Your life achievements as detailed at your 80th birthday celebration only a few months ago, are indeed monumental and dwarf those of your contemporaries. As a scholar, a mathematician, and as an academic your earned degrees - doctor of philosophy and doctor of science - are indeed awe inspiring and would make anyone proud. Even more amazing is how seemingly effortlessly you scaled those heights. PSO, you played your part on this stage we call life, with consummate skill and for the good. You touched the lives of all those who came your way. To say you made a difference is an understatement.
Farewell my dearest friend. I will miss you, particularly your unrestrained and contagious laughter and your steady hum as you concentrate on tackling a problem. May our Good Lord receive you into his bosom. Rest in peace.
Pius O. Igharo
March 2nd 2018
To my Beloved Uncle Sunny
It’s bitter, sweet that you are not physically present with us but in the warm embrace of our loving father Jesus Christ. I really miss you Uncle and was never prepared for you to leave us so soon. I kept on telling myself that I will visit you soon and was content with speaking to you on the phone for the time been; looking forward to the next time I see you. It really hurts that my desire to see, speak and hold you one more time never came to be.
Today, all I can do is hold on to your smile, your unique laughter, your dignity, respect, your accomplishment and legacy for us to continue. I also hold on to the memories of growing up with my cousins and correcting ourselves from every mischief we did, when we heard your footsteps, or when someone announced your presence from a distance. I hold on to the time you opened the doors to your home when we didn’t have a place to go, how you shared your meals with us, how you never made us feel less or indifferent from your children, how you made sure that we were enrolled and attained an education which began in university staff school. I hold on to the memories of every time you picked me, my siblings, cousins Osasu, Uyi, Ewean, Osamede e.t.c from school and how we sometimes waited in your office until it was time to go home together. How we enjoyed playing hide and seek with my cousins under your office table, as we waited for you in your office. I was also privileged to have watched you resolve diverse issues.
I was amazed by your commitment and dedication to knowledge, wisdom and ability to strive to the highest, and to never to give up in life. I loved your dedication and commitment to our heavenly father and looked forward to the various attires you wore every Sunday on your way to Church. I hold on to the guidance and protection that you provided for me during my last visit to Nigerian for my cousin Osamede’s wedding. In fact, one of the greatest qualities that my uncle exhibited was his love, which was inclusive for everyone. His vision was that he did not want anyone left behind and by the grace of God, he knew that every dilemma in life can be broken through LOVE, as God commanded in 1st CORINTHIANS 13:13.
Today, all I can say is thank you Lord. Thank you lord, for giving me the gift of my uncle Sunny, which will forever remain alive in me. Thank you lord, for the gifts of my cousins, which is an extension of his Love on earth. Thank you lord, for the gift of life.
Until we meet again my dear Uncle Sunny, continue to shine in the heavenly places.
Sharleen Iyahen- Mohammed and family
March 2nd 2018
A tribute to Prof Sunday Osarumwense Iyahen By Venerable Prof SE Omosigho
I received the news of the death of Prof Sunday Osarumwense Iyahen (1937-2018) with trepidation. I first met Prof S. O. Iyahen, in 1980 shortly after my final year examinations at the University of Ibadan. At that time, he was already a Professor of Mathematics. He came to Ibadan as an External Examiner to the Department of Mathematics where I was a final year student. He invited me to join the staff of the University of Benin, Benin City. I became a Graduate Assistance in the Department of Mathematics in October 1980. He was one of my super mentor in academics.
When Prof SO Iyahen was head of the Department of Mathematics, University of Benin, he made me the Departmental Examination Officer. During examination period, he gave me free hand to work with those in the Examination Processing Unit. Whenever I report any challenge to him, such as having to work late or working on Saturdays, he immediately comes around to give his stamp of approval. I had no problem working with him. When he was at the Mathematical Centre Abuja, he facilitated my visit to the Centre for research. During my visit, he accommodated me in his residence.
On one of our of trips to Benin, one Saturday, I had reflections on the paper I submitted for publication the previous Friday. During this internal contemplation, I realised that here was an omission in the paper and I made a verbal remark and Prof Iyahen immediately asked: “yes, what is it?” I told him there was an omission “in the paper I submitted yesterday”. He told me not to worry but that I should write another paper and add the word “explicit” to the title of the previous paper. That was the genesis of my work “Explicit inverse method for inventory replenishment problem with a linear demand pattern”, which was published in International Journal of Computer Mathematics, Vol. 78, pp.481-488 in 2001.
Prof S.O. Iyahen did a lot for me. When I was Lecturer I, I received an offer to be an External Examiner in one of the Universities based on my pedigree and CV. I immediately took the letter of appointment to him and added that I was going to reject the offer because I was not a Professor. He asked me if I was the one who appointed myself. I told him no. He then explained to me that the offer was not based on the title given to me by my employer but on their understanding that I was a specialist. I then accepted the offer. My relationship with that University has continued until today.
Prof S. O. Iyahen gave the first inaugural lecture from the Department of Mathematics, University of Benin in 1980. He was a kind and generous man. He was honest and encouraged people to do what is right and proper.
We shall miss him. We take solace in the fact that he is asleep and we shall meet when the trumpet of God shall sound. Indeed, 1 Thess 4:14 says “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.” Sleep on Prof Sunday Osarumwense Iyahen.
Signed Venerable Professor Sunday E. Omosigho
Department of Mathematics, University of Benin, Benin City. March 2018.
March 4th 2018
Words are scares to express my shock on hearing of your passing on to meet the Saints in heaven.
When your biography was read at your 80th birthday I shook my head in surprise- so intelligent, yet so humble. You left your replica (children) on earth, surely you lived a good life affecting many positively.
A great man of wisdom and intellectual capability, your intelligence and achievement will always be remembered by many generations.
Live on papa live on, till we meet again to path no more.
Mrs Antwi Ajoke
March 7th 2018
You don't hear too much about fathers-in-law, but I must say that mine was one of the best! What made him so special is that he lived his life with grace, humility and discipline. My dad in law welcomed me with open arms into his family. Sadly we say goodbye to one of the most special men I have ever had the privilege to know and love with all my heart. I just knew that I would never get the chance to say goodbye or let you know how you were the greatest father-in-law.
Good night Daddy!.
Akugbe Elizabeth Iyahen
March 7th 2018
TRIBUTE TO THE MEMORY OF PROF. S.O. IYAHEN
My family received with a deep sense of sorrow and heartache the news of the demise of Prof. S.O. Iyahen, a close and trustworthy friend for over five decades. My frayed emotions were grossly accentuated especially as I did not imagine that the unpleasant incident would occur barely a fortnight after we had a remarkably cordial discussion on the phone. On that occasion, I pledged that I would pay him a visit on my earliest journey to Benin City. Unfortunately, destiny has now shattered the realization of that dream.
My earliest association with the remarkably talented and distinguished Professor of Mathematics started after our secondary school education in the late 1950s at Edo College and St. Patricks College, Asaba. Our relationship waxed stronger and more intimately when he was at Government College, Ibadan for Higher School Certificate in 1957 – 1958 and I was admitted to the University College, Ibadan by Oct. 1958 to study Agriculture. Perhaps it was just mere coincidence or an act of fate that we both sat for Cambridge school certificate examination and passed in Division One in 1956; just as we both graduated B.Sc. Hons. (Lond) from University College, Ibadan in 1963. Our frank and mutually beneficial fraternal interactions during undergraduate years covered a wide range of subjects – academic, social, economic, religious and amorous matters etc. For example, we both concluded that Prof. Iyahen was destined to excel as a Colossus in mathematics when he was offered admission to study mathematics at University College, Ibadan. He would have loved to study engineering which was the preferred career of a majority of his colleagues from Edo College in those days. It is noteworthy that as a result of absolute dedication to excellent scholarship and hardwork, Prof. Iyahen emerged first in First Class Honours (Mathematics) ahead of two others in 1963 and also won the departmental prize for mathematics. Our warm and enduring relationship blossomed with even greater fervour during our post-graduate training in UK when he was at Glasgow University 1964 – 1965/ Keele 1965 – 1967 and I was at Imperial College, London. I recall with gratitude to God the heart-warming moments we shared as guests of Mr. and Mrs. H. A. Aigbekaen in Leeds during our annual post-graduate vacation. My visit to him towards the end of his stay at Keele University (formerly University of North Staffordshire) left indelible memories of excellent cordiality rarely noticeable amongst friends. That visit afforded me the opportunity to correct erroneous impression nurtured by one of his British colleagues who felt that because Sunny Iyahen usually retired to his room for siesta after lunch, he would not obtain his Ph.D. What he did not know was that the professor was working so hard night and day that he completed materials for his Ph.D. thesis just after two years – a remarkable feat. I was privileged to propose his toast at a reception in his honour organized by Benin Students in Leeds.
An unforgettable incident in UK that attests to Prof. Iyahen’s humility and sense of fairness is worth mentioning in this tribute. It was winter and we were expected to travel from Leeds to Manchester in Mr. Aigbekaen’s car to attend an important social event. Since the vehicle could not carry more than five passengers, it was expedient that one of us would either not go on the journey or travel by surface train. Prof. Iyahen volunteered to go by train and rightly predicted the most unlikely fact that he would get to Manchester before us. During the journey, our car skidded off the road after Huddersfield only to arrive at the venue after midnight. As a child of destiny, Prof. Iyahen arrived punctually at the event.
After post-graduate training in the United Kingdom, we both settled in Ibadan and maintained close association while he was lecturing at the University of Ibadan and I was a Research Scientist at the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN). We exchanged visits and frequently discussed the need for us to ardently focus on research in our disciplines so as to obtain a higher doctorate (D.Sc.) at a later date. I was filled with immeasurable joy when Prof. Iyahen was awarded a D.Sc. (Keele) in 1987 and thus became universally recognized and revered like his predecessors Profs Chike Obi and Ezeilo by sheer dint of hardwork and academic prowess. It was evident that Prof. Iyahen was so overtly immersed in his area of specialization that he frequently talked about Functional analysis, Topology and Vector spaces which I could hardly understand because I am not a mathematician. His books on the subject adorn my library shelves. However, I was totally impressed and overwhelmed by his achievements as a mathematician when in 1970 I went with him to University of Ife where he gave a lecture on “Infinity” at the invitation of University of Ife Mathematical Association. I was amazed when after intricate analysis of theorems; he derived and defined the concept and essence of the theory of “Infinity” only at about 5 minutes to the end of the one hour lecture with a standing ovation from the audience.
That Prof. Iyahen openly and widely radiated the spirit of love, sincerity and integrity in the discharge of his duties as a Lecturer, Professor, Head of Department of Mathematics and Dean of the Faculty of Science at the University of Benin are well known and documented. Above all, he has demonstrated a rare and unequivocal mastery of mathematics during his participation at seminars and conferences at home and abroad as well as in his service as external examiner at undergraduate and post-graduate levels. He was recognized as one of the world’s greatest mathematicians of his generation. Similarly, his diverse and immense contributions to the development of higher education in Nigeria are outstanding and notably impressive. These aspects are clearly indicated in his services at the West African Examination Council WAEC (1973–1974), National Universities Commission NUC (1976, 1993–1994), University of Benin, University of Maiduguri (1986–1992), National Population Commission as Resident Commissioner for Bendel State (1981).
When in 1983, he opted for partisan politics, I asked him why; his response was “to avert the possibility of mediocrity creeping into the political system and our being ruled by those insensitive to the plight of the common man”. That he was twice elected a senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 1983 and 1992 is an eloquent testimony to the fact that Prof. Iyahen was indeed a man of the people who was generally admired and appreciated as a leader. It is noteworthy that in the two senates, he was elected Chairman, Senate Committee on Information and Public Relations and Senate Committee on National Planning respectively. That his tenures at the senates were short-lived was evidently due to the political turbulence and structural instability of the period. He was poised for far-reaching landmark achievements and transformations.
This tribute will be incomplete without reference to and emphasis on the well-known fact that Prof. Iyahen fulfilled his moral, financial and social obligations to his parents, wife, children and extended family members with enthusiasm and clear sense of respect for quality, equity and urgency. He played a significant role in moulding and shaping the character and career of his siblings. These assertions are buttressed by the fact that his brothers, wife and children are all well-educated and possess university degrees. Such laudable achievements can only be attributed to an exceptionally conscientious and family oriented virtuous personality who stands out clearly as a nobleman worthy of commendation by all who knew him.
Our prayer is that God Almighty will grant him eternal rest as well as give his family members and well-wishers the grace to bear this monumental loss to the family and the nation especially as the Professor has left a rich legacy of humanity worthy of emulation. Adieu! Sunny, a constant source of courage, cheerfulness and inspiration to mankind; we will continue to miss you.
Sir Dr. W. E. Eguagie
Feb 8th 2018
For Senator Professor Sunny Iyahen
As cousins of the Ogbeide Oyo family and as fellow academics, I have known Senator Professor Iyahen and his siblings from youth. A great scholar with a special genius in Mathematics, he attended some of the best educational institutions at a time when admission was based strictly on merit. I knew him also as unassuming, community-oriented and honest. I came to know him more closely as fellow lecturers at the University of Ibadan in the early 1970s when along with his dear and amiable wife, he was a vibrant member of the Benin community. Although, his career was punctuated by election into the Nigerian Senate, his most enduring legacy is in academics.
The critical roles he played in the pioneering years of Benson Idahosa University may not be widely known. To be specific, I remember the following: In the run-up to the first accreditation exercise, we found that the Faculty of Basic and Applied Sciences was in a precarious position without Professors as Heads of Department and with the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science exhibiting excess supply of graduate assistants and assistant lecturers. Although one of the objectives of appointing Professor Iyahen was to mentor these young lecturers and encourage them to undertake postgraduate studies, this objective would have been aborted if most of the departments were denied accreditation. As Vice-Chancellor, I appealed to Prof. Iyahen to take over the headship of the Department. I knew this would be a sacrifice on his part since I was aware of glowing reports of his lecturing effectiveness which he obviously enjoyed. He initially refused the offer but after making a number of “pilgrimages” to his office, he finally agreed. The rest, they say, is history as the Faculty obtained Interim Accreditation. Another area where our late distinguished Professor left an indelible mark was the planning of the Postgraduate School, where he was Pioneer Dean. The School remains one of his greatest legacies. Starting as Chairman of the planning committee that produced the document detailing the nature, scope and orientation of the school, he was the first Dean of the Post Graduate School which he nurtured through the first accreditation exercise. The success of that exercise was facilitated by material support from authorities of the University and uncompromising commitment of his fellow alumni of Government College, Ibadan at the higher school certificate level, i.e. Professor Milton Iyoha, Professor Elone Nwabuzor and my humble self who, incidentally were beneficiaries of the African Scholarship Programme for American Colleges and Universities (ASPAU) in the 1960’s. Professor Iyahen exhibited character traits of ancient Benin, where a man’s worth and importance was determined by behaviour that protected family name and reputation, commitment to duty without scheming to obtain financial gratification; fairness and a sense of justice. These are qualities Professor Iyahen abundantly exhibited in life.
He will be greatly missed by the immediate and extended families, the Benin intelligentsia, mathematicians in Nigeria and in other countries. He has completed his assignment on this side of eternity; what now remains for his dear soul is everlasting adoration and worship of our Risen Lord in glory along with the Saints Triumphant.
Prof. Eghosa Osagie
Former Vice-Chancellor Benson Idahosa University Benin City.
March 11th 2018
My wife brought me the news of Prof. Sunday O. IYAHEN's demise and I wept. Those who have been with me may remember what I said when Zbigniew Brzezinski passed on "That an IROKO had fallen" Senator Prof. Sunny IYAHEN is another IROKO in the academia having been a barometer in Mathematical solvency with a D.Sc. by exam like late Prof.Kayode Oshuntokun of the UCH fame and late Prof.Ayodele Awojobi of the university of Lagos. As geniuses they bowed out before 70 years but IYAHEN celebrated 80 just few months ago attended by people from all works of life as if to say goodbye to friends, classmates and colleagues. IYAHEN will be missed by many for candid consultations. A man who never gave to ostentatious way of life may not require an epitaph, for his good works will live after him but suffice it to say Sunday IYAHEN was one of the greatest Benin men that ever lived. May his gentle soul rest in peace.
Chief Ken Oteghekpen
March 15th 2018
A Dirge to Professor Iyahen
The Prof is rolled up with peace and love dedication and faith in Lord
His principles punctuated a shared vision that focused on good character acquisition His personality, precision are incurruptible a rare determination to assist and unify as a rule of thumb, he walked in Christ He had listening ears described as a story line with depth and assurance that no one is denied. As a well read Professor, his dictionary still didnt have the word discrimination. He’s a teacher keenly aware of everyone’s emotions, his generosity was extreme; sacrifice made was second to none; He’s held in the affectionate memory by all who knew him. Our collective thoughts about him fittingly honors him a professor like him with a horizon of meaning to everyone. The professor of mathematics with a glowing torch in his soul Its magical link to depth and soul of human expression-My Professor Sir! A complete Success in Marriage, Success in Career, Success in Politics Success Academically, Success in Children’s upbringing, Success Financially and am Sure, a Success in your walk with Jesus Christ. I miss you dearly. I really treasure everything i learnt from your lifestyle; your strong affinity for virtuousity, good character and attitude. I learnt that money though good is not the only thing that matters in life, good character, good attitude, godly lifestyle and positive contribution to the society mattered more. Can i ever forget this part of you? Absolutely No Sir! Your words were like chip technology, Your words implanted the chips in me unforgettable indeed. Amemory lane suffused with gratitude and threads of appreciation. Adieu my great Professor of Mathematics
Collins Osabuohien Uzamere
March 16th 2018
I grew up knowing you as one of my uncle. It took time in maturity to realise you were infact my aunties husband, that was how involved you were in our family.
Anytime you came over to visit your mother in law (my late grandmother) your laughter and warmth woke up the entire house. You had a special name for everyone, no one was too little or ignored, it was the same broad smile you offered. Your house was open to all which kept your crusade for togetherness in everyone's heart.
Reading your tributes and biography, I will say I am proud to have known you so closely and my belief is that you are definitely flying up high with angels in heaven where souls with no blemish like yours do belong. You lived and left a legacy that runs already through your children, their extra ordinary selflessness and humility is you already, and this will forever remain for everyone who encountered you to emulate.
Rest in peace the great Prof S O Iyahen
Sandra Iyesogie Aigbekaen
April 9th 2018
The entire academic staff of the Department of Mathematics, University of Lagos, heard of the demise of our Late Mentor, Professor S. O. Iyahen with shock a couple of weeks ago. Unfortunately, the Department, with regrets, cannot be represented at his burial due to an Annual International Mathematics Conference the Department organized and hosted at the same time the burial took place.
The Department greatly appreciates the contribution Professor S. O. Iyahen made to the Nation as Senator, and to the Mathematics Community in Nigeria and beyond, and particularly to the Department of Mathematics of University of Lagos. It is on record, that he successfully supervised our current Head of Department, Professor J. O. Olaleru, during his PhD programme Lagos.
While the Department commiserates with the family and the Department of Mathematics of University of Benin on this great loss of our mentor and father, we took solace in the fact that he lived a worthy and enviable life and died a fulfilled person.
May God give the entire family and the University of Benin Mathematics community the fortitude to bear the loss.
Thanks and God bless.
Professor J. O. Olaleru
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