Remembering Professor Ade Ajayi

Sulaiman Abimbola Ogundijo – Monatan Constituency, Ibadan, Oyo State.

The late Professor J. F. Ade Ajayi gave me the inspiration to write Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow which was first published in the Nigerian Tribune of Wednesday June 5, 1991, hence my re-writing it now as a tribute to the erudite professor.

A lot has been said about the past, the present and the future and more will still be said about the ‘Triple Entete’. Whenever you hear about history, definitely they are talking about the past as chronicled by somebody and when talking about diary, we diarise events of today for future reference and guidance. This is why we have archives.

Surely, the past we cannot change, but certainly the present we can influence and the future we should shape. I hereby propound that we should explore the merits and demerits of the past and the triumphs and travails of the present to project adequately into the future. Professor J. F. Ade Ajayi, renowned historian, who passed on August 2014, in a Nigeria National Merit Award Winner’s Lecture, presented at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, NIIA, Lagos, said that the past is a vital component of the present and an inextricable contributor to futuristic projections.

In his The Perspective of Time, he further stated that to make the world comprehensible, we make demarcations and talk of the past, the present and the future as if boundaries exist between them, treating the past as another land, emphasising its ‘otherness’ and what has captured the essence of it…”

The message in the above is that the future oak lies in the acorn, so in the present lies our future. Our choice of today dictates our chance of tomorrow.


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