CONSCIENCE, NURTURED BY TRUTH
LAGOS, NIGERIA. Friday, August 15 2003
TRIBUTES yesterday poured in torrents for the first African Principal of King's College, Lagos, the late Chief Rex Edijana Akpofure as a commemorative Assembly was held in his honour.
Akpofure, an educationist and a cricketer of great repute, died on June 10, 2003.
The commemorative assembly/lying in state was organised by King's College Old Boys Association (KCOBA) and was held in the school compound.
Extolling Akpofure's virtues, the President of the Old Boys, Chief Tunde Oshobi, said: "An occasion like this also affords us the opportunity to reflect and take stock of our lives, with a view to learning from the lives of others and adjusting our ways especially when we have the opportunity to know about or to have interacted with great minds, their exemplary contribution to the society and indelible marks left by our departed ones".
He observed that "of late, godfatherism has assumed an uncomfortable dimension in Nigeria politics", and emphasised, however, that godfatherism, which Akpofure represented in the administration of KCOBA, would remain crucial to the success of any KCOBA Executive Committee".
Also, the treasurer of the association, J. A. A Adebayo, said: "Rex lived a fulfilled life but if we had our way, people like him should never die; at least not now.
"As we bid his mortal body farewell, let us not mourn like people without hope, but rather, celebrate his life, his great examples worthy of emulation, his excellent virtue, his legacies in the field of education, the inspirations we derived and will continue to derive from the knowledge of our happy associations with him", he added.
In his tribute, Dr. Yemi Ogunbiyi, representing the 1964-1968 set, said: "In a country that truly acknowledges public service, people like Rex Akpofure never die - they live on, through their works, in the hearts and minds of many generations after them".
Bidding the late educationist farewell, Ogunbiyi added: "Walk tall amongst the ancestors because you have earned for yourself a place of rest amongst them. Goodnight and good-bye".
And for the King's College teaching staff, represented by Mr. J.O. Abolade, "Akpofure led such an unswervingly purposeful and dedicated life that his departure represents a serious diminution of the ranks of Nigerian citizens who still treasure the values and ideals which he espoused".
They added: "We mourn that his sonorous voice is now stilled forever and that we will no longer be able to share with him the constant diet of dialects which he so much cherished".
They called on others to be inspired to plant their feet in the remarkable footprints of Akpofure.
And to the body of cricketers in Nigeria Akpofure would be
missed as "our patron, mentor and partner in our mission to develop
Nigerian youths through cricket".