Monday, June 26, 2023

PROF. LAI OSO IS ALIVE! By Jamiu Folarin

I was struck by disbelief when I came across a Facebook post claiming that Professor Lai Oso  had passed away. As a fact checker, I took it upon myself to verify the information. After thorough investigation and considering his profound impact on countless lives, including my own, I can confidently declare that Prof. Lai Oso is alive.

While it is true that Prof. Oso Lai is a mortal being, his selfless service to humanity ensures that his legacy will endure forever.

I had the privilege of meeting Professor Oso about 23 years ago when I was a student at Moshood Abiola Polytechnic Abeokuta (MAPOLY). However, most of my knowledge of him stems from the impactful legacy he left behind, as our personal interaction was brief.

Although our physical interactions were brief, I learned a great deal from the lasting impact he had left.

Our paths crossed again six years later at the Olabisi Onabanjo University Ago Iwoye. Despite his short tenure, his academic brilliance illuminated the Department of Mass Communication and the entire university.

When I pursued my MSc at the University of Lagos (UNILAG), I had the privilege of experiencing the intellectual richness of his contributions to the field of media studies.


In 2018, I began to have closer interactions with Professor Oso when I attended the academic conference in Asaba organized by the Association of Communication Scholars and Professionals of Nigeria ACSPN. The conference focused on "fake news" and sparked my current research interest. Despite being in the early stages of my career, he welcomed me into the team organizing the next conference.

A few months later, we met at a conference at Ado Ekiti, where he motivated me by emphasising that consistency in my efforts would lead to great success.

I fondly remember an experience when we traveled together by public transport and encountered a terrible traffic jam on our way to Ogun State. He engaged with fellow passengers, showing his down-to-earth nature. When we reached Sagamu late at night and it was unsafe for me and my colleague, Mrs Bolanle Ismail, to proceed to Abeokuta, he graciously hosted us in his home, providing top-notch hospitality. He treated us like his own children.

With his remarkable contributions and guidance in 2019, Crescent University Abeokuta became the Southwest headquarters of ACSPN, hosted the 2019 ACSPN conference, and commemorated the 160th anniversary of journalism in Nigeria by simulating the first newspaper in Nigeria, Iwe Iroyin.

As our external examiner at the Mass Communication Department of Crescent University Abeokuta, I always looked forward to his assessments, as I learned a great deal from them. Whenever our HOD, Dr Kola Adesina announce that he will be visiting for this exercise, I am always excited. 

In addition to my involvement with Professor Oso through ACSPN and Crescent University, he also served as a board member of The Center for Research on Development of African Media, Governance, and Society. (CEREDEMS-Africa), contributing to the understanding of the campaign and media landscape during the 2023 presidential election.

He initiated the opportunity for me to earn a substantial amount of money through academic writing, reaching up to half a million naira. Despite my failure to fulfill his request and add academic and financial value to my life, he continued to provide mentorship and support for my academic and professional growth.

At LAGOS STATE UNIVERSITY. (LASU) and every other place I've been, his name is synonymous with selfless service, making the academic journey smoother for those striving to climb the ladder of knowledge. He is an exemplary mentor, a bridge builder, a devoted family man, an exceptional administrator, and a selfless individual.


Professor Oso is very much alive, as his impact and meaningful existence have given rise to countless human lives, which will continue to flourish.

I firmly believe that there is no other living or deceased academic in Nigeria who has played such a pivotal role in fostering the emergence of communication scholars across various educational levels, ranging from ND, HND, BSc, MPhil, PhD, and Professorship. This impact will persist even after his eventual passing. From the southern to the northern parts of Nigeria, as well as different regions of Africa and the world, he serves as an academic father figure to many.

I now understand the essence of a prayer from one of my spiritual teachers: "May you never die." I aspire to live on, much like Professor Lai Oso, through the lives he has impacted and the everlasting remembrance of his invaluable contributions.

Prof. Lai Oso's enduring impact and everlasting memory will forever be etched in his dedicated service to humanity!

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