Some scholars have eulogised late Prof. Akintoye Coker, a prominent scientist at University of Lagos (UNILAG)
UNILAG Provost, College of Medicine, Prof. Afolabi Lesi, described the death of Prof. Akintoye Coker as creting a vacuum that will be difficult to fill in a long time.
According to Lesi, Nigeria, and the world, had lost one of the finest researchers in recent times and a scholar of repute.
Lesi was speaking on Tuesday on the the sidelines of the Day of Tributes and funeral ceremony organised by the Department of Medical Microbiology and the mentees of the late scholar in Lagos.
Lesi noted that Coker’s death had left a huge gap that would take some time to fill in his area of specialty.
“Prof. Coker was an icon in his field of research, that is just about Campylobactar jejuni, which is an organism that is related to things that cause infections in the gastrointestinal track.
“He was a fantastic teacher, highly spiritual, someone who loved teaching and loved his students.
“This is the kind of quality needed in our university system across the country.
“He had a fatherly relationship with his students and was interested in their progress.
“Today’s ceremony is something we do for our distinguished professors and people who have passed through here and have served the college with distinction.
“It is a way of just honouring them and also expressing to the family how much we appreciate them and what they did in their time.
“We will definitely miss him and we ask God to rest his soul in peace,” Lesi said.
Another scholar, Prof. Wellington Oyibo, one of the mentees of the late Coker, described him as a visionary person and an academic icon.
Oyibo, who is a professor of Medical Parasitology, College of Medicine, UNILAG, eulogised the late Coker for his values and contributions to the education sector.
He said such were needed for the much needed growth and development in the country.
“Late Prof. Coker was my mentor. He was a visionary person, an erudite academic, a scholar of repute and we have summarised him as an academic icon.
“A person who took time l to build capacity in the health professions in his work in the college of medicine for over 39 years is worth celebrating.
“So, this day of tributes put together by his mentees and the Department of Medical Microbiology is to say Prof, you came and you did what God asked you to do and it indeed impacted our lives, and that we are grateful,” he said.
He said that the mentees held in high esteem, all the values the late professor instilled in them in his lifetime.
“What we are trying to do as well, is to use him to mirror those who are on ground now, that if you do well, you will be celebrated.
“I pray God will grant him eternal rest.
“We have just lost one of the finest researchers and a great scholar and academic, not only in Nigeria, but the world in general,” he said.
A Professor of Medical Virology in the Department of Medical Microbiology and Parasitology, UNILAG, Sunday Omilabu, said Coker offered him employment into the university.
“Late Prof. Coker was the one that employed me as a lecturer in 1991 and so whatever I am today, I pay that tribute to him.
“If he did not employ me, I would not have been a member of faculty today. And so I return all the glory to God.
“He was a father to all of us. I joined at a very tender age and I was yet to complete my Ph.D.
“He took it upon himself to start guiding me on how I would complete this programme on time.
“It is that Ph.D that has made me a part of that faculty and I owe that to him,” he said.