ENGR. (BAR) JULIUS TEMITOPE ORIBUYAKU BSc, MSc, FNSE, FNICE, FNIHTE, MNIStructE, LLB, LLM, BL, MNIQS, MCIArb, MDRBF 1948-2017
Perhaps you are one of those who have never heard of him. It is testament to his silent nature even as his impact was felt nationwide through various organisations and individual professionals who tapped from his wealth of knowledge and experience and his vision to be one of the foremost capacity builders in the country.
Through his Company Techgrade Consulting, Barrister Tope established a reputation for quality training, often focusing on training the professionals and updating them with the latest in the industry. Other than this he was a consultant with the World bank and one of the most sort after arbitration professionals in the country. His combination of engineering and legal practice stood him out among his peers in both cycles.
One dark Sunday in September of 2017, the engineering community woke up to the sad news of his departure. Encomium poured from all sides and two years on, his works and legacies continued to live. That is ENGR. (BAR) JULIUS TEMITOPE ORIBUYAKU BSc, MSc, FNSE, FNICE, FNIHTE, MNIStructE, LLB, LLM, BL, MNIQS, MCIArb, MDRBF 1948-2017
Barrister Tope, until his death, was the Managing Director of Techgrade Consulting who specialized in Civil and Structural Engineering, Arbitration and Project Management; an engineering Management Consultant and a Trainer, and was active in the development of technical capabilities in the engineering and management disciplines, in private and public sectors in Nigeria.
His combination of Engineering and legal knowledge stood him out as one of the finest in arbitration and cost engineering. As a civil engineer, he majored in construction, project management, transportation and highway engineering. He was indeed a valuable asset to the Nigerian engineering community while he lived among us as he is constantly consulted on such issues requiring a blend of legal and engineering skills. he was a perfect example of what an engineer can do if given the chance in any profession. Even though he was to later become a qualified barrister, he did not lose sight of his first love which is engineering.
His was a story of a child who rose from grass to grace through hard-work, commitment and focus. His was a story that should inspire the younger generation and and those still moving. His was a a story that perfectly illustrates the words of Henry David Thoreau:
If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.- – Henry David Thoreau
Engr Tope Oribuyaku was born at Ise-Ekiti to Pa David Oribuyaku and Mrs Abigail Aina Oribuyaku, both of blessed memory. He attended the Local Authority Primary School, Ise-Ekiti and completed his primary education in 1965.
Engr Oribuyaku gained admission into St John’s Modern School, Ise-Ekiti in 1966 but could not attend due to financial difficulties. He therefore had to work with his father in the farm for that year. In 1967, he gained admission into Ise/Emure Grammar School and also due to financial challenges he enrolled as a day student. Despite that, he could not continue his education due to lack of finance to pay for the second term after completing the first term. This led to Engr Oribuyaku travelling to Lagos where he got employment as a factory worker in Bata Shoes Company Nigeria Limited in 1968. With the urge to proceed with his education, or if not possible financially, to learn a trade, Engr Oribuyaku resigned his appointment at Bata Shoes Company Limited in November 1970 and returned home.
With some improvements in the finances of his parents and the support of the late Chief C. O. Alabi, there came the opportunity for Engr Oribuyaku to resume his discontinued education. Being always reading, especially the Durel (arithmetic) and English books, Engr Oribuyaku took the boldness to take the entrance examination into class three at Ado Grammar School despite earlier attending secondary school only up to first term in class one. He came first in the entrance examination and was admitted into class three in the school in January, 1971. Engr Oribuyaku completed his secondary education at Ado Grammar School in 1973/1974 session and passed the West African School Certificate Examination with Grade One, having distinctions/credits in all his nine subjects. He was the Senior Prefect of the school in 1973/74 session.
Engr Oribuyaku secured employment as a Proof Reader at Kola Way to Success Press, Ijebu-Ode where he worked from August, 1974 to May, 1975 and later secured employment as a Trainee Medical Laboratory Technologist in the Ministry of Health, Western State from June, 1975. He was based at the Adeoyo Hospital, Ibadan. The training was to last for 12 months but on creation of Ondo State in February, 1976, Engr Oribuyaku and other indigenes of the newly created Ondo state in the Western State Hospitals were transferred to the Ondo State Hospital, Akure. This made Engr Oribuyaku to assume higher responsibilities as medical Laboratory Technologist at the State hospital, Akure including being on call duties in the night for emergency laboratory services, especially cross-matching of blood for transmissions.
In 1976, Engr Oribuyaku gained admission into the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University), Ile-Ife where he studied civil engineering and graduated with second class upper degree in June, 1981. In his final year in 1980/81, Engr Oribuyaku was the President, Engineering Students Association (ESA), the umbrella body for the students in all engineering departments/disciplines in the university.
Engr Oribuyaku did his NYSC at the Nigerian National Paper Manufacturing Co. Ltd (NNPMC), Iwopin, Ogun State on August 1981 to July, 1982. He was given the position of Trainee Engineer/QS. He was involved in both civil engineering and quantity surveying functions on the construction of the paper mill plants and housing estate. At the end of his NYSC, Engr Oribuyaku was retained by NNPMC and employed in the position of Project Engineer.
However, in order to contribute his quota to the development of the then newly established Ondo State University (now Ekiti State University), Ado-Ekiti, Engr Oribuyaku responded to an employment advertisement by the university and was successful at the interview and got employment as Civil Engineer II in the Works Department of the university in May, 1983. At the university, Engr Oribuyaku was one of the two civil engineers that planned and supervised the construction of the first phase of the permanent site of the university right from when the site was a bush. Apart from his responsibilities in the Works Department, Engr Oribuyaku was also assigned some teaching courses in the engineering Faculty of Engineering of the university in view of
Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.
Among the landmark achievements of Engr Oribuyaku while in the university was the design and construction of the 1000 cubic metres concrete underground tank and 230 cubic metres concrete elevated tank on 18 metres concrete tower. The two water tanks, designed by Engr Oribuyaku and constructed in 1986/87, are still the main water storage facilities serving the university till today. This is a testimony to the quality of professional practices symbolising Engr Oribuyaku even right from the beginning of his professional career.
Engr Oribuyaku left the university as a Senior Civil Engineer in January, 1988 when he was employed as Principal Engineer at Ondo State Polytechnic (now Rufus Giwa Polytechnic), Owo purposely to re-organise the Works and Maintenance Department of the institution which was then not functioning properly. Engr Oribuyaku headed the department accordingly and re-oriented it towards effective service delivery. Engr Oribuyaku was consequently promoted to the position of Assistant Chief Engineer/Acting Director of Works and maintenance of the polytechnic. While at the polytechnic, Engr Oribuyaku seized the opportunity of the nearness to Benin-City to enroll for Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree of the University of Benin on 2 years weekend programme. He completed the MBA degree in 1994.
In January 1994, after passing the final professional examinations of the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS), Engr Oribuyaku moved to the construction industry by joining Costain (West Africa) Plc as Senior Estimator (Quantity Surveyor) at the headquarters of the company in Lagos. He was at Costain until he secured employment at the Nigerian Breweries Plc in March, 1995 as the company’s Civil Engineer with responsibilities to manage the civil works in all the company’s breweries and divisional sales offices all over Nigeria.
In September, 1995 shortly after joining the Nigerian Breweries Plc, Engr Oribuyaku enrolled for the 6 years evening law programme of the University of Lagos for the LLB degree. He completed the LLB programme successfully in 2002. He instantly enrolled at the Nigerian Law School for the one year Bar Part II Programme. He passed the Bar Part II Examinations at the first attempt and was called to the Nigerian Bar as a Solicitor and Advocate of the Supreme Court of Nigeria in July, 2003.
Engr Oribuyaku again obtained admission to the 2-year Master of Laws (LLM) programme of the University of Lagos on part time basis and completed the LLM degree in 2005 with majors in Jurisprudence and legal theory, law of the seas, conflict of laws and international economic laws.
Engr Oribuyaku resigned his appointment at the Nigerian Breweries Plc in July, 2006 after working there for over 11 years. Engr Oribuyaku then established a training and engineering consulting firm, Techgrade Consulting, which is now the leading training firm for engineers and allied professionals in Nigeria.
On the establishment of the Federal Roads Development Project (FRDP) by the World Bank in 2005, highly competent engineering experts were sought nationally to kick-start the Project. This led to the appointment of Engr Oribuyaku as a Senior Project Engineer under the FRDP in August, 2006. Later on in November, 2007, Engr Oribuyaku was appointed as Procurement Consultant under the World Bank financed Economic Reform and Governance Project (ERGP) for the Aviation Safety component of the ERGP and based at Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) HQ in Lagos. Engr Oribuyaku seized the opportunity of being in Lagos then to enroll for the Master of Science (MSc) degree in Highway and Traffic engineering at the University of Lagos which he successfully completed in 2009. Engr Oribuyaku returned to the Federal Roads Development Project in December, 2008.
I have seen many storms in my life. Most storms have caught me by surprise, so I had to learn very quickly to look further and understand that I am not capable of controlling the weather, to exercise the art of patience and to respect the fury of nature. –Paulo Coelho
Engr Barr. Tope Oribuyaku holds academic qualifications of one diploma, two first degrees and three masters’ degrees as follows: Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering (BSc), Diploma in Quantity Surveying, Bachelor of Laws (LLB), Master of Laws (LLM), Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Science in Highway and Traffic Engineering (MSc)
Engr Oribuyaku holds the following professional qualifications:
- Registered Engineer, Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN)
- Registered Quantity Surveyor, Quantity Surveyors Reg. Board of Nigeria (QSRBN)
- Fellow, Nigerian Society of Engineers (FNSE)
- Fellow, Nigerian Institution of Civil Engineers (FNICE)
- Fellow, Nigerian Institution of Structural Engineers (FNIStructE)
- Member, Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (MNIQS)
- Member, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA)
- Barrister-at-Law (BL)
- Member, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, UK (MCIArb)
1. Senior Prefect, Ado Grammar School, Ado-Ekiti – 1973/74
2. President, Engineering Students Association, University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University), 1980/81
3. National Vice Chairman, Nigerian Institution of Civil Engineers, 2011 – 2012
4. Nigerian Society of Engineers, Special Presidential Merit Award in recognition of commitment to Professional Development of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, awarded at the International Conference of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, on Wednesday, 8th December, 2010
5. Nigerian Institution of Civil Engineers, National Chairman Merit Award in recognition of Professional Contribution to the Nigerian Institution of Civil Engineers, awarded at the National Conference of the Nigerian Institution of Civil Engineers, in November, 2011
6. Quantity Surveyors registration Board of Nigeria, Plaques for being a resource person at the Annual Conferences of Registered Quantity Surveyors Registration Board of Nigeria in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal. Albert Pike
CONTRIBUTIONS TO ISE-EKITI & ISE/ORUN LOCAL GOVERNMENT
1. Organising and sponsoring Annual Inter-Secondary School Quiz Competition among public and private secondary schools in Ise/Orun Local Government with prizes to the winning schools, teachers and principals. 1st edition was in 2012 and 2nd edition was held in March, 2013.
2. Donation of computer systems to sixteen (16) public and private secondary schools in Ise/Orun Local Government in March, 2013.
3. Financed the rehabilitation of dilapidated floors of classrooms at United High School, Ise-Ekiti. Two of the floors have been rehabilitated while the others are in line.
4. Donation of Modern Laboratory Equipment to Akinluse Comprehensive High School, Ise-Ekiti including a borehole in July, 2013.
Engr Oribuyaku was a Christian and an Elder in Christ Apostolic Church Worldwide. He has been appointed the Baba Ijo (Patron) of the Christ Apostolic Church (No. 1), Ise District Coordinating Council Headquarters, Ehinogbe, Ise-Ekiti.
Engr Oribuyaku was a founding member and past president of klobb Supreme, a famous social club formed primarily for contributing to the growth and development of Ise-Ekiti and her citizens.Engr Oribuyaku is married to Mrs Stella Anike Oribuyaku (Nee Okeowo) The family was blessed with children.
In his tribute, Engr Adeniran Ibitoye lamented “Our dear Engr. Tope Oribuyaku, In life we loved you dearly, In death we love you still, In our hearts you hold a place no one else can fill. Your unquantifiable and immense contributions to the growth of the Nigerian Society of Engineers and the capacity development of Members cannot be over emphasized. No Wonder They Say; All Good Things Must Come To An End.
Rest on, dear Engr Oribuyaku!
Compiled by Isqil Najim @isqilnajim