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In his wildest imagination, he never believed he could be a university graduate, let alone a vice-chancellor. But Prof. Debo Adeyewa is now the Vice-Chancellor, Redeemer’s University, Mowe, Ogun State.
From being a pupil in a quranic school, to an apprentice carpenter and a bread seller on the streets of Jos, the Inisa, Odo-Otin Local Government Area of Osun State-born Adeyewa endured poverty and deprivation to seek education.
“I was born in 1957. That was the year the first satellite was sent to space. We were so poor that my father had to work as a labourer on another man’s farm before we could eat. It was that bad.
“One day, my uncle, who was a carpenter, came from Jos. When he was going back, I followed him to learn the work of a carpenter. In Jos, I was learning this and at the same time selling bread for people to raise money to feed. We later moved to Yauri, in present Kebbi State, where I continued the trade, helping women to sell bread,” he recalls.
At Yauri, he attended a technical college between 1978 and 1980. After the completion of the technical college, he sat for the then General Certificate of Education examination. His result was good enough to secure admission for him to the University of Ife, (now Obafemi Awolowo University), Ile-Ife, Osun State.
With a collaboration between OAU and Meteorology University, Uppsala, Sweden, Adeyewa obtained a PhD degree in satellite meteorology.
“The story of my life, so far, has taught me never to look down on anybody and to know that without God, I cannot do anything. My advice to ‘helpless’ youths is to know that things are better now than they were before now. They should find opportunities. I found opportunities in selling bread, though it was not easy. I looked at my life as an investment. So, they should look at theirs like that too.
“They should believe in God and in themselves. They should be disciplined, should have integrity, pursue excellence, embrace team work and always be ready to offer service to anybody that needs their services,” Adeyewa adds.