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Ogunnaike’s Death – Ten Things To Know About The Co-Author Of Nigerian Anthem




Late Babatunde Ogunnaike, Co-author Nigeria's National Anthem

Nigeria’s National Anthem co-author, Prof. Babatunde Ogunnaike is dead.

Naija News reports that there is limited information made available regarding the death of the Ijebu Igbo, Ogun State-born academician.

Ogunnaike who would have been 66 years of age on March 26, died at 65, just a few weeks to his next birthday.

Ten Important Things To Know About The Deceased:

1- Babatunde Ogunnaike was one of five citizens whose words and phrases were combined to form the nation’s anthem. Others were: John A. Ilechukwu, Eme Etim Akpan, Sota Omoigui, and P.O. Aderibigbe.

2- The Statistician obtained his First degree at the University of Lagos, graduating with First Class Honours in chemical engineering in 1976.

3- The deceased obtained his M.Sc. degree in statistics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a PhD in chemical engineering also from the same university in 1981.

4- Ogunnaike was a research engineer with the process control group of the Shell Development Corporation in Houston, Texas from 1981 to 1982 – [Wikipedia].

5- He has no fewer than 21 honours and fellowships.

6-  Worked as a researcher for DuPont and was also a consultant to several companies including Gore, PPG Industries, and Corning Inc.

7- He joined the faculty of the University of Delaware in 2002 and was appointed to the William L. Friend Professorship of Chemical Engineering in 2008.

8- The deceased acted as interim Dean of the College of Engineering at the University of Delaware beginning in July 2011 and was named Dean of the College of Engineering effective July 1, 2013.

9- Ogunnaike retired as Dean on October 1, 2018, but remained on the faculty.

10- Ogunnaike had battled with cancer for years and eventually died on February 20, 2022, but his demise was made public on Tuesday 9today), Naija News reports.

Sharing his testimony about Nigeria’s National Anthem in an interview in 2013, Ogunnaike told The Nation that he was on his national service (NYSC) in 1977 (in Port Harcourt) when the announcement came out for contributions to the new National Anthem.

“I recall reading some of the submissions because they were then routinely published,” the deceased had said during the interview.

Nothing his lines in the yet to be changed anthem, Ogunnaike said: “I believe that most of the second verse of the national anthem (if not the entire thing itself) was the second verse of the poem that I submitted.

He said further: “My first verse had a line similar to ‘The labours of our heroes past’ which ended up in the anthem; I am also sure that many of the other submissions had lines similar to this one.

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“I think that my line emphasised “sacrifice” instead of the labour and I don’t think I used heroes. I do not have the original submission with me, alas; and that was some 36 years ago now, so it is difficult for me to recall precisely what was in the first verse.”