Buhari, Gbajabiamila, UNILAG VC, Okebukola, mourn Professor Ibidapo-Obe

By Leon Usigbe, Jacob Segun Olatunji, Kehinde Akintola, Tunbosun Ogundare

President Muhammadu Buhari has commiserated with the academia over the passing of former vice-chancellor of the University of Lagos and Pro-Chancellor and chairman of First Technical University, Ibadan, Professor Oyewusi Ibidapo-Obe, condoling with family members and friends.

According to a statement issued by Femi  Adesina, Special Adviser to the President (Media & Publicity) in Abuja on Monday, the President affirmed that the scholar and administrator will be sorely missed by the academia, government and the country as his sudden transition left a gap that will be difficult to fill, considering his contribution to the development of education, with a rich pedigree of being president of the Nigerian Academy of Science, chairman of the Committee of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian universities and upwardly rising over the years with a distinguished career.

President Buhari condoled with students and staff of the University of Lagos, First Technical University and the Nigeria Universities Commission over the loss, as well as the government and people of Osun State.

The President prayed for the repose of the soul of the scholar, and God’s comfort for his family.

Ibidapo-Obe’s death, a colossal loss ― UNILAG VC, Okebukola

Vice-Chancellor, University of Lagos (UNILAG) Akoka, Professor Oluwatoyin Ogundipe and former Executive Secretary of National Universities Commission(NUC), Professor Peter Okebukola, have both described the death of former Vice-Chancellor of UNILAG, Professor Oyewusi Ibidapo- Obe as a colossal loss not only to his family and the academic world but to the country and Africa at large.

They made these remarks in separate statements made available to newsmen on Monday

Professor Ibidapo- Obe died of suspected COVID-19 complications on Sunday evening and until his death was the chairman of governing councils of Technical University, Ibadan, Oyo State and Crawford University, Igbesa, Ogun State.

Ogundipe said UNILAG community received the news as a rude shock because of the great service and dedication the late scholar had put into developing the university since he joined as a student in 1968 and later as a staff and much later as the 8th Vice-Chancellor (2000 – 2007) of the university.

He said Ibidapo-Obe’s commitment, vision, resilience and tenacious nature helped to shape UNILAG in many ways, adding that it is painful that he died at a time his experience is more needed for nation-building.

On his part, Professor Okebukola wondered how his friend of about 21 years could die suddenly.

He said his close interaction with him started when the deceased was the vice-chancellor of UNILAG and he was the executive secretary of NUC.

He noted that “his (Ibidapo-Obe) impressive leadership qualities and eminence of scholarship attracted him to me and along with Professor Nimi Briggs who was vice-chancellor, University of Port Harcourt.

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“We formed a trio that has remained unbroken until the cold hands of death snatched him.

“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. He was bubbling with energy and full of life. We even had drawn up plans for 2021 but God had other plans of taking him home.

“Nigeria has indeed, lost a great university administrator and scholar of immense lustre.”

Gbajabiamila mourns

Also, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, on Monday, expressed sadness over the death of a former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Professor Oyewusi Obidapo-Obe.

He said Professor Obidapo-Obe, who died on Sunday at the age of 71, was one patriotic Nigerian who gave his best toward the development of his country.

In a condolence statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Lanre Lasisi, the Speaker described Professor Obidapo-Obe’s death as a great loss not just to the academia but also the country.

Hon. Gbajabiamila recalled with nostalgia how Professor Obidapo-Obe, a onetime chairman of the Committee of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities, made remarkable strides during his term as the vice-chancellor of UNILAG.


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