The news of Chief Ayo Labiyi’s death came as a rude shock. He passed away at a time we needed endeavours him most. He was principal of principals, distinguished figure in the society, a role model and a man of God. Respectable leaders of today passed through his hands.
I met Uncle Ayo through a great educator – honourable Lam Adeshina. Uncle Ayo requested of me to coach Jide, Wale and their siblings. The goal was to ensure that the children did well in their classes and competed favourably in the test prescribed for entrance examination to secondary schools. This shows how much Uncle Ayo voted for merit.
Chief Ayo Labiyi was the foundational principal of Lagelu Grammar School, Ibadan. He gave his very best to Lagelu Grammar School, for 10 years. He nurtured Lagelu Grammar School Ibadan to the pyramid of excellence of academic pursuit, sports, social endeavours and politics.
Chief Ayo Labiyi competently and innovatively built on superb work of our father – Arch Deacon Oladipo Alayande at Ibadan Grammar school. Uncle Ayo’s assignment as the principal of Ibadan Grammar School was home coming.
Ibadan Grammar School was his alma-mata.
Chief Labiyi gave one of his books to me. I can summarise that his parents and global community raised him to be healthy, happy and productive citizen of the universe.
Elder Ajibola Adekemi, product of Oduduwa College, Ile-Ife and son of Ile-Ife soil said that Chief Labiyi as the principal of Odudua College Ile-Ife raised the successes of the school to the highest. Pastor Afolabi Ayedun and Prince Oladipupo Agbaje who attended Lagelu Grammar School felt that their lives are cumulatively better today because of the disciplinary hands of Chief Ayo Labiyi. Professor Tunde Amole who attended Ibadan Grammar School can recall principal Labiyi’s respect for students’ rights.
Oladipupo Agbaje, Chief Labiyi and I were years ago sitting to a favourite lunch at Oluyole extension Ibadan, Dipo and I never dreamt that that was the last time we would be with Uncle Ayo.
The history of education, cultural development, sports, and politics will suffer a regrettable omission without giving a conspicuous place to Chief Ayo Labiyi.
Chief Ayo Labiyi, rest in perfect peace.
New York, USA.