By Gabriel Dike
Tributes has continued to pour in for the former Vice Chancellor, University of Lagos (UNILAG), Akoka, Prof. Oyewusi Ibidapo-Obe, who passed on Sunday at the age of 71.
The late Professor of Systems Engineering died in the afternoon in a Lagos hospital as of result complications arising from Coronavirus.
Former Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC) and also former acting Vice Chancellor, Lagos State University (LASU), Prof. Peter Okebukola, has revealed his last encounter with Prof Ibidapo-Obe and their plans for 2021.
Former Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof. Peter Okebukola, said the death of Prof. Ibidapo-Obe is one of shock of epic proportion to him, adding ”even now, I am unable to process the news that came filtering in from late afternoon of January 3. Can my friend of about 21 years go just like that? Our close interaction with Ibidapo-Obe started while he was vice-chancellor of University of Lagos and I was executive secretary, NUC.”
Okebukola explained that his ”His impressive leadership qualities and eminence of scholarship attracted him to me and along with Prof. Nimi Briggs who was vice-chancellor, University of Port Harcourt, we formed a trio that has remained unbroken until the cold hands of death snatched Oye. Like twins, Oye and I offered service in several national and Africa regional academic engagements and I found him a clear-headed partner and deep thinker who offered solutions to knotty problems that will overwhelm most.
”We were together on December 9, 2020 at the convocation ceremony of Crawford University where he served as Chairman of Council and I as Chairman, Board of Trustees. Bubbling with energy and full of life, we had drawn up plans for 2021 but God had other plans of taking him home. Nigeria has lost a university administrator of special ilk and a scholar of immense lustre. I lost a friend and brother. May his soul rest in perfect peace.”
In his tribute, Vice Chancellor of Ekiti State University, Ado Ekiti, Prof. Edward Olanipekun, said Ibidaop-Obe contributed immensely to the growth and development of the education sector within and outside the country.
” He was a great scholar of international repute. Apart from serving as the VC of two universities, he was a resource person to many organisations and institutions across the globe. In fact, he was one of the guest lecturers at a retreat being organized by my university (Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti). Sure, he will be greatly missed not only by UNILAG and Nigeria but by the academia.”
Prof Olanipekun said it is rather unfortunate that some people still believe that COVID-19 pandemic doesn’t exist, ”I want to use this medium to appeal to our people to adhere strictly to the COVID-19 protocols as stipulated by the WHO and NCC.”
Chairman of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) UNILAG branch, Dr. Dele Ashiru, described his death as a great loss, stating “it is a loss not only to UNILAG, Nigerian University System (NUS) but to Nigeria and other countries.
Ashiru said: “He was one of the best scholar in his field. One of the best university administrator. The university mourn his death.
Vice Chancellor of University of Lagos, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, said the university community was shocked to hear about the death of Prof. Ibidapo-Obe and described him as one of the respected professors in UNILAG, Nigerian University System and abroad.
Ogundipe said as a VC, Prof Ibidapo-Obe was focused and contributed his quota in moving the university forward. He acknowledged that Ibidapo-Obe represented UNILAG and Nigeria, stressing ”he has always being ambassador representing UNILAG, NUS and Nigeria.”
”To me personally, Ibidapo-Obe was my mentor. He was VC when I was appointed professor. He showed interest in my career and always call me high flyer,” Ogundipe stressed.
Ibidapo-Obe, who hail from Ile-Ife, Osun State was appointed UNILAG vice chanvellor in 2000, he served two term and was former President, Academy of Science.