From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja and Gabriel Dike
President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed sadness over the passing of former vice chancellor of University of Lagos (UNILAG) and pro-chancellor/chairman of First Technical University, Ibadan, Oyewusi Ibidapo-Obe.
While condoling with family members, the academia and friends, Buhari said the scholar and administrator would be sorely missed as his sudden transition left a gap that would be difficult to fill, considering his contributions to the development of education, with a rich pedigree of being president, Nigerian Academy of Science, chairman of Committee of Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities.
The president stated this in a statement by his spokesperson, Femi Adesina, where he condoled with students and staff of the University of Lagos, First Technical University and Nigeria Universities Commission over the loss, as well as the government and people of Osun State.
He prayed for the repose of the soul of the scholar, and God’s comfort for his family.
Meanwhile, tributes continued to pour in for the former UNILAG vice chancellor who died at the age of 71 on Sunday.
The late professor of Systems Engineering died in a Lagos hospital due to complications arising from coronavirus.
Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State described Ibidapo-Obe’s death as a great loss to the state, Nigeria and the academic world.
His Chief Press Secretary, Taiwo Adisa, in a statement, yesterday, in Ibadan, said Governor Makinde condoled with the immediate family of the late don, the UNILAG community and the Tech-U management.
The statement quoted the governor as stating Ibidapo-Obe was a teacher’s teacher and an administrator per excellence, who left great marks on Nigeria’s education sector.
He said the death of the former vice chancellor came at a time his wealth of experience and sterling knowledge of education management were needed by the state and the country.
UNILAG Vice Chancellor, Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, said the university community was shocked to hear about the death and described him as one of the respected professors in UNILAG and in Nigerian.
Former executive secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC) and acting vice chancellor, Lagos State University (LASU), Peter Okebukola, revealed his last encounter with Ibidapo-Obe and their plans for 2021.
“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 peace.’’
Vice Chancellor, Ekiti State University, Ado Ekiti, Edward Olanipekun, said Ibidaop-Obe contributed immensely to the growth and development of the education sector within and outside the country.
Chairman of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), UNILAG branch, Dele Ashiru, described his death as a great loss.
“He was one of the best scholar in his field. One of the best university administrator. The university mourn his death,” he said.
Ibidapo-Obe, who hail from Ile-Ife, Osun State, was appointed UNILAG vice chancellor in 2000, he served two term and was former president, Academy of Science.