Obituary: Professor Mike Ogbeidi
Mike should be the one to announce my death; but God works in His own ways. The news of his death last Saturday was devastating. His colleagues and friends were in shock. When I spoke with Professor Funke Adeboye, his predecessor as Chair of the History Department, University of Lagos, she was still dealing with the pain. And as Professor Muyiwa Falaiye, the Dean of the Faculty, told me: "Because we are pencils in the hands of the creator, we accept His verdict and the portrait he makes of us." Indeed, we are all pencils in the hands of God. As I read the Dean's thoughtful note, my own mind takes me back to my days in the choir when I looked at coffins before me:
"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly."
The last time I saw him was last year when he read a generous and magnanimous citation on me before I gave the lecture to mark the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Department of History, University of Lagos. He was always generous to me, twice asking me to keynote the conferences that he organized, but twice I disappointed him because of an intense and brutal schedule.
He made his mark in the field of business history. His book on Nigerian business history is a fitting capstone to his writing career, revealing his research and writing strategies over the years. Dr. Ogbeidi's essays on entrepreneurs, key business figures, education and educators represent a diverse output, notable for its range and quality. His publications attest to a level of scholarly engagement that have enabled us to widen the frontiers of Nigerian historiography, and to pay attention to new topics.
We will miss him.