The news has just broken of the passing of our most illustrious father, friend, intellectual giant, and inspiration extraordinaire, Professor Jamiu Mosobolaje Oyawoye. He was 96 years old. Professor Oyawoye lived a very long, exemplary, and remarkably inspiring life. His passing is for me a very personal loss of an outstanding source of inspiration, a genuine friend and father figure, who related with me, not only with so much politeness, but with an uncommon affection and a sincerity that I will always cherish.
Professor Oyawoye was a pioneer intellectual in a field that means so much for the present and future of our continent, and it was testimony to his insight, that he consciously chose to specialize in the field of geology, in those truly ground breaking decades of the African Renaissance, which came with the struggle for independence. If all that he achieved was in the realm of his specialization as a scientist, he would still have achieved a lot.
But Professor Oyawoye was a man of many parts, and it was testimony to the fecundity of his intellect, that he was able to give of himself to the community, and to his religion, Islam. He was a leader of the Jamatul Nasir Islam in Kwara State; he financed an Islamic institution that was dedicated to giving the very best Islamic education to the young and old alike.
He was immersed in community life and gave himself in an untiring manner to ensure the very best of his community in Offa, in Kwara State, Northern Nigeria, and our dear country, Nigeria.
A prince who carried himself with the grace of his birth, Professor Oyawoye’s hero was a prince like himself, and that was the late Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Sardauna of Sokoto. I was privileged to spend several hours listening to him extoll the qualities of the Sardauna.
Professor Oyawoye was the quintessential man of the old school discipline, which emphasized honour, hard work, loyalty, and unstinting commitment to duty. These were the incredible hallmarks of the long, productive, and exemplary life that he lived. We are all lucky that Allah gave him such a long life to be able to serve us as a teacher, inspiration, and an example of how a useful lifetime should be lived.
On this sad day of the passing of my dear friend and inspiration, Professor Jamiu Mosobalaje Oyawoye, my heart goes out to our beloved people of Offa, and His Highness, the Oloffa of Offa, to my dear brother, Kitibi Oyawoye, and the entire Oyawoye family, on the passing of this incredible intellectual giant. This is a loss for all of us in Kwara State, and indeed Nigeria and the African continent. His truly exemplary achievements, intellectual labour, and community labour of love will endure through the years.
May the Almighty Allah forgive Professor Jamiu Oyawoye his shortcomings and grant him Aljanna Fir’daus. Amin.