Today, August 12th, 2020, marks the 93rd birthday ceremony of the truly distinguished Professor Jamiu Mosobalaje Oyawoye; Africa’s FIRST professor of geology. Prince; academic; Community leader; fervent Muslim; intrepid defender of Islam; father; conversationist; friend and an incredible patriot!!!
I am very proud to call Professor Oyawoye my DEAR FRIEND! And that might surprise a lot of people, given that he is old enough to be my father! But he INSISTS that we ARE indeed FRIENDS! But far more importantly, he’s a tremendous source of inspiration for me, and an example of how to live a most socially- responsible life.
I met Professor Oyawoye for the first time at the Lagos Airport lounge, early in the year 2000. I was returning from a trip from Mali. I walked up to him; introduced myself and told him that I had read, and heard a lot about him! Well, he replied that he had equally heard a lot about me, and read a lot of my pieces in DAILY TRUST! And that was the beginning of a relationship and friendship, that has waxed stronger and enriched me deeply. He has literally “embarrassed” me at his residence in Offa, by hosting me, and ensuring some of the most distinguished sons of the community and our country, like the late Alhaji Ayo Giwa; the late Alhaji RK Yusuf; Alhaji Ashiru Sani-Aba Balogun, to mention a few; people who were my bosses and elders, were also around to receive me, and partake in the sumptuous lunch that he generously laid up! Professor Oyawoye has made me lead prayers in his private mosque; has received me as Special Guest at the graduation ceremony of his Islamic institution; and he regularly checks up to know how I’m faring. I’ve never stopped wondering where his prodigious energy comes from, including his unending intellectual curiosity.
In Professor Oyawoye, we are very lucky to have a truly distinguished scholar, whose intellectual achievements, radiate the power of inspiration; and in his dedication to community well-being; his strong faith as a Muslim and his human decency, we have a lot to celebrate and copy. As I wrote in the birthday message that I sent him earlier today, we thank Allah for the long and exemplary life that he has lived; and for the inspiration that his life has remained to so many people, around the world!!!
My Dear Friend, Professor Jamiu Mosobalaje Oyawoye: prince; distinguished intellectual; community leader; Faithful Muslim; and inspiration, Happy 93rd Birthday!!!