Professor Oyewusi Ibidapo-Obe, a former Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos, was honoured in memory last weekend as Zenith Bank Plc named the iconic building housing its Unilag branch and the University of Lagos Alumni in his honour.
The Group Managing Director/CEO of Zenith Bank Plc and Chairman of the Body of Banks’ CEOs in Nigeria, Mr Ebenezer Onyeagwu, praised the founder and Chairman of the bank, Jim Ovia, for being physically present at the commissioning of the building to honour the memory of his late friend, Prof. Oyewusi Ibidapo-Obe, who served on the board of Zenith Bank as a Non-Executive Director, and for his passion for youth education and digital learning. In 2001, the bank donated the first ICT centre to the University of Lagos and has currently established over 15 ICT centres in various tertiary institutions across the country.
There are several other support by the bank to the university, including the institution of Academic Excellence Awards in 2001, where the best graduating students from selected departments; Banking & Finance, Business Administration, Economics and Accounting, receive awards with financial rewards (currently NGN500,000) and employment opportunity, and the donation of 3,500 tablets to enable indigent students of the university to learn online effectively in 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State noted the remarkable contributions of Zenith Bank and, in particular, Jim Ovia, to the development of Nigeria.
The National President of the Unilag Alumni Association, Dr John Momoh, thanked Jim Ovia as well as the management of the bank for the magnificent building and Mrs Sola Ibidapo-Obe for accepting the association’s request to name the building after her husband as a lasting legacy in his honour. Mrs Ibidapo-Obe stated “You are my husband’s friend. Dr Jim Ovia has demonstrated the love that does not die in his friendship with my beloved husband. When he fell ill, Dr Jim Ovia was there from day one till the last moment. I could feel the way he felt. From then, I knew that he was a genuine friend. He tried his best to ensure my husband survived, but he did not”. She thanked Jim Ovia for immortalizing her husband with such a magnificent edifice.
In her remarks, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Prof. Folasade Ogunsola, acknowledged the invaluable contributions of Zenith Bank to the development of the school, promising to work with the Alumni association to ensure that the facility served not only the Alumni but also the entire students populace.