The memory of Prof Oyewusi Ibidapo-Obe, a former vice chancellor of the University of Lagos, came alive last Friday as Zenith Bank Plc. named the iconic building housing its Unilag branch and the University of Lagos (UNILAG) Alumni in his honour.
In his opening remarks at the commissioning ceremony, the Group Managing Director/CEO of Zenith Bank Plc. and Chairman of the Body of Banks’ CEOs in Nigeria, Mr Ebenezer Onyeagwu, lauded the Founder and Chairman of the bank, Jim Ovia (CFR) 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.
He noted the remarkable and continued commitment of Jim Ovia to education and youth development in Nigeria, especially through the setting up of James Hope College, a coeducational institution which offers a combination of British and Nigerian curricula, and the James Hope University, which is billed to commence academic activities next year.
He also extolled his philanthropy through the setting up of the Jim Ovia Foundation and Mankind United in Total Support for Education Initiative, which has awarded scholarships and produced over 1500 graduates from among indigent people who would not have had the benefit of having a university education.
Onyeagwu also recalled how the bank’s partnership with the University of Lagos began in 2001 with the donation of the first ICT centre, when the Founder and Chairman was the Group Managing Director/ CEO of the bank.
According to him: “Today, Zenith Bank has built not less than 15 ICT centres in various tertiary institutions and cities all over the country. And I just want to say that no single institution or individual has been able to accomplish what we have done in that respect.”
Speaking at the commissioning of the building, Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel, noted the huge contributions of Zenith Bank and, in particular, Jim Ovia, a man he described as a father to the development of Nigeria.
In his address, the National President of UNILAG Alumni Association, Dr. John Momoh, thanked 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.
In her remarks, the Vice Chancellor of the university, 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 serves not only the Alumni but also the entire students’ populace.