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Engineers Set to Honour iconic Engineer Samuel Fadahunsi with a memorial Lecture in Lagos

In every society, heroes are celebrated because of their legacies, ideals and their impact in the community they served. The Nigerian engineering community is not left out of the mix as the profession had produced many great men and women since Sir Herbert Macaulay set the record as the first engineer. Among such leaders is Late Chief Samuel Olatunde Fadahunsi, a former President of Nigerian Society of Engineers and Council for the Regulations of Engineering in Nigeria, COREN.

On Thursday, August, 8 2019, the venue of Ralph Alabi Engineering Centre conference Hall will play host to dignitaries across the country to honour the memory and legacy of late Samuel F. Fadahunsi at the first Inaugural Memorial Lecture. The event is being organised by National council of the Nigerian Institution of Environmental Engineers, a division of Nigerian Society of Engineers is all set to honour the past president of Nigerian Society of Engineers, NSE.

The event is dedicated towards serving as a forum by Engineers and practitioners in the industry to examine policies and practices in fields of environmental engineering as affecting public health and national development. The theme of the Inaugural edition is: ” Liquid Waste Management in Nigeria: The Past, Present and Future.”

Expected at the event is the NSE President Engr. Adekunle Mokuolu who is chairman of the occasion. Others are Engr Ibrahim Odubomi, Executive Director, LAWMA, Engr Babagana Muhammed, Deputy President NSE, Engr Adeolu Odushote, MD, DEE-IY LTD, and host of others. The past Chairman of the NIEE, Engr Bola Olowe is presenting the keynote address.

The event is planned to hold as scheduled below

Date: Thursday 8, August 2019

Venue: Ralph Alabi Engineering Centre, plot 32, Oba Ogunji Road, opposite Forte Oil Filling Station, via Pen Cinema, Agege-Ogba, Lagos.

Time: 11am prompt.

Theme: Liquid Waste Management in Nigeria: The Past, Present and Future.

About late Chief Samuel Olatunde Fadahunsi

Chief Samuel Olatunde Fadahunsi of blessed memory was one of Nigeria’s most accomplished and celebrated civil engineers. In a public career spanning over 50 years after graduating in England in 1954 as a civil engineer, Chief Fadahunsi established for himself an enviable reputation as Nigeria’s leading water engineer.

He initiated and was actively involved professionally in the building of water dams and supply all over the old Western Region. All these dams are still in existence today. In a fitting written tribute to him in 2009, his old friend and equally distinguished professional colleague, the Ven. Engineer P.B. Oyebolu, now deceased, described him as “a legend of our time, an astute and forthright Nigerian, a man of many parts, a great professional engineer, a man of principle and a deeply religious person”. No one who knew Chief Fadahunsi intimately will disagree with that estimation of him.

Chief Fadahunsi was born on March 17, 1920, in Ora, a village, near Ila-Orangun, into a well known Ijesa family with royal lineages on both sides. His father hailed from the Loro family, one of the ‘warlord groups’ of the Ijesa Council of Chiefs that assisted the Owa in running the Ijesa Kingdom, while his mother was a direct descendant of the ruling Owa, of the Bilaro royal family. It was he who founded the village of Itagunmodi, now famous for its rich gold deposit.

He attended Saint John School, Iloro, Ilesha, Osun state. After primary schools in Ilesa, Osogbo, and Ibadan, and other schools in the defunct Western Region (1927-1936), Chief Fadahunsi’s early promise and brilliance took him to the prestigious Government College, Ibadan, in 1937, where he joined other equally brilliant students. Among these were the late Professor Olu Mabayoje, the outstanding physician, the late Dr. Timothy M. Aluko, the well known writer who, like Chief Fadahunsi, later distinguished himself in civil engineering, Obi Obembe and Chief M. Apara, who read economics at Hull University in England, and later became the Chief Accountant of the old ECN. Mention must be made in this connection of another outstanding Engineer, Chief Teju Oyeleye, one of the founders of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (now late) .

In 1943, during World War 11, Chief Fadahunsi entered the newly established Yaba Higher College to read civil engineering, along with nine other students selected from all over colonial Nigeria. This fortuitous situation was to make him develop a healthy relationship and respect for other Nigerians. Yaba offered only a diploma course in engineering then.

In 1946, Chief Fadahunsi graduated from Yaba with a diploma in civil engineering and took up appointment in the colonial Public Works Department (PWD). His first assignment as a trainee assistant engineer was at the Osogbo-Ede water supply, an experience that led him later in his professional career to concentrate on water engineering in which he was to excel.

In 1948, two years after he left the Yaba Higher College, he won an open scholarship to study civil engineering at the Battersea Polytechnic in London.

After graduating in 1952 from Battersea with an honour’s degree in civil engineering, he spent two years working for Cubits, a well known British engineering company. He returned home in 1954 and was appointed a full engineer at the Public Works Department, from where he had won a scholarship to Battersea.

He had wanted to serve in either the old Eastern Region or the North. He was instead posted to Ibadan from where he was transferred to Osogbo as the District Engineer. Two years later, he was appointed the Town Engineer at the Ibadan City Council, succeeding an expatriate engineer. It was as the Town Engineer in Ibadan that he began to attract a lot of attention as a competent professional engineer.

He returned to England in 1957 for post graduate training as a water engineer at Road Research Institute, Harmandsworth, London (1957- 1958) where he began to develop keen professional interest. On returning home in 1958 he served as a Senior Engineer in various towns in the old Western Region, including Ibadan, Abeokuta and Benin, and was soon after appointed the Chief Water Engineer in the old Western Region. His senior colleague and close friend, Dr. T.M. Aluko, was appointed the Controller of Works, and later Permanent Secretary.

In 1959, he married his beautiful fiancée, Miss Elizabeth Iyabo Jonah, who was a senior staff of Shell and, soon after, left the Western Region public service to join the newly established Lagos Executive Development Board (LEDB), first as a deputy, and later as the CEO of the agency. It was in this capacity that his reputation for professional diligence and competence soared beyond the confines of the old Western Region.

It was under his watch at the LEDB that the reclamation of Victoria Island, the demolition of slums in central Lagos, and the redevelopment of Iganmu in Lagos was intensified. He was also responsible for the development of FESTAC and Amuwo Odofin later.

In 1972, he left the LEDB , following the series of probes of the agency by the military government of Lagos State. He was never found guilty of any financial or professional misconduct. He was subsequently appointed the Chairman of the Federal Housing Authority (FHA), and later the Chairman of the Osogbo Steel Rolling Mills.

On retiring from the public service, he set up his own engineering consultancy, the Comprehensive Engineering Consultants, with his cousin, Engineer Femi Ibironke, now deceased, as a partner. The company has been hugely successful. He was the Chairman, Reynolds Construction Company (Nigeria) Ltd. He was also the Founder and Chairman, S.O. Fadahunsi Housing Foundation.

Chief Fadahunsi belongs to a generation that extends excellence in academic and professional career to every sphere of human endeavours.



He was a former president of the Nigerian Society of Engineers and a former president of the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN). He was à Fellow of Institute of Civil Engineers, Great Britain; Fellow, Nigerian Society of Engineers; Honorary Fellow, Institute of Chartered Surveyors and Valuers; Fellow, Institute of Water Engineers and scientists, United Kingdom; Foundation Fellow, The Nigerian Academy of Engineering. He was a Member, Lagos State Sports Council 1963-1968; Member, Caretaker Committee, Lagos City Council1966-1970; Member, International Arbitration Panel for the construction of Asejire Dam(1970); Member, United Nations Panel of Experts on Housing Finance (1970); Member, Board of Governors, Yaba College of Technology (1972-1975); Member, of Senate, University of Lagos, Akoka, Lagos (for three years); Member, Institute of Directors; Member, Board of National Electric Power Authority(now Power Holding Company Nigeria); Former Chairman, Oshogbo Steel Rolling Mills Company Limited, Chairman , Inter-Ministerial Panel for the formation of Western Nigeria Water Corporation (1961); Chairman , Ibadan /Lagos Branches- West African Joint Group of Professional Engineers(1968-1969); Chairman, Industrial Research Council of Nigeria (1971-1974); Chairman, Wemabod Estates (1963-1975); Chairman, Federal Housing Authority (1976-1979); President, Nigerian Society of Engineers (1967-1970) ; President, Council of Registered Engineers of Nigeria (1977-1986); Commissioner, Nigerian Boys Scout Movement (1965) and Life Member, Association of Housing Corporations of Nigeria. He has many Professional publications to his credit including Research reports as well as Housing Finance.

For his service to the nation he received Nigeria’s National Honour of Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR) in 1982 and Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON) in 2002.

Chief Fadahunsi has been aptly described in the following words by his old friend, the late Justice Kayode Eso, JSC, himself a celebrated jurist:

”He is, by every letter of the word, an aristocrat….but of the humblest piece of humanity. His kindness is proverbial….as he seeks to help others, a strange combination in a highly principled, soft spoken man”

His aristocratic bearing and impeccable manners, at home and in public, endeared him to many, including his professional colleagues. He was a man of deep conviction in what he believed in, and this often led him into trouble with the military authorities during the long period of military rule in Nigeria.

He had a fulfilling and very happy family life. His wife of over 55 years, Chief (Mrs.) Elizabeth Iyabo Fadahunsi, nee Jonah, a dutiful and devoted wife, was always at his side. They were virtually inseparable socially, even unto the end when Chief Fadahunsi had become quite frail due to old age. She was a gracious hostess who made everyone welcome in their comfortable home off Marine Road, Apapa. They have five children, all of whom are professionally accomplished.

Chief Samuel Olatunde Fadahunsi was 94 years old at his death on 12 August 2014.

I am Isqil Najim (@isqilnajim)

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