Tribute to Professor Ajaga Nji; a distinguished scholar; a genuine intellectual and professional model
Prof; your sudden demise took me by surprise, given your concern for maintaining good health and well being. By exercising regularly, being careful about what you ate and carrying out annual medical examinations both of us were convinced that sudden death from an illness at such an early age was out of the question. We couldn’t have been further away from reality. In our last conversion over the phone, I recall we reminded ourselves of the necessity of annual medical examinations to avoid what we called careless death.
I have known Prof Ajaga now for over 30 years. I first came to know him closely in 1990, as a member of the Dschang Congregation of the Presbyterian Church in Cameroon, where as one of the founding fathers of the Congregation he spearheaded the construction of the Church building in his capacity of chair of the Project Committee while I was the secretary. He used a lot of his massive social capital to acquire a strategic piece of land and kick started the project. Later on, I worked with him closely as a team member of the Distance Education Project in the University of Dschang with him as the leader. As a young member of staff in the Faculty of Agriculture at the University of Dschang I had numerous opportunities to see him in action in meetings. He was very rigorous, very principled and never shied away from advocating and standing for what he believed in come what may. His contribution to the development of the defunct University Centre of Dschang and later the University of Dschang especially in the Faculty of Agronomy and Agricultural Sciences was truly a mark of a genuine intellectual.
Professor Ajaga was a family friend and an academic and professional mentor. I turned to him whenever I had tough decisions to make because of his amazing analytical ability and his counsel which where guided by facts and reason and not emotion. He was very concerned about the well being of friends and colleagues and was quick to counsel when ever an opportunity arose often in a bid to ensure their growth both professionally and economically. I learnt from him to be an entrepreneur and not to rely on a single source of income. I learnt from him as far back as 1995 how to negotiate better terms as a consultant; a lesson that has served me very well since then, and I am transmitting to others. He indeed made a very positive impact on me and I am grateful I had the honour and privilege to have known him.
I thank God for the time He granted us to spend with you on earth. May the Lord give us the strength and wisdom, especially to your immediate family members to go through this very challenging times successfully and to accept your death as believers should.
Adieu Prof. Ajaga. May you rest in perfect peace.
Professor Mathias Fru FONTEH