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Tributes to Prof. Samuel E. Okoye February 24, 2010

Posted by ASTRO Section Chair in : Astronomy and Astrophysics (ASTRO) , trackback Bookmark and Share

from Charles McGruder


The news of the death of Prof. S. E. Okoye on 18th November, 2009 was received with shock by the staff of the department, especially by those who passed through him as students and those who were his colleagues.

Professor Okoye joined the services of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka in 1970 as an Associate professor of physics and was promoted to full Professor in 1976. He became the Head of Department of Physics during 1978-1981. it was during his tenure as Head of Department that the name of the Department was changed from Physics to Physics and Astronomy. It was also during this period that he formed the Astrophysics Research Group that later metamorphosed into the Space Research Group.

Professor Okoye trained a number of postgraduate students some of whom are now Professor in the University of Nigeria and other Nigeria Universities. As a world renowned Professor, he has left indelible marks in the annals of the history of the department.

On behalf of the staff of the Department of Physics and Astronomy I send our condolences to the bereaved family and wish his soul eternal rest in perfect peace.


Losing a loved one is probably one of the most difficult feelings any human being can experience, so much more if it is a parent. No words can express how I feel right now.

How do you come to terms with the loss of your beloved father? How do you find happiness again? How do you move forward despite your aching heart, emptiness and sadness? It’s like I’m in the midst of a nightmare that doesn’t disappear when I wake up. However, deep down I can still feel my father’s presence ….his voice, his laughter, his wits…. His spirit still lives.

Dad taught me many things. Most importantly, I learnt from him how to live and cope with the harsh and difficult challenges in life. On numerous occasions, he told me to always “aim for the stars and you will reach the skies…. Aim for the moon and you will likely reach the stars”.

Each time I remember that quote, it serves as a source of motivation to always strive to be the best in whatever I do.

Dad was very meticulous and organized. He cared very much for his family and would very often inconvenience himself so that his children would enjoy the best things of life. He was kind, considerate and compassionate.

I also came to realize that the most important thing that daddy had was us, his family.

Dad was a great source of inspiration, not only to his children or his family but to many who came across him one way or the other. He strove to educate others in the hope that they opened their minds to new possibilities.

He was a voracious reader. He invested a lot of his funds on books. He had a library of books covering various disciplines from Astronomy to Bio-technology, Economics, Literature, Biology, Politics and Medicine.

Dad, you exhibited great courage, resilience and strength through the numerous battles and difficult challenges you went through. The race is finally over and now you have gone to rest in the bosom of our Lord.

Adieu Daddy…… I will miss you very much.


So much more than a Dad

To those who knew him he was “Sam”,

To many others he was “Professor Okoye”,

To his siblings and relatives he was “Akalaka”

To me and three others he was “DAD”

He was the biggest man I have ever known; or ever will.

He traveled his allotted time on Earth with energy,

Courage, determination and faith that is so rare in most individuals

He was a true hero.

Daddy was kind, caring and generous

He was also my friend

On the last day we spent together, we spoke about our plans for the future. Things we could and should do and ho we would do them.

Ala, he was called back home.

Although aged 70, I think we lost dad in his prime.

For he so much wanted to do

Daddy is touted for being Africa’s foremost black astrophysicist. But his greatest achievement was not his qualification

Rather his sheer bravery and willpower

Like the Leo sign he was, Daddy was a Lion

He swam seas and maneuvered oceans full of sharks and whales

Yet, he still emerged at the other side of the water.

Let us, therefore, not just mourn the absence of the flame,

But also celebrate how brightly it burned.

I love and miss you terribly, daddy!

May our good Lord grant you everlasting peace

Amy Bobo

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