By Aondover Eric Msughter
It has been difficult for me to script this tribute in respect to a distinguished and accomplished scholar, Professor Lai Oso. The shocking news with the caption “Renowned Communication Professor, Lai Oso, is Dead” literarily sent me to coma. Haaaa! Prof. Oso now been referred to in the past, I still cannot comprehend it!! Please, do not be surprised if you see me carrying a lantern in broad daylight!!! Just know that I am searching for Professor Lai Oso or another Lai Oso. O death, where is thy sting?
Professor Oso was an embodiment of pure love for humanity, devoid of any hidden and selfish tendency. He took everyone as his son or daughter, and embraced all and sundry without discrimination as to tribe, religion, and status. Professor Oso was a scholar per excellence, a symbol of hope and integrity in the field of media and communication across Africa, nay globally. He was a distinguished achiever, an accomplished scholar, and a goal-getter. He would never give up on pursuing any goal he had, especially when it concerned students, which he doggedly struggled for until his last breath.
There was hardly any accredited Department of Mass Communication or professional organisation in Nigeria and beyond, that did not have something to do with him. It was either Prof. Oso taught you in class, he taught your lecturer, or he was your external examiner. He was a well-respected scholar in the academia and beyond. He had been exceptionally helpful to my professional advancement. I learnt and benefited in many ways from him. Apart from helping me to expand my circle of friends, he spurred me into action. At the time I was reluctant to write, he literally forced me to do so, and at the time I wanted to rest for hours, he drummed into my ears the futility of leaving my potentials locked up in my brain, which significantly stimulated and sustained my desire in scholarship.
My encounters with Prof. Oso on many occasions where he led in public lectures were life-enriching. His relationship with students was consistently excellent, which is another legacy that should instruct all of us. He always wished the students to be greater than their lecturers in life achievements and many students loved him for that. Indeed, we will miss Prof. Oso’s handshake, goodwill, advice, and smiles that would uplift anyone’s spirit. He was a peerless scholar whose linkages and connections traversed the Nigerian landscape. He was a great teacher, an intellectual and great scholar of sobriety and integrity, and a professor whose imprints are all over the world.
Anyone who belonged and still belongs to Prof. Oso’s school of thought and ideology cannot be associated with laziness, evil, wickedness or maltreatment of students or indifference to what affects the people. He not only spoke about injustice against students but did something about it whenever he got to know of such. He was humble, highly detribalized, and an unrepentant stickler for modest living style. May the Almighty God grant the soul of Prof. Lai Oso eternal rest. You were a great scholar who served the discipline well. Adieu Professor Lai Oso.
Aondover Eric Msughter writes from the Department of Mass Communication, Caleb University, Imota, Lagos. Email: [email protected]