Sofowora died on 22 January, 2015 after a brief illness. Prior to his death, the erudite pharmacist had lectured Pharmacognosy for over 45 years. He spent 40 year in the Department of Pharmacognosy, Faculty of Pharmacy, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife (October 1967–December 2007). He was head of the Drug Research Unit; Head of Department of Pharmacognosy and dean of the Faculty of Pharmacy. He also served as consultant to WHO, OAU (now AU), UNDP, UNIDO, ADB, ECA and TCDC.
From February 2010 to January 2013, Sofowora was visiting professor to the University of Maiduguri. He spent another two years as adjunct professor in the Department of Pharmacognosy, Delta State University, Abraka.
Speaking on his passing, Prof. Fola Tayo, pro-chancellor, Caleb University described the late don as a luminary and great teacher of Pharmacognosy.
“He came back very active after his training at University of Nottingham. Sofowora was a frontliner in the 1970s. In Ife (OAU), he remained committed and trained quite a number of students,” Prof. Tayo said, adding that, “Sofowora represented so many things – from Fagara project to his mark in sickle cell treatment.”
Prof. Paul Akubue, retired vice chancellor of Madonna University, Port Harcourt, Anambra State told Pharmanews that the news came to him as a shock.
“Honestly, I am still in shock. He was such an active researcher, very much involved in traditional research. Even though I wouldn’t be able to say much about him, I can tell you that we were contemporaries and travelled together on a couple of occasions. This is quite painful!” he lamented.
In his own remarks, Pharm. (Sir) Ifeanyi Atueyi, publisher of Pharmanews, described the death of the celebrated don as a great loss to the pharmacy profession and the entire academic community.
“Professor Sofowora devoted his life to academic pursuit and fully served at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife,” Atueyi said.”The inauguration of the Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy last year offered him the opportunity to share his wealth of experience on academies and constitutional issues. His exit reminds us that death is the lot of mortals and all we need to do is live right while there is life and fulfill our destiny.”
Also commenting on the sad event, veteran pharmacist and Fellow of the Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy, Pharm. Godfrey Obiaga, noted that Sofowora would be greatly missed by the scientific community and the nation as a whole.
“He was a great teacher. Many students of Pharmacy passed through him, one way or the other. He will be greatly missed, but we cannot question God,” he stated.
While praying for the family of the deceased for consolation and fortitude, Obiaga equally challenged fellow pharmacists to sustain the legacies of the departed icon.
“Pharmacists must honour him greatly and do what we can to build upon what this great pharmacist started,” Obiaga enthused.
As reward for his selfless service to pharma research and the community at large, he was honoured with special recognitions, including Fellow of the Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy (FNAP), Fellow of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (FPSN), Fellow of the West African College of Pharmacy, Great Achievers Award of Obafemi Awolowo University, Fellow of the Nigerian Society of Pharmacognosy (FNSP) and an award by the Sickle Cell Association of Nigeria, Ibadan.