Tribute To Professor Aize I.O. Obayan (1960 – 2019)

I could not do any tribute during her funeral service because everything look strange and it was difficult recovering from her sudden and shocking demise. However, the only thing I struggled to do is to wait for 4th March, which is her birthday. I remember how I would have send my birthday message of encomiums and wishes and how it would have be colliding with several hundreds of messages that will be beeping in her phone.

Mama, as we call her (those of us that worked with her) once asked me why we call her “Mama” or “Iya”, she said the office is a corporate place and we should keep it so, but she kept correcting us until she gets tired doing so, there was nothing else we could have called her other than Mama. She was a Boss that relate with her staff more like a mother. She depicted every epitome of Motherhood. She was always interested in what her staff are passing through and how she can come to their rescue and bring in a soothing relief.

The memories I have of Professor Obayan are enormous; I remember the doggedness she displayed towards ensuring that every assignment turn out excellently well. She ensures that I was drilled and shaped to fit her metric for administrative dexterity. She made sure I read books especially leadership books and biographies. Many of these books she gave me as gifts…one of which I can never forget because of the story she told me before recommending that I read the book is “the leader who had no title” by Robin Sharma.

She told me severally that I have to develop myself in order to compete in career, work-life and in the world. She said I should invest in myself and not to wait for someone else to do it for me. Mama make certain that these things happen to me as she will always follow up on me.

I remember the first time I flew in an airplane and all the jokes she made of it. She ensured that I obtained an International Passport because according to her, I will go places and that I should be prepared for it. We travelled together to several places, she will never leave us to ourselves, she will be sure that we are comfortable. This often sounds funny to me because of the way she monitor and cater for us. She makes sure that we get the best treatment even if it will mean that she will deprive herself of some pleasures or personal resources. I wonder at that kind of leadership

What about those discussions, those secrets and talks we shared together, she will dig deep and probe until you pour out all the hidden thoughts in your heart to her. She listens carefully and counsels adequately. Maybe that is why she excelled beyond innumerable measure as a Counseling Psychologist and a celebrated teacher.

When she reprimands or correct mistakes or errors, she will never do it in the public or in the presence of another person. At the same time she will give pleasant compliments and accolades of you to an outsider, most times her guests, friends or colleagues. There was a day she gave me a query in one of those times in the office and warned me not to dispatch it to the concerned offices because she said the communication is between myself and her. I still have my copy of the query.

I can go on and on because she actually emptied herself in us, her legacy lives on through the impacts she showered on us.

She tread paths that others dare not tread, I smile when I hear people say fictitious things about her because I know her, I know the kind of heart she has for the people that surrounds her and the society at large. I remember one of her reactions to a paper presentation she did for the Nigerian Senate Committee on Education in 2013. The paper took us about two (2) months to prepare but she was given only ten (10) minutes to present it. I was astonished myself. She said to me after the event, “This is a government seeking for ways to unravel the challenges and proffer solutions to the situation of education in the country but is not ready to listen to the solutions.

She served God with all her heart and it is obvious, she detest spiritual eye-service with passion. One of her popular biblical caption is Leviticus 6:12a, “And the fire upon the altar shall be burning in it; it shall not be put out…”

We love Mama, Professor Aize Obayan but God loves her best.

Rest on God’s Hand Maiden.

Rest on Lofty Captive.

Adieu Mama!

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