As the academic community continues to mourn the sudden death awaiting post mortem report of Prof. Kolawole Aderemi Olu-Owolabi, the authorities of the University of Ibadan, Ibadan, have resolved to immortalize the late Dean of the institution’s Faculty of Arts who died on Sunday, 16 September, 2012.
The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Isaac Folorunso Adewole, FAS, disclosed this when he led Principal Officers of the University on a condolence visit to the deceased family on the institution’s campus on Monday.
A statement by the University’s Director of Public Communication, Mr. Olatunji Oladejo, stated that the Vice Chancellor described the late Professor of Philosophy as a wonderful scholar and administrator who was passionate about the Faculty of Arts, in particular and the University, in general. Prof. Adewole said ”he did not allow his health challenge to disable him from exceptional performance.”
Prof. Adewole wrote in the condolence register “What a monumental loss and too mighty to comprehend. A star has fallen.”
On the request of the Vice Chancellor, both Prof. Emmanuel Ajav of the Department of Agricultural and Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Technology and Dr. Kamil Oloso of the Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies, Faculty of Arts offered prayers during the visit for the reposed soul and the University community according to Christian and Islamic rites as the deceased had friends across religious divide.
Prof. Olu-Owolabi has been variously described by academic colleagues, friends, non-teaching staff and students in the Faculty of Arts and University wide as a mentor, inspirer, versatile scholar and achiever who recorded landmark achievements within a short period as the Dean of Faculty of Arts, University of Ibadan, Ibadan.
The Vice Chancellor was accompanied on the visit by the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Administration) Prof Arinola Sanya; Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic), Prof. Idowu Olayinka; Registrar, Mr. Olujimi Olukoya; Deputy Registrar (Vice Chancellor’s Office), Mr. Victor Adegoroye and other key Officers.
Aged 51, late Professor Olu-Owolabi hailed from Igbogila, Yewa North Local Government of Ogun State. He had his primary education at Ansar-ud-Deen Primary School, Oke Ado, Ibadan. His secondary education was at St. Patrick’s Grammar School, Ibadan, where he obtained his School Certificate in 1978. He, thereafter, proceeded to the Comprehensive High School, Ayetoro, for his Higher School Certificate, which he obtained in 1980. The same year, he was admitted to the University of Lagos, for a degree in Philosophy. At the end of his first year, he won the prestigious Federal Government Merit Award Scholarship for being the best student in his class. He graduated in 1983 with a Second Class Upper Division, winning the Departmental Prize as the best student in his class. He was retained at the Department of Philosophy of his University, for his National Youth Service. He commenced his doctorate programme in September 1984, while he was also employed as a Graduate Assistant, to teach in the Department. He defended his Ph.D. thesis on the 9 May, 1989, becoming the first person in the history of the Department to do so.
Late Professor Olu-Owolabi joined the Department of Philosophy, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, on 5 October, 1989, as a Lecturer Grade II. He was promoted to the position of Lecturer Grade I in 1993, Senior Lecturer in 1996 and Professor in 2002.. The late Professor served as the Acting Head of the Department of Philosophy of the University between 2002 and 2004. He also obtained the LL.B. Honours degree, with a Second Class Upper Division from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife. He was called to the Nigerian Bar as a Solicitor and Advocate of the Supreme Court of Nigeria in 2007. During his sabbatical leave in the 2008-2009 session, he obtained an LL.M degree, with distinction from the same Obafemi Awolowo University.
The late distinguished Professor was a member of the Nigerian Philosophical Association (N.P.A.), Nigerian Bar Association (N.B.A.), Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA), Fellow of the Institute of United States Studies (IFUSS) Iowa University, Iowa City. He won many academic fellowships, which included Rockefeller Fellowship for American Studies, at the University of Iowa, Iowa in 1999, CODESRIA Governance Institute, 1999, British Council Travel Grant 1998, French Institute for Research in Africa, 1996 and 2000 and CODESRIA National Working Group Grant, 2010-2012.
Professor Olu-Owolabi was an external examiner and assessor of Ph.D and professional promotions to the following Universities: University of Lagos, Lagos; Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife; Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye; University of Ado-Ekiti, Ado-Ekiti; Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko. He was at one time, Part time or Visiting Lecturer at Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye; Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba; University of Lagos, Lagos; Nigerian Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru-Jos, University of Iowa, Iowa-City, United States. He was also a Resource Person to the CODESRIA Governance Institute in 2006. He attended international conferences in countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo; Ghana, Malaysia, Mozambique, Senegal, South-Africa, United Kingdom and the United States. Professor Olu-Owolabi has supervised over sixty Master’s students, 10 Ph.D. graduates, booth within his Department and at the Peace and Conflict Programme of the Institute of African Studies. Until his death on Sunday, 16 September, 2012 he was the Dean, Faculty of Arts. He was married and blessed with children.
Meanwhile, the fourteenth in the series of the University’s Inaugural Lectures for the 2011/2012 academic session scheduled for Thursday, 20 September, 2012 has been postponed till next week Thursday, 27 September, 2012 in honour of the late Professor.