Obaseki, Okowa, Salami mourn Professor Alele-Williams
Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, yesterday, mourned the passing of renowned mathematician and former Vice-Chancellor (VC) of the University of Benin (UNIBEN), Prof. Grace Alele-Williams.
Also, his Delta State counterpart, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, condoled with her family.
Alele-Williams died, on Friday, in Lagos at the age of 89.
Meanwhile, the VC of UNIBEN, Prof. Lilian Salami, on behalf of the Governing Council, Management, staff, alumni and students, expressed sadness over her demise.
Obaseki, in a statement, described Prof. Alele-Williams as “an Amazon, who trod where others dreaded…” and lauded her unmatched devotion to national development.
The governor said Prof. Alele-Williams was a thoroughbred academic, who left an indelible mark of dutiful service, hard work, diligence and determination.
He said: “As the first female Nigerian to earn a doctorate degree in mathematics, Prof. Alele-Williams was a woman of many firsts. She shattered the glass ceiling and didn’t look back thereafter.
“When she became the first-ever female VC of a Nigerian university, she shone brightly as a fearless administrator and restored sanity to the higher institution during a period of social upheaval.”
Okowa, in a condolence message signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Olisa Ifeajika, yesterday, in Asaba, Okowa, said Alele-Williams was a “great role model to the female gender, whom she inspired with her brilliance and diligence. ”
He enjoined family members, the academia and the Itsekiri nation; to thank God that she lived a life of great impact.
Okowa recalled that she worked assiduously to stamp out cultism at UNIBEN, noting that her drive and love for knowledge earned her many recognitions and awards in Nigeria and abroad.
“Alele-Williams was an illustrious daughter of the state. Recently, we honoured her and other illustrious Deltans during the state’s 30th-anniversary celebration.
“She would be greatly missed by those whose lives she impacted and inspired in very many ways,” Okowa said.
Salami described her as an iconic giant, who broke the glass ceiling for other women to blossom.
She said a condolence register in her honour would be opened at the VC’s Office, UNIBEN, while the institution’s flag would fly at half-mast.