In quick succession, the Nigerian Academy of Engineering announced the passing on of two of its Fellows during the week. About two weeks earlier, a very strong Friend of the Academy had passed.
The youngest of the three, Prof Tunji Samuel Ibiyemi, 67, an engineer, erudite scholar, inventor (Two of his inventions were adjudged by the World Intellectual Property Organization, WIPO, as among the 1,000 world inventions in 2004), mentor to many of his students, former Dean of Engineering at Covenant University, and former Vice Chancellor of Achievers University, Owo, died on September 9, 2021. He is a Fellow of the Academy and member of its Technical Committee.
The oldest, Chief Obafemi Olopade, 95, an Honorary Fellow of the Academy and manufacturer of several health-related products. He is popularly called Oloye Jonathan Adio-Obafemi Olopade and his trajectory is synonymous with starting things late, doing them big, and coming out of them in flying colours. For example, he had his first child one week after he turned 45, ended up having 15, all of who he saw through University education. For engineering, he started his practice at the age of 37, went on to chair several engineering companies and at age of 93, he was admitted into the Academy of Engineering at an age which no one else has matched let alone beaten. He holds the titles of Otun Mayegun of Egba Land; Aare Agba Akin of Ife Kingdom; and Agba Akin of Owu Kingdom. He is called ‘Mr Integrity’.
The third, Senator Augustine Olabiyi Durojaiye, 88, a very strong friend of the Academy, traversed the public service, legal practice, and partisan progressives’ politics (NADECO Stalwart) with grace and gravitas. He is immediate past Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, and two-time Special Guest of Honour at the Academy’s auspicious events. He is Otunba Kolawolu of Ijebu-Igbo.
The trending story about the two sages, Baba Durojaiye and Baba Olopade, is that they both lived life to its fullest and virtually danced themselves into the watching and envying eyes of death when it came knocking. Videos posted below show Senator Durojaiye’ s final dance steps a few days to his passing while Chief Olopade dazed all those who cared to watch him dance at his recent birthday gig.
Engr. Prof. T. S. Ibiyemi
Baba Durojaiye dances out
May the souls of the departed great men rest in peace.