Former VC, other Osun indigenes, mourn renowned agricultural scientist

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By Abigael Joshua

A former Vice Chancellor, Al-Hikmah University, Ilorin, Prof. Razaq Abubakre has joined other Osun prominent indigenes in mourning fellow indigene, Dr Oluremi Atanda (OFR), agricultural scientist and first PhD holder in Iwoland.

In a statement issued in Abuja, Abubakre said the deceased was a multi-talented scholar and a true lover of Iwo, his home town, who was the founder of the proposed Oluremi Ademola Atanda University, Ikire-Ile in Iwoland.

He recalled that Atanda as founder, had just appointed him, Abubakre as Chairman of the Committee for the new university with his first son, Prof. Olusegun Atanda who served as secretary, before he passed on.

“Work on the proposed University got to advanced stage with the University master plan, University law and the University curriculum which were all fully ready for submission to the NUC.

“The only impediment to advance was the constraint posed by the land vendors to getting the required 250 hectares.

“The NUC team came to inspect the existing structure on ground at the proposed mini campus in Ibadan and they were satisfied with the facilities. The team also visited the proposed main campus land which was found to be good but inadequate,” Abubakre said.

He expressed the hope that the wish of Atanda for the proposed private university would be achievable in his memory.

Other Osun indigenes also paid tributes to the deceased.

“A sobering panegyric for the late leader and elder. May the soul of our much-celebrated and famous leader, Dr. Oluremi Atanda rest in peace. Amen. Eternal rest grant him oh Lord and may light more perpetual shine on him,” says Alh. Abdulyekin Abilagbo

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“What a great loss to us. Pa Atanda was a loving mentor. I always visit him in Ibadan until he retired. May his soul rest in perfect peace. Pa Dr. Atanda came, saw and conquered. Glory be to God,” says Prof. Abiodun Sanni.

“Let me join others in expressing my heartfelt condolences to the family, friends, admirers of Pa Dr. Oluremi Atanda. He was a brilliant scientist, an astute administrator and a successful entrepreneur.

“Pa Atanda was a kind, compassionate and frank role model. My first encounter with him was in 1976, when I joined a group of temporary teachers to protest the non-payment of our August 1976 salary.

“He was Chairman, Osun South Teachers Service Board then. We visited him at NCRI, Moor Plantation, Ibadan where he was Director. He received us very warmly and explained the meaning of temporary appointments to us, hinting that they could be terminated without any notice! Eventually, Baba advised us to stop protesting and gave us transport money.

“His death is a loss too many for all Iwo people. Our consolation is that he led a fruitful life. May God Almighty grant him eternal rest and grant us all the grace to bear the irreparable loss. Ameen,” says Prof. Wahid Hassan.

Dr. Oluremi Atanda was a Nigerian agricultural scientist, administrator and holder of the Nigeria’s Order of the Federal Republic (OFR).

Born on September 22, 1939, in Iwo, Osun State, Atanda attended Amin Training Centre, a foremost Quranic school in Iwo until 1946.

He started his primary education in 1946 at the Baptist Day School, Oke Odo, in Iwo and graduated in 1952.

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For his secondary school education, he attended Molusi College, Ijebu Igbo. After his higher school certificate examination in 1958 at the Government College, Ibadan, he proceeded to study Agricultural Science at the University of Nottingham in England.

He subsequently earned his PhD at the University of Newcastle, UK at a very relatively young age and he was the first Iwo indigene to bag a PhD.

He began his research career at the West Africa Cocoa Research Institute in Ibadan in 1964, and worked there until 1972 when he joined the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria.

In 1975, he left the council to serve as the Director of the Federal Department of Agriculture.

Between 1976 and 1979, Atanda worked with the National Cereals Research Institute.

He later worked as the Director of the Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria between 1979 and 1980.

Between 1980 and 1983, he was the Chairman of the Oyo State Civil Service Commission.

He has also consulted for other bodies including the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation.

He was on the board of trustees of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, between 1976 and 1978.

After serving as a member of National Committee on Subsidies to Nigeria Agriculture between 1986 and 1987, Atanda retired from the public service after nearly 25 years.

An educationalist par excellence, Atanda was the proprietor of Atanda Group of Schools.

Until his death on March 4, 2024, Dr. Atanda was the Eketa Oba of Iwoland and Ekerin (Prime Minister) of Ikire -Ile and he was also the immediate past President of Iwo Board of Trustees. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)

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Edited by Razak Owolabi

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