In Honor of Wisdom: The Legacy of Dr. Saidu Yahaya Ojoo (A Tribute to Late Dr. Sa'idu Yahaya Ojoo)

The weight of Dr. Ojoo's passing bears a particular resonance for me, perhaps more so than for many within the Federal University Gusau (FUGUS) community. Our initial encounter transpired during an international conference in Benin City back in 2018. Faced with the pragmatic challenge of cost, we opted to share the same room, an experience that fostered a connection beyond the academic sphere.

As fate would have it, our paths converged once more within the hallowed halls of FUGUS, where we both assumed roles as lecturers in the Faculty of Humanities. The surprise etched on the faces of our colleagues, pondering the origin of our connection, was palpable. In response to their queries, Dr. Ojoo simply stated, "Abu-Ubaida is my boy!" — a phrase that encapsulated the depth of our camaraderie and mutual respect, transcending the bounds of professional association.
In Honor of Wisdom: The Legacy of Dr. Saidu Yahaya Ojoo

In Honor of Wisdom: The Legacy of Dr. Saidu Yahaya Ojoo (A Tribute to Late Dr. Sa'idu Yahaya Ojoo)

Abu-Ubaida Sani
Department of Languages and Cultures
Dederal University Gusau, Zamfara, Nigeria

The Poem

In shadows cast by Time's relentless hand,
A solemn echo whispers through the land.
On January's fifteenth, sorrow took its cue,
Dr. Saidu Yahaya Ojoo bid this world adieu.

A heavy heart bears news of somber weight,
A sage departed, leaving an empty slate.
In the hush of loss, emotions intertwine,
A symphony of memories, a eulogy to design.

The news, a chill, in winter's icy grasp,
Yet in this sorrow, reflections clasp.
A life well-lived, like pages in a tome,
Dr. Ojoo's legacy, a beacon to our home.

His wisdom, a lantern in the darkest night,
Guiding hearts through trials, towards the light.
With each shared thought and every learned word,
He touched our lives, his legacy assured.

Upon the canvas of our shared history,
Dr. Saidu Ojoo's portrait, a symphony.
In every classroom, a scholar's guiding hand,
A mentor cherished, across the vast land.

Oh, January's fifteenth, a poignant day,
When tears and memories found their way.
Yet, in the echoes of our saddened sighs,
Dr. Ojoo's spirit within us lies.

So, let these stanzas be a humble art,
A tribute to a soul who did depart.
In the tapestry of time, his presence etched,
Dr. Saidu Yahaya Ojoo, deeply fetched.

In February's grasp, in eighteen's embrace,
An encounter profound, in time and space.
Neath the banner grand, where intellects merge,
In Benin City's heart, histories surge.

The conference theme, a quest both deep and historic,
"Slavery and Postcolonial Dis/Engagements" dynamic.
Hosted by WAACLALS, scholarly hands entwined,
In UYI Grand Hotel, where wisdom is enshrined.

From the nineteenth to the twenty-second's dawn,
Scholars gathered, new insights born.
It was there, in UYI's grand expanse,
Dr. Ojoo’s wisdom enhanced the dance.

His words, like rivers, through epochs streamed,
In every insight, a world of thought gleamed.
A voice journeying through time's deep song,
Unveiling truths, both bold and strong.

In that congregation of intellects rare,
Ideas sparked in the scholarly air.
Dr. Ojoo, a guiding star in the debate,
In his wisdom, history and present relate.

Our paths intertwined by serendipity's hand,
In UYI's rooms, a connection grand.
Conversations lingered from night till morn,
In the glow of knowledge, our bond was born.

In the halls of UYI, where echoes ring,
His presence, an everlasting, resonant thing.
That first meeting, etched in memory's lore,
A treasured moment, forevermore.

In UYI's refuge, where stories unfurled,
Two minds converged in a wisdom-filled swirl.
An undergraduate amid scholars' array,
Dr. Ojoo and I, in discourse, held sway.

A surprise lingered in his thoughtful gaze,
An undergrad attending, in academic maze.
Literature and movies, our shared delight,
His scripts in Nigeria's cinematic night.

The room's thermostat, a friendly debate,
He sought coolness, while I shivered, ornate.
In warmth and chill, connections were spun,
A scholarly bond, under UYI's sun.

Beneath the ebony curtain of night,
To food stalls, we ventured, a shared delight.
Conversations flowed with each step we took,
Friendship forged in shared laughter's nook.

Before Benin's lights faded in the sky,
Numbers exchanged, a pact to imply.
In the realm of knowledge, a connection found,
Dr. Ojoo's wisdom, an echoing sound.

In time's swift current, paths entwined again,
At Federal University Gusau, amid the academic train.
In the Faculty of Humanities, a reunion so bright,
Two lecturers meeting, a delightful sight.

Joy radiated, in that scholarly sphere,
As we met again, the past so near.
In the corridors of knowledge, where ideas flow,
A bond rekindled, a familiar glow.

Colleagues inquired, in curious tones,
The roots of our camaraderie, in those academic zones.
Dr. Ojoo, with a smile so wise and coy,
Responded with warmth, "Abu-Ubaida is my boy."

In those simple words, a history deep,
Of conferences past and memories to keep.
In Gusau's halls, respect and fondness blend,
A mentor and a colleague, a cherished friend.

Our journey shared, in learning's vast domain,
From conference rooms to university's lane.
In each encounter, wisdom and kinship tie,
Under the banner of an academic sky.

In the realm of diligence, Dr. Ojoo stood tall,
A beacon of hard work, inspiring one and all.
Secretary to the Journal of Humanities, Zamfara's pride,
In academic pursuits, he was our guide.

In the halls of FUGUS, where knowledge reigns,
A member of the Committee, with no refrains.
Against malpractice's tide, he firmly stood,
A guardian of fairness, in the academic hood.

Resource person and mentor, a role profound,
In English and Literature, knowledge did abound.
Young scholars nurtured by his guiding hand,
In FUGUS' embrace, where wisdom expands.

Through acronyms like FUGUSAU or FUGUS,
The legacy of hard work, a continuous thrust.
In each endeavor, he left an indelible mark,
A scholar, a mentor, in the academic arc.

In FUGUS' walls, a silence fell,
At news of loss, a tolling bell.
The university, in shock, stood still,
Dr. Ojoo's passing, a bitter pill.

The corridors echoed a stunned disbelief,
A collective heartache, profound in its grief.
His absence, like a void vast and deep,
Left a community in mourning, unable to leap.

"Too soon, too sudden," the whispers spread,
In classrooms and offices, a heavy dread.
A titan of academia, from our midst torn,
Leaving behind hearts, tattered and worn.

The shockwave reverberated through each soul,
A gap where once stood a figure whole.
In every nook, his memory cast,
A shadow of a legacy, vast and vast.

FUGUS felt the tremor of this dire news,
A testament to the footprints he did infuse.
His departure, an unexpected, harsh decree,
Left echoes of disbelief, a pained symphony.

As we near the end of this heartfelt verse,
Let's raise our prayers, both profound and diverse.
For Dr. Ojoo, a soul so dear and fine,
May grace guide him, in the divine design.

In our supplications, let's softly implore,
For peace and comfort, forevermore.
A journey's end, in the celestial realm,
May serenity's hand, his spirit overwhelm.

His passing, a lesson, stark and clear,
A reminder of our own journey here.
In our deeds and words, let's embody grace,
Embracing goodness, in life's fleeting race.

Let humility be our guiding star,
As we traverse life's paths, near and far.
Dr. Ojoo's legacy, a testament so bright,
To live with kindness, in every plight.

In memory of a scholar, profound and wise,
Let's hold to virtues that he did prize.
In his remembrance, let our actions speak,
A legacy of goodness, humble and meek.

So, as we bid farewell in this final stanza,
Let's cherish his memory, like a lasting bonanza.
In prayers and deeds, his spirit lives on,
Dr. Saidu Yahaya Ojoo, never truly gone.

The Story

The news of Dr. Saidu Yahaya Ojoo's passing on January 15th, 2024, sent ripples of profound sadness through my heart, stirring a sense of irreplaceable loss that echoed the depth of our interactions and shared experiences. His departure from this world was not merely a personal bereavement for me but represented a monumental loss for the broader academic community, especially at Federal University Gusau (FUGUS), where his influence and contributions were deeply ingrained.

I vividly recall our initial encounter, which occurred under the significant banner of the International Conference on Slavery and Postcolonial Dis/Engagements. This esteemed event was orchestrated by the West African Association for Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies (WAACLALS) and convened at the UYI Grand Hotel in Benin City, Nigeria, from February 19th to 22nd, 2018. The conference was a vibrant confluence of intellectuals and scholars, a fertile ground for the exchange of ideas and knowledge. Among this assembly of great minds, Dr. Ojoo's presence shone brightly. His astute insights and meaningful contributions to the discourse on the conference's theme were not only enlightening but deeply provocative, challenging established notions and fostering a rich intellectual environment.

A particularly memorable facet of this conference was the serendipitous sharing of accommodations at the UYI Grand Hotel. This arrangement paved the way for profound interactions with Dr. Ojoo, extending beyond the formalities of academic discourse. He expressed genuine surprise and admiration at my involvement as an undergraduate student, which led us into expansive conversations about literature, film, and the arts. Dr. Ojoo shared fascinating anecdotes, including his experiences in scripting for Nigerian films, revealing a versatile and creative aspect of his personality. Our exchanges transcended academic boundaries, encompassing everyday experiences such as playful debates over the air conditioning settings in our room and shared nocturnal excursions to purchase food. These moments, though seemingly trivial, forged a bond that was both personal and intellectual. Our exchange of contact details at the conference's conclusion was a testament to the beginning of a significant and enduring academic camaraderie.

Our paths intertwined once more when we both assumed roles as lecturers in the Faculty of Humanities at Federal University Gusau, Nigeria. The joy and familiarity of our reunion were palpable and heartwarming. In introducing me to fellow lecturers, Dr. Ojoo affectionately referred to me as "his boy," a phrase that encapsulated the profound respect and deep bond that had developed between us. This encounter underscored the continuity and strength of our academic and personal relationship, a connection that had grown from shared experiences and mutual admiration.

Dr. Ojoo was not merely a colleague; he was the epitome of dedication and hard work. His roles at FUGUS, particularly as the Secretary to the Zamfara Journal of Humanities and a member of the Examination Malpractice Committee, were a reflection of his unwavering commitment to maintaining academic integrity and promoting excellence. Moreover, his invaluable mentorship and guidance to young scholars in the Department of English and Literature at FUGUS were instrumental in shaping the careers and lives of many. He was a beacon of knowledge and experience, generously sharing his insights and wisdom with those embarking on their academic journeys.

The news of Dr. Ojoo's untimely demise sent shockwaves through the university community. It was a moment marked by collective disbelief and an overwhelming sense of grief. His absence created a palpable void that resonated through the corridors and classrooms of FUGUS, profoundly affecting students, colleagues, and the academic fraternity at large. This tragic event served as a poignant reminder of the transient nature of life and the imperative to leave a positive and lasting legacy in our endeavors.

In conclusion, as we navigate through the sorrow of losing such an esteemed mind and a beloved mentor, it is crucial that we continue to offer prayers for Dr. Ojoo. His life, as well as his passing, serve as powerful reminders of the importance of striving to embody goodness, kindness, and humility. The legacy he leaves behind transcends his academic achievements; it is embedded in the exemplary manner in which he lived - a life marked by purpose, impact, and an unwavering dedication to fostering knowledge and integrity. Dr. Saidu Yahaya Ojoo's memory will endure, inspiring and guiding us not only through his scholarly contributions but also through the humanity, compassion, and steadfast commitment to academic excellence that he exemplified.

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