Tribute By Gbolahan Fagbenle

Shared by Dotun Fagbenle on July 16, 2019

He was a great man.
Brother Layi  had this  lifelong inability to say no when some favor is requested from him. He had said if he did, he felt guilty,  because saying yes to everything to him was self-sacrificial. He never did anything by halves. He meant well and was always trying to be helpful. People liked him more and more as a pure, unadulterated man of essence.
He had his own scale of priorities, I don't quite know what they were, but I think the family came fairly high on the list. He loved his family, nuclear and extended. And he loved his friends too, young and old. Despite his tight schedule of work he would take my children in his car to visit his old school teacher in Oyo, as well as family members in Ibadan. He believed that families of friends could be as real as families of flesh and blood.
Brother Layi warned me 'Never let down your guard.' 'The world isn't perfect, nor me, nor you. Just do the best you can. Do your best and leave the rest for God. That's what He's there for '
Towards the end he was working double time instead of had time. He'll say there weren't enough hours in the day to do everything that needed doing and have the time for bickering or any silly stuffs. He was very dedicated to any task he had at hand.
I did learn a lot about myself from him but his greatest lessons to me were integrity, honesty and courage to face the truth.
Practically unassuming, he will look at you and say you did just as he expected - no better, no worse
Death is going home! Flowers fade and die but something grows out of them
As Brother Layi  dies, the best we can do is honor his spirit I am going to take whatever lessons he was trying to teach me and make it true in my own life. His having being a loving brother changed me in some beneficial and I believe that commitment is the only way one can ease the pain of his absence.
Brother Layi had an obsession for books. If they read books in heaven, I'll pray God to establish a library for him!
A Professor Richard Layi Fagbenle Library in the Osun State University could be established in his honor to immortalize this great academic and administrative icon
Good night Brother Layi.


Shared by Dotun Fagbenle on July 15, 2019

Oriki Idile (family panegyric)

Olayiwola Morakinyo, Akanbi Edu, Omo gbúñgbúñ gbà, omo àgbò meéjì ò mumi lákoto, omo afó bí àgbá wò'lú, omo alèmu-lèrá, omo igbó wó tuuru-tuuru, bí e rí'gbá funfun lóõrà, è mò'pé'lé tù wá, abi omo okùnrin sòõrò sòõrò. Mèfún òôtó, omo alobi lore Òkèsà. Omo arí'gbá ide k'édò màâlù sí, òpó ilé rîn, òpó ide ni nii'Jèsà
Omo af'òru là kójú tó mó ní ibi tó n ti gba omo olómo là. Omo Samuel Osho Fagbenle, máj'òkùn má je'kòló, ohun tí won n je lórun ni o maa ba won je, sunre láyà Olugbala re, Akanbi edu omo Elizabeth Adeoti Ogunsola (ni ile Ese, Isao) aya Osho Fagbenle, o dìgbà, o d'àrìnnàkò, ótún d'ojú ala....

Logunde Igbajo of Igbajoland for all descendants of Ogudu who migrated from Ile Odole in Ilesa, circa, 18th century.

Tribute by Logun Dotun Fagbenle

Shared by Dotun Fagbenle on July 15, 2019

My Brother, My Pride
15 good years separated our births, so, referring to you as "father" may not be out of place, in the African context. I never really knew you until you returned from your educational sojourn in the US.. You were already in Igbobi College when I was born and was too young to have a proper grasp of who you were at the time you left for the States. But in my constant thought of my big brother, as a kid, I embarked on an astral travel to the US at 10 and while roaming the streets and alleys (looking for you), I bumped into you. The physical me in my village had seen skyscrapers, beautiful buildings and people of all "colours" etc... You were shocked to see me in the US, and pleasantly surprised to learn I came looking for you.. It was maami's àbàrá on my bum-bum for the morning prayer in preparation for school that woke me up. I didn't like it, for I wanted to remain in my brother's warm embrace and reassuring words that he'd take care of me and would never let me lack.

Fast forward, I was holidaying at big sister Ajibike's when the news of your appointment as a lecturer in the IbadanPoly came and that you would be coming in a week from Ghana where you were lecturing at the University of Kumasi, Legon Ghana. How glad I was that school was not in session and that I would be part of the team to welcome you, your oyinbo wife and two kids. I can never forget the special attention you showered on me upon seeing me among the "crowd". Olamidotun  ti di big boy! I immediately moved in with you in the accommodation secured for you at Fagbamila Street in Ibadan. Oh how I hated returning to Kiriji after the holiday was over. Before your arrival in 1974, my growth was stunted due to malnourishment and I was barely a 5ft tall 16year old! But as some of my friends would always make fun of me, "opélopé ewé òyìnbó ti Helen fún e je lo fi yo'rùn s'ókè" (thank God for Helen who fed you with American vegetables otherwise you would have remained a dwarf). I moved in with you at A road quarters, Ibadan Poly, after my secondary education and between you and Helen, I got my first job as a laboratory Assistant in Helen's Biology Department. You made sure I opened an account at Wema Bank on campus and saved #100 monthly of my #104 salary. You kept my passbook and would only release it for deposit upon receiving salary. That was discipline you taught! And it paid off because  in between, you and your family left for Canada and when I secured admission for H.S.C at Ilesa Grammar School in 1977, it was my savings I fell back on for school fees and accommodation!

Back in time, I dreaded staying at your A Road Quarters because your house was enveloped by vegetation and big trees, especially mango trees which harboured green snakes. One had to walk with all eyes wide open and sleep with one eye closed! But it meant nothing to you and your oyinbo wife. You would capture snakes at random and both of you would experiment on whether the captured one was venomous or not. You would open its mouth and probe into it while I would be in a corner marveling. Kim,  Helen's beautiful black Alsatian dog would stay by me with a gaze I couldn't decipher, whether it was fear or not.

I would never forget an incident which I reminded you of just a few years ago. The lovebirds (you and your wife) had gone on a dinner outing leaving Yinka and Abimbola in my care. The sight of a snake in the sitting room sent shivers in my spine and with the speed of light ran out with the kids and we never returned inside. I kept till the late hours you returned  and when asked what we were doing outside, I told you my story.."I saw a green snake in the parlour where the kids were playing so I quickly led them out and came back to kill the snake but it has disappeared!" To my surprise you and aunty Helen led us in and were doing your chores as if nothing happened. Then suddenly I heard Helen call out: "Lai, Lai, I've seen the snake. It's in Yinka's wardrobe". Fear took hold of me because I suspected what you would say, and true to my suspicion you called out to me to go in and kill it since I had wanted to kill it in the first place. Come and see fear, shivering and perspiration!!!. When you saw my fear(sure you were laughing inside) you then said, "OK, we go and kill it together". So you had a stick and gave me one and gbam, you shut us in with the snake. E gba mi!!! I was busy jumping in one spot when the snake appeared and I almost got in the way while you were trying to kill it. Ibi tí àsírí ti tú nìyen wípé omo boy n paró wípé oun fé wá pa ejò!
You were brave. You were bold. You were confident. You were protective of your pride, your family.

Everything you were doing in the house, you were always asking me questions why you were doing such. For example you would rinse your coffee mug with boiling point water before making coffee and would ask me why you did so. That habit never departed from me.

Another incident I hid from you was when you and your family were going to Kenya for a couple of months(not sure if it was your sabbatical). Two cars were needed to take the luggage to the Ibadan aerodrome, Samonda. Your driver Rasaki(in the 504 official car) and you in your Toyota Crown. The problem was who would drive the Crown back. Without having driven a car before, I said I would drive it, informing you I learned driving at UI with a friend's car. You believed me and off we went. After you departed, I was handed the car key. That was how I became a driver from Samonda to Poly campus with the car engine quenching like a thousand times before I finally got home. From there I regularly practiced until I was confident enough to take the car out. That was how I was using the car for the period you were away in Kenya as a UI undergraduate. They knew me and 'my' Toyota Crown at the Secretariat where I did my vacation job then. There were some adventures I made with the Crown which I would not reveal. E ma binu o.
I must thank you and aunty Helen for seeing me through my first two years of UI. Aunty Helen was particularly responsible for my meal ticket and she would give me #3.50 and later #7.50 for Mon-Fri meal tickets while my weekends were always at the Poly until you move to Iree upon your appointment as founding Director of the then Ibadan Poly Satellite Campus.
I remember my visits to Iree with nostalgia. You told me so much about your private life that resulted in beautiful memories as well as permanent scars....(hmmmm).
Among your deep quotes in the cause of our brotherly chats resulting from your life experiences in Iree were:


Your support all through the different stages of my life including the period of my Chieftaincy as the Logunde Oke'resi, then Logunde Igbajo during my Iwuye was unquantifiable.
And with tears on my face, I recall the first words you uttered when you saw me three weeks to your death with your firm grip on me was " Olamidotun, o ti jina si mi ju, se o n sa fun mi ni?"  I looked at you in the face, and told you it wasn't so, "I love you, and I missed you, but I just didn't know where you were, sir, it was not my fault, I couldn't have run away from you". This conversation meant a lot between us. Yes I meant it then. I loved you and I know you did love me too...because all through the three week period, you would put a smile on your face and called me in full...

Olamidotun, your Olamidotun, your kid brother whom you pampered so much and who grew to become the Logunde Igbajo bid you farewell.

Tribute By Chief Segun Odegbami, MON

Shared by Dotun Fagbenle on July 11, 2019

Professor ‘Layi Fagbenle – A humble tribute!

I was in my final year at The Polytechnic, Ibadan, in 1976, when I first met Professor ‘Layi Fagbenle. He had come to the Department of Mechanical Engineering as a lecturer, fresh from the United States of America.

He came in with intimidating credentials and a solid reputation as an expert in a field deficit in qualified teachers at the time - thermodynamics, a branch of physics.T he course was compulsory for us in engineering and we all had to take it.H e walked into our first lecture with a swagger.

I recall how we were all mesmerized with his American accent, his simple ways, modest but classy clothes, his great looks, his confident delivery and his absolute mastery of the subject.

We spent half the time marveling more at his elocution than at the content of his lecture. 

The beauty of his lectures was that, being America-trained, he did more of teaching than lecturing, breaking down the subject and getting us to know the rudiments rather than to cram difficult equations and to offload them during exams.

Outside of class he was a lone ranger, totally different from every other lecturer on the campus, with a cigar-pipe hanging loose on his lips, very casual clothes, dead-cool eyes and a goatee that fitted him and made him look even more handsome. He was your quintessential eccentric academic.

I don’t remember much of him beyond his very interesting lectures that we loved to attend, and the endless chatter amongst the girls about this very tall, slim, handsome professor with a soft, foreign, and seductive American accent.

I am not certain if he even knew me well as his student.I  was not one of the brightest in his class. I was also not loud also.

My little popularity on campus as a star football player would not have made a dent on the erudite professor who lived in another world – that of pure unadulterated scholarship. You could see from a mile away that he loved and lived academics.

But trust fate, it always throws up twists and turns into the theatre of life. Professor Fagbenle had a younger brother who visited him a few times on the South Campus. You only needed to see him to know they were from the same strong family stock.

Equally erudite, Tunde Fagbenle, looked very much like the great Prof – but younger, more handsome, taller, with a goatee also, pipe-smoking too, and obviously ‘wilder’ in his ways, not like the cool, calm and calculated lone figure that his brother, the Prof, was.

Tunde was the extrovert socialite. I don’t recall how I connected with him between Ibadan and Lagos after my Youth Corp service year. It must have helped that I was in the national football team and had become a superstar football player.

We had several mutual friends in Lagos, and we gravitated towards each other like magnets. Tunde liked a lot of the ‘things’ I liked, and we hit it off like long lost brothers. The chain to Professor Fagbenle was, thus, firmly established.

With time, I became integrated into the entire Fagbenle family. Soon, also, the status of my relationship with Professor Fagbenle changed. He became ‘Brother Layi’. I now saw him from close up.

He was a complete gentleman, a one-woman man, a well-cultured man that protected his family very guardedly and saw the world through the prism of science and engineering.

The Fagbenle family was close and Brother Layi was the silent and gentle puppeteer, remotely holding the strings of the family together with an uncommon wisdom and an elderly disposition.

Through the decades, Brother Layi was always there in the background, never probing, never stirring the waters, always reserved and observing with an innocent smile that was always on his face.  A few times I witnessed and sometimes shared in their special family ‘communions’ with nieces, nephews, brothers, sisters, in-laws, cousins, sons and daughters, all intermingling you could not tell who was who.

Prof always loved intellectual talk, discourses on innovative engineering, and helping governments to establish Engineering courses, departments and institutions, abroad and in Nigeria. He did all of these things without drawing any attention to himself. He was a very reserved person.

For long periods Brother Layi would retire into his private interests. You would only hear in conversations that he was somewhere on the planet, fixing some engineering challenge.

Everywhere he worked he left indelible marks - in the students he taught and trained, in the institutions he built and in the products and services he engineered. 

Those have become the legacies he will point to when asked at heaven’s gate what he did with his abundant engineering talents whilst on earth. I testify, I am one of his products.

Thereafter, he will be welcomed with songs and choruses, as he moves up to a higher realm, to rest, this time, peacefully forever, with his Creator.

Sleep well, Brother Layi, Sleep well.

Segun Odegbami

July 11, 2019

Adeola Fademi's Tribute for Her Dear Brother

Shared by Dotun Fagbenle on July 11, 2019

Tribute to My Loving Brother Layi by Adeola Fademi.

Brother mi, as I fondly called you, death that came calling ilon you too soon did not allow me to enjoy those affectionate smiles and hugs anytime we met as I wished. The cherished moment that can never ever be erased from my memory was few days before your demise, though very very ill, but alert, every time I entered your room, you smiled revealing your full dentition and would say "I am happy" (Inu mi sun gan ni), your response to "bodami I love you" was always "so do I". Thank you you.for those reassuring words, they will remain indelible in my memory. I thank God for your achievements and for the lives you touched but saddened by this untimely death because it prevented you from reaping the fruits of your labour. I am consoled, though, that you lived a fulfilled life.
I pray that God, in His infinite mercies, keeps and blesses the children, grandchildren, wife and the extended family you left behind. It is very difficult for me to say goodbye but goodbye I must say, brother mi Akanbi edu, omo dudu aragan, omo wara esida, omo opon ni geru, omo a fo bi agba wo'lu, a bi omo'kunrin sooro sooro. Rest in the bosom of our Lord Jesus Christ till we meet to part no more

Tribute by 1980 Set of Mechanical Engineering Dept., Ibadan Poly

Shared by Dotun Fagbenle on July 9, 2019


“A Quintesentia Nation Builder; Destiny Moulder!”
The Polytechnic, Ibadan Class of 1976 – 1980 Mechanical Engineering Students cannot forget  
Professor Richard ‘Layi Fagbenle in a hurry.  
A Professor, teaching in a Polytechnic, he brought sophistication into the very art of teaching. He is  
so explicit; he got the right words; he got the demonstrations; he got the detailed analysis; and he  
got this unique soft American Oriental phonetics!  
He took us in Thermodynamics.  
Thermodynamics is defined as a branch of Physics concerned with the conversion of different  
forms of energy.  
Professor Fagbenle’s approach is to guide you from the elementary aspects of this subject, and  
dovetailed it into the applications, varieties, conversions, and examples on the global level. He  
actually purposed to take you out of the theoretical mode into the practice.  
He mentored many of his students to aspire to delve deeper into the field of Energy in  
It is not surprising that he assisted in setting up Institutions like the Iree Polytechnic, Osun State;  
Osun State College of Technology, Esa Oke, among many others. He was also engaged by Botswana to resolve her energy crisis.  
A very humane human being, simple and accommodating, Professor Fagbenle is easily  
approachable and eager to clarify any complex issue that might be confounding any of the  
We are therefore proud that we have among our Set Nigerians who have occupied and are  
occupying responsible positions and helping to mould the destiny of our Nation Nigeria! Among  
this is a serving Senator, and an ex Governor!  
Dear Professor Richard Olayiwola Fagbenle, we will forever be grateful for your impact on our lives.  
“The world is a stage and all men merely a player”. They (All) have their entrances and exits, his acts  
being seven ages”.Ayn Rand (1905 -1982), a Russian – American philosopher, born Alisa  
Zinovyevna Rossenbauvine, credited with body of knowledge tagged : Objectivity!

The Lord gaveth, and the Lord has taken away (Job 1:21).
Nigeria, nay, Africa, will never forget in a hurry your path finder and leadership foot prints in all  
places you served. Till death, you remain Nigeria’s finest in your field!  
And as it is said in Ecclesiastes 3 vs 1-2,
“To everything there is a season, and times to every purpose under heaven :
“A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pick up that which is  
Our hearts go to your immediate family and the entire great Fagbenle clan of Logunde, Oke'resi Compound, Isao, Igbajo.  
We pray that God will grant everyone, including ourselves, the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss of this great colossus.  
Rest on in peace in the bosom of your God.  
Good night!


Shared by Dotun Fagbenle on July 9, 2019

“When beggars die, there are no comets seen; The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of Princes”
- Williams Shakespeare

BSME Cillinois, MSME (Lowa State), Phd (lllinois)

Richard Olayiwola Fagbenle, a professor of Energy was born on 17th January, 1943 at Zaria, Kaduna State, Nigeria.

He Obtained both Bachelor (1967) and Doctoral (1973) degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, USA.  His Master’s degree (Mech. Engineering) was obtained from lowa State University, Ames, lowa, USA in 1969.

Professor Fagbenle began his career in the energy field in 1972 as a USA Atomic Energy Commission Presidential Research Appointee at the Argonne National Laboratory, Lemont, Illinois, USA, in the Nuclear Reactor Coolant flow Analysis Programme.  

During his career in the Energy field which spanned decades,  he was involved in several National and International Energy Projects (Programmes)  starting with his appointment as a consultant to the UNDP/ECA Africa Regional Project in Kenya- the African Institute of Higher Technical Training and Research (AIHTTR), Nairobi, Kenya 1988.

He was appointed the 1st Director of Energy Affairs in the Republic of Botswana in 1998 and later became the 1st Energy advisor to the Botswana government between 2000 and 2002.  He worked with Shawinigan Engineer Co. Ltd in Montreal in 1978 as the Mechanical Engineer on the MW- sized vertical Axis wind Turbine Programme of the Canadian National Council.

He was actively involved in Nigeria Energy Sector as Consultant on several National Projects, among which are : Technical Committee Chair of the Sub-Committee of the Presidential Advisory Committee on 25 years Electricity Power Development Plan; Technical Committee Chair of the Presidential National Multisectoral Committee on Energy Access (NMCEA); appointed one of the 7 UNDP Consultants who developed the 1st version of the Renewable Energy Master Plan (REMP) and also Chair of the Report Drafting Committee of the 1st version of the National Energy Master Plan (NEMP) between 2003 and 2005.

Professor Fagbenle was a Senior Consultant to the international Centre for Energy, Environment and Development (ICEED) on may projects such as the World Alliance for Decentralized Energy (WADE, UK) projects on Nigeria; Nigeria Climate Action Network Report on Nigeria’s Perspectives on Technology Transfer in the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Negotiations; Hello International (France) Country Project on Vulnerability and Resilience of Nigeria National Energy System to Climate change; the Global Project on Vulnerability and Resilience of Nigeria National Energy System to Climate change; the Global Climate Network (GCN) project in Nigeria on Low Carbon Jobs in an Interconnected World; the Canadian Government’s CDM small projects Facility in Nigeria etc.  

He was selected by the Lagos State Ministry of Environment for the development of the Lagos State Energy Policy in December 2009 and he was a key Member of the Consulting team that developed the Niger State Renewable Energy Policy in 2010.  He was the lead consultant responsible for the design and supervision of the 6.4KW solar PV street lighting project of the University of Ibadan in 2008, the project which was the first of its type in higher institutions in Nigeria and Africa. He was consultant on the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) project on providing Solar electricity for water pumping and lighting in 33 Communities in 6 States in the South West and 33 Communities in 7 States in the North West of Nigeria between 2007 and 2008.  He was the energy expert and team leader on an Alternative Energy Study for Osun State Water Supply Scheme, Osogbo, Osun State, Nigeria which was an EU-funded project for Osun State Government undertaken by Osot Associate in 2008.  He was similarly a Consultant on the Lagos State Water Corporation Study on alternative energy sources for the State Water Scheme, 2009 with Osot Associates. He was the consultant on the 5 MW cocoa shell (biomass waste) fuelled steam power plant studied by Multitrex Investment Plc, a Cocoa processing factory in Ogun State, Nigeria.

Professor Fagbenle pioneered two Higher Technological Institutions in Nigeria- as the founding Director of Iree Satellite Campus of the Polytechnic Ibadan, formerly in Oyo state but now Osun State Polytechnic (1981-1987) and the founding Provost of the College of Engineering and Technology, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ibogan Campus, Ogun State (2003-2007). He was also the founding Chairman of the Osogbo Branch of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (1982-1985).  He was the Chairman of the Accreditation Committee of the first Governing Council of Osun State College of Technology, Esa-Oke between 1992 and 1993 which got full NBTE accreditation for all courses presented for the exercise.

He was the Chairman of the foundation Governing Council of Igbajo Polytechnic (first government approved community owned polytechnic in Nigeria) between 2003 and 2009 - a position he took-up as a passionate Community and Rural Development practitioner.

He had over 70 research Publications in Peer Reviewed International and Local Journals and has supervised 13 Ph.D theses and many more M.Sc and B.Sc theses.

Professor Richard Olayiwola Fagbenle was appointed the Chairman Governing Council of the Osun State College of Technology, Esa-Oke on 1st June, 2013, a position he held till 26th November, 2018 when the Council was dissolved by the State government.  

While he was the Council Chairman of our Institution, he supported the management in implementing policies which helped the Institution to grow into enviable height among other Institutions.  Also, during his chairmanship of Council at Osun State College of Technology, Esa-Oke, the College was able to secure accreditation of some programmes through the approval of necessary infrastructural facilities as required by Council.

Please join us as we bid farewell to our Professor, an astute administrator, father, lover of peace, energy expert who related well with all staff.  He was a good Christian who will be missed by all.

Tribute By IbadanPoly Mechanical Engineering 1979 Alumni Group

Shared by Dotun Fagbenle on July 8, 2019


                                                                      Date:  June  26th,  2019

We write on behalf of the above named group who were students of  Prof Layi Fagbenle at Ibadan Polytechnic – ( 1979 set) to commiserate with the family on the passing  to glory of our beloved  daddy and Professor  -  Professor Layi Fagbenle, - an erudite scholar and Professor of Energy, which sad event happened recently.  We are saddened and heavily shocked with this sudden departure of our dear daddy.

We sincerely identify with the entire family, and share with you all the grief of our departed loved one.  The bible says " The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away, blessed be the  name of the Lord " - Job 1: 21b, but we share the consolation with you too that our beloved daddy  has gone to rest in the bosom arms of the Lord. May his gentle soul  continue to rest in perfect peace. Amen.

We however thank God for a fulfilled life of Daddy Prof Layi Fagbenle, whom we know for humility, benevolence,  kind-heartedness, loving and always impacting other peoples’ life, and above all,  a man who fears God, and puts Christ first in his life.  For many of us in this group, and many others that have passed through him nationally and world – wide,  he had been a source of inspiration and a role model through his most cherished  subject – matter of energy studies- engineering thermodynamics, that have made most of us relevant in our chosen careers or endeavours.  

No doubts, he had lived a useful and purposeful life, for which  his family and friends will miss him, as our mentor, we shall miss him, the engineering family in Nigeria and world – wide shall miss him, the academic world – Nigeria, Illinois – USA, Canada,
, South Africa, UK and indeed world all over  shall miss his loving and fatherly roles in all spheres, and in fact, the church of God will miss his  good nature.

We pray the Lord shall comfort the family and friends, wipe away tears from our faces and sorrow from our hearts. May The Lord grant us all the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss, and may we  never experience grief and sorrow in our midst again, while we pray that our sorrow shall turn to happiness IJN. Amen.

 Engr Dr  Yemi Oke (Group Chairman)

Engr  Kayode Dosunmu(Group Sec.)                                       

A TRIBUTE TO MY 'BROTHER' by Dr. Ore Soluade

Shared by Tunde Fagbenle on July 4, 2019

A Tribute to my “Brother

I first met ‘Layi in 1964 when he joined me and other Nigerian students at the University Of Illinois mechanical engineering department. We struck a great friendship from that time on. We had wonderful parties on weekends and at Christmas time. We worked hard and all graduated at various levels of accomplishment. Layi was inducted into the mechanical engineering honor society - Pi Tau Sigma (ptS) for his excellent academic performance. After graduation, we went our separate ways on life’s journey, only to meet again over 10 years later, at The Polytechnic, Ibadan, mechanical engineering department. Our friendship grew stronger, and we collaborated on a few engineering projects. In particular, he and I worked zealously to resuscitate the thermodynamics laboratory. It was an attractive place to display the potential for energy development  and generation in Nigeria. Unfortunately, the laboratory is still dormant today, over 30 years later.

I knew there was something special about Layi; because he was so easy-going and was able to tackle seemingly intractable problems with such great ease. Little did we all know at that time, that we were dealing with a greatness. He very modestly steered the mechanical engineering department into a very enviable position of prominence in the Nigerian Technical Educational System. It was this attribute that earned him the position of the founding Director of Ire Satellite campus of The Polytechnic, Ibadan. His work in Ire still stands out today as the solid foundation from which the campus benefits.

Layi’s academic accomplishments were stellar! His research into solar energy, as well as his contributions to Thermodynamics and Fluid Mechanics as reflected in the array of research publications he had accumulated over the years, are testimony to the greatness of this man. It was in recognition of this talent that he wound up in Botswana as the nation’s Director of energy; a position he so admirably held.

‘Layi was not a one-dimensional person. He was very active in the social life of The Polytechnic, becoming at some point, the Chairman of the Polytechnic Staff Club where we spent a lot of time gulping down beer after hectic sessions of Tennis. Among the people we interacted with were, Dr. Ajayi, the Principal of the institution, Sir Olateru Olagbegi, the Olowo of Owo, Professor Yoloye of University of Ibadan, and many others. Layi’s contributions to the growth of The Polytechnic are also manifested by how he tactfully operated in his interactions with senior administrative and technical staff of the institution. There was almost nothing Layi would request that he would not be attended-to with respect and dignity. He was a jolly good fellow, always smiling. I NEVER saw ‘Layi angry with anyone! That is remarkable. He had such a positive disposition on life, that he would not allow any negativity to get in the way of him enjoying his life.

May his soul rest in peace; and may God grant his family the strength to withstand this irreparable loss.

Oredola (Ore) Soluade

July 1, 2019

Shared by Dotun Fagbenle on July 3, 2019

Trubute by Prof. Tunde Adeyemo

Thank God for the life and times of Prof Layi Fagbenle, who had been a mentor to a lot of people too numerous to describe world - wide, aside from those of us who were his students at Ibadan Poly, some at UI, some at OAU, Ibogun etc.
This erudite Scholar and Professor, an icon in the field of energy studies, who through the subject-matter of energy studies -  Engineering thermodynamics, had inspired and touched so many lives today, and brought us to lime-light. Bravo !  His sense of humility, kind-heartedness and love to all, are some of his virtues some of us have emulated with pride, that we passed through Prof Fagbenle.
Sir, no doubt, you have left a legacy behind for humanity, a vacuum too hard to fill, and sweet memories too hard to forget. Sleep on daddy, keep resting in the bossom arms of the Lord till we meet to part no more.  Adieu Daddy and  Prof Sir.

Deji Ogunbiyi

Shared by Oladotun Fagbenle on June 30, 2019

This is one great lecturer who challenged my young mind to go for excellence quite early in my academic life. I always scored high marks in his highly technical subject of Thermodynamics. He was a great example, always comporting himself with dignity and competence. We the class of Mechanical Engineering of 1976 to 1980 at The Polytechnic Ibadan celebrate the great academic and teacher per excellence who finished his course gloriously.

Engineer Deji Ogunbiyi

Shared by Oladotun Fagbenle on June 30, 2019

Abimbola Daniyan's tribute:

We have indeed lost one of Nigeria's most outstanding Engineers, a lecturer of uncommon skills, down to earth, simple, always supportive, committed, etc.
May his gentle soul rest in peace.

Engineer Abimbola Daniyan

Kola Akere's tribute

Shared by Oladotun Fagbenle on June 30, 2019

My teacher and my mentor. Very humane, considerate and accommodating. I have beautiful memories of you.  You left solid marks on my sand. I remembered my last runs with you at Esa Oke a few months back. You proved the rock that you have always been all others notwithstanding. How could I have suspected that you will be leaving so soon.
I'm still reeling from the shock since I read about it on our Klub, Ipabros, platform. It is like the fall of a big 'Iroko' tree in the forest. It was like the Lion King succumbing at the twilight. It was like darkness at dawn. Like I can't see, and it's Springs!  
Adieu Prof! Adieu Egbon! Adieu Good Man!!! We shall miss you sorely. Rest in comfort on the bosom of your God.

He is a teacher with global perspective. He takes the students to further realms of the field of engineering, albeit not in the syllabus, but mainly to quicken the curiosity of the students to pursue higher ground. I remembered how this affected my score in one of the tests we took in Thermodynamics which he taught in those beautiful days. And I realized how this prompted me to dig further on my own into study of energy.
He was a quintessential teacher in theory and practice!

Engineer Kola Akere

Dr. Segun Faniran's tribute

Shared by Oladotun Fagbenle on June 28, 2019

What a terrible loss!!!!
It still beats my imagination how such an affable, easy-going, exceedingly humble and soft-spoken intellectual can suddenly be lost to d cold hands of death.
At every Council meeting when he was Chairman Governing Council of OSCOTECH, he would ensure that he greeted every member with friendly handshakes before d commencement of meeting.
After a much longer exchange of pleasantries with me, he would clasp my hand in his left hand& would go from one member of Council to another in exchange of friendly pleasantries with them in spite of his age& prodigious intellect ( he was lecturer& PhD dissertation supervisor to my former Rector, Engr Dr Oke as well as teacher to d former State Governor, Aregbesola). He would release my hand after he had greeted every member & I would go and take my seat after my thunderous "Ewere leleeee"& his enthusiastic "oke lee re" solidarity chant.
Prof was such a fine gentleman.  The entire OSCOTECH community & Esa Oke indigenes will miss this unique personality.
My Prof & kinsman, continue to rest in perfect peace.

Dr. Olusegun Faniran

Shared by Oladotun Fagbenle on June 21, 2019

Tunde Fagbenle
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“Eyin ibeji, eyin ibeji” (you twins) is how market women call out to us on the few occasions my brother and I find ourselves in any Lagos or Ibadan market.

Twins-looking, yes — sporting the same grey beard and often scruffy sideburns, close in height and look — but the compliment is my brother’s, not mine, for he is almost five years older than I am even if I happen to be his immediate younger one. So, he must be looking good — and I oldish!

My elder brother, Layi, a retired but far from tired distinguished professor of mechanical engineering, turned 70 a few days ago on the 17th.

I grew up wanting to “be” him, as all younger siblings are wont to of their elder. And I recall during our growing up years in Minna, Northern Nigeria, the joy (and honour) it gave me to carry big brother’s school box (we used metal boxes in those days) at the end of each school day; standing sentry by his class at the sound of end-of-school bell, to earn the ‘honours’!

But he was (is) too far good and different from me in brilliance and personality for me to catch up. No greater evidence of this than in him turning out a great scholar and renowned energy consultant (hired by the UN as Director of Energy for Botswana and on the Energy Board for Southern Africa for about four years in the ‘90s) and me a poor pen-pusher, publisher and entrepreneur of sorts — far from my earlier dream of becoming a professor too – if not in engineering, at least in something!

We have our similarities, of course. We both were into sports growing up. He was on his school’s (Igbobi College) football team as junior; and on holidays played on the Minna township team occasionally (with our cousin, the late Ojo Latilo who had fame as one of the country’s first soccer academicals in those glorious years).

And talking of Igbobi College, I erred in last week’s column, saying that the late Ayo Ositelu was classmate of Broda Layi and of Egbon Dele Adetiba. Not so.

As a reader, Onnuola Adewunmi, reacted: “He (Ositelu) was my classmate at Igbobi (‘58-’62). Your brother, Layi and Dele Adetiba, were senior to us by one year – a very important aspect of our life at Igbobi. We dared not call them by name!” I apologise.

As for me, aside from doing a little of this and that, I was part of the Western Region’s Olowu Cup (table-tennis) winning team for my school, the then great Kiriji Memorial College, Igbajo, 1963 to 1965 (we won it in 1963 and were in the finals subsequently).

Broda Layi and I also share great values our parents instilled in us, most of which I have my brother to thank for: leadership, simplicity, humility, integrity, eschewing malice and bitterness, kindness, love, truthfulness, strong family, faith in human beings, and making the world a better place than we met it!

He was one of the early beneficiaries of the African Scholarship Programme of the American universities in those years. He went on to the prestigious University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, both in the USA, obtaining his BS and PhD from the former. He returned to Africa in 1973 via the University of Technology, Kumasi, Ghana, and Nigeria in 1974  to The Polytechnic, Ibadan, where he was a beloved teacher of students, including the State of Osun’s Aregbesola and ex-soccer international, Segun Odegbami.

He became the founding rector of Iree Polytechnic (part of The Polytechnic, Ibadan), Iree, Osun, and moved to the University of Ibadan where he rose to become a professor, having been Head of Department of Mechanical Engineering for many years, before retiring some five years ago. Presently, he is a professor at the OAU, Ife; and consultant on energy to international organisations and governments.

He thus fulfilled the promise he made at age 14 (I was nine) to our grieving parents when their eldest child, our sister Bisi Fagbenle died in 1957 at the then University College, Ibadan, a national figure in her own right (vice-president of the UCI students and the World Universities Students Union who welcomed the Queen on her visit to UCI) — that he would grow to attain the academic heights Bisi would have attained had she lived!

I join his wife and loving kids in Botswana and America, the very large Fagbenle family all over the world, numerous friends, colleagues, students and admirers of this great brother of mine — Professor Richard Olayiwola Fagbenle — to say happy 70th birthday.

May your tribe multiply, brother. I love you.

(This beautiful piece was run in Tunde Fagbenke's column in 2013 when Richard 'Layi Fagbenle turned 70!)

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