Issues in the fourth and fifth realms, an encyclopaedia on mass communication and its various adjuncts, a 900-page plus festschrift on foremost African journalism and mass communication scholar, Professor Ralph Afolabi Akinfeleye, was presented to the public Thursday, January 27, 2022, at the University of Lagos main auditorium. The event, which was to celebrate the erudite scholar, teacher, and administrator, also marks the professor’s retirement after over three decades of service.
Divided into seven parts with a section devoted to Tributes, the sections covered in the book are Media Law and Ethics, Media Social Responsibility, and Press/Media and Politics.
The event, which was chaired by Professor Are Afe Babalola, Vice-Chancellor, Afe Babalola University of Ado Ekiti, had Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, All Progressives Congress Presidential candidate for the 2023 election, ably represented by Seye Oladejo, Lagos state APC secretary, as the chief launcher.
Reuben Abati, veteran journalist and Arise TV presenter reviewed the book.
Speaking at the ceremony, Prof Fassy Yusuf, chairman of the organizing committee of the event, said that the 928-page book with over 40 chapters is a compendium of books by Prof Akinfeleye.
Present at the event were Abike Dabire-Erewa, chairman of the Nigerian Diaspora Commission, Ray Ekpo, John Momoh, president, University of Lagos, UNILAG Alumni, Prof Ramatu Bellow, 11th Vice-Chancellor of Lagos State University, Biodun Shobanjo, Public Relations expert, Bisi Olatilo, Fayo Derele among others.
In his speech, Prof. Adepoju Tekumaiye, Head of Department, Mass Communication Department, University of Lagos, said that he was most privileged to have been taught by both Prof Akinfeleye and his wife at different times.
According to him, the Professor is deserving of all commendation and applause as his achievements were enormous.
“You are the teacher of teachers,” he said.
In addition, Prof Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, Vice-Chancellor UNILAG, noted that the author has paid his dues and is deserving of all applause.
“Prof Akinfeleye was responsible for the establishment of the UNILAG radio and TV, which is the first in any Nigerian universities.
“He has been one of the pillars that have nurtured the department and taken it to the global arena,” he added.
Similarly, John Momoh noted that only a man like Prof Akinfeleye could bring the best of all in the journalism industry together in one place “Like he has done today”.
He described the honoree as a teacher, scholar, mass communication expert and a colossus of African journalism, who taught him and his wife.
“Prof Akinfeleye is a rare breed, who once described those at the villa as being attack dogs.
“He still calls me up to find out how I am doing, he added.
Dabiri-Elewa described him as a good teacher, who inspires hope and ignites passion for learning.
“He deeply, truly, and genuinely cares about his student and his profession.
She also added that journalists must not allow the journalism profession to die, but must work to bring back the long-lost glory.
Similarly, Ray Ekpo noted that Prof Akinfeleye is a complete breed, who has been able to marry “town and gown”; a merger of theory and practice and is well-grounded in the field of journalism.
Others who spoke described Prof Akinfeleye as a dedicated, passionate teacher, who had been instrumental in the training of numerous great men and women both within journalism and outside the journalism profession.
Abati thanked God that the book was not in memory of the celebrant as most teachers, but was in his honour and recommended it for all mass communications students.