ACADEMIC Giant, industrial Expert, Researcher and long-time Professor of Industrial Engineering at the University of Ibadan, Oyo State of Nigeria, Prof. David Ehigie Osifo has passed away.
Professor Osifo passed-on in Ibadan, Oyo State on February 23, 2015 after a brief illness. He was aged 81years; leaving behind his wife of over 50 years, Prof. Bola Olufunke Osifo, children and their spouses, grandchildren, siblings, nephews, nieces and cousins.
A father of industrial engineering in Nigeria, a true patriot, humanitarian and a man of impeccable character, Professor Osifo also left behind, trays of enviable and phenomenal accomplishments in academic, economic, technological and industrial spheres.
Born in Benin City, Edo State on June 26, 1933 to Prince James Osakwe Edegbe Osifo, a timber contractor and grand son of Oba (King) Eresoyen of The Great Benin Kingdom, and Mrs. Edesogie Osifo (nee Edobor), he was a bright child and started school early at Immaculate Conception College (ICC), Benin City.
He later passed the Entrance Examination into highly competitive Saint Patrick’s College, Asaba, in the present Delta State where he made many lifelong friends.
After graduating from SPC, he gained entrance into the University of London, Ibadan Campus where he studied Agriculture and proceeded to complete his PhD degree in Industrial Economics at the University of Manchester in England.
Prior to completing his PhD, he married his sweet heart, Prof. Bola Olufunke Osifo (Nee Faluyi) who was also pursuing her graduate studies abroad. They had their first daughter and son during his PhD studies.
Prof. Osifo refused an appointment at the University of Manchester in 1968 and rather returned to Nigeria to contribute to the development of his country as a Research Fellow at the Nigeria Institute of Social and Economic Research (NISER).
While at NISER, he geared his research activities towards Industrial Economics because he felt that was the key to Nigeria’s economic growth and development.
During the early part of his career, he published extensively on the Economics of the Rice Industry and Sugar Industry. His youngest daughter was born during the NISER Period.
Based on his interest in Engineering Economics and Management, he decided to pursue further training in this area and obtained an AMP in Harvard University, United States of America in 1971.
Because of his belief in academic excellence, he continued to pursue further knowledge at the U.S. World Class Universities, such as UCLA and Stanford where he underwent further studies for a Post-Doctoral Program in Industrial Engineering with focus on Engineering Management.
Following his post-doctoral program, he moved to the Faculty of Technology, Department of Agricultural Engineering and Forestry Engineering at the University of Ibadan in 1976 asActing Head of the Department.
In 1981, he set up the first Department of Engineering Management and Industrial Engineering in Nigeria which is based at Faculty of Technology, University of Ibadan.
Since then, the University has produced many eminent alumni across the world, including several academics in Nigeria and USA as well as many Managing Directors of Industrial Organizations with in the country.
Professor Osifo endowed an Annual Prize for the best graduating student with a 1st Class Honors degree in Industrial Engineering at the Ivory Tower.
He was also a Founding Fellow of the Nigeria Institute of Industrial Engineers.
Regarded in many ways as the Father of Industrial Engineering in Nigeria, the Academic Luminary organized the first Conference on Industrial Engineering in the country and published several papers in International Journals in his field and a book, “The   Role of Technology in the Industrial Development of Nigeria,” which on last check is available in several countries including 27 University Libraries in United States.
Several of Prof. Osifo’s views on Industrial and Technology development are still pertinent, as Nigeria still struggles to implement its Industrial and technological goals.
Based on his passion for academic excellence, he was then invited as a Foundation Professor and Rector at BENSU (Now Ambrose Alli University) to set up the College of Engineering and Technology.
Professor Osifo’s enthusiasm and dynamism were so evident that he was given the responsibility to set up second College–College of Environmental Design.
As usual, he succeeded in setting up both colleges, attracting international and local faculty members to join him in this venture.
This new responsibility provided him an opportunity to help build the capacity of the country to produce engineering, architectural, building and other professionals that could catalyze the Nigerian Industrial Revolution.
After retiring from BENSU in 1988, he offered his time voluntarily to lecture at the Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Ibadan.
Late Prof. Osifo was also active in non-academic activities. He was a former Director of the New Nigeria Bank, who helped to start up its London branch in 1980.
He served as a Consultant to UNIDO and other Nigeria establishments e.g. Bacita Sugar Industry and old Mid-West State of Nigeria.
Prof. Osifo is maternal uncle of Publisher, Emmanuel Okunmwendia.
The funeral for the late Professor Osifo will begin in Ibadan, Oyo State tomorrow Tuesday, March 10, 2015 with a wake keeping at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Catholic Chapel University of Ibadan, beginning at 5 pm.
Wednesday March 11, 2015 at 8 am there will be lying-in-state at the Frenchard Hall of the University and a funeral mass thereafter at 10 am at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Catholic Chapel.
The funeral will move to Benin City on Thursday March 12, 2015, beginning with a funeral mass at St. Paul Catholic Church, Airport Road, Benin City at 10 am and interment thereafter at 1 pm  at his GRA’s residence.
The funeral will climax with a reception for guests at Celebration Gardens, No. 1 Obasogie Street, GRA, Benin City.

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