…as the Academic titan goes home

By: Tunde Olofintila

The departure of the undeniable man of peace, the erudite and highly talented Prof. Benjamin Afolabi Oso, reminds one of the ever green words of the Preacher in the Book of Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 to wit: ”There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven”. Verse 2 of the same Chapter 3 puts a tone of finality to the axiomatic postulations of the Preacher here, when it says: “there is a time to be born and a time to die”. That has been the lot of Prof. Oso, a warm and humane Academic and a patriotic Nigerian of Ekiti extraction, who has gone to join the Saints triumphant.

The news of our departed Academic giant and compatriot assaultedthe airwaves early last Monday morning (March 18) that indeed the skillful professor of Microbiology who mentored not a few and loved by a multitude has gone home, via a road accident, a common currency in our country, Nigeria.Unfortunately such road accidents are often occasioned with loss of lives, limbs and means of livelihood as well as loss of ambulatory and non-ambulatory properties on most occasions and yet nothing seems to be in the offing to curtail this cankerworm.

What stands this gentleman out is his vaunting patriotism, unbending determination, friendly mentorship and his strength of character to use his office, and indeed, his all, for the achievement of the good of the majority. He was an engaging personality.

In his life time, Prof Oso, a worthy Alumnus of the 86-year old Christ School, Ado-Ekiti and the 71-year old University of Ibadan, was a robust Academic and an accomplished Researcher.

My first contact with Prof. Oso was sometimes in November 2013. After anchoring a particular event in the university, he pumped my hands, congratulating me for what he said was a professional way I handled the event. I was excitedly happy. But he has not finished with me. He went ahead by saying: “It would appear to me that you engage in some form of research in the way you anchor events by the way you it differently each time”. I agreed with him because he was absolutely right that I read all manners of books to have new ideas to run my assignments. I told him that I had to do that so that I don’t do things the same way always so as not to bore my audience. Since that time I have stayed close to him. I loved listening to him talking about his primary constituency, Microbiology, as that would afford me the opportunity to hear such words as “Effluence, bio-degradation, bio-gas and organic wastes” among others.

A frontline patriot with a palpable love for Ekiti, Prof. Oso was a team player and a systems person with an avowed skill to work with all manners of people. Withal, he was a fearless man who would say his mind no matter whose ox is gored unlike what is prevalent among the people today who would say one thing and do yet another. He was such a forthright, upright and downright personality.

Prof. Oso would certainly not have been categorized as a rich man, but he was happy and contended with his earthly possessions. No wonder he was able to live to a very ripe age of becoming and octogenarian in a country where life expectancy is about 48 years, a ludicrous matter when compared to United States where life expectancy is 79 years, Canada (82 years), Switzerland (83 years) and Ghana (63 years).

Undoubtedly, the Nigerian Academia has lost yet another rare gem and an irreplaceable hero who stood and fought for the good of the majority. The consolation this time around is that Prof. Oso did not only come, he saw and conquered. He fought a good fight. He led a good life and above all, he left his indelible foot prints on the sands of times. He was undoubtedly a great man, a worthy and an exemplary example of what a leader should be. The Microbial world surely will miss him.

I commiserate with the entire Oso family of Ado-Ekiti, the Afe Babalola University Community and Prof. Oso’s numerous mentees and disciples over the death of this thoroughly distinguished citizen who played his part very well.

His humanitarian services and the many lives he touched while on planet earth will surely stand him in good stead in his eternal journey.Surely the sun has set on this fine gentleman who has written his name in indelible ink in the annals, but we thank God his was not a sun set at noon in a country with ambitions so high, but problems so deep.

Good night the people’s Prof.