By Oluwakemi Oladipo
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, on Tuesday extolled the national and international academic virtues of Prof. Peter Okebukola as a former Executive Secretary, National University Commission (NUC).
Obasanjo spoke virtually at a valedictory lecture and book presentation organised by the Lagos State University (LASU), Ojo, in honour of Okebukola, who would be retiring in February, 2021.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Okebukola is the first Professor of Science Education at the university.
The former president described Okebukola as “a Pan-Africanist and Globalist” who understood foreign affairs, saying that Okebukola has a lot to achieve because of his ideas.
“Okebukola became the Executive Secretary of NUC when I was the president, and his performance was absolutely distinct and distinguished.
“I wanted him to have a second term, he did not agree to it, though his performance worth it for us to give him a third term.
“From then, we started working together. I later found out the religious part of him, no wonder, this man is what he is today.
“I call him a foreman, because he will do four people’s jobs at the same time, and do it very well, all by himself,” Obasanjo said.
In his remarks, the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, who also spoke virtually, described Okebukola as “a true professional”.
According to him, he has really helped in repositioning the nation’s education system, and around the world.
The minister said that Okebukola is “a thorough-bred academic” who was committed to whatever assignment he was given.
“All the accolades given to him are in order. He has been most helpful to education in Nigeria and the world.
“It is fit to say I am a student of Okebukola; since I became minister, all our achievements and credit given to our office should all go to Okebukola.
“We have leveraged on his wisdom and guidance, and he never accepted any stipend from us.
“I want to tell his students, colleagues and teachers that he is the most hardworking man I have seen,” Adamu said.
Also, Prof. Rahman Yusuf, the NUC Deputy Executive Secretary (Academic), said that in terms of quality assurance, the commission was privileged to have had Okebukola as its head.
Yusuf, who represented Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, Executive Secretary of NUC, said that most of the commission’s achievements would be attributed to Okebukola.
“He is a shining start in terms of global education; when he left the NUC in 2006, he left a huge shoe, and till date, we are yet to fill it,” he said.
In his opening remarks, Prof. Olanrewaju Fagbohun, Vice-Chancellor of LASU, described Okebukola as a leader who had been actively engaged in creating other leaders directly and indirectly through his engagements.
Fagbohun said that Okebukola as the university’s first distinguished professor, had taught others how to learn and not what to learn.
“When he bows out in February 2021, it will be the end of an era in our university,” he said.