President Muhammadu Buhari and the presidential candidate of the Allied Congress of Nigeria (ACPN), Dr. Obiageli Ezekwesili, have commiserated with the family of Prof. Sophie Oluwole who died at the age of 83.
Her death was confirmed by one of her colleagues, Professor Yomi Akinyeye of the Department of History and Strategic Studies, University of Lagos.
Oluwole, who was the first Nigerian woman to bag a PhD in Philosophy died on Sunday evening after a protracted illness but her death was announced late.
Reacting to the death, Buhari in a statement by his special adviser on media and publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina in Abuja noted that the deceased had through her teachings and works celebrated the Yoruba culture, history and worldview, and reminded the world that within pristine traditions are values that promote the ideals of democracy, fairness, equity and justice.
The president said that the deceased would be honoured and remembered for her commitment in promoting African tradition, culture, knowledge and languages.
He urged all who mourned the late professor to honour her memory by carrying on from where she left in her zeal to promote indigenous knowledge, skills and discipline that could help to redefine people and a nation.
Ezekwesili, in her condolence message on Tuesday described the deceased as an academic whose contribution to education in Nigeria would be continuously cherished.
She expressed concern that the professor died when her contributions were mostly needed in the country.
She urged other academics to emulate the late Oluwole, saying “she is an academic icon.”
She said Oluwole was a trail blazing academic “whom I would continue to have huge affection for, especially in her candour and quest for distinction.
“She was ever so generous to me when I became the Minister of Education and her strong support for educational development never went unnoticed.
“Nigeria has indeed lost a great academic at a time when our educational system is facing a serious challenge.
“Her death is saddening and a great loss to the intelligentsia community.
“I commiserate with members of her family and pray that God gives them the fortitude to bear her loss.”
Born in Igbara-Oke, Ondo State, in 1935, Oluwole studied History, Geography and Philosophy at the University of Lagos, after which she worked briefly as an assistant lecturer in 1972.
The deceased bagged her doctorate degree in the field of Philosophy in 1984 and was the first Nigerian woman to do so.
The deceased was a foremost African and Yoruba philosopher and author whose work was influenced largely by African and western trade-religious beliefs.