Remembering Professor Fatiu Akesode

Remembering Professor Fatiu Akesode

Monday, March 30, 2020 9:59 am


 

Professor Fatiu Akesode

By Siyan Oyeweso

An esteemed member of the academic community and medical profession in Nigeria departed for the great beyond shortly before the midnight of 30th March, 2001. The medical icon was Professor Fatiu Ademola Akesode, a foremost paediatric endocrinologist and the former Vice Chancellor, Lagos State University (1997-2001). That he lived a useful and purposeful life is beyond doubt given his relevance in the passage of time and the great affection people still have for him. His good deeds and works speak for him. Like all mortals, he paid his debt. But why should good people die prematurely? This is a question society often pose but 1 have found solace in the Yoruba world-view that “Igi to ba to, ki i pe ni’gbo” “Very stately and tall trees are often felled in the forest.” Fifteen years after this demise, Fatiu Ademola Akesode is still greatly missed and he will continue to live in the hearts of many who came across his path and under his influence.

Fatiu Ademola Akesode was born on May 18, 1940 to the family of Alhaji Sulaiman Akanni Akesode and Alhaja Bintu Ajide Akesode (nee Olukolu) both of Okepopo and Bajulaiye clan of Lagos Island respectively. He was the fifth child of the family. Fatiu (the Victor), Ademola (the one who combines wealth and the crown) Akesode (the one who summons the for duties hunters) grew up as a muslim. He was enrolled as a pupil at Ansar-ud-deen Primary’ School, Amuto (Okepopo)in 1946. In 1954 he proceeded to the Methodist Boys’ High School (MBHS) for his secondary school education. Right from his formative years, Fatiu Akesode distinguished himself among his peers. He was the School Prefect at the MBHS and he was later appointed to a similar leadership role at the Abeokuta Grammar School where he studied for his Higher School Certificate. 

In 1962, Akesode was offered admission as a pioneer student of the University of Lagos College of Medicine, Idi-Araba, from where he graduated with honours in 1967. Indeed, his achievement was phenomenal considering the fact that there were only two medical schools (Akoka and Ibadan) then in the ’60s in Nigeria admitting a total of 100 students. Some of Akesode`s classmates at Idi-Araba, i.e. the 1967 set included Kola Danisa, Anya Emetu Anya, Sunny Folorunso Kuku, Stephen Kitchener, Yinusa Isola Salami, Phillip Okeowo. Patrick Okeke, Felix Oladipo, Ajesola Ozobia, Samuel Ajomo, Gregory Akenzua, Wilberforce Olumide Aina and Reuben Ajiboye, among others. During his undergraduate years, Akesode was a Federal Government Scholar.

As a young paediatrician. Akesode received his training under the feet of Professor. H.W L. Thompson, Robert Wright, and O. Akinla all of the University of Lagos. Along with two other alumni of the University of Lagos, he proceeded in 1968 for a Masters’ degree in Public Health at the world renowned John Hopkin’s University, United States of America. On his return to Nigeria in 1969, he worked under the supervision of Prof. Olikoye Ransome Kuti, Prof. F. E. Afolabi Lesi and Prof. Ishaya Audu. The trio had a strong influence on his career as a paediatrician. Fatiu Akesode had many other professional and intellectual training from various institutions across the world. In 1976, he received a Certificate in Paediatric Endocrinology at John Hopkins University. In 1978, he became a Fellow of the Nigerian Medical College (Public Health); and in 1980 he also became a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians (Canada). By 1981, he was also a Fellow of the West African College of Physicians; and a Research Fellow and Instructor in Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA. In addition, he served as a Lecturer in Public Health, University of Lagos (1976-1982), Visiting Consultant Paediatrician, University of British Columbia, Vancouver B. C. Canada (1978 1980) and Senior Lecturer in Paediatrics, University of Lagos (1982-1987); Dental Consultant Association of Nigeria, Treasurer of the Nigerian Society of Endocrinologists, Member of Association of Community Health Physicians of Nigeria and Society of Occupational Health Physicians of Nigeria.

Akesode`s robust scholarship and abiding commitment to excellence also saw him benefitting from many academic honours and research support. In the 1968 / 1969 Session, he was a beneficiary of the Ford Foundation Fellowship. Between 1971 and 1997 when he was the Chief Resident in Paediatrics, he got Fellowship Award from the American Heart Foundation Baltimore, Maryland, USA. Between 1975 and 1976, he also won the United States National Institute of Health Research Award in Paediatrics. In the interval between 1987 and 1996, Akesode also received research grant support from a number of institutions: University of Lagos, 1987; Ogun State University, 1988; WHO Research Award on Breast-Feeding, 1988- 1993; WHO Material Supplementation and Breast Milk Production Grant, 1994; and the British Overseas Development Agency Award for the study of Sexually Transmitted Diseases, 1996.

Fatiu Ademola Akesode was appointed a Professor of Paediatrics in the Department of Paediatrics of the Ogun State University in 1987. Seven years later, in July 1994, he delivered his Inaugural Lecture titled The Child is Not A Little Man: Promises of Tomorrow, which is generally acknowledged as a seminal contribution to the field of Paediatrics. He later became the Provost and Chief Medical Director of Ogun State College of Health Sciences. Indeed, Akesode’s nine-year tenure at Ogun State University was productively used in building relationship with the people and in the service of Ogun State. During this period, he forged strong personal relationship with the Oyewole Twins, Prof. Soyanwo, Dr. Bayo Banjo, Alhaji Shote, Late Chief Adesegun, Mr. Akinsanya, Alhaji Bola Adegunwa, of Fototek Fame Oba Michael Sonarinwo, the Akarigbo of Remoland, to mention a few. His life at the Ogun State University was, unarguably, one of fruitful service in the cause of the people and absolute commitment to the promotion of medical education and health care delivery.

Apart from his job at Ogun State, Akesode served Nigeria and the world at large in different capacities. He was a Consultant to the Federal Government of Nigeria on Occupational Health, a Radio Doctor on the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, Lagos, and a Consultant to the Federal Government of Nigeria on Nutrition, Child Health Planning and Management. He was also an External Examiner in Paediatrics at various universities including Ibadan, llorin, Nsukka, Port Harcourt, Maiduguri, Ile-Ife, Calabar and Lagos), and the National Post-Graduate Medical College. He was also international an examiner at the Universities of Zimbabwe and Ghana. In the international arena, Akesode also served as Consultant to UNICEF on Nutrition and the World Health Organization (WHO) on Breast Feeding, Nutrition and Fertility. For those who know the mark of true and accomplished academics, Professor Akesode published his articles individually and in collaboration with respected colleagues nationally and abroad in reputable international journals.

Prof. Akesode served as the Provost / Chief Medical Director at Ogun State University until his appointment as the Vice Chancellor of the Lagos State University on February 25, 1997. He assumed duties as the Vice-Chancellor of the Lagos State University on the March, 7th 1997. Upon his assumption of officer, the university was faced with serious academic and administrative challenges. There was need to improve the quality of teaching and research and provide more facilities to aid learning. Akesode`s administration immediately provided the enabling environment for creative, intellectual and scientific engagements. Within a short span of too time, the administration also embarked on behavioral modification of students and staff. LASU thus became a family and a commonwealth to be proud of. As the OLORIEBI- Head of the Family- Akesode got the vast majority of students and staff to his side in the struggle against cultism and other anti-social behaviour in the university.

The Akesode`s era also witnessed increase in students population. While Akesode inherited a student population of about 7,000 when he assumed office, by the time of his departure in March 2001 the population was about N12,000. This expansion was followed side by side with an increase in the curricula and programmes of the university. From six faculties on assumption of office, Akesode increased the number to eight with the establishment of new faculties, departments and disciplines. With the support of Senate members and other staff, his administration pioneered the establishment of professional Management courses like Banking and Finance, Business Administration, Accounting, Industrial Relations and Personnel Management, Technology Management, Insurance and Actuarial Science. In mounting these new programmes, Akesode’s vision was that LASU should be able to provide qualitative and skilled manpower for Lagos State and the nation as a whole.

Again, the Akesode administration was able to establish the LASU School of Communication. Earlier, he had judged, quite accurately, that the number of Nigerian Universities offering courses in Mass Communication was few. Therefore with the support of his bosom friend and doyen of photo-journalism, Alhaji Bola Adegunwa, he secured a prime property worth over N200 million at Nathan Street, Yaba, for the take-off of the School. In fact, Alhaji Bola Adegunwa of Fototek fame had given the prime property to Fatiu Akesode personally so he could use it as private clinic on completion of his tenure as Vice-Chancellor in LASU. But out great love for Lagos State and the Lagos State University, Akesode gave the property to LASU. And, since his demise, a number of people have wondered why he did not acquire the property for himself and his family, more so when he did not have a self-built house. Such is the measure nature of a man like Fatiu Ademola Akesode.

From the inception of the university in 1984, one of the most important projects on its agenda was the establishment of a medical school. That project came to fruition under the administration of Ademola Akesode with the establishment of LASU College of Medicine (LASUCOM). With his experience as a distinguished medical doctor, Akesode recruited and got the right people for the job of the College. Among these eminent scholars were Prof. Wole Alakija, the pioneer Provost, Prof. Akinrinmisi, Prof. Abba-Sagoe, Prof. Hunponu-Wusu, Prof. Dapo Ashiru, Prof. Hussein Abdul Kareem, and Prof. Henry Adewoye, among others.

Professor Akesode, no doubt, ever gave practical expressions to some of his visionary achievements in LASU. He singled out one event that gave him the greatest joy when he was the Chairman of the Lagos Hospitals Management Board. According to him, that was; “The day I saw about 53 students registering as medical students of the Lagos State University College of Medicine (LASUCOM)”. For Prof. Akesode, “this is a great achievement. It is a great tribute to the staff of LASU who assisted us and the government of the state;”. He submitted that “the proposal had been on drawing board for many years, but we were able to wrap it up. It is a wonderful achievement and I am very happy about it”. “I must acknowledge the vision of the first Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Folabi Olumide who set up Medical Advisory Board under Prof. B. O George in March 1978. My teacher and mentor, Prof. Deji Femi who chaired the 1997 Advisory Committee also deserves appreciation and recognition. Indeed, it was his Committee that mid-wived the establishment of LASU College of Medicine in the 1998/1999 academic session.

Prof Fatiu Akesode also left his imprints on the Faculty of Arts. The curriculum of the Department of History, for instance, was reviewed to accommodate Diplomatic Studies, International Relations and Strategic Studies. In a similar vein, the former Department of African Languages and Literature got transformed into Department of African Languages and Communication Arts with new window of opportunities for young artistes in Yoruba Communication Arts. The Department of Theatre Arts and Music was also established with the clear intent that LASU should provide the training ground for would be theatre artists and music practitioners. In the Faculty of Social Sciences, the Akesode era also witnessed the birth of such programmes as Masters in Refugee Studies, Social Work, Planning Studies and Maritime Studies. 

The Akesode administration also secured international grant from The Ford Foundation to establish the Centre for Development and Democratic Studies (CDDS). It also succeeded in establishing academic linkages with some overseas universities such as Central Connecticut State University (CCSU), Michigan State University, University of Singapore, University of Nottingham and University of Sydney, Australia. In Nigeria, a technical linkage was established with the Ogun State University (now Olabisi Onabanjo University) under the LASU – OSU Linkage Programme. The excellent academic record which the law graduates of LASU enjoyed at the Nigerian Law School, Abuja, was also vigorously sustained throughout the Akesode years (1997-2001).

More fundamentally but with a clear objective of expanding the revenue base of the University and ensuring proper accountability of self-generating programmes, Akesode proposed the establishment of a School of Part Time Studies for LASU. In the process of establishing this school, three separate position papers were submitted by Prof. B. B. Oderinde, Dr. Kunle Lawal and Dr. Siyan Oyeweso, while the law and organogram of the school were still awaiting Senate approval at the time of Akesode’s death.

The Akesode`s administration also provided conducive environment for learning and academic activities to flourish. He insisted that Graduate Assistants and Assistant Lecturers must pursue Doctoral programmes with vigour and consequently awarded them Ph.D research grants. It was indeed during his tenure that an academic staff of LASU, Mr. E.O. Lawson of Fisheries Department, emerged the first alumnus of LASU to bag a Ph.D degree. Many other staff were also sponsored to overseas universities, It was indeed an era of self actualization.

A good number of university officials who started their career in LASU between 1984 and 1987 reached the peak of their professional and academic attainments. For many years before Akesode, several principal officers of the university were serving in acting capacities. Prof. Akesode therefore ensured that many of them became substantive office holders. Some of these principal officers included Gladstone Oluwatoyin Oshun as the Registrar, Mrs. O. O. Bajomo as the Bursar and the late Engr. S. A. Raji as the Director of Works and Services. In addition, Dr. A. O. Shodeinde was appointed the first substantive Director of the Educational Technology Centre. In a similar vein, a number of academic staff attained professorial chairs during his tenure. Prominent in this category were Dr. Abisogun Olubode Leigh, Dr. Tunde S. Samuel, Dr. Martins Agenuma Anetekhai, Dr. S. Ademola Onifade, Dr. Funso Adaramola, Dr. O. O. Matanmi, Dr. T. A. Bolarin and Dr A. P. Agbonjimi. 

It is also on record that not less than twenty academic staff became Associate Professors during Akesode’s tenure: Dr. E.A.Akinade Dr. C.N. Nwaboku, Dr. Sena Bak’re, Dr. O.B. Borrofice, Dr. A.C. Ariri-Chidomere, Dr. Tudonu Amosun, Dr. Kunle Lawal, Dr. M.A. Muhibbudin, Dr. A. Olukayode Ojo, Dr. M.M. Faseke, Dr. Dapo Asaju, Dr. Iyabo Olojede, Dr. Charles Alade, Dr. S.O. Olaniyonu, Dr. Amidu Sanni, Dr. Yinka Folorunso, Dr. O. Olagunju, Dr. A.O. Oyesakin and Dr. Siyan Oyeweso.

During Akesode’s era too, a number of Senior Academic and Administrative Staff had spectacular career advancements. The success of LASU was mostly outstanding as a result of which the university began to loan some of its staff to head other tertiary institutions across the country. To all these staff, Professor Akesode was a major pillar of support and advice. He was also priviledged to play very crucial role in their final selection, appointment or re-appointment. Prominent in this category were Dr. A. O. K. Noah, former Provost Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education, Professor Tunde Samuel, former Provost, Lagos State College of Primary Education, Prof. Ajaja, former Rector, Ondo State Polytechnic and Mr. Olojede, former Registrar, Lagos State College of Primary Education, Noforija.

It was also Akesode’s special privilege to release Prof Segun Matanmi and Ambassador Esan on National assignments. Prof. O.O. Matanmi later served as the Senior Special Assistant to the erstwhile Minister for Solid Minerals, Mrs. Dupe Adelaja while Ambassador Esan served as the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs. During Akesode’s tenure, too, window of opportunities was also opened for junior administrative staff to embark on training and development through LASU’s several Part-Time Programmes where they also enjoyed academic rebate. A good number of Clerical Officers, Executive Officers and Higher Executive Officers are now proud holders of First Degrees of the Lagos State University.

Professor Akesode was a scholar who continually reproduced himself in his students and this fact is manifested in the number of Post-Graduate research work he supervised for the award of the Post-Graduate Fellowship of West African College of Physicians and National Post-Graduate Medical College, Ijanikin, Lagos State These include Dr. D. Esangbedo on “Thyroid Disorder in Children” (1987), Dr. A. Agbato on ‘Convulsion Metabolism and Rickets” (1992), Dr. O. Ogunfowora “Effect of Sickle Heamoglobinpathy on School Performance (1994), Dr. Iyabo Runsewe Abiodun “African Breadfruit preparation as Food Supplement in Children with Malnutrition” (1996) and a host of other. At different times between 1968 and 1976, Fatiu Ademola Akesode studied and taught Public Health and Paediatrics (with emphasis on Endocrinology) at the reputable John Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, United States of America. Between 1978 and 1980, Professor Akesode was a Visiting Consultant Paediatrician at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. 

As a foremost Paediatric Endocrinologists, Akesode joined Dr. Sunny Folorunso Kuku and others to establish the Endocrinology Study Group in Lagos in the 1980’s, an effort which resulted in several publications.

Verily, Akesode had tall dreams for LASU and worked very hard to attain them. A sound administrator, seasoned academic, a bridge builder and manager of men and resources, Akesode definitely achieved for the best for LASU and Lagos State. In fact, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the then Visitor to LASU and the Executive Governor of Lagos State monitored closely the activities of late Prof. F.A Akesode and he was quite impressed by his record of academic and infrastructural achievements. 

Certainly, Akesode’s life was characterized by dynamism, high sense of responsibility, hardwork and keen sense of mission. In life and in death he commanded the respect of the young and the old while he remained a truly medical professional with abiding commitment to paediatrics endocrinology. As an academic, he was a prolific, distinguished and unabashed defender of the academic community worldwide. Akesode was also a man of honour. He was an achiever of distinction, a man of probity and sincere believer in accountability. He was a man who did not allow glory and trappings of power to becloud his sense of social responsibility and commitment to people. He saw university administration as a sacred trust, an opportunity to serve and not to be served.

Indeed, the Prof. F.A. Akesode was not only a success in public life; his private life was also a resounding success. He was a good family man, a champion of family values, a devoted husband and lovely father of four lovely children; Faisal, Toyin, Abiola and Azeezat. Often times, he expressed his joys concerning his family. In one of these instances, he noted that his happiest moment was his marriage to the girl he met when Nigeria became independent in 1960. That lady was then Miss Risikat Titilayo Bakare, now a retired Lagos Permanent Secretary. Another was the birth of his first daughter, Modupe, in the United States while he was undergoing his postgraduate studies at the John Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland. 

In his university career, Akesode was a shining star who scored many firsts. He was the first alumnus of University of Lagos to emerge as a Vice-Chancellor in any Nigerian university since University of Lagos came to existence. He was also the first Chairman of the Association of Vice-Chancellors of State Universities in Nigeria. He was, in the same vein, the first Vice-Chancellor of LASU to successfully complete a four-year tenure with his dignity intact. Akesode also remains the only Vice-Chancellor in LASU who was visited by the Visitor within a year of his tenure but who came without any blemish or stain. Another first scored by Akesode is that he was the first Vice-Chancellor to die in office in LASU!

There is no doubt that the Akesode years at LASU, so far, have been the best for the university. Our consolation lies in the fact that Professor Akesode departed this world and LASU with his dignity enhanced. The man who was responsible for phenomenal infrastructural expansion of LASU, left without a property which he could call his own. 

Akesode was not a rich man, but he was rich in culture, rich in knowledge and rich in faith. Akesode left behind him an example of devotion to scholarship, an insatiable appetite for learning and an irresistible attachment to the principle of medical education. As a Vice-Chancellor at LASU, the late Fatiu Ademola Akesode was a devoted and most competent academic cum administrator of exemplary character. He was a self-effacing silent worker. He was also an internationally recognized scholar of correct etiquette, a reformer, a goal getter and a friend to all, who laboured hard to satisfy his critics more than his friends.

His life was gentle and the element so mixed in him that Nature might stand up And say to all the World “This was a man” (Shakespeare)

RELIGIOUS LIFE

Professor Fatiu Akesode was the first Muslim Vice-Chancellor of LASU. As a chief executive he openly identified with his faith as he had always been since his formative years. From his youth, he related well with muslims and sought to act nobly in this regard. He was a member of the Shooting Stars 42, an organization established by Professor Aliu Fafunwa as a catalyst for the promotion of the education of indigenous Lagos muslims. He was also ANSAR and strong member of Division 3 of the Ansar-ud-Deen Society of Nigeria, Lagos State Chapter. He was a prominent figure in the establishment of the Islamic Medical Association of Nigeria and was actually the President of the CMUL/LUTH Muslims Community between 1983 and 1987. Not minding his religious belief, Akesode remained a bridge builder across all faiths in the university environment and the society, and he was greatly loved by the overwhelming majority of staff.

And when Lagos State University was shut down by organized labour unions (under the auspices of JACON) in the early 2000, Professor Akesode knew quite well that LASU needed Divine Intervention and Divine Blessing. Sequel to this challenging crisis.

Akesode proceeded to Mecca on pilgrimage as a personal religious duty. By the time he returned from Hajj, the situation had calmed down appreciably. I asked him a direct question: “Sir, What personal prayer did you offer to Allah that was so efficacious to the extent LASU has now become abode of peace? Professor Akesode curtly replied: At Medina and at Arafat, the constant prayer on my lips was the dua – “Idina Sirantali Mustakin”. In fact, a seasonef journalist, Seidi Muleiro, captured Fatiu Akesode’s approach to prayer in these words: “Tertiary Problems, Tertiary Prayers”.

UNFULFILLED DREAMS

Till the very end of his life, Akesode continued to dream dreams and to see visions, particularly dreams on how to take LASU to greater heights. He had, in fact, a prepared a blueprint for the establishment of a number of academic programmes in the year 2001 and beyond. Indeed, a number of Senate Ad-Hoc Committees set up by him had submitted position papers for the establishment of a Faculty of Agriculture and Agricultural Engineering, Faculty of Marine and Aeronautic Engineering, Department of Building and Civil Engineering all at the Epe Campus of the University. Again, he  also had in his custody position papers on the establishment of Agro-Industrial Park, an Entrepreneurial Village and LASU Business School at Sangotedo Village along Lekki- Epe Expressway. Tall dreams, short span of life. Death aborted this aspiration.

Another unfulfilled dream of late Professor Akesode was his inability to resolve the problem of encroachment on LASU land by illegal land speculators, especially around Agboroko and Iba Villages. As at 4th January 1998, the number of illegal structures on LASU Land stood at 3,920, in spite of the fact that LASU has a valid Certificate of Occupancy covering its property. Akesode appealed to both Marwa’s and Tinubu’s administrations. At the time of Akesode`s death in 2001, the number of illegal structures had increased to N4, 540. Today, encroachment on LASU`s land still persists in spite of Management`s and Government`s interventions.

A LEGACY OF SERVICE AND HONOUR

During his six decades sojourn on earth, Prof. Fatiu Ademola Akesode touched the lives of many people in many practical ways as he was always already willing and ready to lend a helping hand to anybody in need. He was a kind, gentle and amiable gentleman who found it very difficult to offend people. He left behind him a legacy of honour, love, sincerity and enduring service to his fatherland. To serving others, Akesode gave his life; to medical education, a total commitment and devotion; to the family; a fatherly stature and excellent moral education. 

In recognition of his services and achievements, Fatiu Ademola Akesode received honours from different quarters in the society. The people of Ogun State honoured him with the titles of Baasegun of Okun-Owa and Baagbomola of Oke Lamuren. In 2000, he was honoured by the immediate past Oba of Lagos, Oba Adeyinka Akinola Oyekan II, with the title Aare Baasegun of Lagos, (President of all Medical Doctors in Lagos).

Indeed, the broad consensus of scholars is that Akesode was a brilliant academic, an accomplished public health physician, a compassionate paediatrician and an outstanding Vice-Chancellor. At the time of his death, Akesode was perhaps the foremost Paediatric Endocrinologist in West Africa. Akesode was faithful and steadfast in the pursuit of the greatest glory of LASU. He addressed the problems of LASU with surgical precision. There is no gain saying that he was an astute and outstanding administrator who devoted all his time and life to making LASU one of the best Universities in the land. It is soothing to note, however, that the quality of service he rendered is now being appreciated at least by the naming of Lagos State University Library after him. In life and in death, we should hold Akesode up as a worthy example to all who found themselves in public office in Nigeria. He served LASU with diligence and total commitment

 

At a personal level, I conclude this piece with these verse from an anonymous author:

“Let us now praise famous men, And our fathers that begat us, The Lord hath power from the beginning Such as did bear rule in their Kingdom; Men renowned by their power, ‘ Giving counsel by their understanding, And declaring prophecies, Leaders of the people by their counsels, And by their knowledge of learning meet for the people, Wise and eloquent in their instructions.”

However, the best epitaph for the late Prof. Fatiu Ademola Akesode has been provided by Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the erstwhile Visitor to the Lagos State University and former Executive Governor of Lagos State: 

“It is particularly disheartening that the demise of the fine gentleman occurred just as he was settling down to a second term as vice-chancellor that would unquestionably have been as successful as his first term… Even though he is no more with us physically, the imprints of this outstanding intellectual and administrator in the educational development of Lagos State will forever remain indelible. It is all too obvious that he elevated LASU to a much higher pedestal than he met the institution. Under his wise guidance, the university made rapid progress on all fronts. Not only did his reputation soar as a centre of academic excellence but the peace that obtained during his tenure was unprecedented in the history of LASU… I can personally testify to the persistence and unrelenting doggedness with which Prof. Akesode pursued the interest of LASU.

He utilised every opportunity and avenue possible to draw the attention of government to the numerous needs of the institution and the need to urgently meet them in the interest of Lagos State. Let me say that 1 was always encouraged by the patriotic leadership demonstrated by Prof. Akesode to do whatsoever was in my power to foster the growth and development of LASU. There is also no doubt that his dynamic leadership was a key contributory factor to the willingness of individuals and groups within and outside Nigeria to invest in LASU. I am aware that despite his heavy administrative burden as vice-chancellor, Prof. Akesode remained a committed academic who would not be counted among those, who all too readily prostituting their intellectual integrity on the contaminating altar of material acquisition, contributed a great deal to dragging our nation downhill.

On behalf of the government and the people of Lagos State, I extend my heartfelt condolence to the family of the late Professor Akesode. It is my prayer that the Almighty Allah will grant his loved ones the fortitude to bear this great loss. However, they should be grateful to the Almighty that Professor Akesode has left behind a good and honourable name of immeasurable value. He has bequeathed to us an incomparable record of patriotic and dedicated service that shall continue to inspire future generations. And for us all, his life offers an enduring lesson. Between the point of our birth and that of our death, we have the opportunity, through our actions and in-actions, to determine what history will record of us for posterity. May Prof. Fatiu Akesode’s noble soul rest in perfect.”

Prof. Siyan Oyeweso FHSN

March 30, 2020

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