Dr. Ajibike Olukunle Akinkoye
(1962 – 1966; SJC 255)
Author, Editor, Publisher, Retired Professor & Pastor.
It is difficult not to repeat some of the things other old students have written. They are inspiring and enjoyable to read. However, there is at least one experience that was probably unique to me.
Before I was admitted to SJC, I used to read all the newspapers and magazines to which my father subscribed at the time, and all the books he brought into the house. My father was a teacher at Ondo Boys’ High School (now Ondo High School).
After I entered St. Joseph’s College, my appetite for reading only grew. By the end of my third year, I had read all the novels in the school library. My elder brother, Dr. Olugbemi Akinkoye, who was then working in Lagos, would buy up most of the novels on annual sale at Kingsway Stores in Lagos and send them to me. I just loved reading. However, I did not always read at the authorized hours. Late at night, I would pull my bedsheets and cover cloth down the sides of my bed (to block out the light of the torch I was using) and lie down under the bed to read until the wee hours of the morning. One day, Brother Thomas caught me reading at an “unholy hour” and pulled me out from under the bed. He led me out to the corridor of the dormitory. I thought bleakly that my days at St. Joseph’s were over.
Instead of the tongue-lashing and punishment I had expected, Brother Thomas simply admonished me not to stay up so late at night because it was not good for my health and my growth. Then, later that day, when he learned that I had read all the novels in the school library, he brought me some books from the private library of the Reverend Brothers! He gave me the nickname “Bookworm” and only cautioned me to “get enough sleep” each night. I think I also read all the books in the Brothers’ private library.
It was fun to later read and study great writings from around the world until I obtained my first degree (First Class Honors, University of Ibadan), as well as my Master’s and Doctoral degrees (French and English) from the University of Bordeaux, France. I have written a few books myself, and I have edited and published over thirty books for others. The seed was planted by many people in my early years and thoroughly watered by Brother Thomas. I cannot forget.
Merci beaucoup, Brother Thomas. Blessings on your 90th birthday!