PASSAGE: Adebola Olorunyomi: Humanist interventionist, committed advocate, passes on

Adebola Veronica Olorunyomi, wife of respected university teacher, Sola Olorunyomi of the Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan, has passed on.

Mrs. Olorunyomi, 50, transited in Ibadan on September 12 after a protracted illness.

Her family said she would be interred in Ibadan on Saturday after a wake-keep on Friday.

The late Mrs. Olorunyomi (née Akande) was born on November 10, 1965 in Ibadan into the family of Mr Abimbade Michael Akande and Mrs Moranti Comfort Akande of Esa Compound, Aagba, Osun State.

A Catholic by birth, Adebola also fellowshipped with the Redeemed Christian Church of God.

She had her elementary education at Sacred Heart Primary School, Inalende, Ibadan, and her secondary education at Anglican Commercial Grammar School, Oritamefa, Ibadan. She studied Electrical Electronics at the University of Ado-Ekiti, and earned a master’s degree in Library, Archival and Informational Studies at the University of Ibadan, where she focused on utilizing ICTs to digitalize agricultural science and practice, in order to create the required synergies between researchers and farmers.

Adebola was very active in social development advocacy, and, over the years, the perimeter of her interventions covered a range of interests. She worked on the project of the Workers’ Educational and Recreational Centre (WEDUREC), aimed at empowering working-class people with knowledge that would aid them in navigating trade-union bureaucratic structures and in getting such structures to truly work for them.

She was a member of Women Against Rape, Sexual Harassment and Exploitation (WARSHE), and a community counsellor to teenage girls on issues pertaining to sexual consciousness and sexuality rights.

She was also a resource person with the Information Aid Network (IFAnet), and was a linchpin in its e-literacy project which, from the late 1990s to the early 2000s in Ibadan, trained children of migrant workers from across West Africa as well as internally displaced Nigerians on the use of computers and new digital media for getting information about their homelands, the host land, and on other issues relevant to diasporic sustenance.

She was able to operationalize her ideas about how to make development happen through ICTs when she worked on a programme that transformed the information-gathering practices of farmers in Kano and Kaduna, both in relation to accessing extension services and in organizing produce marketing.

Retooling the resources of numeracy in the Yoruba thought-system, Adebola developed a pedagogic strategy for delivering mathematical knowledge to secondary-school students whose learning experiences would ordinarily have been hampered by a deficiency in the English language which is used for teaching every subject in the Nigerian school system.

A rare cultural reference point and research associate, Adebola Olorunyomi’s last intervention in this regard was a co-translation with her husband of a 3000-year-old Egyptian text (Skhty, i.e. The Eloquent Peasant) on oratorical art, the property question, and the problem of justice.

This ancient narrative they converted into the Yoruba language from an English rendering.

Her entire network of relationship which, given her public-spiritedness and collaborative breadth, covers the globe, will dearly miss her amiability, her resourcefulness, her ability to blend the novel with the longstanding, her eye for detail, her thoroughgoing sense of justice, her readiness to offer succour, and the warm honesty she invested in all that she did.

Until the time of her passing, she was the Manager of the Osogbo branch of Winners Golden Chance Ventures.

She is survived by her husband, Dr Sola Olorunyomi, and their daughter, Iwalewa.

May her gentle soul rest in peace.

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