Dr. Olubunmi Felix Olukayode Owoso was born on Sunday, October 23, 1949 to Mr. Solomon Sunday Akinyemi Owoso from the Akinjokun family of Odo-oja, Ijebu-jesa and Mrs. Esther Onaola Owoso of the Kuponiyi family from the Ajigiteri ruling house, Okenisha compound, also in Ijebu-jesa. He was raised primarily by his grandparents. This gave him a rare opportunity to develop strong relationships with family members and friends outside of his nuclear family, a virtue that remained with him for the rest of his life.
In addition to having a vibrant and social childhood, Olubunmi Owoso was academically successful from his early years. He attended All-Saints Primary School, Osogbo and obtained his First School Leaving Certificate in December 1962. He had his secondary education at Ogbomoso Grammar School, Ogbomoso between 1963 and 1967 before joining Egbado College, Ilaro, where he obtained his Higher School Certificate (HSC).
His first job was as a teacher at Otan-Aiyegbaju Secondary School, Otan-Aiyegbaju. He also taught briefly at St. Lawrence’s Grammar School, Ilesa (1972-1973) and Victory College, Ikare (1973-1974).
Olubunmi Owoso graduated from the University of Ibadan in 1972 with a B.Sc. (Hons) in Agriculture. He also obtained an M.Sc. in Food Technology (1981) from University of Reading, UK and M.Sc. in Development Studies (1995) from London South Bank University. In the year 2013, he obtained his Ph.D. in Management Science from Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso, Nigeria.
Dr. Olubunmi Owoso was an influential leader and successful academic. He served as Head of the Department of Food Technology at Kaduna Polytechnic from October, 1981 to September, 1985 before moving to the Yaba College of Technology, Nigeria’s premier higher educational institution, in 1987. From January 1992 to June 1993, he served as a visiting lecturer at the Department of Biotechnology, South Bank Polytechnic UK, (now, London South Bank University) on a staff exchange programme between Yaba College of Technology and South Bank Polytechnic. At Yaba College of Technology, he served meritoriously as the Head of the Department of Food Technology; Chairman, Senior Staff Association; National President, Polytechnic Staff Association of Nigeria (POSSAN); Director of the School of Applied Sciences; Deputy-Rector (Academics) and 2-term Rector of the College (2001-2009). As Rector, he instituted many reforms and projects that included the establishment of the Centre for Entrepreneurship Development, Centre for Applied Research and Technology Innovation, the Internal Quality Assurance Unit and the Servicom Unit, as well as a satellite campus of the college, in Epe, Lagos state, for agriculture programmes, and a skills development centre. His passion for industry-higher education collaboration, led to the admission of Yaba College of Technology as the first educational institution corporate member of both the Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME) and the Nigeria-South Africa Chamber of Commerce (NSACC). The National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP) also designated the college as an Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer Office (IPTTO), to promote interaction and strengthen the linkage between educational/research institutions and industries.
At the age of 62, he was nominated by the Federal Government as Nigeria’s representative for the position of Secretary General / Chief Executive Officer of the Commonwealth Association of Technical Universities and Polytechnics in Africa (CAPA), Nairobi, Kenya; where he served from March 2012 to December 2018. As the Secretary General of CAPA, he was responsible for the overall management of the organization, various project initiatives and strategies, as well as activities that successfully promoted partnerships and capacity building in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), entrepreneurship education, applied research and innovation, and policy advocacy for the production of adequate skilled technical manpower, job creation and industrial development in CAPA member countries.
Over the years, he achieved various professional qualifications, including a Certificate in Microcredit and Small Enterprise Development (awarded by the Israeli Centre for International Development and African Development Finance Institutions in July, 2000); Certificate in Microeconomic Policy Analysis (April, 1998) and Certificate in Poverty Alleviation Policies and Strategies (September, 2000) – both awarded by the National Centre for Economic Management, Nigeria; and Certificate in Innovation for Economic Development (Harvard Kennedy School, USA in April, 2016). He was a Fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Food Science and Technology (2000); Fellow, Academy for Entrepreneurial Studies, Nigeria (2008); and Fellow, Nigerian Institute of Management (2015).
He served on the Executive Board of several national and international organizations including the Commonwealth Consortium for Education (CCfE); the World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics (WFCP); and the Coalition on Media and Education for Development Africa Forum (CAFOR) based at the headquarters of the African Union Commission in Addis Ababa. CAFOR’s mission is to promote communication as a core element of education and youth development that will focus on youth labour force participation with a focus on reform in the agricultural sector in Africa as a start. He also served as a Technology Management Consultant and Development Practitioner on the Board of Directors of Technovate Africa Consulting.
Dr. Owoso’s outstanding achievements did not go without recognition. His achievements earned him numerous awards even from his days as a young student. These include the Engr. Adenrele Adejumo Prize for the Best Student in Chemistry (1968); The John F. Kennedy Memorial Essay Contest (1968), and his selection by the Tribune as one of the 50 Most Eminent Indigenes of Osun State ( in 2001). In August 2012, he was conferred with the National Productivity Order of Merit (NPOM) award by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, for his outstanding contributions to human resource development in Nigeria.
Dr. Olubunmi Owoso was a committed family man who loved his family dearly. Time would demand from him unusual strength and courage when his wife, Mrs. Taiwo Folasade Owoso (nee Abiona), died on July 6, 1998. He raised six children, all the while remaining steadfast in his career. He remained a widower for ten years before getting married in 2008, to Dr. Mrs. Jokotade Omotayo Owoso (formerly Mrs. Jokotade Agbaje-Williams nee Alabi), also a successful academic and an accomplished staff of Yaba College of Technology.
Dr. Olubunmi Owoso was also a very committed christian. He always appreciated and testified to the abundant grace of God as the source of all his achievements which led to the attainment of all his life goals, except one; and was determined upon turning 70 to devote the rest of his life to growing in the knowledge of God, His will, His service and evangelism. He had planned to enrol at a Bible College. He never failed to add “by the grace of God” whenever he talked about any plans or goals he had. He was very passionate about living out the Christian faith through acts of charity and welfare, a veritable tool for the growth of the early church (Acts 2:44-47). His service to the Almighty God was a very important part of his life.
He was a member of the Foursquare Gospel Church, National Headquarters at Akinwunmi Street, Yaba, and was also a pioneer member of the Foursquare Gospel Church, Yabatech Area, (Sanctuary of Praise) which was established on December 17, 2000. From the early days to date, he opened his home to the church to be used as a Home and Life Centre. He freely gave his time and resources to the work of the Lord, particularly towards welfare, missions and church growth. At the time of his passing unto glory, he was the chairman of the welfare committee of the Foursquare Gospel Church, Yabatech Area. His philanthropic nature endeared him to the Foursquare Students’ Fellowship in Yabatech, which he supported on an annual basis.
He was the pioneer Chairman of the Gabriel Olukayode Ariyibi Educational and Vocational Endowment Committee (now the Gabriel Olukayode Ariyibi Foundation), set up in honour of the late pioneer pastor of the Foursquare Gospel Church, Yabatech Area. The foundation was established as an outreach arm of the church which serves to identify and provide financial, technical and strategic assistance to individuals who need support in their educational or vocational endeavours. During his time as Chairman, he developed a policy to guide the committee towards the achievement of set goals. He also partnered with the Council of Foursquare Men (CFM), to organize an entrepreneurship programme towards achieving the goals of the committee, with subsequent grants given to deserving recipients.
In recognition of his visionary leadership and admirable administrative attributes, he was appointed the Chairman of the Church’s expansion project on 14 Eletu Odibo Street, Abule-Ijesha, Yaba, Lagos, in 2019. Under his watch, the church secured an additional property for her expansion project. He remained dedicated to the Lord’s work until his passing unto glory and even delivered the Father’s day sermon on June 21, 2020.
Dr. Olubunmi Owoso lived a life of sacrifice, generosity, love, humility, kindness and care for the welfare of others. He was in every sense a father to many and loved people dearly. A man of faith; his life remains an inspiration to all who knew him. His passion for the development of Africa through advancement in technical and vocational education remains a legacy worth pursuing. He will be sorely missed.
May his gentle soul rest in perfect peace in Jesus Name. Amen.