- A 21 gun salute to an intellectual who exemplified living life beyond titles and positions. A thunderous applause to a father who taught some of us integrity from the classroom. Some of us learnt honesty and accountability because of a personality like Adjimani. We will forever be indebted to him.
In the Biochemistry Department of University of Ghana was once a lecturer who carved an enviable niche for himself. His teaching style was utterly unique — very creative. He will use very simple analogies to bring the meaning out of very complicated topics in Biochemistry. You could miss his class but not his name… and that name was Dr. J. P. Adjimani!
There were only a few academics as modest as this one. J. P. Adjimani was what he preferred to be called as. His students affectionately called him “Adjimani” and he would gladly respond. Almost each of them knew his ‘J’ meant Jonathan. However, there was a lot of mystery surrounding his middle name. Some said the ‘P’ meant Pratt. Others assumed it was Partt. To a few others, the meaning was connected to Proline (an amino acid).
Biochemistry, for most of us, was not boring on Legon campus because of the famed Adjimani. If you were late for his class, you had better stay in your room because immediately he entered, he locked the door. This ritual of his instilled a culture of time consciousness in most of us. It was one of the first life values a typical Adjimani class will teach you.
A down-to-Earth Adjimani would open his door to every student. Very welcoming, you will find students thronging in and out of his office with questions baffling them. Some even contested their grades but he always gave each of them a fair hearing. On a usual day, you will almost always find a student in Adjimani’s office. He was the students’ favorite lecturer. This was very heartwarming to see in a space where most lecturers where noted for taking advantage of vulnerable students.
How Adjimani updated himself with the full names of students year after year was surprising. Quite unusual in universities, especially because of the large classes, he would mention the names of his students in and outside of class as a means of interacting with them. This somewhat gave them a feeling of belonging.
He was one lecturer who gave all his students a reason to believe in themselves. He was not only a concerned father but a responsible mentor who made sure they were giving off their best in class. Those who did well, he either rewarded monetarily or gave a treat in a restaurant on campus after class. He inducted others into a virtual Biochemistry Hall of Fame. That was how concerned he was about each student’s success.
Every class of his was filled with great love. He would tease us and crack jokes at the least opportunity. To ease the tension in class because the courses he taught were very difficult to understand, he interspersed his lessons with a lot of fun and interesting stories. All such were geared towards making every subject easily understandable.
Here was a lecturer who will painstakingly mark every quiz and present to students the marking scheme so they will be assured their grades were not conjured. He made his students understand the principle of reaping what one sowed by his early morning Friday quizzes. Whether one understood what they had been taught or not, their quiz result the following week was going to tell.
Adjimani was a lecturer in his own class. For 28 years in University of Ghana, he went out of his comfort to make sure his students were studying as much as they could. Unlike typical Ghanaian lecturers, he was a walking library who always went the extra mile to ensure none of his students was failing — even if it meant calling their parents to report them.
Unconsciously, this great man has changed the mindset of everyone who encountered him. He has imbibed in us all a sense of patriotism and hard work. Every student who encountered Adjimani bears witness of his selfless dedication to duty. He teaches as though his life literally depends on it!
Today, Adjimani has raised many scientists who are change makers in their own space. Many Science teachers who are dotted across the world credit their success and teaching style to him. Quite a number of lecturers who are making great strides in their fields today can boast of how influential he was in who they are now. Indeed, greatness births greatness.
Today, the impact this extraordinary lecturer has made on the lives of his students is immeasurable. It is very likely your elective Biology or Chemistry teacher was his student. And of course… he would have been their favorite lecturer.
Now on retirement, J. P. Adjimani launches his autobiography, THE FEAR OF FAILURE, on Saturday, October 17th 2020. He summarizes his 65 years of existence into a few pages. Out of these 65 years, he spent 28 years teaching people like yours truly. He spent close to three decades giving us hope to believe in ourselves — close to three decades pushing us to places he never could be himself. If this is not the meaning of true wealth, nothing is!
A 21 gun salute to an intellectual who exemplified living life beyond titles and positions. A thunderous applause to a father who taught some of us integrity from the classroom. Some of us learnt honesty and accountability because of a personality like Adjimani. We will forever be indebted to him.
The writer is a playwright and Chief Scribe of Scribe Communications, an Accra-based writing company (www.scribecommltd.com). Watch his play, THE BOY CALLED A GIRL, on Scribe Productions’ YouTube channel.