Lai Oso: When Iroko Tree Falls| By Sunday Saanu

Where does one begin this kind of lachrymal elegy? Obviously, one is in considerable sadness over the passing of this communication colossus, Prof. Olayiwola Muraino Oso popularly known as “Lai Oso” who died Saturday June 24, 2023 in a motor accident on his way back to Lagos from Abraka, Delta State, where he had gone to examine a doctoral dissertation.

Prof. Oso was at various times a lecturer of mass communication in different higher institutions where he had opportunities of training many thousands of students, a majority of whom are professional communicators today. For instance, he was a rave of the moment at Ogun State Polytechnic, (as it was then known); now Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Abeokuta, Mass Communication department for many years before he went to Ogun State University, Ago Iwoye and later to Lagos State University.

Until his death, he was the current President, Association of Communication Scholars and Professionals of Nigeria (ACSPN). He had his first degree at the University of Lagos, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife (M.Sc. International Relations) and he obtained a Ph.D degree in Mass Communication as a Federal Government scholar at the University of Leicester, England in 1977.

Interrogated: the state of Nigerian roads. It is stating the obvious to say that most Nigerian roads are roads to ruins. Many of Nigerian highways are death traps. In February 2014, three professors of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria died in an auto crash. The academics including Prof. Samuel Kafewo, Dr. Martins Ayegba and Nanaaisha Ali perished on Nigerian road in Kaduna while going for a conference. I also recall that one of my favourite writers, Festus Iyayi died on the road in a ghastly motor accident while plying his trade of knowledge sharing. Is this not another opportunity to call on the government to do the needful about the condition of Nigerian roads? Must we be losing our eggheads who sacrifice so much but get so little to accident on our bad roads? Prof. Oso’s death came when the University of Ibadan (UI) community has yet to recover from the killing of Prof. Opeyemi Isaac Ajewole who was murdered recently by yet-to-be identified assailants. When a professor dies, a lot of investment is destroyed. It took so much to produce a professor. The amount of knowledge that is wasted is unquantifiable. The country is robbed of their intellectual resources. The students are denied the privilege of learning from cultivated minds . Unfortunately, professors are not easy to replace.
For Prof. Oso, I reluctantly say goodnight much earlier than I had hoped. Better than a thousand days of diligent study is one day with a great scholar like you. You shall be sorely missed. Each time you saw my article in newspapers, you would call me and praise my efforts. Now that luxury of hearing your voice is gone . You taught me at Ogun Poly, you examined my thesis in the University of Ibadan. Now, you have left me! I am so sad and inconsolable! Rest on, “Oso, Oba Theories”

Saanu (08034073427) is with the University of Ibadan and could be reached via

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