Prof. Ifedayo Olawole Oladapo, scion of the illustrious Akinkugbe family of Ondo Kingdom, was born on November 24, 1932, to Chief Kadiri Oladapo Akinkugbe, prominent businessman. He was the 12th son in a large polygamous setting, but his smooth and privileged upbringing was challenged by the early demise of his father when he was just four years old. Nevertheless, his mother worked tirelessly to ensure that her children had the best education that was available in his time.

From the All Saints Primary School in Ondo, Ifedayo gained admission into Government College, Ibadan, in 1948, where his outstanding talents began to blossom. He was easily one of the most accomplished in his class, as he went on to become the Head of House (Carr House), Head of School and Captain of Athletics. He made first grade in the Cambridge School Certificate. After a stint at the Nigerian College of Arts and Science in Zaria, he entered the University College, Ibadan in 1954 for the preliminary programme in engineering. He proceeded to the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, where he acquired his B.Sc degree in Civil Engineering with First Class honours, winning the Gold Medal for the best student in civil engineering in 1959.

Oladapo then moved to the University of Cambridge (Christ College), where he obtained his doctorate degree in Structural Engineering in 1962.

He joined the leading Danish consulting firm, COWICONSULT (then known as Ostenfeld and Jonson) and soon proved his mettle in the area of concrete structures. Within a short time, he had learnt enough Danish, not only to explore the code of practice in that area of specialty, but teach the skills to young colleagues in the firm. He also had a unique opportunity to participate significantly in the design of motorway, river and suspended bridges. The experience prepared him effectively to confront major challenges in reinforced concrete structures in the tropical environ-ment in ensuing decades.

Both in Europe and the United States, he carried out joint studies that were acknowledged world-wide through the incorporation of their outcomes in the Limit State Code for Concrete in Europe and the American Concrete Institute Building Code of 1967.

On returning to Nigeria, Oladapo actively participated in the design and construction of many concrete structures in Lagos. Some of them include the Concrete Shell Roof, the Eko Bridge, and the Third Mainland Bridge. He also played key roles in the construction of the Benue River Bridge and later, the Niger Bridge in Onitsha.

He was inducted into the Hall of Fame for Science and Technology in New York; made a Fellow and elected Vice-President of the International Association of Bridge and Structural Engineering in Zurich; Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers in London; and Consultant to UNESCO in Engineering Education.

In Nigeria, his contributions to service, research and training in the field of engineering were non-pareil. Whether as President of the Nigerian Academy of Science, President of the Nigerian Academy of Engineering, or President of the Council for Regulating Engineering Practice in Nigeria, he performed with an authority that compelled attention. His outstanding achievements were duly recognised in 1992 when he was awarded the Nigerian National Order of Merit.

Oladapo's academic and administrative endowments were amply demonstrated in his appointment to a Chair of Engineering at the University of Lagos at the age of 38, and a year later, he became the Dean of Engineering in the university, and was later elevated as the institution's Deputy Vice-Chancellor (1977-1979).

In 1985, the Emeritus Professor was the pioneer Vice-Chancellor of the Ondo State University. He also served for several years on key committees of the National Universities Commission and was very active in support of higher education in his home state, Ondo.

Oladapo was a Visiting Professor at the University of Illinois, USA; Commonwealth Visiting Professor, University of Leeds, England, and a Visiting Professor at the University of Aalborg, Denmark.

A one-time President of the Ondo Club 75, his commitment to the cause of social, physical and economic development of Ondo Kingdom made him a natural choice as the chairman of Ondo Development Committee. His input into the design and supervision of the construction of the Oba Adesanoye Civic Centre was also substantial.

He received Doctorate in Science (honoris causa) of the Ondo State University (now University of Ado-Ekiti) in 1993; and Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba, Ondo State, in 2007. He was made Yegenha of Ondo by the Osemawe, and Kayejo by the Oba of Ipesi-Akoko. In 2000, he became the Officer of the Order of the Niger, a national award.

He served on boards of several organisations, including the Citi Bank, and was until his death, Chair of the Judges Committee for the Liquefied Natural Gas Science Prize Competition.

Courtesy, Ondo Development Committee.