The Management, staff and students of Yaba College of Technology (Yabatech) in collaboration with the Joint Christian Management Committee of the College recently organized a befitting farewell Service of Songs for the first female Rector in Nigeria and in Yabatech, late Chief (Mrs.) Felicia Abimbola Odugbesan.
Odugbesan served as the Rector of Yabatech from 1993 to 2001 meritoriously and eventually retired from active service. She was born in November 20, 1946 and died in April 3, 2018 in the United State of America.
Speaking at the Service of Songs, the Women in Technical Education (WITED) National Coordinator, Princess Regina Amadi noted that Odugbesan was the founder of WITED in Nigeria; and it has spread to 46 Polytechnics in Nigeria. She advised the attendee not to mourn her but rather emulate her.
“There are a few people in life who cross your path and they leave indelible impression on your mind. Such impression does not come from just their status, wealth or lineage but from their uncommon individual with an uncommon approach and an uncommon trench. Chief Odugbesan lived a meritorious and courageous life; she positively touched many lives as a teacher, erudite scholar, a visionary, and an administrator per excellence. She is a woman of no little statute nationally and intentionally, a devoted Christian, a committed family woman, a leader, a great mentor to the younger generation, a builder of human capacity and a great contributor beyond WITED and Yabatech, but to the national development” she added.
Amadi noted that there are numerous comments about our departed leader from different WITED chapters of Polytechnics in Nigeria; one can begin to understand that Odugbesan was indeed a rare gem who distinguished herself to the service of humanity and God. She had numerous laudable achievements to even keep accurate track of a great educationist and an accomplished leader; she touched and mentored many lives, and won many laurels. Now we all can understand that God the creator does not make mistake in such things, He takes the best.
In his condolence message the Rector of Yabatech, Engr. Obafemi Omokungbe explained that the news of Odugbesan death was received with a deep sense of shock in the entire community but with gratitude to God for the trail blazing life that she lived; indeed a life of vision, tremendous courage and great achievements.
“We at Yabatech are particularly grateful for her service to the College especially in different capacities of Head of Department of Town Regional Planning; Dean Student Affairs and First Female Rector of the College. We are proud of the many legacies she left behind and shall continue to cherish our fondest memories of her as a friend; a loving mother to many and an astute administrator” Omokungbe added.
The Dean, School of Environmental Studies, Dr. J.O. Oke in his tribute stated that Odugbesan motivated and taught many students who are now making waves in various capacities nationally. She belonged to many professional bodies; as an administrator she scored a number of first in these areas which are: first female Head of Department of Urban and Regional Planning; first female Dean of School of Environmental Studies, first female Dean Student Affairs, first female Rector in Yabatech.
Oke revealed that her administrative prowess went beyond Nigeria as she was the former Vice Chairman West African Region of Commonwealth Association of Polytechnics in Africa. She was a socialite and she held traditional titles such as Yeye Onigege Ara of Odoragushi Lagos state and Ajisetoba of Isiwo Ogun State.