The Dean of the Faculty of Education, University of Lagos, Prof. Monday Ubangha, has said the two dons, Prof. Oyewusi Ibidapo-Obe and Prof. Duro Ajeyalemi, who died of COVID-19 complications were close friends.
Ibidapo-Obe’s death was announced on Sunday, while Ajeyalemi died on Wednesday.
Ajeyalemi died at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba, at the age of 70.
Ajeyalemi, who retired from the university in November 2020, was also the pioneer registrar of the Joint Universities Preliminary Examination Board and former Dean, Faculty of Education and pioneer Dean, Student Affairs, UNILAG.
Ubangha in an interview with The PUNCH said he could not ascertain if they were in contact during the festive period.
“I wasn’t in Lagos; I would have known if they were in contact within the period, but Profs Ajeyalemi and Ibidapo-Obe were very close pals.
“I hate to talk about him (Ajeyalemi) in the past. He was a teacher of teachers, professor of professors. He was my mentor and my office was next to his in the faculty. He’s been a wonderful neighbor, an erudite scholar who trained a whole lot of us. He mentored a generation of professors in UNILAG. I came back from the New Year celebration on January 2nd and I was surprised I didn’t see him that Saturday, Sunday and Monday because he came to office every day. It was then I started calling, only to be told he passed on this morning (Wednesday). His death is a great loss to the faculty, UNILAG and the nation at large.”
He advised Nigerians to take COVID-19 seriously.
The Chairman, Academic Staff Union of Universities, UNILAG, Dr Dele Ashiru, in an interview with our correspondent said the entire Nigerian university system would miss Ajeyalemi.
He said, “Prof Ajeyalemi was an accomplished academic in his own right. His sudden death is a great loss not only to UNILAG but to the general Nigerian university system. The university community will miss him very dearly.”