Professor Ayo Dunmoye: An Outstanding Political Scientist at 70

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By Toba Alabi

When I was admitted into the Higher School in 1978, my goal was to read economics in the university. Then, I met a teacher in that school that changed the entire course of my life. Mr. J.B.Olawale who was my government master was a Marxist teacher with a degree in political science from the University of Legon, Ghana.

Telling us the incredible feats of Karl Marx, Frederick Engels, VI Lenin, Josef Stalin and the impregnable Soviet Empire, which according to him might be very difficult for Jesus Christ to penetrate on his second coming made the reading of political science so fascinating that I ditched economics after listening to him for a term.

Professor Ayo Dunmoye
Professor Dunmoye & his students at MIAD HALL

The bottom line was that I wanted to be like him. As an impressionable teenage boy then, the study of economics bit the dust, and political science invaded my entire mental horizon.

Today, I am a political scientist because of one man. A good teacher who was able to inspire and motivate a rudderless teenage boy to have a focus in life.

What is the point? The point is that the immensity and profundity of the role of a teacher in character molding, an inspiration for the youths, and setting agenda for the future are beyond contestation.

And this is exactly where the role of Raufu Ayoade Dunmoye, an eminent professor of Political Science in the past forty-four years comes for scrutiny.

Writing about a mentor and a senior colleague is an exercise that is potentially mined by two dangers. The first is the tendency to turn into a praise singer without being able to do a critique of the personality.

ALSO READ: Kwara students honored Prof Ayo Dunmoye, one of ABU’s oldest professors

The second is to gloss over the main substance which is the person’s major contributions to his field which might serve as his lasting legacy for humanity.

In this piece, I will attempt to examine Professor Ayo Dunmoye’s early life and the forces that shaped his evolutionary process, his contributions to academia, and my personal interactions with him.

Who is Professor Ayo Dunmoye?

Raufu Ayoade Dunmoye was born in January 1950 in Offa, Kwara State, Nigeria. He graduated from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in 1975 with a B.Sc Social Science with a Second Class Honours Upper Division.

In 1980, he completed his M.Sc in Political science at the same University. For his doctorate, he attended the University of Toronto, Canada from where he graduated with a Ph.D. Political Economy in 1986.

He joined the Department of Political Science of the Ahmadu Bello University in 1976 and rose steadily to the rank of Professor. However, Professor Ayo Dunmoye has not been confined solely to the Ahmadu Bello University.

Before joining the University he was: Tutor, Sokoto Teachers College, Sokoto between January and October 1971; Studio Manager/Announcer, Radio Nigeria, Kaduna between 1972 and 1972; Assistant Secretary, Military Governors Office, Sokoto: 1975-1976 (N.Y.S.C.);

Associate Professor, University of Lagos: 1994-1995; University of Abuja: February 2007 January 2008 (Sabbatical); Visiting Professor/Director, Institute of Legislative Studies, University of Abuja: 2008 – 2010; Guest Lecturer, Foreign Affairs Academy, (Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs) 1999 till date; Consultant for the UNDP and UUNO;

Guest Lecturer/Resource Fellow, National Defence College, Abuja, Nigeria; Consultant, National Assembly, 2007 till date; and External Assessor: National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) Jos.

Within the Ahmadu Bello University, he taught many courses at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels in his forty-four years in the University. At various times he was the Head, Department of Political Science, and the Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences of the Ahmadu Bello University.

In terms of the supervision of Ph.D. theses, Professor Ayo Dunmoye is arguably the most prolific in Nigeria. In his forty-four years in the ABU, he has successfully supervised forty-seven Ph.D. students and ten are on-going. In addition to these, he had supervised thirty-one M.Phil projects.

He had held many administrative duties in the University which include:

  • Editor-in-Chief, Nigerian Journal of Political Science. 2016 till date.
  • Member, Graduate Studies Committee, Political Science Department A.B.U, Zaria.
  • Member, Departmental Academic Planning Committee, Political Science Department A.B.U, Zaria.
  • Member, Senate Committee on Examination, Regulations, and Irregularities (1991 to date)
  • Member, Governing Council of Division of Agricultural Colleges (DAC), ABU, Zaria.

As should be expected, he has published widely both nationally and internationally. For years to come, his works will be reference materials in his field of Political Economy.

And to be sure, four of the current academic staff in my Department, Department of Political Science and International Relations of the Nigerian Defence Academy were supervised by him at the Ph.D. level.

My Personal Encounter with Professor Ayo Dunmoye

My first encounter with Professor Ayo Dunmoye was in June 1992 when he was the external examiner to the Department of International Relations and Defence Studies of the Nigerian Defence Academy.

Then, what struck me was his thoroughness in the assessment of the scripts and the cadets’ projects, drawing our attention to areas that we needed to address. It was in the area of the projects that I think I gained most that day.

It was like being in a research methodology class, stressing the importance of the statement of the research problem, the synergy between research questions and objectives, the cruciality of research assumptions, and theoretical framework.

As junior and young academics we jotted down his comments and went through his reports for full implementation. That week I went over my research methodology notes as an undergraduate student at the University of Lagos and the one I had as an M.Sc. student at the Obafemi Awolowo University to freshen up my memory on his observations.

Fourteen years later as a senior lecturer, I went to the Department of Political Science, Ahmadu Bello University to examine one of his postgraduate students that worked on the contradictions in the Civil Governance of Kwara State.

This now provided an opportunity for me to unleash all the weapons he had earlier raised with us on the thesis. And I was so critical of the work.

One thing that Professor Ayo Dunmoye demonstrated in a large dose is academic humility that is very rare in many senior academics today. They would turn the exercise into an atmosphere to lecture the external examiner on research methodology rather than take note of the weaknesses in their students’ works.

I had been forced twice to politely tell two senior colleagues to please keep quiet so that I could examine their students. This, however, is not to suggest that we did not have our differences in the work. But the wisdom and maturity with which he handled the whole affairs have remained an everlasting lesson for me.

The Department of Political Science and Defence Studies of the Nigerian Defence Academy benefitted mostly when Professor Dunmoye served as a member of the Department during his one year sabbatical leave. In the area of our Departmental seminars, he proved highly useful and his contributions were highly invaluable.

ALSO READ: The Prestigious ABU Zaria Department of Political Science and Int’l Studies

For the entire one year, I can’t remember a day he came to the Department and I did not see him off to his car, not necessarily as a senior colleague but as a very reliable and trustworthy friend. Friendship is earned not necessarily because of seniority but more by integrity and mutual respect.

My closeness with Professor Ayo Dunmoye reached its peak in 2017 when we spent a whole long week together during the NUC accreditation exercise in Benue and Plateau States. He was the team leader and Professor Kunle Ajayi of Ekiti State University was also on the political science team.

This week’s long encounter with Prof. Dunmoye clearly revealed many things to me about him. One, I reckoned that he is a devout Muslim. It was during the Ramadan fast. As rigorous as the exercise was, he never broke the fast and he was saying his prayers regularly.

Two, he is a team player, not bossing everyone and throwing his weight everywhere. He would listen to all opinions and reaching an amicable agreement. Within the team, he was able to foster brotherhood and love. This is how a true leader is known.

Three, in the two institutions we visited the respect with which he was treated, was very inspiring. It was either he had taught two or three members of the academic staff either at the undergraduate or postgraduate levels. He had supervised the Ph.D. theses of two of them. Yet, he never took advantage of this situation to lord it over any of them.

Finally, he is a good debater and a good listener who knows when to talk, ask questions, and keep quiet. During our long trip from Makurdi to Jos, there were three teams on the bus that we traveled together, and expectedly, there were discussions on public issues, especially politics.

One thing that immediately came up for recognition was the fact that he is a good listener. This automatically made him become the unofficial ‘moderator’ of those discussions that day. He is a thoughtful speaker who will factor in the positions of those that disagree with him while giving a reply.

There was an incident in which the wisdom of Professor Ayo Dunmoye was so compelling that I often remember why in every African society elders are help in catholic reverence.

There was this junior colleague of mine that was to be assessed for promotion who failed to show up for the exercise and after that I left the meeting for my M.Sc class, telling other members of the meeting how disappointed I was in him.

An hour into the lecture, this fellow that was to be assessed walked up to me in my class, invited me out that there was an issue of importance he wanted to discuss with me. Then came the verbal assault that you would not expect from any normal human being, not to talk of an academic that is expected to display the highest standards of decorum.

Meanwhile, all I was thinking was how to use the full weight of my office to deal with him and make sure that he paid dearly for his excesses. Then, the thought came to me to call Prof. Dunmoye that we all respect the Department for his advice.

When I phoned him he called my name thrice and warned me to ignore the rude colleague and that he was looking for relevance by fighting the dean of the faculty. What wise advice! After a day or two that nobody called to find out why he was rude to me and there was no official response of any kind from me, it was him that started reporting himself to our colleagues.

One of the professors he reported himself to was the person that told me and as should be expected, his actions were condemned. Eventually, he came to apologize to me and the problem was solved. This is one of the reasons why elders will always remain indispensable in any society.

At this point, I must stress that I have never been a stooge to this great political Scientist and on several occasions, we had disagreed on political issues. He is largely pro-Buhari government and the APC and I am not.

He was opposed to Bukola Saraki when he was the Senate President and I was constantly praising the way he had rattled the APC up to the Supreme Court. He gave the Code of Conduct Tribunal a bloodied nose and violated the invincibility of the APC who did everything possible to remove him as Senate President.

On several occasions, I had praised Olusegun Obasanjo and Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State. Once, he wrote on my Page, International Relations and Political science Scholars, that I always support controversial politicians in Nigeria and I fired back that it was so because political science thrives on controversy.

No doubt, Dunmoye and I have our differences but we have mutual respect for each other. Dunmoye is a senior colleague and a mentor I look up to for leadership and direction. He knows when to disagree with me publicly and when to attack me privately. And this means so much to me.

This is where a very senior colleague got it all wrong last year and I was forced to tell him that in the discipline of Political Science nobody, irrespective of his status, has the final answer on any issue. Ayo Dunmoye is a mentor, a father, and a senior colleague. Above all, he is a man of wisdom.

Professor Raufu Ayoade Dunmoye, (though in arrears), happy birthday, and many happy returns of the day sir.

Toba Alabi writes from the Nigerian Defense Academy. He can be reached on tobalabi@yahoo.com


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