Tribute to Grand Pa School – Professor Eddy Omolehinwa

Olatunde and Yewande Otusanya and Family

Having served the University for 44 years, I was opportune to have worked with Professor Eddy O. Omolehinwa for twenty-five and half (251/2) years as a fresh graduate, student, young academics and academic son. The 44 years had been a long journey full of ups and down but fruitful, impactful and to the glory of God full of success story. It will be very difficult to elucidate in a short tribute what Professor Omolehinwa represents in my life. It is a rear privilege to have such a wonderful mentor and father. It therefore, gives me a great pleasure to illustrates what ‘for the masses’ represents to us as he marks his 70th Birthday and Retirement from the service of the University of Lagos. ‘For the Masses’ – a title conferred on him by the redeemable masses has become a household name in and around the University of Lagos and beyond.

I started off my career as a young graduate during my service year and I worked directly with him as graduate assistant (GA) in the Department of Accounting, University of Lagos. During this period, Prof. demonstrated high level of academic leadership second to none. He was committed to high standards and contributed tremendously to uplifting the name of the Department, the quality of accounting education, development of the Faculty of Management Sciences and his contribution nationally cannot be overemphasized. Indeed, lecturers and professors have come and gone and have been loved and despised, but none has had a greater impact than Professor Omolehinwa. Certainly, all of us have had mentors who evoked strong emotions in us and motivated us to be the best we can be in life, he is one of such great mentors.

Professor Omolehimwa is a very accommodating person and magnificent personality that live his life with the fear of God and extreme sincerity which point to a good testimony of his uncountable stewardship that we all share. Some of the values which Professor Omolehinwa is known for include:

Hardwork: He keeps to time in the delivery of his lecture, meetings, appointments and submission of examination results which no one has been able to outshine. These traits demonstrate his passion and love for academic excellence which illustrates ‘the academic culture’ he nurtured for the past 44 years. No wonder, in addition to his numerous academic papers, he has five (5) academic books to his credit in advancing accounting scholarship, budgeting systems and on national discourse. That is, he could be branded as a ‘perfectionist’ and super hero.  

Doggedness in fighting for the right: We observed over the years that Professor Omolehinwa was a dogged fighter for whatever he is convince to be right. He demonstrated this as student, student union leader, secretary to ASUU, Head of Department, Dean of Faculty, in the various committees he had served, University Senate and lately as member of University Council. His personality has not been associated with suppression, dominance and lack of integrity. He believes in academic freedom accompanied with responsibility, accountability and forthrightness (honesty), and dislike inequality and disrespect for rule of law.    

Meritocracy: Professor Omolehinwa believes excellent performance and a firm advocate of meritocracy in our system both locally and nationally. He has demonstrated this personal commitment to this enviable viewpoint. He acknowledges outstanding performance every academic semester by awarding special grants to the turn of ₦10,000 to the top 5 to top 10 students in his courses and sometimes donation of his academic books for free at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. He does not believe in any short cut to academic accomplishment. This quality is not left out in staff recruitment and promotions. His mentorship style is such that placed premium on the quality of our work and research such that it complies with extant University requirements.     

Accountability: As Accounting Professor, his wash word is accountability – ability to give account at all times. His high commitment to this tenet of accounting profession has been exhibited from when he was a student union executive to the present. He has not left any stain in his 44 years’ record of service to the University and the society at large. As accountant will say, he has ‘unqualified audit report’ This is an enviable quality that is worth emulating by all of us and by incoming scholars.  

Transparency: Professor Omolehinwa’s ideology is always associated with the word ‘transparency’. Always wanting things to be brought to the open.  He does not want things to be done in secret or shredded in the dark. To him this creates trust between staff, helps improve morale and lower academic and other related stress while it contributes to staff engagement and academic performance. According to him, being transparent costs nothing, which gives it an exceptional rewards and recognition.

Integrity: He will never compromise on the quality and standards of examinations. He is generous in rewarding excellence but tightfisted in rewarding laidback. His record is clean when it comes to religious adherence to university extant regulations relating to staff conduct, maintaining the university standards and sanctity of the degrees awarded by the university. He is always preaching obedience to this academic values which many of us imbibe in our academic career - ability to maintain good integrity and capacity to withstand the storm of unethical practices. This therefore interprets to mean ‘good name is better than gold and silver’. Professor Omolehinwa is a man of unquestionable character and integrity.  

Compassion: Professor Omolehinwa is a very compassionate and deep hearted man. He exhibits this in several ways and dimensions. He always shares in peoples distress and ready to assist. He was never bossy when it comes to sharing tasks and rewards. He is very generous when it comes to offering financial support.

Sincere love and friendliness: Professor Eddy motivated and supported me right from my early days in the university. Professor Omolehinwa is an epitome of warmth, his concern and encouragement to others has made him exceptional amongst all equal. He has proved this to us and his students both in his professional and personal lives and helped people through difficult times and we have all grown as a result of his influence and support in our life’s. He is sociable and do not discriminate on event to attend.

Human capacity building: Professor Eddy Omolehinwa ́s contribution to academia is clearly evidenced by several students he has impacted knowledge, who are today in their various fields and have excelled to the pinnacle of their career, in government and private sectors - as governors, public administrators and industry giants. He has also nurture and graduated several Ph. D. holders who were today professors of accounting. These are attestation to his charisma, professional accomplishment apart from several intellectual books written by him, all these indicate his worth, virtue and effectiveness to UNILAG, Nigeria and indeed the world at large.  

He has equally demonstrated leadership as an astute administrator, erudite scholar and a great mentor by providing the platform, enduring and sustainable ladder for all of us to climb. He is a man of boundless wisdom who does not believes in injustice, laziness, lack of integrity and unethical practices. He will always be in your support when these values are not compromised.

Sir, you are a wonderful boss and even greater person. Thank you for your kindness, life lessons, integrity and honesty over the years. I appreciate everything you have done for me directly and for all the members of our department.

I and my wife call you ‘Baba’ and our children call you ‘Grand Pa School’ because that’s exactly who you are to us. You are not just a teacher, a mentor, a boss and a benefactor, you are a real blessing to humanity. My father died 25 years ago just after my graduation and since then you have been playing that role unknowingly. You took me as your son and you never relent in that capacity. Most importantly you took me to my in-laws to secure their acceptant to my marriage proposal to their daughter who eventually became your daughter too. I cannot count the huge support you have offered to me and my family.  I owed you a big gratitude for all the intellectual, academic advancement and financial stability I recorded through your mentorship and parental care.

‘To say you will be missed seems like such an understatement. You are one of those rare people who instantly became our father instead of "just" a coworker. There are no words to truly reflect how much I would be missing working with you’.

Today, I laude a hero, I extol a legend and I hail an extra ordinary, erudite, charismatic and giant scholar.

Congratulation sir. I hope you will have a great time in retirement. We are going to miss you, but we will never forget you. You have done so much for all of us. And I wish you nothing but the very best for this new stage in your life. Best wishes for a happy retirement. Thank you for everything you have done for me over the years. I appreciate it very much from the bottom of my heart, and I shall miss working with you.

‘I just wanted to say that your ideas were inspiring and motivating. And you really taught me valuable lessons in life and I want to thank you for that. I cannot imagine our department without you. I hope retirement will be even better then you imagined’.

This short narrative will not be complete without acknowledging the role played by Minister of Home Affairs, our late Mummy Mrs. Olufemi Omolabake Omolehinwa – nee Lijofi in nurturing our friendship and the devoted motherly role she exhibited while alive. She is a grate mother full of care, love, generosity and pillar of support not only to your family but to all that have crossed her part. She is ever caring, accommodating and hospitable. We miss her regular calls, care and gift. We pray for the repose of her soul and ask the good Lord to grant her a place with the saints and to continue to rest well at the bosom of the Lord till we meet again in Heavenly Jerusalem.  We also pray that God will continue to console, strengthen and grant the entire family the fortitude to bear this unforgettable and irreparable loss.

We wish you sir, Happy Birthday and a Fabulous Retirement. You will never be tired and God will bless your new age. The years to come shall bring you joy, love and peace. His grace shall be sufficient for you and your household. He will keep and uphold you now and through the new year. We wish you long life full of joy, happiness, enduring kindness and mercies of God. As you age may your strength and wisdom be continually renewed. You will live to see your children-children, IJMN.

It is our prays that as you add another year, God will further teach you to number your days for his glorious works and that you will gain a heart of wisdom on this your special occasion. Wishing you a retirement filled with God’s joy and good health in mind and body.

All the best to you and your family. Congratulation and have fun with your retirement.

Happy Birthday to our lovely and wonderful father and mentor. 

Olatunde and Yewande Otusanya and Family.