A foremost scholar, first Urhobo Professor of Pharmacy, and global specialist in the field of Pharmacology, David Tinakpoevwan Okpako has passed away, triggering a wave of tributes.
Okpako, Nigeria’s eminent academic, premier pharmacologist of international repute who hailed from Owhahwa in Ughievwen Kingdom of (Delta Central Senatorial zone) Urhobo nation, was reported to have died on Monday, 7th September at the age of 84.
While confirming the demise of this excellent scholar and accomplished Nigerian in a statement released on Thursday, the Steering Committee of the Urhobo Renaissance Society (URS) described him as “a patriot of the Urhobo extraction” who has greatly contributed to the heritage of his people and to medical practice in Nigeria.
Professor Okpako who bagged his PhD in Pharmacology in 1967, became the first Urhobo Professor of Pharmacy in 1977. He founded the Faculty of Pharmacy at University of Ibadan in 1983 and became its Dean from 1987 to 1991.
The revered and most distinguished academic who was also the founding Dean of the Faculty of Pharmacy at the Delta State University, Abraka devoted much of his academic career to building the Pharmacy profession in Nigeria.
The statement by the URS read in part thus: “The Steering Committee of URS announces the death of a foremost academic and patriot of Urhobo extraction, Professor David Tinakpoevwan Okpako.
“Prof Okpako who was born in 1936 at Ohwahwa in Ughievwen Kingdom, was until his death on Monday 7th September 2020, a retired Professor of Pharmacy at the University of Ibadan.
“An alumnus of Urhobo College, Effurun, he was educated at the Universities of Bradford and London. Okpako obtained his PhD in Pharmacology in 1967 and became a Professor in 1977. Thus becoming the first Urhobo Professor of Pharmacy. He founded the Faculty of Pharmacy at UI in 1983 and became its Dean from 1987 to 1991. He was to become the founding Dean of the Faculty of Pharmacy at DELSU. Professor Okpako was visiting professor to many ivy league universities and author of highly rated books.
“His contributions to Urhobo history and culture abound in his cutting edge essays and books including Science Interrogating Belief and Kpeha’s Songs.
“He was a folklorist who documented Urhobo folkways,traditional medicine and healing practices, songs. He was very active in the affairs of the Urhobo Historical Society.”