It feels so sad to hear of Late Professor Rachel Bolaji Asagba’s death and I want to commiserate with her immediate family members and friends as they go through this period of grief. Late Professor Asagba was an important member of the psychology family and we will certainly miss her.
I have known Late Professor Rachel Asagba for about two and half decades in the Department of Psychology where she was a colleague. My first impression in the early part of my interactions with her was that of a very practical cum visionary researcher/teacher and an unassuming personality. She was never hesitant to creatively and empirically explore societal issues, and seemed to enjoy every new research opportunity.
Late Professor Rachel Asagba’s interpersonal interactions in the department conveyed a sense that members of staff in the Department of Psychology were an extension of her own extended family. I can remember vividly how her children came along to the department and how she introduced them to members of staff. This was how many of us got engaged in conversations with the children and knew about her pleasing family.
Late Professor Asagba was an individual I later had the privilege of knowing very closely as we once shared an office space in the Department of Psychology. My fascinations within this period are indelible as I was humbled by her kindness and compassion for others. Every once-in-a-while, Late Professor Asagba always had a reason to present me with a gift item. On a number of occasions, she walked into my partitioned area of our shared office and presented me with what she usually called a ‘token’. Over and over again, her ‘token’ turned out to be very valuable souvenirs.
She understood the meaning of the words ‘cooperation’ and ‘togetherness’ and followed through on them to the latter. Late Professor Rachel Asagba believed in the inter-disciplinary approach to solving problems and would readily invite colleagues to be part of her research and other academic activities; and where necessary, would educate you on the benefits of collaborative research. For her, the focus on the common good was more prestigious than her own individual benefit. This quality clearly classified her as a true utilitarian.
Late Professor Rachel Asagba’s passion and interest in Logotherapy was readily visible to anyone who had course to interact with her on life/scholarly issues. She was very resourceful in mentoring students and staff in the area of application of Logotherapy, especially in the investigation and treatment of psychological problems of the aged. Her commitment in this regard has created an army of Logotherapy apostles among colleagues and a pipeline of psychology graduates with Logotherapy inclinations.
I have been on examination panels with her on a number of occasions in the department, and for all intents and purposes, she demonstrated fierce dedication to duty and an unparalleled work ethics. Over and over again, Late Professor Asagba was always content to do the best job of knocking student’s thesis into shape and, in addition, would readily volunteer free consultation to make the research better.
Giving that Late Professor Rachel Asagba was very committed to professionalism and career, she was equally full of fun and was an interesting personality to be with because of her distinguishing sense of humour. Habitually too, she was often down-to-earth and very peace loving to the extent that she would readily and willingly walk up to discuss issues when there are differences; and would humour her discussion with a corresponding tone of voice. Not so many people are gifted with this inclination of hers.
Late Professor Rachel Asagba was a very respected and valuable member of the Department and the effects of her passing are already being felt by those of us who are her colleagues. Although, her physical presence is gone and the thought of not seeing her again brings tears and agony, my prayer is that the lessons we have learnt from her personality and our memories of the good times we spent together with her will bring some smile to our dampened minds.
I and my family’s most sincere sympathies go to her immediate family members and friends during this difficult time. I therefore pray that the lord will grant them the strength of mind to bear the loss.
‘My Prof. Ma’ (as I fondly addressed her), may your beautiful spirit live on through your children and may you rest in the peace you so much richly deserve. Adieu.
Professor David E. OKURAME
Department of Psychology,
University of Ibadan.