A humble Ph.D holder who is a secondary school teacher is about to be honoured for his contributions to education in Ogun State.
For a man with a Ph.D. in Mathematics, the ultimate dream is to be a lecturer in a tertiary institution or bag a federal appointment where he would sit atop a government parastatal.
But that is not the lure for Dr. Mukaila Ayinla Kehinde, who has refused to allow the lure of greener pastures move him away from doing what he loves: imparting knowledge into school children.
Dr. Kehinde is a secondary school teacher where he has been teaching even before moving to acquire more and higher qualification and still feels he has a lot to offer his students at the lower level.
Dr. Kehinde has been a school teacher at the Owode High School, Owode Egba in Obafemi Owode Local Government Area of Ogun State since he was first posted there in 2008.
The likes of Dr. Kehinde are rare and his students see him as one of the most dedicated teachers they have ever seen and he too believes he belongs to the lower rungs.
On why he chooses to remain as a secondary school teacher, Dr. Kehinde had this to say:
"I remain at the secondary level. For now, the mission is to save mathematics. Yes, one is not recognized but one is also not desperate.
My background did not even allow for desperation in life. But I derive joy seeing these future leaders hugging me, calling to say they have passed the subject.”
The school's Vice Principal, Adebisi Adesina, is full of high praise for Dr. Kehinde whom she says has brought a new era to teaching in the school, adding that the approach of teaching Mathematics by the doctor has been yielding positive results over the years.
"We cannot thank Dr. Kehinde more than enough. You see, he is not for this level of teaching, yet, he comes down to the level of his pupils to make mathematics as simple as ABC.
He is also a very objective man, who does not play sycophancy. If he's given information, he takes his time to ascertain its credibility.
He does not allow his educational attainment to get into his head. Honestly, I cannot figure out why this man is at this level," Adesina said.
Another Vice Principal in the school, Jekanyinfa Adeleke Johnson who was Kehinde’s classmate at the university, the quest for academic attainments has been visible right from their university days at the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye, Ogun State.
"I am also aware that his problem-solving technique in Mathematics is going places. Today, if you don't apply Dr. Kehinde's approach to teaching maths, you are just making it impossible for your students to understand and know the subject.
The nation needs him, some of us close to him know that this is not his place, but, the passion is just there and may be the economic situation is making him personally not to be interested."
An adoring student who gave his name as Wasiu also extolled Dr. Kehinde's virtues and teaching capabilities.
"Since my SS1 class, he has been teaching us Mathematics. I have been able to learn how to calculate, factorize and solve equations. He takes us like we are in primary class. He's a hero," Wasiu said.
In the same vein, another of his students, Zainab, poured encomiums on the legendary Dr. Kehinde.
"If not for him, I would have been nowhere near passing Mathematics in my exams. I would not know how to work Trigonometric Ratio, among others. I no longer have maths phobia."
Dr. Kehinde on his part, said his background has made it possible for him to remain where he is.
"I was born and bred in poverty. But my poor background never deterred me from attaining my goal.
I practically sponsored myself to every stage of my educational attainments. I was born at Onipakala village in Abeokuta. My parents were of blessed memory.
From primary school at St. Peter Primary School, Ake, to Macjob School, Onikolobo, all these periods, I used to trek to and from school.
It was that hard. From there, I attended College of Education, Ijebu-Ode, to study Mathematics/Economics, proceeded to the then Ogun State University (OSU) to read Mathematics and then Mathematics Education at the Masters level. I completed my Ph.D. last year.
I once worked as a store keeper shortly after my secondary education and came back to the company as Administrative Officer after my College of Education training.
I joined the teaching service commission in 1992 and since then, I got my first degree, second and third respectively.
I make my teaching methods very simple. I want to end the annual ritual of failing the subject in WAEC.
At least 60-70% success rate will do for me."
To appreciate this humble teacher, the Academic Staff Union of Secondary Schools (ASUSS), will be according to him an honor on October 5, 2016.
The local government chapter of the union, Sunday Adewale expatiated on this.
"It is very rare to see someone with that academic qualification and still teaching in secondary school. So, we want to honor him for this passion and dedication for Mathematics development at this level."