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Olaoba, historian and poet bows

poetryProfessor Olufemi Olaoba was not only prolific in African history but erudite in African law, indigenous arbitration and conflict studies. This thorough-bred historian will be greatly missed at the Institute of African Studies weekly seminar by the generality of the students. His witticism dictated by passion for students’ progress endeared him to many who were privileged to relate with him or come under his tutelage, being a fantastic scholar whose mindset on the discipline of history, particularly African history, would secure a comfortable seat among the ground-breakers of Afro-Nigerian History.

Sir: On May 15, 2016 Professor Olufemi Bamigboyega Olaoba bowed to death at the age of 58. I met Professor Olufemi Bamigboyega Olaoba in 2008 when I came back from the United Kingdom and was in search for an African historian to supervise my PhD thesis in African History. The meeting was so brief and he wasted no time in accepting my doctoral candidacy though he instructed that we must comply with the University regulations, which subjected me to undertaking all the master’s courses in African History and Historiography from the Department of History.

Professor Olufemi Olaoba was not only prolific in African history but erudite in African law, indigenous arbitration and conflict studies. This thorough-bred historian will be greatly missed at the Institute of African Studies weekly seminar by the generality of the students. His witticism dictated by passion for students’ progress endeared him to many who were privileged to relate with him or come under his tutelage, being a fantastic scholar whose mindset on the discipline of history, particularly African history, would secure a comfortable seat among the ground-breakers of Afro-Nigerian History.

Like Saburi Biobaku, Akinjogbin, J. F. Ade Ajayi and Obaro Ikimi, Olufemi Olaoba was a great writer and poet. He was indeed an excellent cultural historian, probably the only one in the University of Ibadan until he breadthed his last given his congenial, inveterate and congenital affectionate warmth, which inspired respect and reverence from his students. He was and will remain a great historian even at death. Evidently through his scholarly works and publications, Olufemi Bamigboyega Olaoba has written his own history in the hearts of his students and colleagues while contributing his quota to historical scholarship in Nigeria. His plethora of scholarly publications on African cultural history testifies to his professional image as a promoter of African value system. His numerous contributions to humanistic scholarship and values have left indelible and impeccable impression in the hearts of many. Though his death is a tragic loss, we are thus consoled by how he lived and what he gave, since these are significant parts of the parameters to measure the worth of a man while alive.

Adieu, my supervisor, mentor and friend, who had the uncommon courage symbolic of the can-do-spirit of Ekitiman!
Onipede Kayode,
LAUTECH, Ogbomoso, Oyo State.




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