Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, has mourned the death of Prof. Gabriel Afolabi Ojo, Pioneer Vice Chancellor of the National Open University of Nigeria who passed on earlier in the week, aged 90 years.
The Governor in his condolence message signed by his Chief Press Secretary; Mr Yinka Oyebode, said the late Prof Ojo was a distinguished Ekiti-born scholar and a leading light in the country’s education sector.
Dr Fayemi said there was no doubt the late Prof Ojo was an academic of repute as he was at the frontiers of research in the academia, with over 140 books and articles to his credit.
The Governor added that it was not a coincidence that the late Professor of Geography was appointed the pioneer Vice Chancellor of the National Open University of Nigeria having utilised his experience and exposure as one of the brains behind the take-off of distance learning in Nigeria between 1980 and 1981.
Governor Fayemi said the late Prof Ojo was not only an academic of repute but also an administrator par excellence and a man who brought a touch of excellence to every assignment he was given.
He said: “Remarkably, the deceased started his life-long career as a teacher in 1946 in Ado-Ekiti and rose through the dint of hard work to become a Professor of Geography in 1970, appointed Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences in 1972 and later, Dean, Faculty of Administration from 1976-77, and was a Project Director at the UN University, Tokyo.
“Prof Ojo’s exemplary life of service and distinction has inspired many to tow the path of excellence and honour. For this, we are glad that Prof Ojo lived a blessed and impactful life.
Dr Fayemi stated that the deceased during his lifetime was a devout Christian in the Catholic Church and served in different capacities including being the pioneer National Secretary of the Catholic Laity Council of Nigeria (CLCN) from 1973 to 1981, National President of the Council from 1986-1994, and thereafter, a National Life Patron from 1995.
Dr Fayemi said the deceased contributed immensely to community development and was a long term President of Ado- Ekiti Progressives Union before becoming a Life Patron.
The governor stated that Ojo’s death was not only a loss to the nation but also to Ekiti State which he proudly represented during his lifetime.
” On behalf of the government and people of Ekiti State, I commiserate with members of Prof Ojo’s immediate and extended families and pray that God will grant them the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss”.