Everything the first Premier of Western Nigeria, the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo founded or created had class and has endured.
Talk of Western Nigeria Telvevision, WNTV which later became NTA; the Liberty Stadium in Ibadan, renamed Obafemi Awolowo Stadium, or the famous Cocoa House in Ibadan.
However, the greatest legacy the late sage left for his people was in the area of education. The free education, the cardinal point of his party, the Action Congress in the First Republic, which was equally adopted by the Unity Party of Nigeria, UPN in the Second Republic, remains outstanding.
It positioned his people as well as other Nigerians for leadership roles, not only in Nigeria but around the world.
To prepare products of the free education for managerial positions in all sectors of human endeavour, Chief Awolowo founded the famous University of Ife in Ile-Ife in 1961. The institution was later rechristened Obafemi Awolowo University to immortalise him.
On June 8, 2021, the citadel of learning which has as its motto, ‘For Learning and Culture’, and acclaimed the most beautiful campus on African soil because of its architectural masterpieces of infrastructure, turned 60 years.
But beyond its aesthetics, is the array of human resources, both as students and staff, it has churned out these past 60 years. The list is made of who is who in Nigeria in different disciplines, ranging from government and politics, business, academia, technology, royalty and society, arts and media as well as law.
Great Ife, as the students and the alumni know the institution, has produced men who have occupied and still occupying positions in government.
They include Babalola Borishade, former minister of Aviation, Kayode Fayemi, governor of Ekiti and retired Colonel Olagunsoye Oyinlola who was governor of two states, first as military administrator of Lagos and then as civilian governor of Osun state, incidentally the state of the university.
Segun Mimiko, former Ondo state governor and the incumbent, Rotimi Akeredolu, a SAN were at Ife. Another governor that was a product of Ife is Fidelis Oyakhilome, then police commissioner, who, as military administrator of Rivers State, was popular for his School-to-Land agriculture programme.
Delta-born military officer, retired Brigadier-General Dominic Oneya, another famous alumnus, was military administrator of two states, Kano and Benue where he made his marks. He equally veered into sports administration where he was a football referee and former Chairman of the Nigeria Football Association, NFA.