It was an afternoon of tributes and honour as the chairman of Tricontinental Group, Chief Olabintan Famutimi, was honoured with the Distinguished Partner in Science Award by the Prof. Stephen Awokoya
Foundation. Samuel Ajayi, who witnessed the event, reportsÂ
It was a day of glory and honour for theÂ Chairman of Tricontinetal Oil Services Limited, Chief Ajiboro Olabintan Famutimi, when he was named among the three honorees for this yearâ€™s Stephen Oluwole Awokoya
He was awarded the Distinguished Partner in Science Education Award.Â Other honorees were Engr. Gregory Ero, chairman of Arkleen Oil and Gas Limited as well as Dame Winifred Akpani, the chief executive officer of Northwest Petroleum and Gas Company Limited.
At the Muson Centre venue of the ceremony, political leaders, captains of industry, technocrats as well as many other distinguished Nigerians were present, not only to witness the ceremony but to also honour after whom the foundation was instituted, the late Professor Steve Awokoya.
Born in 1913, Awokoya was the first Nigerian to receive a degree in Chemistry and was also the first minister of education in the old Western Region as well as being the first Nigerian Chief Federal Adviser on Education. By time Awokoya retired from UNESCO in 1973, he had risen to the post of Deputy Director General for Science which was the highest non-political post at the organisation.
In his remarks, after receiving the award, Chief Famutimi thanked the foundation for recognising him and honouring him with the award. â€œIt was a great day in my life. I thank the Foundation and promise that whatever the Foundation saw in me that made her give me this honour I will keep it and we will continue support the foundation through my company, the Tricontinental Group, for many years to come.â€
Speaking further, he believed to be considered worthy of being recognised by a foundation in the name of this distinguished Nigerian was not only a massive encouragement for him but a call to duty to continue to invest more in the sponsorship of indigent Nigerians through school so they too could be useful to the society.
Famutimi himself, in an earlier interview with THISDAY, said he wanted to be remembered as someone who touched lives and assisted others to realise their dreams.
â€œI want to be remembered for touching lives because I have spent the better part of my live touching lives. I have mentored and still mentoring so many people. Right now, I am setting up a Foundation which will be registered early next year and the purpose will be to give scholarship to children of the less privileged people in my place of birth in Ondo. I have virtually invited those who will be the trustees. The papers are with the lawyers and when the perfect it, I hope to launch it next year. So I want to be remembered for touching lives, touching lives and touching lives,â€ Famutimi stated.
Apart from being chairman of Tricontinental Oil Services Limited, Famutimi is also the chairman of other companies like Mavlin Projects Limited, Tirangular Properties Limited, McDorsey Limited, Dynamics Capital Services Limited as well as Nigerian-Romanian Wood Industries Limited. He was at time the chairman of Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce, member of Rotary Club of Ikeja, where he was one time president and a life member of Ikoyi Club 38.
In his welcome address, the foundationâ€™s board of trusteesâ€™ chairman, Senator Olabiyi Durojaiye, extolled the virtues of Awokoya as a scholar and educationist.
â€œAs the first minister of Education in the old western region from 1952 to 1956, Chief Awokoya implemented the Universal Free Education Scheme and as first Nigerian Chief Federal Adviser on Education in 1961, he was instrumental in the take-off of the African Scholarship Programme for American Universities ASPAU,â€ Durojaiye said.
On the award of honors and postgraduate scholarships, Durojaiye made it known that N300,000.00 was given to each postgraduate student in science-related disciplines as scholarship to cover tuition and boarding throughout the study period. The awards will be renewed every year for three years, depending on the recipientsâ€™ good performance. The recipients are: Ayomide Moheeb, Patience Uju Abafor, Abiola Oyelere, Chima Oge Chukwudi, Inioluwa Adedapo, Mmesoma Mgboko and Abigail Makolo.
Speaking further, Durojaye said:Â â€œThis year, seven postgraduate students were given N300,000.00 (Three hundred thousand naira) each as scholarship, also as we confer the 2018 Distinguished Partner in Science Education Award on three business people, the three awardees include Chairman, Arkleen Oil and Gas Limited, Dr.( Engr.) Gregory Ero, Chairman Tricontinental Group, Chief Olabintan Famutimi and CEO Northwest Petroleum & Gas Company Ltd, Dame Winifred Akpani.â€
The foundationâ€™s annual lecture with the theme: Consequences of Climate Change in Nigeria: Strategies for Mitigation and Adaptation, was delivered by Prof Kehinde Olayinka from the Department of Chemistry, University of Lagos.
Guests at the event included the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, and Senate Chief Whip, Prof Olusola Adeyeye United States Consul-General in Lagos, John Bray; Prof Ibidapo Obe (SAN), among others. The Ooni, who was represented by two traditional rulers from Ife, Oba Johnson Fayemi and Oba Adekunle Adebowale, said â€œany right-thinking Nigerian would be in support of this foundation.â€ He urged the recipients to maintain the foundationâ€™s ideals of excellence and reciprocate the good gesture.
Senator Adeyeye extolled the virtues of the late Awokoya, in whose memory the foundation was established. He said the old Western Region Free Education Programme allowed him, the son of a native doctor go to school. Adeyeye added â€œKnowledge is powerâ€