Kole Omotosho : Our literary giant moves on
I received with some sadness but with thanks to God, the news of the transition of Professor Bankole Ajibabi Omotosho. Sadness because our nation has lost one of its finest who was always expectant that one day our nation would fulfill its potential to serve as a beacon of hope for the black race.
For me, his departure will remain a reminder of unfulfilled dreams that we shared and my oft postponed plan to visit and share time with him in South Africa, his abode in the latter part of his life.
However, we thank God for the life he lived and the legacy he has bequeathed to Ondo State, his state of birth, Nigeria, his country, South Africa, and the world upon which he unleashed his literary genius for most of the 80 eventful years of his life.
Apart from the honour and attention he brought home to Ondo State as one of her most mentally prodigious and intellectually versatile sons, Professor Omotosho was to us great company in dreaming positive dreams for our state and actualising remarkable ideas for her development.
It will be recalled that Professor Omotosho delivered our second inauguration anniversary lecture in Akure in February 2011. In that lecture titled “Liberation from Perdition: What option for a Nigerian Politician, Service at National Level or Service at State Level?”, he opined that politicians must aspire for power not for the sake of making up the numbers but with clarity as to the reason for aspiring for political office for the good of the greater majority, a position that sits well with our politics ‘for the greatest good of the greatest number’ mantra.
He thereafter, decided to relocate to Ondo State to input his own intellectual contribution to our effort.
Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko was his chosen canvas and he did a lot to grow the Department of Theatre Arts amongst other profound contributions.
For example, while we were constructing the iconic International Event Centre, the Dome, in the State capital, Professor Omotosho would drop by and make elaborate suggestions on how the centre could be leveraged to make playwrights, writers, actors and arts enthusiasts of our young citizens.
He not only helped plan some plays, but directed at least one in the life of our administration apart from a book project that he had all but finished on our modest achievements before he took ill. He was always available with suggestions, critical evaluation of our ideas and projects and was regularly reminding us of the dangers and possibilities ahead of our country.
I join in celebrating the passage of this great son of Africa, the man who indeed rose before dawn and whose sun set rightly at dusk, for indeed he lived long enough to leave bold imprints that have been copied by many generations younger than him. He mentored many who have in themselves become mentors to others.
He taught many more who have grown to be erudite intellectuals in their own rights and fathered a few who have taken their own spaces and places among the best. Such is the length and depth of the life of Professor Omotosho and we shall for a long time remember him and cherish his memories.
I pray for the repose of his soul, and fortitude for the family to carry on his legacies and dreams.
Dr. Olusegun Mimiko
Governor of Ondo state
2009 – 2017