IUCN - A Tribute to Professor Emmanuel Asuquo Obot

A Tribute to Professor Emmanuel Asuquo Obot

05 June 2012 | Article
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The IUCN community is deeply saddened by the sudden loss of our colleague and friend Professor Emmanuel Asuquo Obot who died tragically on Sunday 3 June 2012 in the plane crash in Lagos, Nigeria. Professor Obot was the Executive Director of the Nigerian Conservation Foundation, an IUCN Member organization, a Steering Committee member of the Commission on Environmental Economic and Social Policy (CEESP) and Chair of the CEESP Theme on Social and Environmental Accountability of the Private Sector (SEAPRISE).

With a doctorate in botany and a passion for orchids, Professor Obot was one of Nigeria’s most respected scientists. He worked for thirty years on the design and implementation of environmentally sustainable community-based development projects with the objective of providing access rights and secure land tenure to local people(s). He sought to develop and apply the concept of participatory management of renewable natural resources with local people living around protected areas in Nigeria. He developed and tested “governance” structures that allow communities living in close proximity to National Parks to “have a voice” and contribute to the management of the Parks. The establishment of the Cross River National Park is one of his greatest legacies.

For many years, Professor Obot also worked to raise awareness about the impacts of oil exploration and oil spills on the environment and people of the Niger Delta, his homeland. This was a cause close to his heart. Most recently, he was invited by the Director General of IUCN to set up and Chair an Independent Advisory Panel to advise Shell in Nigeria on the remediation and rehabilitation of oil spill sites in the Niger Delta. He took on the role despite the differences with Shell “in order to give something, however small, back to the people of the Delta” and because this work was in the “best interests of the people who live in the Niger Delta and depend upon biodiversity for their livelihoods”.

The Panel held its inaugural meeting from 11th to 13th April 2012 at the IUCN Headquarters. The first day of that meeting was in fact Professor Obot’s birthday which was celebrated by sharing a special birthday cake with all the Panel members. In his words of thanks, Professor Obot expressed gratitude by stating that he was glad to be serving his people, even on his birthday and so far from his home and family. This was clearly indicative of how he put the interest of others ahead of himself.

A wonderful man - authentic, kind and humble. A respected scientist and an inspiration to many. Professor Obot will be greatly missed. He leaves behind his wife Emma, an educationist, and four children.

If you would like to add some words of condolence for the family or share your memories of Professor Obot, please post your text below.



1 ukobong ekaette Nigerian Conservation Foundation
One of the world greatest
May the gentle soul of Prof. Obot, one of world greatest scientist and scholar rest in perfect peace.
October 10, 2012 - 01:36
2 Paddy Ezeala Oxfam America
Exit of a Respected Field Scientist
His death is an inestimable loss to the Nigerian environmental community. Through his scientific field and the opportunities that came his way, he contributed immensely to conservation in Nigeria.

My heartfelt condolences to his family.
RIP Prof.
June 18, 2012 - 19:52
3 Margaret Adaba Soyemi
A profound soul gone!!!
Words fail me at this moment. I am in deep shock at the moment because it is only just now I was able to reconcile that the Obot listed in the plane crash was the very profound Dr. Emmanuel Obot I had the opportunity to have worked with on a project on the Nguru wetlands many years ago, as a Program Officer with Communicating for Change. I can't believe he is gone. My tears are still running. But GOD knows best. May the good record he has kept on earth forever stand as a testimony for his family and for our nation Nigeria. Rest in peace Dr. Obot. Adeiu!
June 12, 2012 - 23:29
4 Paul Whitinui University of Canterbury
Faith in the Work of Professor Obot
I want to send my sincere condolences to Professor Obot's family and close friends. I did not know him personally, but I read that his work has touched the lives of many around the world who strive to protect our environment. Indeed, his integrity, respect and character will act as beacon who valued his friendship, tutelage and vision. Let Nature Rest and Keep Prof Obot- Arohanui
June 11, 2012 - 22:56
5 Kujore Olamide Titilayo Student
Tribute to a rare gem
What a painful departure! I saw him for the first time on our matriculation day at wusto and wish to know him better but God knows better. It was a sad moment for all the students and staffs when our V. C. announced his death. We all love you but Jesus loves you more. Sleep on beloved and sleep, rest on the chest of your redeemer, we love but Jesus loves you more. Good night!!! And i pray that God in his infinite mercy wil console and guide his family aright. Amen
June 11, 2012 - 22:38
6 John Barker WWF
Deeply saddened
Having lived and worked with Prof for 4 years in the forest of Okwangwo in Cross River State I will always be able to remember the joy of witnessing his incredible skills as a field botantist, his wicked sense of humour and the great company spent with him after long days in the forest.

Nigeria has lost yet another of its great characters and contributors before his time and just when when the country needed him most .

My family sends their deepest condolences to all his family .
June 11, 2012 - 10:29
7 Emanuel Mnyandi social worker(Environmentalist)
loss of an african icon
Few know and care about the environment of tomorrow. Prof. Emanuel is among those who wanted to care and conserve the environment of tomorrow; but because God has got a special aim to take him let us appreciate on what he started believing that he will be paid through his efforts.
Rest in peace comrade.

June 9, 2012 - 11:44
8 Rick Steiner Oasis Earth
Loss of a friend, loss of a conservation colleague
I had the privilege of working with Prof. since 2006 on Niger Delta issues, and other global conservation issues. Prof. Obot participated in our first environmental damage assessment of oil in the Niger Delta in 2006, which paved the way for several subsequent efforts (by UNEP, IUCN, and others). Traveling to villages in the Delta with him was a true joy -- he always had the perfect balance of good humor and professionalism. And mostly, his passion for the Niger Delta environment and its people was always evident. He will be dearly missed, and we will continue his effort with resolve.
June 9, 2012 - 03:20
9 Clive wicks Member od SEAPRISE
Prof/ Emmanuel's death is a great loss to his family and friends and to conservation in Nigeria and the World. I worked with him on and off for 23 years He helped to create many protectd areas including the Cross River National Park and stood up to the oil industry in the Niger Delta. He led our efforts to train people from many countries to avoid the mistakes and poverty created by the oil industry in Nigeria.

Rest in peace Prof

June 8, 2012 - 11:43
10 Iheanyi G. Mbagwu National Institute for Freshwater Fisheries Research, New Bussa
An “Eagle on Iroko” has fallen
In December 1994, in the dedication page of my doctoral thesis, I wrote “I would like to dedicate this work to my good and trusted friend PROFESSOR EMMANUEL ASUQUO OBOT who encouraged me, and influenced me through fine example, to develop interest in applied research …”
Akparawa, in life you took battle to the land of the spirits and come back with an eagle’s feather on your cap. Prof., my good friend, you found your path in the land of the living; find your way in the land of spirits

June 7, 2012 - 16:10
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