The first university to admit an individual to this degree was in fact the University of London in 1860.
Born in Oshodi, Lagos State, Awojobi's Father, Chief Daniel Adekoya Awojobi, was a stationmaster at the Nigerian Railway Corporation who hailed from Ikorodu in Lagos State. His mother, Comfort Bamidele Awojobi (née Adetunji), was a petty trader who hailed from Modakeke, Ile-Ife, Osun State. Between 1942 and 1947, he attended St. Peter's Primary School, Faji, Lagos.
Ayodele was a straight-A's secondary school student, while at the CMS Grammar school, passing his West African School Certificate examinations with a record eight distinctions in 1955. He proceeded to the Nigerian College of Arts, Science and Technology, Ibadan, for his General Certificate of Examinations, GCE (Advanced Level), where in 1958 he sat for, and obtained distinctions in all his papers: Physics, Pure Mathematics and Applied Mathematics. In 1962 Awojobi was awarded his first degree in Mechanical Engineering – a BSc (Eng) London, with first class honours, at the then Nigerian College of Arts, Science and Technology, Zaria (now Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria). He had studied there on a federal government scholarship won on the merit of his performance in the GCE (Advanced-level) examinations of 1958.
The federal government awarded Awojobi another scholarship in 1962 to study further at the post-graduate level in the field of Mechanical Engineering at the Imperial College of the University of London (now Imperial College London). He completed the course, successfully defending his thesis, and was awarded a PhD in Mechanical Engineering in 1966.
On his return from England in 1966 Awojobi enrolled as a lecturer in the Faculty of Engineering, University of Lagos, Akoka. His teaching methods endeared him to his engineering students, whose public chants: "Dead easy... Dead easy...", would often be heard shouted in his direction as he went along the campus grounds. He quickly rose in the ranks among his colleagues and would later become the Head of Department, Mechanical Engineering, University of Lagos.
His natural propensity to inform, to educate, drove him to become, in the early 1970s, a quiz-master on national television. The quiz-show, Mastermind, consisted of weekly contestants taking turns in isolation on "the hot-seat", whereupon various categories of questions would be thrown at them. Otunba Gbenga Daniel, former governor of Ogun State, Nigeria, was a returning winner and champion on Mastermind for several episodes over; he being in his undergraduate years at the time.
Awojobi went back to London to study for his Doctorate. He returned in 1974 and was made an associate professor in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Lagos. However, one week after having been appointed associate professor, the University of Lagos Senate, after receiving news that Awojobi had just been awarded the degree of Doctor of Science (DSc), immediately appointed him professor in Mechanical Engineering, making him the youngest professor in the Faculty of Engineering, University of Lagos and the first ever to be expressly promoted from associate to full professorship within a week.
Ayodele Awojobi died in the morning of Sunday, 23 September 1984, at the age of 47. His death made headline news in most of the national newspapers for days following and he was laid to rest at Ikorodu Cemetery, Lagos. He was survived by his wife, Mrs Iyabode Mabel Awojobi (née Odetunde), and children.
Usually every year till date, a tribute or two in Ayodele's honour would be published in the form of an article in a national newspaper, such as the one published by The Nation on 5 November 2009, entitled "Tribute to Ayodele Awojobi". In October 2009, the governor of Lagos State Babatunde Fashola dedicated a statue of Awojobi at Onike Roundabout, Yaba, Lagos, in a garden named after him. On 23 September 2010, Birrel Street – a prominent street in Yaba Local Government Council Area – was renamed "Prof. Ayodele Awojobi Avenue", a further tribute to Awojobi's memory.
His research papers, particularly in the field of vibration, are still cited by international research fellows in Engineering as lately as the year 2011, and are archived by such publishers as the Royal Society.
By nature, Ayodele Awojobi was a Teacher. He imparted knowledge at various other levels, even as he contended with his day job as a full-time professor and university lecturer. He envisaged his country as a whole becoming more advanced, technologically – this was exemplified when he refused lucrative offers from commercial outfits for his Autonov 1 invention, he rather preferring to preserve his design for his country's Future benefit.