on the Sands of Time…Celebrating Gani while he is still alive and not when he has passed to the great beyond. In effect, the good deeds that Gani has done right from his youth and up till age 65, are now being replayed and rehashed by an assemblage of eminent citizens who are alien to dressing anyone in borrowed robes.
   
“Admitted, Gani is a Veterinary Doctor, not a philosopher in the mould of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle; not a political leader like Winston Churchill, Kwan Yew, Obafemi Awolowo, etc., not a scientist or inventor like the Wright Brothers, Einstein, and Thomas Edison; not a missionary like Ajayi Crowther; not a bard like William Shakespeare, however, the fact remains that Gani, within the postulations of all the great philosophers, as well as the intents and ultimate injunction of the Holy Writs and also within the ultimate destination of a man’ as defined by the Yoruba ‘omoluabiism,’ Gani is by nature, innately good; he aims for the summum bonum; he desires the greater good for the greater number of people; in the words of Socrates, Gani is of a teachable virtue; he is a man whose virtues easily define his legacies.
 
“I am aware that Gani is a practicing Muslim by religion, but in practical terms, Gani is a humanist, a lover of mankind, and doer and seeker of anything good, lofty and godly, a friend and sympathiser of the downtrodden, a kind-hearted homo sapien and a God-fearing being. What then is the essence of religion? The goal of religion, to my mind, is the attainment of all the good and qualitative virtues that Gani possesses in rich quantum.
 
“To Karl Marx, religion is the opium of the masses, but I want to agree with this German philosopher in the sense that religion is being used and practiced in Nigeria today as camouflage, a deceptive vessel for self-aggrandizement rather than showing forth the glory and praise of God and appreciating His benevolence. In my estimation, Gani’s religious practice or tendency is not opium, but a sincere depiction of civility, humility, humanity, kindness, friendliness, patience, strength of character, high moral standard, painstakingness, courage, probity, rectitude, and valour.
   
“Gani is never envious of anybody, whatever might be his position or attainment; rather, he prays for and appreciates others who make consistent progress in their endeavours, without nursing or exhibiting any bitterness against them. Envy breeds hatred, angst, strife, bitterness, and applying the Nigerian cliché, ‘pull down syndrome.’ Gani thanks and appreciates God for what he has, but never blames the Almighty, the gods, his friends, allies, or even powers and principalities for what he does not have. No wonder, he is always happy and oozing to everyone, at any time or place ‘ire o.’
  
“To me, Gani is a brother, a bosom friend, a companion, a trusted ally, a dependable confidant. A foremost Jurist once enthused thus: “I have learned how to enjoy both my plans and achievements. I take kindly to the counsel of the years. I nurture the strength or spirit, which has always shielded me from the vicissitudes of life and the swinging barometer of fortune. I believe that with all its sham drudgery and temporary setbacks, it is still a beautiful world…all things considered, life has been kind to me. There are, indeed, very few regrets although I must admit that there have been many minor irritations.”
   
“While Gani, understandably, might not have come across these illuminating words by the former Chief Justice of Nigeria, I am persuaded that he has manifested every iota of the candid expressions of the quintessential Jurist. I am not unaware of some of the ‘many minor irritations’ and ‘the mountainous vicissitudes’ Gani has faced in life, but at all times, he kept on and still keeps on rejoicing. He sees life as a celebration rather than a setback; he has always enjoyed ‘both his plans and his achievements.’

“Gani moves and fraternizes with the young, the old and the elderly. No wonder, he benefits immensely from ‘the counsel of the years.’ In our contemporary world, there are few friends, but a legion of friends. I reasonably believe that Gani is, and has always remained a true friend to all his numerous friends, rather than being a friend. Gani’s architype is of a rarefied variety; whether as Gani simpliciter, Gani as a husband, Gani as a father, Gani as a friend, Gani as an activist, Gani as a social crusader, or Gani as an academic. He is in a class of his own; a personality so sublime, so lofty, so noble-minded and so egalitarian. Anyone who appreciates and values Gani’s true friendship will quickly peep into Dante’s Vita Nuova, a work he dedicated to Cavalcanti, his best friend, and where he said “in that book which is my memory, on the first page of the chapter that is the day when I first met you”.  This captures, in word and deed, the essence of our camaraderie.
  
“Now, the import of Gani turning 65 is wide and far-ranging. First, it means that the world has been lucky to have Gani in its bosom for 65 whole years! Second, by virtue of statutory stipulation, the University of Ibadan (UI) is now in the dilemmas position of having to lose him as a staff and lecturer, having attained the retirement bar. As a former Pro-Chancellor of UI, the University has my empathy. However, all is not lost, as Gani removes the gown and goes to the town. I believe he will add immense value to the ‘town community’ from where he will continue to promote, feed and assist the gown,” he stated.