The Man Eddy Omolehinwa as I know him

Santos Femi Owootori Esq.

I knew him first as my exceptionally humorous Cost Accounting Lecturer in Unilag in 1979, then at d usual Student/Lecturer level/social distance. Then we got officially close when I became the Student's Union Financial Secretary in 1980/81 ULSU Exco (University of Lagos Students' Union Exco). He was, as provided for under the ULSU Constitution/University Regulation, the University-appointed Treasurer of the Students' Union, more or less like the Supervising Auditor. A position then constitutionally and by regulation reserved for a lecturer appointed by the VC from the Business faculty to superintend the finances of ULSU. (ULSU used to be part-funded by the University/Govt).

This relationship, of necessity required us to interact as Boss/subordinate, and I oftentimes had to go to his house in Bariga then to sign vouchers/cheques. Thus becoming familiar with his family and I savoured the hospitality of Mama Femi, his amiable late wife, first hand. Notably in his characteristic way, my interactions with prof were always laced with uncommon humorous jabs from him while piloting me on best practices in management of public funds. I never really knew that he had the time or took such keen interest in following Students' Union activities until he acknowledged my commencement of my  monthly publication of Students' Union's Income and Expenditure Accounts on campus in fulfillment of my campaign manifesto for the office of ULSU Financial Secretary. (First of it's kind then in the annals of ULSU leadership history). That acknowledgment was the elixir that fired my resolved commitment to that practice throughout my tenure as there were no observable feedbacks from the student populace the direct audience of the publication, to demonstrate their critical interest in the contents of the publications. Well, some say it's tacit approval of the contents of the publication among the generality of the students. It was not until the very end of my tenure that I realised how much Prof had taken more than a passing interest in my person and my general performance in office. He gave me an unprecedented letter of commendation which he copied to the Vice Chancellor, wherein he concluded in his remarks, among others, that; 'if subsequent Students' Union Financial Secretaries could demonstrate my level of probity and accountability, there would be no need for a lecturer to be appointed as Treasurer of the Students Union in future'.

By the time I handed over the affairs of the Students' Union to the new executive led by the one and only Panaf Olajide Olakanmi, I had gotten so used to Prof and his family that I kept the relationship and sustained the visits both at office and at home sometimes during vacations. At the end he had strengthened my socialist ideas and recruited me into his army of 'For The Masses'.

Even after I left Unilag, and was working in and outside Lagos, I kept in very close touch. At every visit, he will ask me, 'are you ready for your Masters now, or you have not yet finished making all the money for the masses?' He never gave me the option of deciding whether I wanted to do Masters or not. As far as he was concerned, I must do my Masters. When he came back from Manchester after his PhD, his first question to me was; *'have you done your masters now?'* Then I knew this man won't just leave me alone despite knowing I'm 'in Town' not 'in Gown', so I decided to give him double at a time he seemed to have given up on the idea, with an MBA from Uniben and an MSc from Unilag.

In no small way has he influenced and shaped my perceptions about life, selfless service and transparency. He taught me how one can relate with persons of different classes in the social structure, the high and the mighty on one hand and the peasant and the lowly on the other hand; the big Boss on one hand and the Messenger/Labourer on the other, without making the one feel like a god or the other feel less human. He was first my lecturer, then Boss, but the way he related with me taught me how to relate with people far below me in social status. He mentored me without exactly telling me so, just like he did to many others. He is genuinely interested in the progress of anybody that passes through him. He would encourage you from the beginning not to limit yourself by the standard of his time but as younger generation of scholars of the new age, to aspire beyond the standard of his time and age. One thing I admire most in Prof is that he is forever constant on the ideals/principles for which he has been known for ages. 

I'm therefore privileged to declare myself an undisputed Alumnus of The Eddy Omolehinwa School of Mentorship for The Struggle for The Emancipation of The Redeemable Masses It's with Jesus joy that I congratulate Prof on the attainment of this milestone of 70 years of age/retirement from the University of Lagos. Let me however add that there is no retiring from the struggle sir. The struggle continues ad infinitum. Eddy for the Redeemable Masses!

CONGTATULATIONS SIR!!!                                

Santos Femi Owootori Esq.