Until his death, he was chairman of Occupational Health Safety and Empowerment Centre, a non-governmental organisation. And recently, friends, family and associates of the late Dr. Bamisayo Francis Oluwagbemi converged on Rembrandt Hotel, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos, for his posthumous 70th birthday.
The occasion was the second in the series of the colloquium in honour of the late safety icon.
Family members in attendance were led by his wife, Chief Agnes Omolola Oluwagbemi. The date, June 12, was the couple’s 37th wedding anniversary, and the wife’s birthday.
Guests at the event included Mr. Babatunde Irukera, Ddrector, Consumer Protection Council, Senator Babafemi Ojudu, and Aderonke Olowoselu, the regent of Odo-Oro Ekiti, among others.
Dr. Ayodeji Karim, MD, Winchester Farms, was chairman at the event. In his opening speech, he dwelt on the state of safety awareness and practices in Nigeria, and how it affects productivity.
Senator Ojudu eulogised the late safety icon as a man who tried to perfect his society and devoted time to seeking and applying knowledge and passing it to the society.
The Odo-Oro Ekiti-native who had his first degree in Occupational Hygiene from South Bank Polytechnic (now London South Bank University) obtained a Master’s in Public Health in 1983 from the University of Dundee, Scotland.
At 61, after his retirement, he obtained a doctorate degree in Occupational Health and Safety in 2010. He continued to make inputs into the awareness of safety concerns as an associate lecturer at Department of Geology, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), an honorary lecturer at the Department of Environmental Health Sciences, College Of Medicine, University of Ibadan and a visiting lecturer at Occupational Health Nursing School, University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan.
According to Mr. Jamiu Badmos, Director, Safety Advocate Group, Dr Oluwagbemi had leveraged his various experiences to impact the institutionalisation of safety in the workplace and the development of safety associations in Nigeria.
Avowing that safety is the deceased’s second wife, Badmos gave insights into the kind of passion and professionalism that drove the late Oluwagbemi. He gave examples of his efforts that led to the unification of different factions of safety associations. Badmos concluded his speech with a direct appeal to Senator Ojodu to use his connection to kick-start a national debate that would lead to the Safety Act legislation, a dream Oluwagbemi pursued till the end of his life.
In his lifetime, it was gathered, Dr Oluwagbemi presented over 50 technical papers in conferences, seminars and workshops within and outside Nigeria.
As the first Nigerian to become a chartered member of the Institute of Occupational Health (UK), he founded Vertext Media Limited, a publishing outfit that focused exclusively on publication of HSE books written by local authors.
He wrote the books, Basic Occupational Health and Themes and Issues in Occupational Health and Safety and also contributed to three other HSE books.
The series two of his colloquium was commemorated with the unveiling of his last book, Occupations Health and Safety Management for the Informal Sector. The launch was anchored by his son, Olubusayo Michael Oluwagbemi, while the book was reviewed by Dr Dominga Odebunmi, who noted that the author was committed to seeing a better Nigeria.
Some of the guests recalled that, in his lifetime, Dr. Oluwagbemi was accorded due recognition by various organisations and institutions, including Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria, Institute of Safety Professionals of Nigeria, Lagos State Government, Department of Environmental Health Sciences, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan and Chartered Institute of Personnel Management, among others.
In 2014, he was installed the Olu Omo of Odo-Oro Ekiti. And in 2016, the Safety Board named an award after him shortly before his death on June 3.
Poetry reading by Dr. Dolapo Conteh, daughter of the late Oluwagbemi, highlighted the personal relationship he had with each member of his family and also chronicled the progress that has taken place since his demise.