Fate appeared to have played a fast one on Bayinah and her father, Dr. Bashir Tijani-Alawe. While Tijani-Alawe laboured for 20 years to earn his Ph.D, his daughter graduated at 20 years of age with a First Class honours. He had planned for his daughter’s convocation but destiny decided otherwise. Bayinah narrated what she called an unforgettable twist of fate in this report to Isioma Madike
The convocation of the University of Lagos on Wednesday, January 25, was a day that will remain in the memory of Bayinah Tijani-Alawe. She was one of those who received their certificates on that day. Not only that Bayinah is beautiful, she is equally brainy. She shone like a million stars in the department of Business Administration where she graduated with First Class honours. That was what she promised her father, Dr. Bashir Tijani-Alawe. And she did it in style; at 20 years of age.
Tijani-Alawe also graduated from the same department years back with a Second Class Upper honours; one of the best in his class that year. When Bayinah got admitted into the same department and university, her father challenged her to better his result with a First Class. Bayinah promised and went on to deliver on the promise.
“That challenge made me to work very hard because I didn’t want to disappoint a man that gave me everything I needed to grow up as a child. I was happy when he came home on that fateful day to break the news that I made him proud.
“A friend from the university had called to congratulate him over my result. He was so happy and rushed home to announce to the whole family that I made First Class. But, that was how far the joy could go. He left us unceremoniously, unannounced,” Bayinah sniveled as she narrated the pathetic story to this reporter.
Perhaps, this may be the reason Bayinah was sad on her momentous occasion. She said: “My dad had planned big for the event. Though, he was not the flamboyant type, but he wanted to bend his rigid rules on ceremonials just to show how happy and proud he was as a father whose daughter graduated at not only 20 but with a First Class honours. He even promised to put on his Ph.D gown to take a memorable photograph with me. He was such a lovely and admirable father. He was, indeed, a dad in a million. He was my role model. I’ll forever miss him.”
The death of Tijani-Alawe, according to his daughter, was so sudden. “No one saw it coming. He was not sick. He just collapsed and died while eating.”
Tijani-Alawe was born on March 12, 1959, in Ejigbo, Osun State. He ventured into academics immediately after his masters’ degree. His brilliance got him a job at The Polytechnic, Ibadan, Eruwa campus, as a lecturer. He left Eruwa for the Federal Polytechnic Ilaro. He was also at City University before joining Caleb University, Imota, Lagos.
Some of his former students and others who knew him described Tijani-Alawe as an epitome of humility both in his thoughts and appearances. He never, his schoolboys said, indulged in the notorious but booming sale of “hand-outs” because “he saw it as a way to further impoverish the already famished students.”
Tijani-Alawe was also said to be a religious person. He knew the holy Quran inside out as much as he knew the Bible. “He was a prayer warrior as he did not play with his solat (five times daily prayer) and Tadjud (midnight) prayers. He believed that all powers belong to Almighty Allah. He did not discriminate based on tribe, religion or under whatever disguise,” said Abiola Ayankunbi, who is one of those Tijani-Alawe mentored.
Tijani-Alawe was a thoroughbred academic. He was planning to join his alma mata, the University of Lagos, when he answered the last call. He enrolled for his Ph.D at the University of Lagos more than two decades ago. He was nearly frustrated out of the programme but remained committed to the cause he believed in. Tijani-Alawe eventually graduated and had his convocation in June, 2016, but died on Friday, December 2, of the same year. That was barely six months after bagging the Ph.D he laboured so hard to earn and a week after his daughter, Bayinah, graduated with a First Class honours in same department and university.
It looked as though fate planned the academic journey for father and daughter. Some have termed it an irony of sort. Tijani-Alawe spent 20 years to obtain his Ph.D and his daughter, Bayinah, graduated with First Class honours at the age of 20 years.
He led seminar sessions, facilitated management lectures to different categories of managers, and consulted for many companies in Nigeria. He was the author of three books and a research fellow of the Industrial Science Centre (FIS).
Tijani-Alawe was also a member of Nigerian Institute of Management (MNIM), as well as an associate member of Certified Institute of Marketing (ACIM), now National Institute of Nigeria and a graduate member of the Institute of Personnel Management (GIPM) of Nigeria.
He had 25 learned journal articles, four research monographs and over 40 conference papers to his credit. He also served on the Research Board of Advisors of the America Biographical Institute, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA. Tijani-Alawe main research interest was in the area of African Business Philosophy, Strategy and Entrepreneurship.