In remembering Adetokunbo Babatunde Sofoluwe
Sir: Adetokunbo Babatunde Sofoluwe was born on April 15, 1950 and passed away on the May 11, 2012 at the age of 62. He was a Professor of Computer Science, appointed the 10th Vice-Chancellor of University of Lagos on January 30, 2010.
Sofoluwe began his academic career in 1976 as a Graduate Assistant in the Department of Computer Sciences, University of Lagos and rose through the ranks to the position of a full Professor in October 1996. Similar to an inaugural lecture entitled “Beyond Resonance” delivered by the late Professor A. O. Awojobi in 1977; Sofoluwe delivered his inaugural lecture entitled “Beyond Calculations” to the admiration of his audience on Wednesday, November 8, 2006. All through his career at the University of Lagos, he was always prepared for one leadership position or the other. He served two times as the Acting Head of Department of Computer Sciences (1989–1991; 1994–1996); Dean, Faculty of Science for two consecutive terms (1998–2000; 2000–2002); Director, Academics Planning Unit (2005–2006), and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Management Services (2006–2010). He was elected into the Governing Council of University of Lagos, from 2000–2004; and statutorily as a member of Council by virtue of his appointments as the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor in 2006–2010 and 2010–May 11, 2012, respectively.
Sofoluwe had to his credit, many academic books, monographs and articles in reputable journals. His academic publications, starting from 1980–2013, traversed world-leading publishers, such as, Elsevier, Springer, Taylor and Francis, among others. He mentored many in both academics and leadership, and many of his mentees are in various leadership positions in the academia, government and industry. He trained doctorate candidates in the Departments of Mathematics and Computer Sciences until his demise, some of whom graduated after his demise. He was a fellow of many professional bodies, among which are; Nigerian Academy of Science, Computer Association of Nigeria (COAN), Institute of Mathematics and Its Application (IMA), Computer Professionals of Nigeria (CPN), and member of the Society for Individual and Applied Mathematics (SIAM). He was external examiner and external assessor to many universities and other institutions of learning in Nigeria.
Sofoluwe, a quintessential university administrator brought illumination to university administration in Nigeria. Prior to the University’s convocation ceremonies in 2010, he posited that university education in Nigeria could only be internationalized if certificates were ready for collections on the very day of convocation. He argued how unfair it would be, if parents of graduating students, who had come from far Asia to Nigeria for their children/ward’s graduation, were told that the certificates of their children/wards would only be ready in four years’ time.
Dr. Akala, University of Lagos.
He worked tirelessly to see that certificates were ready for collections on the very day of the 2010 convocation ceremonies, the trend which University of Lagos has sustained, and many other Nigerian universities have also emulated. It is also on record, that Sofoluwe led a University Senate that recommended strongly that candidate for honorary degrees of University of Lagos must be persons of high pedigree in terms of integrity and contributions to better humanity in their chosen fields of endeavours.
Sofoluwe was an epitome of humility and a complete gentleman. He related with all staff without any form of cadre discrimination. He was a servant-leader, who demystified the office of a Vice-Chancellor. He was seen many times, carrying files during evening hours from the Vice-Chancellor’s office to his personal office or going home on foot. Many times, he disengaged his driver at 4 p.m., while he stayed back to continue with official duties. He was a Vice-Chancellor that could wait and share from the groundnuts or peanuts that cleaners or lawn mower operators were eating. His dream for University of Lagos was that the University of First Choice and the Nation’s Pride would be among the best 100 universities in the world before the expiration of his tenure. In recognition of his positive contributions to University of Lagos, and as a way of immortalising his name, a park directly in front of the University’s Senate House was named after him.
Sofoluwe’s life and times at the University of Lagos remain evergreen in the memories of all and sundry.
Dr. Akala, University of Lagos.
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