The Emeritus Professor

He bursts up into a old popular igbo song having concluded his lengthy syllabus for the semester, with the class joining suit…

“Akwukwo na-ato uto
O na-arahu na mmuta
Onye nwere nkasi obi…”

“Sirrr… off me” Dimkpa, one of the popular class guy nicknamed for his huge stature, roared in excitement.

Finally, the 6 hours lecture ended, and not only that, the course with it as well, now awaiting its examination.
Heat and mass transfer was the most feared course in the whole of Mechanical Engineering. Not only because of its unlimited syllabus nor for its incomprehensible content but majorly due to the brain handling it alone. A tall aged man, possibly in his 70’s, whose brain is as sharp as a computer processor.

Iloeje is one of the few lecturers in Engineering who still lectures despite having gone into retirement. He’s more like an irreplaceable brain in the field of Heat and Mass transfer. Without notes or texts, he carefully digest each topic everyday. This made even the person with the least sizeable handwriting have up to three 80 leaves exercise books filled up with his course contents.

His sense of dressing is unique, always in his simple native atire and red Igbo cap. This explains his afrocentrism despite being in an official environment. He is never a second late to classes, always punctual but stays more than required. Still as strong as any student while teaching even at his age.

Nevertheless, behind those super brains in his skull, little do we know there are presevable morals and ethics following it. He has set up the standards in many for them to appreciate him for it. The story of how he cancelled the opportunity of securing a high profile job in the US to remain a recturer in a small university town like Nsukka just because a former student sincerely appreciated his efforts towards his life, triggered us the most. His indecisive mind changed thereafter, knowing he was and is still valuable to lots more.

“Never stop being grateful for the tiniest possible thing done for you” he said, “I would not have been before you today if not for it. Learn to show some appreciation”.

If one word can be used to exaggerate brilliance and yet simple, that word is ILOEJE. But I wish I can say the same for his course.
Obviously, that one name speaks for itself.



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