Olatunji Olusegun Oyebamiji Alamu-iji Mafolasire, a rock solid pillar in Areago Oyawe family of Ogbomosho land, Nigeria, died Monday, March 6, 2017, in Indianapolis, Indiana. He was 70.
Olatunji was born March 14, 1946 in Ogbomosho as the third of four children and first son of late Reverend Abraham Amao Mafolasire and late Juliannah Olajumoke Mafolasire (Nee Togun). Following the early demise of his father, he spent his formative years in Ogbomosho lovingly raised and nurtured by his beloved mom and members of extended family. As a child, he was renowned for his boundless energy and gleeful vigor. Amidst all that, he excelled at school. He enrolled at the prestigious Olivet Baptist High school in Oyo where he continued his tradition of excellence both as a scholar and an athlete, obtaining his West African School Certificate and Higher School Certificate. He graduated in 1973 B.Sc. (Hons) in Agricultural Science from University of Ibadan.
After spending a year as an Agricultural Officer in Ikom, Cross River State, Nigeria as part of the pioneering class of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), he began his professional career at West African Rice Development Association (WARDA), Liberia first as a weeds specialist then later as Training officer from 1974 to 1979. He would return to Nigeria in 1979 joining Ogun Oshun River Basin Development Authority (OORBDA) as Project Manager at Itoikin. He parlayed his extensive global training in United States, Italy and Philippines into an outstanding career at OORBDA where he worked until retirement in 2006.
He married his wife, Victoria Mojisola (nee Ositelu) in 1977 whom he had met while working in Liberia. Their marriage was blessed with three wonderful kids. A loving husband and devoted father, family was everything to him. But to dad, family always extended beyond his immediate wife and kids. Drawing on his own early years when he was raised collectively by his mother and several extended relatives, he made it a priority to always be available to his loving nieces and nephews in a personal manner. As his career thrived with immense success, he never lost touch with his own life story. He enthusiastically went back time after time to seek family and friends he could extend opportunities to. We have fond memories of several family members who lived with us while he funded their education and living expenses.
In his entire professional career, he was known for his fierce dedication and his even deeper commitment to integrity and fairness to all. His managerial acumen, organizational efficiency and flair for consensus building saw him rise through the ranks to the Ag Executive Director (Operations) at OORBDA. Along the way, he served as a mentor to many who went on to have outstanding careers both within OORBDA and outside. To him, mentorship is life-long friendship. As a devoted mentor, many of his proudest moments were in basking in the success of those who he was so opportuned to give a start.
As any true son of Ogbomosho, Tunji never forgot his roots. He was an active and early member of Ogbomosho Development Forum and Ogbomosho Community Foundation, a forum for leaders dedicated to championing growth and improvement of the city. In his role as the first Chairman of the Technical committee on Water, he was instrumental in channeling Federal government resources to address Laka/Ogunbado gulley erosion problem.
Born and raised Baptist, religion remained core to him. He lived the teachings of our Lord by generously donating to many causes both in Nigeria and US.
Tunji will be remembered by many colleagues, friends, former classmates and relatives as someone who was compulsively dedicated to ensuring that long-held bonds of friendships and kinships never ever fray or wither. Even in his later years spent in diaspora in US, he stayed in contact with everybody, young and old, remembered everyone's birthdays and kept everyone abreast of developments. For dad, living is sharing.
He is survived by his wife of forty years, three children, three sisters, nephews, nieces and many grandchildren.