Ibidapo-Obe: Helper of vice-chancellors
Vice-Chancellors of various universities have written tributes to pay their last respect to the former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) Prof. Oyewusi Ibidapo-Obe, who died on Sunday at 71.
They described him as mentor and helper – always proffering solutions to problems they faced administering their institutions.
Apart from being the eighth Vice-Chancellor of UNILAG (2000-2007), the late Ibidapo-Obe was the pioneer VC of another federal university – the Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu Alike in Ikwo, Ebonyi State (2011-2016).
His vast experience as a researcher, scientist, professor of systems engineering and administrator made him a mentor to many.
Vice Chancellor of the First Technical University, Ibadan, Prof. Ayobami Salami, said his contributions to the university’s development were indelible.
He described Ibidapo-Obe, who was the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council of the institution, as a gem.
“His iconic touch to the rapid progress and development of our university is real and apparent. The University Governing Council, Senate, Management, staff and students, indeed, bear testimony to his indelible contributions to the acclaimed progress that Tech-U has recorded within the three and a half years of its existence. This explains the deep pain and sadness that enveloped the University when the news of his death broke out,” he said.
was also the Pro-Chancellor, and Chairman of Council of Crawford University, Igbesa, Ogun State, where he participated in the convocation held December 9, 2020.
The institution’s VC, Prof. Reuben Jiya Kolo, said his impact as member and chairman of council was legendary.
“A philanthropist of note, Professor Ibidapo-Obe would specially be remembered for his uncommon contributions to several projects in Crawford University; and in particular, the Staff Legacy Building.
“Also, his exemplary leadership acumen, humane and humble disposition, dedication to service and well-articulated contributions to issues on Council and the Board were not only outstanding but legendary!”
To the outgoing VC, Lagos State University (LASU), Prof. Lanre Fagbohun, Ibidapo-Obe was a mentor and friend.
Expressing shock at his death, Fagbohun said he regarded it as a personal and painful loss.
He said he was privileged to be mentored by Ibidapo-Obe.
He said: “As an academic juggernaut and a former Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos whose influence and impact transcended the educational sphere, it was natural that our paths crossed many years ago.
“Since then, I have found him to be an uncommon man, defined by generosity and selflessness, the kind of leader who has forged the path before and is willing to reach back to inspire and uplift those coming behind in their journey; attributes shared together with few other great men like the Executive Secretary of NUC, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed; Distinguished Prof. Peter Okebukola; Prof. Olaiya Balogun; Prof. Isha’q Olanrewaju Oloyede; Prof. Abisogun Leigh and Prof. Akin Oyebode. Prof. Obe, like these great men, was fiercely interested in the well-being of the Lagos State University and would stop at nothing to make the LASU Project work.”
Vice-Chancellor of UNILAG, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, also has fond memories of the man who once occupied the same seat he occupies at UNILAG.
Ogundipe said Ibidapo-Obe, who interviewed him when he was to become a professor, was his mentor and ardent supporter.
“We lost our eighth Vice-Chancellor, my mentor, the one who chaired the interview session I faced to become a professor; the one that had a word for every season. When I go to him in difficult times, he told me Toyin, ‘why do you worry, continue, they will come behind you’. His death came to me as a shock. It is yet to sink into me that Professor Ibidapo Obe is dead.
“He was the one that gave the convocation valedictory talk in 1971 when he graduated as the first class student, a product of the University of Lagos, who went to Waterloo for his PhD in the area of Systems Engineering,” he said.
Also speaking, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academics and Research) of the university, Prof Oluwole Familoni said Ibidapo-Obe would have become an emeritus professor had the university’s convocation meant to hold March last year not been cancelled.
“We wanted to make him an emeritus professor during the last convocation so he would enjoy the fruit of his labour. But due to the cancellation, we could not do it,” he said.