Jos, Plateau State: The Liberian Ambassador to Nigeria, Professor Al-Hassan Conteh has described the late Professor Yvonne Kandakai-Olukemi as a real Liberian patriot in the Diaspora.
Ambassador Conteh said despite her long duration of stay in the Diaspora in Nigeria, Professor Kandakai-Olukemi remained in touch with her compatriots and developments back home in Liberia.
A dispatch from the Liberian Embassy in Nigeria says Ambassador Conteh’s assertion was contained in his tribute to the late Liberian Professor.
Professor Kandakai-Olukemi, a Liberian professor, met her untimely death at her residence, in Jos, the State Capital of Plateau State, Nigeria, in the morning of November 6, 2017.
She was a professor at the Jos University in Plateau State.
According to the Liberian Ambassador, the death news of Professor Kandakai-Olukemi came as a total shock to the Liberian Embassy and the entire Liberian Community in Nigeria.
“The news of her passing came as a total shock to the Embassy, because she was full of life and energy in attending events organized by the Embassy and the Liberian Community in Abuja”, Ambassador Conteh said.
The dispatch says Mrs. Beatrice N. Sherman, Counselor/ Consul at the Liberian Embassy, delivered the tribute on behalf of Ambassador Conteh during a funeral service held at deceased’s Jos residence last week in Plateau State.
According to the dispatch, her remains were interned after the funeral service that was well attended by scores of Nigerians and Liberians in Jos and other parts of the country.
“Indeed, the Liberian Community in Nigeria has lost one its most qualified and diligent members who always pursued excellence and lived by this example for her compatriots to follow. As a committed and staunch member of the Liberian Community in Nigeria, she always went beyond the call of duty deeply and personally to get involve in events of the Community. She sacrificed her time and work by travelling long distances to ensure that she was present and contributed to the welfare of her Liberian compatriots. She always attended Embassy event whenever she was invited”, Ambassador Conteh continued in his tribute.
The Liberian Ambassador recalled that on August 24 of this year, Professor Kandakai-Olukemi honored his invitation and joined other compatriots at the Liberian Mission in Abuja to celebrate Liberia’s National Flag Day and Independence Day.
“A special feature of the joint events, which she was very happy about, when she made her remarks, was march past of the Liberian children to salute and pledge allegiance to the national ensign, and the official launching of the Embassy’s Passport Application Center. Prior to that, she served as one of the motivational speakers during the inauguration of the Leadership of OLICON at the Embassy in Abuja, following the installation of the national leadership by the Ambassador”, he said.
He continued, “Indeed, we could not ask for a more dedicated and patriotic citizen, who made Liberians proud with her work on the faculty of the esteemed University of Jos, Plateau State, Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
Meanwhile, in a rather short exhortation, the clergyman in his funeral discourse, encouraged relatives, friends and students of the deceased to be ‘strong in the Lord’ and think on how they too can impact the world as the late Professor had done.
Also, Mr. Joseph G. Mendy, the Vice President for Administration of the Organization of Liberian Communities in Nigeria (OLICON) paid tribute on behalf of all Liberians in Nigeria.
The late professor served on the Board of Trustees of OLICON.
Born to Judge James Kandakai and Elizabeth Lewis in Liberia, Professor Kandakai-Olukemi obtained her elementary and high school education at the BW Harris and the College of West Africa (CWA) in Monrovia, Liberia respectively. She later obtained her Bachelor of Science (B.Sc) and Ph. D in Bacteriology from the University of Oregon in the United States and the University of Wales in the United Kingdom respectively.
Married to Doctor Moses Ademola Olukemi, a Nigeria who pre-deceased her, she lectured at various universities prior to her death. They included the University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, in Nigeria, University of Liberia’s A.M. Dogliotti College of Medicine and the last being the University of Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria where she worked until her untimely passing.
The late Liberian professor is survived by her two sons, Segun Olukemi and Muyiwa Tamba Olukemi, the dispatch concludes.