13 Jul

A Profile of Prof. Asomwan Sonnie Adagbonyin The 63rd Inaugural Lecturer, AAU, Ekpoma

Popularly called ‘Brosun’ by friends and admirers, Professor Asomwan Sonnie Adagbonyin, the 63rd Inaugural Lecturer of Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Edo State, Nigeria, hails from Evboesi in Orhionmwon Local Government Area of Edo State. He is the first son and second child of Late Pa Wilfred Amadin and Late Madam Margaret Igbinokhuo Adagbonyin, nee Imasuen. He was very creative and restless as a child and tried his hands on a wide variety of constructions: battery-powered lights, motor-cars, communication gadgets, etc. Encouraged by his father who gave him a constant supply of newspapers and books, he wrote several drama, short story sketches, and doodled a lot. He started writing full short stories at the age of 11, and at the age of 12, he enjoyed his proudest moment when he was called out in his Form One by his college principal at the morning assembly and commended for a short story he wrote for the Nigerian Observer which came out in that morning’s edition.

Upon leaving Hussey College, Warri in the now Delta State, which he attended between 1973 and 1978, Professor Adagbonyin had his first book of stories, The Singing Ashes accepted for publication by a multinational publishing company, Evans Brothers Publishers when he was just 18; when eventually published, the book was on the reading list on the Junior Library Series throughout Primary schools in the Western States of Nigeria in the early 80’s. Thus, Professor Adagbonyin started earning royalties on books at a very young age.

Professor Adagbonyin was admitted into the University of Benin, Benin City, Nigeria in 1980 after a brief part-time Advanced Level stint at the ICE, Benin City and with the Trans World Tutorial College of London, which awarded him a Diploma in Journalism. He graduated in 1984, with a Second-Class Honours Upper Division degree in English and Literature, with the honour of being one of the best four candidates graduating that year. He did his compulsory National Youth Service Orientation at the Awgu Camp in the then Anambra State and was Youth Service Corp member/Graduate Assistant in the Department of English, University of Nigeria (UNN) from 1984 -1985, where he took courses in Basic English Grammar and Composition and assisted Kofi Yankson, an Edinburg-trained language expert and Stylistician, with the teaching of Stylistics.

In 1985, immediately after his National Youth Service, Professor Adagbonyin enrolled for the Master of Arts degree in English as a Second Language (ESL) in the Department of English, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, finishing the following year, 1986. He assumed duty on February 11, 1987, at the then Department of Languages and Literature, Bendel State University, Ekpoma, as an Assistant Lecturer. Although in an area of research generally considered difficult, Professor Adagbonyin is one scholar who assiduously takes all his responsibilities with the necessary devotion they deserve. After spending some years as one of the main pillars of the Language Section of the English programme, he was finally released to go on Study Leave for his Ph.D. by the University. He converted his Part-Time Ph.D. programme in the Department of English and Literature, University of Benin, to Full-Time and returned to the University of Benin, Benin City, defending the Ph.D. in English (Stylistics) on December 28, 1999.

A gifted orator, public speaker and rhetorician, he has worked intensely ever since in strengthening and developing the language arm of the department now known as the Department of English. Areas of support include teaching and leading research, updating the curriculum and building a positive image for the Department and for the University through contacts, lead presentations at workshops and conferences and other synergies.

Professor Adagbonyin is an academic with a unique lecturing style which brings students swarming to his classes. Even elective courses that he teaches are always full to the brim. There is a complete turn-around in the manner students view language courses, thanks to his patient, interactive, hands-on, amiable and explanatory approach to lecturing. Language courses are no longer being seen as “dry” or “difficult” courses, because of the interactive nature of the teaching and the manner he provides explanations in the mien of a born teacher.

Professor Adagbonyin is definitely a scholar who has truly paid his dues. He was promoted to the rank of Lecturer II in 1989; Lecturer I in 1992; Senior Lecturer in 1996 and in the year 2000, he was made a Reader. In 2007, he got elevated to the rank of a Professor.

Professor Adagbonyin has published extensively in local and international journals. His published works include two fictional collections, one edited anthology, one edited book of scholarly essays, three edited journals, 5 personally authored books, one monograph, several articles straddling the areas of applied linguistics, linguistic theory and methodology, phonology, English as a second language, corpus linguistics, stylistics, etc. He has participated in local and international conferences and supervised quite a handful of Master’s and doctoral dissertations in the areas of language. He has served and is still serving as External Examiner to many Universities in Nigeria (undergraduate and postgraduate – Master’s, Ph.D.); served and still serving as External Assessor of Professorial candidates to many Universities, including University of Benin, Delta State University, Benson Idahosa University, Abia State University. In 2015, he was External Professional Assessor, The Asiwaju (Ambassador) Oladele Akadiri Essay Competition, Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko.

Professor Adagbonyin is a member of several professional bodies, including: Modern Languages Association of Nigeria (MLAN); Linguistic Association of Nigeria (LAN); Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) and African Poetics and Stylistics Association (APSA). Honours he has received include being listed in Who Is Who in Nigeria, published by the Nigerian International Biographical Centre, 2003; Recipient, Commitment to Excellence Award 2007 in Recognition of Contribution to Community Development and Education in Nigeria, by the Edo State Ministry of Education and the Pedagogues Educonsult, Benin City, April, 2007; Recipient, Oba of Benin Award of Certificate of Honour as a Benin Achiever, 2007; Recipient, Fellowship of the Institute of Industrial Administration of Nigeria, 2012 and Recipient, Academic Noble Award, Institute of Industrial Administration of Nigeria, 2012. He was Vice-Chairman, ANA (Edo and Delta States) (1992 -1993) and General Secretary, Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) (Edo and Delta States) (1993 -1994).

Professor Adagbonyin has held the following positions, among others, within the Department, Faculty and the University.

Faculty/Department:

  1. Member, Editorial Board, Ekpoma Journal of Languages and Literary Studies– EJOLLS (2000 – 2001).
  2. Sub-Dean, Faculty of Arts (2001 – 2002)
  3. Coordinator, Diploma in Mass Communication (DMC) Programme (2000 – 2001)
  4. Associate Editor, EJOLLS (2001)
  5. Acting Head, Department of English (2002 – 2004)
  6. Editor, EJOLLS (2002-2004)
  7. Co-ordinator, Postgraduate Programme (2008 – 2009)
  8. Editor, IRORO, Journal of the Faculty of Arts, 2011 - 2014.

University:

  1. Congregation’s Representative in Senate (1990-91).
  2. Vice-Chancellor’s Nominee in Senate (1999 – 2000).
  3. University Orator (1999 – 2014).
  4. Member, Ceremonials Committee (1999 – 2014).
  5. Senate’s Representative, Organisation and Methods Committee (2000 – 2001; 2006 – 2007).
  6. Senate’s Representative, Publications Committee (2000 – 2001).
  7. Senate’s Representative, Computer Committee (2000 – 2001; 2006 – 2007)
  8. Warden, Onyerugbulem (Male) Hall (2001 – 2002).
  9. Member, University Reconciliation Committee (2003-2004)
  10. Member, Editorial Board, Journal of Governance and Development (JOGAD), a publication of the Institute for Governance and Development (2003 – 2008).
  11. Member, Organising Committee of the National Seminar of the Institute for Governance and Development, 2003.
  12. Member, Organising Committee of the International Conference of the Institute of Governance and Development, 2003.
  13. Member, ASUU Committee on Review of Remuneration, Structure and Management of Sub-Degree Programmes, 2003.
  14. Chairman, Senate Ad-Hoc Committee on Mode of Dressing by Ambrose Alli University Students, 2004.
  15. Member, University Steering Committee on College Portal, 2005
  16. Ag. Director, Division of General Studies, 2005 – 2007.
  17. Chairman, Committee to fashion Vision and Mission Statements for the Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, 2006.
  18. Member, University Briefs Committee, 2007.
  19. Member, Governing Council Committee on Fund Raising, 2007 – 2013.
  20. Ag. Director, Academic Planning Unit, APU, April, 2008 – October, 2008.
  21. Chairman, Business Committee of Senate, 2009 -2014.
  22. Chairman, University Public Lecture Committee, 2011 – 2013.
  23. Chairman, Committee On the issue of Payment of High Risk Hazard Allowance to Staff in the Works & Services Department, 2011.
  24. Member, Verification Team on Alleged Operation of Medical Laboratory Science Programme in Enugu State University of Technology Teaching Hospital, Enugu, 2012.
  25. Chairman, AAU Committee on NUC at 50+1 Exhibition, 2013.
  26. Chairman, Senate Committee on Results Re-Computation, 2012 -2014.
  27. Member, Editorial Advisory Board, Journal of Postgraduate Studies, 2014.
  28. Director, Division of General Studies (2016 – till date)
  29. Member CBT Monitoring Committee (2017 – till now).
  30. Senate’s Representative, Joint Council and Senate Committee on Award of Honorary Degrees (2017 – till now)

Professor Asomwan Sonnie Adagbonyin is a Deacon at the Gospel Outreach Ministries, Ekpoma. He is a passionate lover of the game of football, and has been an ardent supporter of Arsenal FC of North London, England, for more than twenty-five years. He loves instrumental music and the saxophone is his best instrument. He is married to Itohan Daisy, nee Obaseki, a Senior Assistant Registrar and Faculty Officer, Faculty of Social Sciences, Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, and they are blessed with lovely children.

Edward U. Aihevba, FNISM, FCAI
Deputy Registrar, Information/Public Relations Officer