FORMER Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof. Peter A. Okebukola has described the deaths of the pioneer Vice-Chancellor of the Lagos State University (LASU), Prof. ‘Folabi Olumide and two other professors of note (Prof. Oyewusi Ibidapo and Prof. Duro Ajeyalemi, both of the University of Lagos) as sour news in the early days of a new year.
Okebukola said Olumide, who died at 81, was VC when he joined LASU and had been his tutor throughout his career.
“For me, Professor ‘Folabi Olumide’s death is particularly heartrending being the vice-chancellor when I joined the services of Lagos State University as a foundation staff in 1984 and who for 37 years tutored me in leadership and was a role model in several respects,” Okebukola wrote in a tribute.
On Olumide’s contribution to LASU, the distinguished professor said the late surgeon set a solid foundation for the 38-year-old institution’s success.
He said: “An internationally well-regarded surgeon, scholar, lover of music, art, poetry with great dress sense, Professor Olumide gave LASU a solid start in academic and physical developments and crafted the template on which many of the successor vice-chancellors situated their strategic plans. The LASU College of Medicine, among other far-sighted academic initiatives was a product of his vision. He did not compromise on quality and he demonstrated a high taste for excellence.
‘’He was a man who kept all angles covered as chairman of senate and who, though diplomatic in general approach and comportment, did not spare persons with divisive tendencies. His maxim was: ‘To make LASU great is a task that must be done’. He doggedly led efforts to pursue this goal in spite of all odds.”
Okebukola said the late Olumide must have died fulfilled seeing what the heights the university had achieved – especially under the outgone Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Lanre Fagbohun.