EMINENT lawyer and founder, Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti, Aare Afe Babalola, and security expert, Dr. Ona Ekhomu have described the death of former vice chancellor of the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Prof. Oyewusi Ibidapo-Obe as a great loss to academia and the nation.
In a statement yesterday, Babalola said he was shocked beyond description when he learnt about the sudden and tragic death of the former vice chancellor, who he described as distinguished academic and seasoned university administrator.
“His death was extremely painful as there was no sign that he was sick. Prior to the sad news, I got in touch with Prof. Ibidapo-Obe and our last discussion was on the development in the University of Lagos, UNILAG. I first met the departed academic giant in 2000 when I was appointed by Chief Olusegun Obasanjo-led Government as Pro Chancellor and Chairman of Council of UNILAG, with a mandate to restore order in the university which was engrained in corruption and deeply fractionalized. When the then incumbent vice chancellor was suspended, Ibidapo-Obe was appointed acting vice chancellor based on his superlative qualities and his general acceptability.
“Apart from being academically sound, Ibidapo-Obe was a professional to the core. I have seen him at work and I have also seen him at play. I found him to be ever so cool, collected, respectful, cheerful, kind, selfless, committed and incorruptible. He was highly dependable and utterly reliable.” In his reaction, Dr. Ekhomu, National President, Association of Industrial Security and Safety Operators of Nigeria (AISSON) described Ibidapo-Obe as an astute administrator, frontline scholar and good Christian who cared deeply about the governance of Nigeria, issues of higher education and youth empowerment. He recalled that he used to engage in interminable debates with the departed academic about the condition of the nation.
Ekhomu said that great men are not known by the number of years they spend on earth, but by the way they impact the lives of their fellow human beings. “They are remembered by how they empowered others,” he said.