AN INTERVIEW WITH HRM OBA PROFESSOR AKINOLA JOHN AKINTOLA
Can we meet you, sir?
My name is Oba Professor Akinola John Akintola, Fagbodun Olumomi(III), Alapa of Okin-Apa.
Please can you tell us your academic background?
I did my first degree in University of Ilorin, I studied Botany. I did my masters in University of Ilorin also, I studied crop production, and specialized in Entomology (study of insects). For my Ph.D., I did Zoology and specialized in Entomology too. Then I traveled to India for TWAS (Third World Academy of Science) fellowship, I did molecular studies there. And to the glory of God, I’ve risen to the position of a professor since 2013 in Ladoke Akintola University of Technology(LAUTECH) Ogbomoso.
Since when have you been lecturing?
I’ve been a lecturer since 1990, that is about 27 years ago.
How do you balance being a professor in a university with ruling Okin-Apa kingdom?
I have passion for academics, I’ve been lecturing since 1990. In fact, I have a personal lab, I collected grant to equip my personal lab, I have masters and Ph.D. students in my lab. For me to balance ruling Okin-Apa with lecturing, I restricted myself to higher classes only. When going to class, I don’t put on ostentatious beads. The goal is to impact lives so as a lecturer and as a king, I maximize my time and do my responsibilities in both fields. Although it takes extra effort, I balance both.
Do you still study hard and perform researches like before?
Yes! It’s in my blood, I love academics. In fact, I have research I’m working on so I still read, I still write articles for publication. I’m currently supervising final year students that are writing their projects
With what name does your student address you?
They call me Kabiyesi
How do you relate with your students?
The relationship is very cordial. I’m very free and open to my students. I make my class very lively so that the students won’t be afraid. When there is fear, the level of comprehension will be low. So I make sure my class is full of fun.
I can’t dress anyhow since I have to promote culture as a traditional ruler, I’m now very busy and I don’t really have time to go out and have fun with my friends like before becoming a king.
Yes! I’ve served as head of department, I’ve served as Dean of student affairs, I’ve served as ASUU chairman in LAUTECH and presently I’m the director of SIWES.
Why did a learned professor like you agree to be a traditional ruler?
It is a call to serve and a call to service. The people trust me, that is why I was invited to come and rule. The fact that I’m a professor shouldn’t stop me from contributing to the development of my community. You will see the best answer to this question when we get to Okin.
Have you ever been into politics?
Do you have interest in politics?
No, I don’t
Why don’t you have interest in politics?
(smiles) Instead of using my money to campaign I prefer helping people directly and God has been assisting me even before I became a king. Maybe it’s my temperament, I just don’t just like politics. Even if I like politics, I can’t be a politician now, a king concurs with whoever is in power.
Kabiyesi is there any ancestral event or festival in Okin-Apa?
Yes, we have a masquerade in our family “Egun Ori Tira” the masquerade sits on air.
Do you join them during the worship of the masquerade?
Yes! Normally I’m a Christian, but it is expected of me to participate in any religions festivities that is happening in my kingdom. I might not be the one doing it directly but anything I approve as a king; I’m also doing it. There is nothing wrong in joining them during these events, they are my people, that is the way it has been before I was given birth to, I have to honour traditions as a traditional ruler. If the clerics come to my palace for prayers, I have to appreciate and tolerate them, I can’t chase them away, it is expected of me to join them. A king embraces every religion
What can you tell us about the controversial Okin University that everyone is talking about?
Okin University is a reality. I was part of the pioneer committee. Engineer Mufutau Salawu is the promoter of the university, one of the motives behind Okin University is that Engineer Mufutau Salawu Wants Okin-Apa to appear on world map. Engineer Mufutau Salawu, myself, Professor Ojediran who is currently the vice chancellor of Bells University, Professor Ibijuwa, et al are into this together and we all went to NUC for the initial approval. So it’s true and I can tell you that Okin University is a reality. The university will stretch across about 300 hectares of land in Okin-Apa. Apart from Okin University, I allocated hectares of land for the construction of International school for the physically challenged, the one of its kind in the whole of West Africa.
What will you like to tell young people that look up to you?
There are lots of opportunities for this generation, unfortunately they are not maximizing it. When we were in the university, we had to travel to other universities across the nation when we wanted to write our project. But now, internet makes everything easy. But instead of students to face their book, it is Facebook they are facing. Anybody can make it in life, you just have to be consistently hardworking.