By Ebunoluwa Sessou

Director of Gender Studies Institute, University of Benin, UNIBEN,  Professor Uwa Edosomwan, has said the legacy the late Grace Alele-Williams left behind in the education sector would forever stand the test of time.

Reacting to the death of the education icon, Edosomwan joined other women groups to eulogise  her legacy while calling on Nigerian women especially those in different sectors, to strive to make the country a better place.

Her words: “A woman of many firsts; her contributions to education was invaluable. She was a rare gem, a trailblazer, an iconic and courageous woman. She was an epitome of grace, beauty and brains.

“However, I am happy she lived a fulfilled and impactful life. She will be missed but she has left beautiful footprints on the sands of time,” she said.

In a statement made available to WO, the immediate past President, International Women’s Society, Tita Young, said Professor Grace Alele-Williams was an erudite and forthright lady, elegant in both composure and deed.

“ Her life’s work shows she was a confirmed educationist with strong work ethics who from the onset, gave back to the country through teaching and introducing ‘certificate courses’ germane to the needs of the community at large.

“She joined the rank of the female forerunners who came before her- ‘opening up the field for women.’

“Many have attested to her prowess in mathematics, her determination to be the first amongst equals culminating in 1963, in her achieving the status of the first Nigerian female to be awarded a Ph.D and later in 1985, the first female to become vice-chancellor of not only a Nigerian university, but by virtue of that, also of an African university namely, the University of Benin in Nigeria.

“I was fortunate enough to have met and conversed with such a huge personality who always had a lovely and welcoming smile.”

Dr. Keziah Awosika and other members of the Association of African Women for Research and Development (AAWORD) Nigeria Chapter, in a chat described her death as a loss to humanity.

“A true icon of women academics and scholarship.  A trail blazer in many respects. Nigeria has lost a gem.

“I interviewed her for about three hours and got great insights from her on Women’s role in Development.”

Nike Ejiomah, Civil Society Advocacy Coalition on Education for all, Csacefa, also said: “She came, she worked, she conquered.

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