Nigeria has produced many professors in several fields and they have made impacts in all industries in Nigeria and all over the world. Nigerian professors are part of the top recognized professors all over the world comprising of both old and young, so far the first youngest professor recorded in the history of Nigeria is Professor Ayodele Awojobi.
Awojobi Ayodele is the first youngest professor in Nigeria, he was known by the nicknames “Dead Easy,” “The Akoka Giant,” and “Macbeth,” and at the age of 37, he was appointed as a professor. Awojobi received the alias “Macbeth” in his secondary school after the lead actor fell sick a week before the play’s performance and Ayodele was asked to fill in. He was given the name Macbeth because of how skillfully he performed the role, including his lines and character, as well as the significant role.
On March 12, 1937, Ayodele Awojobi was born in Oshodi, Lagos State. Awojobi grew into a popular scholar, writer, researcher, social activist, and lecturer in Nigeria.
In 1955, Awojobi completed his West African School Certificate exams with a record-breaking eight distinctions. He then went to the Nigerian College of Arts, Science, and Technology in Ibadan to complete his General Certificate of Examinations, or GCE (Advanced Level), where he took the Physics, Pure Mathematics, and Applied Mathematics papers in 1958 and received distinctions in all three. Awojobi received his first mechanical engineering degree in 1962 from the former Nigerian College of Arts, Science, and Technology in Zaria(now Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria), acquiring a BSc (Eng) in London with first-class honors. While attending CMS Grammar School, he started to reveal his academic characteristics. He had a reputation for being exceptional in math, physics, and even the arts at the time. He actually belonged to the school’s debating and literary society.
Prior to his admission, completing an engineering degree in a record three years was impossible. Awojobi received a scholarship from the Federal Government in 1962 after completing his undergraduate degree to continue his studies at the post-graduate level in the subject of mechanical engineering at the Imperial College of the University of London (now Imperial College London). He finished the program, made it through his thesis defense, and in 1966 received a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering.
By both his professors and colleagues, Awojobi was regarded as a scholar genius. After a number of years of teaching at the University of Lagos, he went back to Imperial College London to conduct research in the area of vibration and was given the degree of Doctor of Science DSC.
But after gaining knowledge that Awojobi had just received his Doctor of Science (DSc) degree, the university immediately appointed him Professor of Mechanical Engineering, making him the youngest professor in the University of Lagos’ Faculty of Engineering and the first person to ever expressly advance from associate to full professorship within a week.
Prior to that, in 1974, he returned to the University of Lagos and joined as a lecturer in the Faculty of Engineering. In 1975, the University of Lagos Senate appointed him to associate professor.
Moreover, at the former Imperial College of Science and Technology, London, he was the first African to get the degree of Doctor of Science (DSc) in mechanical engineering (now Imperial College London). A scholar under the age of 40 is only unbelievably and rarely awarded a doctor of science degree.
He was barely below 40 years old when he became the first Nigerian to enroll in a London-based university and receive a degree. He was also the first to convert his family’s right-hand-drive vehicle to a left-hand drive. He was also given the title of associate professor and promoted within a short period. He truly was a genius.
Sadly, he passed away at the age of 47, seven years after achieving such great success. On September 23, 1984, Awojobi passed away. Every year, Lagos State sends him a tribute. Onike Roundabout in Yaba, Lagos, and a statue of Awojobi were both dedicated to him by the then governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Fashola, in October 2009. On September 23, 2010, Birrel Thoroughfare, a well-known route in the Yaba Local Government Council Area, was renamed “Prof. Ayodele Awojobi Avenue,” paying further tribute to Awojobi
Source: Nation Newspaper