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Usually, it is the death of a very close blood relative that invokes in most men a deep sense of loss and grief. However, here lies my adopted father; mentor and friend, an individual whose unique life helped define his epoch. The “checking out (using his own words)”of a magnificent phenomenon, has invoked an universal mourning because of the life he lived. Death, you are a loser as Uyi lives on in my life, personally and in the lives of numerous people whose uniqueness has touched.

This eulogy would’ve been best suited for a retirement gathering or a 70th birthday celebration. However, here lay the body of Anthony (ificent) Afuwape, a Professor of Ordinary Differential Equation and a father to many. Driving from Chicago to Indiana and listening through the hands free system, he sounded positive, strong, and courageous as ever and I was confident in my mind that we would definitely speak again. Unfortunately, I never knew that would be the last opportunity to speak to Prof Anthony Uyi Afuwape, my father.

It all started on a rainy day, around 6pm, I had just been posted to Obafemi Awolowo University and I was to report at the Department of Mathematics. On this day, being my first time on the campus and knowing no one, I headed for the Department not expecting to meet anyone. Behold, I met Professor Afuwape who was at that time the Head of Department of Mathematics. The rest is history.

The last time we spent time together, we were on Skype (That's a Nigerian professor who was always ready to learn. He embraced emerging technologies, things that his generation struggled with, he would even sometimes enlighten the our generation).

We spoke at length, I was in my home office, in Belgium. I had shown him my office on video and he saw the enormous books in my collection. He was so proud that he said "I still feel you are not well acknowledged because you've chosen not to become a Professor". He knew how far and wide I collaborate with top universities in the world. He acknowledges and celebrates excellence. He would also criticize when you are under performing. That was the man, Uyi Afuwape. By the way, despite my achievements I'm still a "stupid fellow" because if you think you've achieved something, he still challenges you that you shouldn't feel complacent.

We ended the long conversation by asking if I was truly happy, which I answered positively. He then started asking about his grandchildren, my kids. He asked about what plans I have for them, how they are doing in school. Even telling me how we should make sure they eat healthy and stay healthy and give them the opportunities we never had.

Meeting Prof Afuwape was one of the best things to have happened to me. He “adopted” me as son and we became almost inseparable. Sharing many moments together; moments of fun, Fabu (jokes), crazy travels, but also facing challenges. He was always the man to go to for all that life threw onto my plate. As we grew closer, I had learnt how similar our humble backgrounds have been.

He was my Mentor and Teacher, though he neither taught nor mentor me in differential equations. He taught me how to be strong in the midst of challenges. He taught me how to stay focused and continue to strive for excellence. He taught me nothing excellent comes cheap, but with hard work and determination. He taught me to plan within my means, he taught me not to be carried away amidst of peer-pressure. He taught me how to pull through even when I'm being pulled down. He taught me all I need to be the success I am today.

He’s an astute academic, planner, organizer, economist, futuristic, warm hearted, kind, selfless, discipline, hardworking and caring family man to his immediate family and to all who encountered him. While most professors are avoided by students like a plague, the contrary is for Uyi he has a force of attraction to everyone.

The sun has set and the great Iroko of Third Order ODE has fallen. Just like everyone else who knew Uyi, it will not sink in that he is gone. Not today, not this year, and I think not ever. It will not. Those of us to whom he was a father, it’s even harder to register – definitely a sad day for us all, a heartbreak it is.

For me it’s even scarier. However, I take solace in the fact that Uyi fought many battles and won all. I guess you were tired of winning. I miss you my father, my friend, my mentor, my teacher. I will always miss you. There must be a cloud in my head because rain keeps falling from my eyes. Oh no no they can't be teardrops for I know Uyi is alive and he lives in some of us.

The Antonificient Afuwape, you were a phenomenon. Wherever you are, definitely among the Angels, it is the truth that your life was a blessing, your memory a treasure. You are loved beyond words and missed beyond measure. As you Checked Out, Rest In Perfect Peace !!!!

Shola Adeyemi, Ph.D.

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