•Gists From The Class Birthday Service/Party
On Saturday, 30th July 2022, members of the Ogunye family celebrated Chief (Prof.) Ayodele Francis Ogunye. The Baba Ijo of St. Luke’s Anglican Church, Japara celebrated his 80th birthday in Ijebu-Igbo. A graduate of Imperial College, London, Prof. Ogunye became the first Professor of Chemical Engineering, at the University of Lagos, at the age of 36. The celebration of Prof. Ogunye at 80 was electrifying, to say the least. It proves the saying that big occasions are meant for big people. It was really a talk-of-the-town celebration.
City People’s reporter, TITILOPE OSHUNLALU and Photo Journalist, FEMI ADELEKE attended the birthday service and the reception party.
Below is a blow-by-blow account of the celebration!
PROF. AYODELE FRANCIS OGUNYE UNVEILED!
Prof. Ogunye was born to Mr Rowaiye Ogunye and Mrs Janet Adebowale Ogunye (daughter of Papa Gabriel Ogunade, one of the first 16 Christian converts in Japara in 1906). He was born on the 31st July 1942 in Ijebu-Igbo. He attended St. Luke’s Anglican Primary School, Japara, Ijebu-Igbo from 1947 and completed his senior primary school at St. Matthew’s Primary School, Ojowo, Ijebu-Igbo in 1955 after which he was admitted into the Molusi College, Ijebu-Igbo in 1956. He then proceeded to the Government College, Ibadan for his Higher School Certificate in 1961 on Ijebu-Igbo Local Government Scholarship.
Prof. Ogunye later graduated from the Imperial College, London.
He did his post-graduate studies up to PhD at the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. He became the first Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Lagos at the age of 36.
He retired after 17 years as a Professor in September 1995. On his retirement, he endowed the department, which he started in 1973 with a Chair of Chemical Engineering, Professor Ayo Ogunye Trust Fund University of Lagos (PAFOTFUL). The endowment has awarded 68 scholarships and prizes in Chemical Engineering and Dentistry since the BOT was inaugurated in 2008. For the first time in 2015, the endowment awarded an N1,000,000.00 research grant to a young researcher in Chemical Engineering.
The research grant is currently N1,500,000.00. He also founded the Ojule Educational Foundation in honour of his grandfather in Ijebu-Igbo. The foundation gives out University and Secondary School Fellowships every year.
Before the death of the Secretary, 10 tertiary and 15 Secondary School Scholarships were awarded.
After his death, the scholarship scheme became Adhoc and restricted to only Ojule descendants who gain admission into Universities/Polytechnics/Colleges of Education. Prof. Ogunye is a Chartered Engineer of the United Kingdom and COREN Registered Engineer in Nigeria. He was elected fellow of the British Institution of Chemical Engineers in 1978 as the second Nigerian to be so elected to that professional membership grade. Prof. Ogunye has been honoured severally by his Almaters and Ogun and the Ondo States.
On two occasions, the Ogun State Government appointed him the Chairman of the Polytechnic, Ijebu-Igbo and Inaugural Council Member of MAPOLY. During these appointments, he never drew a kobo as allowance. As a non-indigene of Ondo State, he was appointed to The Council of Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba, Ondo State between 1999 and 2003. A Christian and member of the Anglican Communion, Prof. Ogunye is the present Baba Ijo of St. Luke’s Anglican Church, Japara, Ijebu-Igbo. It is also on record that he donated his gratuity and pension entitlement earned since 1995 till date and it is being managed through the Pro. Ayo Francis Ogunye Trust Fund University of Lagos (PAFOTFUL) for the advancement of Chemical Engineering research in Nigeria. Prof. Ogunye is happily married and the marriage is blessed with very resourceful sons, daughters, and grandchildren.
AT THE BIRTHDAY THANKSGIVING
The birthday service in honour of Prof. Ogunye was held at the auditorium of St. Luke’s Anglican Church, Japara, Ijebu-Igbo. The service ran for 2 hours and the auditorium was filled with family members, associates, members of the church, politicians, and dignitaries. The service was conducted by Rt. Rev. (Dr.) Solomon Gbetogo Kuponu, the Bishop of Ijebu-North Anglican Diocese while other reputable St. Luke’s Anglican Church clerics took charge of different segments of the service.
During the service, the congregation was informed about the establishment of a new foundation in honour of the celebrant.
It is a foundation set up to help the less privileged and the needy.
Speaking at the church service, Rev. Solomon Gbetogo titled his sermon Growing Old. He took his text from Psalms 71 verses 6-7 (the Psalms of an old man). He mentioned the love the celebrant has for God and his people. And that he was proud of him for bringing people to celebrate with him in his Ijebu-Igbo home town. He implored everyone present to trust God and concentrate on getting to know God. He said we should exhibit the attitude of praise even when it is not convenient. He also noted that the celebrant has really shown love to God and the church as his retirement money is being given to the church and he has never stopped giving. He then prayed for the celebrant and wished him long life on earth.
OGD’S REMARK AS A FORMER STUDENT OF PROF. OGUNYE
Former Ogun State Governor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel (OGD) was at the birthday celebration. When he took the floor to speak, he commended the celebrant and said without him, some of them would not be where they are today. He was one of Prof. Ogunye’s students in UNILAG. He said he could never forget when the Prof. came to the faculty and established the Department of Chemical Engineering in 1973.
And that some of them who were young then were making jest and asked what Chemical Engineering is when they were talking of Mechanical and Civil Engineering. Due to the hardwork of the celebrant, he said the Chemical Engineering Department became one of the very best in the university.
And that he is happy with the type of man the celebrant is. He wished him more years on earth.
AT THE RECEPTION PARTY
The Omo-Ilu Foundation Complex, Odorasanyin, Ijebu-Igbo was the venue of the reception party. The event centre is very popular in Ijebu-Igbo. It is located along the popular road of Odorasanyin.
The party had DG Music Band on stage. The music band welcomed guests with tunes from their saxophonist right from the entrance of the hall. The hall was filled to capacity as dignitaries and guests of the celebrant and his children, many of whom came from far places to be part of the epoch-making ceremony. They were thrilled by the classy reception they got. Prof. Ogunye is a man of all people. The reception party started around 2:15 pm with an opening prayer by Pastor Dotun Ojelabi.
The celebrant was later ushered into the hall. He was accompanied by his wife and children to the high table. The hall was decorated in white and green colours and balloons.
GIFTS GALORE FOR THE CELEBRANT
The Molusi College Old Students Association (MOCOSA) presented the celebrant with a book of tributes, songs, anthems, and gifts. His students in UNILAG and other institutions also presented him with gifts. Moments later, the birthday cake was cut, after which a photo session was held. The celebrant took photographs with his wife, children, grandchildren, family members, church members, etc.
ROLL CALL OF GUESTS
Former Ogun State Governor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, Representative of Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun (in the person of Mr Tokunbo Talabi), Oba Adekoya, Oba Adesesan Oguntayo of Ijebu-Ife, Oba Quadri, Oba Lawrence, Oba (Dr.) Adeboye Alatise-Ososa, Dr Muftau Adesanya Yusuf, Abayomi Banjo, Amos Awobayo, Ibitoye, Archbishop from Lagos, Bayou from UNILORIN, Rev. (Dr.) Oludipe, Bishop of Ijebu, Rev. Dr. Adetubo.