The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, as well as friends and colleagues on Wednesday paid tributes to the late Prof. Babatunde Osotimehin.
They spoke at a forum held in honour of Osotimehin at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan.
Osotimehin was until his death the Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
Osotimehin was also a former Minister of Health and Director General of National Agency for the Control of AIDS.
The Ooni of Ife described the late professor as one of the greatest human assets the continent had seen in recent times.
“As I read tributes after tributes from family friends and colleagues of Prof. Osotimehin, I was filled with both awe and pride for this distinguished son of Oduduwa.
“His commitment to women and girls, his professionalism, his diplomacy, his capacity to reach out to young people, mould them and turn into the pride of their families, communities and their country are exemplary.
“His life and work are truly deserving of celebration,” Ogunwusi, represented by one of his high chiefs, said.
The monarch said that the Royal Court of Ife would immortalise the deceased through the establishment of a Babatunde Osotimehin Centre of African Excellence in Reproductive and Sexual Health.
The Chairman of the Governing Council of Obafemi Awolowo University, Dr Yemi Ogunbiyi, described the late professor as a colossus who embraced transformational goals to improve the plight of women and children globally.
“He embraced and pursued three transformational goals, including zero prevention of maternal deaths, zero tolerance of practices against women and children and zero unmet needs for family planning products.
“He was a good human being and I am deeply touched to have a rare person as a close confidant,” he said.
Among those who also paid tributes to the late don were Prof. Bunmi Olaopa and Prof. Temitope Alonge, the Provost, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, and the Chief Medical Director of UCH respectively.
Olaopa said that the deceased was an accomplished man who attained the pinnacle of service to humanity and indeed left his footprints in the sands of time locally and internationally.
“As we celebrate this great man who was a former Provost of the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, we acknowledge with profound gratitude his contributions to the growth and development of the college.
“To the family, the greater tributes to him is not grief, but gratitude for an accomplished and fulfilled life.
“His transition completes the circle of life and while mere words may not express the heartfelt sorrow at his demise, please take comfort in the knowledge that his works will immortalise him,” he said.
The Regional Director, West and Central Africa Region, UNFPA, Mabingue Ngom, said that Osotimehin was known for his strong advocacy, especially in the fight for the wellbeing of humans globally.
“Under his leadership, UNFPA has become one of the top organisations of the United Nations.
“He had profound regard for humanity and facilitated development of young people across the world.
“His legacy lives on and his vision and example will continue to guide us at UNFPA,” he said.
His colleagues in their tributes said that his immense contributions to world medicine touched practically millions of lives, especially women and children in developing countries.
With his departure, they said Africa had lost one of its most vibrant and accomplished clinical scientists.