The life of a man is as a beach with many a shell and stone, an olla podrida of the monotonous, the ordinary, the exciting, the remarkable, the distinctively extraordinaire, and all the others in-between. Nothing brings these shades into the conspicuous display as the passage of their host into the world beyond. And so it is with the death of NLNG award winner, Ajibola Meshida.
Professor Ajibola Ebenezer Meshida, celebrated nationwide as a geologist, inventor, scientist, professor of engineering, and winner of the 2008 NLNG prize for science, has been confirmed dead.
According to a source, a close family relative of the deceased, the remarkable man died in Lagos on December 20, following a brief period of illness.
Known to the Nigerian scholarship class as an academic lord, rare master in the field of geology, and a meticulous scientist, Meshida came under the gaze of Nigerian citizenry when he secured the Nigeria Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) Prize for Science in 2008.
The award followed Meshida’s invention, laterite, a stabilization flux for fine-grained lateritic soils which have, in the words of the late genius, “arrested the deleterious swelling and shrinkage of black cotton soils of north-eastern Nigeria”. With this invention, Nigerian roads would become durable as there would be neither potholes, gullies, nor the occasional road pits that stump Nigerian motorists and road users.
Meshida was known to be a committed family man, a deep devotion that is obvious from fidelity shown by those that he left behind: his wife (a radiographer), Funmi; his children, Kunle, Bukky, Bolanle, Banke, and Gbenga; as well as his grandchildren.
Banke Meshida-Lawal, the last of his children, immortalized her father in an emotional tribute. The icon and queen of the makeup industry – and brains behind the BMPRO Line – referred to her father as “the kindest, calmest, wittiest, most loving father” who was “full of humour and the wisest cracks”.
Drawing attention to the countless times the late Meshida had patiently guided her, Banke – among family and friends – led the train of those who envision the deceased playing his beautiful violin at the feet of God, and rendering sweet melodies at the Grand Piano.