Onigu Otite was an iconic researcher and a great Urhobo son, died March 14, 2019. He was born January 21, 1939 in Okpara Inland, Delta State, Nigeria. He was educated in the village Catholic School and later attended St. Thomas Teacher Training College, Ibusa, Delta State, from 1950-1954. He went on to teach in this school and later became the Headmaster of the St Francis Catholic School, Sapele in Delta State. He was later appointed Assistant Executive Officer, at the Ministry of Health and a year later he was made the Private Secretary (Defense) to the Prime Minister’s Office in Lagos.
Onigu Otite in 1960, decided to pursue an academic career and attended the University of Nigeria where he was one of the University’s pioneer students as well as the first Student Union Public Relation Officer. In 1965, he was admitted into the University of London (School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)). By 1969, he had earned his Ph.D. in Social Anthropology, with a thesis titled “The Political Organization of the Urhobo of the Midwestern State of Nigeria.” He then returned to Nigeria where he lectured at the University of Ibadan and became professor in 1978.
He was a member of the editorial board of Political Anthropology (Netherlands); the Nigerian Political Science Association; the Nigerian Economic Society; the Organizing Committee, West African Regional Association of Sociologists and Anthropologists; International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences; associate editor of the African Journal on Behavioural Sciences; and a member of the Pan African Anthropological Association.
Onigu Otite was one of the earliest Nigerian lecturers to acknowledge the significance of the past in understanding the present and thus creating a brighter future. He highlighted the major problems with the Nigerian tertiary education system; siting problems like mismanagement of public funds, under funding of the universities, negligence of the importance of the educational system and poor policy implementation. He went on to inform us that all these factors have collectively left the educational system in Nigeria lacking in university autonomy and poor staff working condition.
He was the Founding and Current Chairman of the Board of Trustee’s Michael and Cecilia Ibru University and one of the notable academicians that facilitated the founding of the Michael and Cecilia Ibru University, Agharha-Otor, in Delta State.
Vice Chancellor, Michael and Cecilia Ibru University Prof. Ibiyinka Fuwape said “we will miss his visits, his calls, text messages, his words of wisdom and deep knowledge. “We will miss his fatherly prayers and encouragement; our joy is that he lived a good life of great fulfilment” she said.
The Co founder and Visitor Michael and Cecilia Ibru University, Dr. Cecilia Ibru, the Board of Trustees, the Council, the Senate, the Management, Staff and entire Students of MCIU Prays that the Good Lord comfort his Dear wife, Dr. Mrs. Regina Evwaraye Otite, the children and members of the family.
He leaves his beloved wife Dr. (Mrs.) Regina Evwaraye Otite; and seven kids.