Yemi Osinbajo And Others, Pay Tribute To Late Prof. Osotimehin

By Ola Ajayi

Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, former President Olusegun Obasanjo and industrialist, Dr Oba Otudeko were among other eminent Nigerians who paid their last respect to a former Minister of Health, Prof. Babatunde Osotimehin whose remains were interred in Ibadan yesterday. Late Oshotimehin an ex-Executive Director, United Nations Population Funds  (UNFPA) died on June 4, 2017.

Also in attendance at the burial service which held at the All Souls’ Church, Bodija, Ibadan included Deputy Secretary General, UN, Aminat Ibrahim; Executive Director, United Nations, Dr. Nazikna  Kauem; Executive Secretary, Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka; Governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, Deputy Governor of Ogun State, Chief (Mrs.) Yetunde Onanuga, Secretary to Osun State Government, Alhaji Moshood Adeoti,  who represented Governor Rauf Aregbesola;  Vice Chancellor, University of Ibadan, Prof Idowu Olayinka; Chief Medical Director, University College Hospital, Ibadan, Prof Temitope Alonge and several others.

In his tribute, Former President, Chief Obasanjo,  said: “Indeed, the finality of Professor Osotimehin’s passage is painful, especially as he would still have a lot to contribute to his family, his community, the nation, Africa and indeed the entire world, but we can draw solace from the fact that he lived a life of service to humankind and to his fatherland.

“No doubt, Prof Osotimehin has left an indelible mark in his national and international assignments. His manners and conduct displayed while alive will continue to linger in our memory and serve as a source of inspiration.”

The Acting President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, who was represented by Prof Isaac Adewole said:  “Prof Osotimehin was a family man, an academician per excellence, a global researcher. A seasoned administrator, and advocate, a diplomat, a mentor and a grand-political master.


I interacted with Big-Boss for more than 30 years of personal, official, academic and political levels. He was known to be a team player, liberal, visionary and socially sensitive during his time.” The Secretary General of the United Nations (UN), Anthonio Guterres, said in his tribute that,  “the world has lost a great champion of health and wellbeing for all.

Dr. Babatunde was admired globally for his leadership of the UN Population Fund and for his forceful advocacy for the world’s women and girls in particular.” “Dr. Babatunde’s calm yet ardent efforts helped families get the sexual and reproductive health services they need, and helped the world advance the landmark 1994 Cairo Programme of Action on Population and Development.”

“His voice was invaluable over the years, including his time as Nigeria’s Minister of Health, in pressing for family planning, women’s education, children’s health and action on HIV/AIDS as vital ingredients in human progress”, he said.

In his own words, Dr Otudeko said, “To those of us who had known him long enough, it was not a surprise that Bob’s life’s journey will rightly culminate into global prominence, with his appointment as the fourth. Executive Director (and Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations) of the UNFPA, a position he held until his death.”

Widow of the deceased, Mrs Olufunke Osotimehin, who recalled how she met her husband said, “Till now, your passing seems like a bad dream from which I still hope to awake. You won my heart over 40 years ago, and now my heart is broken because you are gone.

This is hard, Tunde. Sweet memories of our lives together continually flood my mind. “I remember how in the 1990s you often brought Suya (roast beef) home and you, the children and I would sit round the plate and gobble it up. You always said such moments were precious and invaluable. Indeed they were! You were handsome, a very tasteful dresser with good carriage and imposing presence.”

During his sermon, the Dean of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) Rt. Rev. G.L. Lasebikan charged the congregation to know that there’s nothing everlasting in the world. He described the late medical expert as a man who lived a life worthy of emulation by his simplicity and less emphasis on the worldly things, stressing that no amount of wealth could prevent one’s death when the time comes and asked people not to sit tight on their possessions.

The late medical expert was an old boy of Igbobi College, the late health diplomat was admitted to the University of Ibadan in 1968 to read Medicine and he qualified as a Medical Doctor in 1972 after which he proceeded to the United Kingdom in 1974 on the Commonwealth Scholarship for postgraduate studies at the University of Birmingham.


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