Professor Akin Oladipo Mabogunje, Nigeria’s first professor of geography will be 85 tomorrow.
The professor emeritus, who scored 8As in the Cambridge School Certificate in 1948 and had received multiple academic and national honours has received adulations from President Muhammadu Buhari.
In a statement by media and publicity adviser, Femi Adesina, President Buhari joined family members, friends, professional colleagues and students of the octogenarian in celebrating the life of the National Merit Award recipient, “who has consistently served humanity through extensive research, teaching and consulting across many national and global institutions”.
President Buhari believed the intellectual and moral strength of the renowned scholar prepared him at an early stage for the numerous leadership roles before him; paving the way for a rigorous and successful academic career, and contributions to infrastructure development, urban and regional planning and public sector banking.
President Buhari commended the patriotism and commitment of Prof. Mabogunje in serving, with integrity, on several boards of the Federal Government over many years, sharing his knowledge and skills to reposition cities, and working tirelessly to alleviate poverty through partnerships with the World Bank and the United Nations.
Mabogunje, was former Dean of the Faculty of the Social Sciences, Director of the Planning Studies Programme and Professor of Geography of the University of Ibadan, Nigeria.
He became a professor at the age of 34.
Born 18 October, 1931, he received his University education at both the University College, Ibadan, and the University College, London.
He graduated Bachelors of Arts (general) in Geography from the University of London and taught for many years at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria.
He also taught in a number of universities outside Nigeria, notably in Britain, Sweden, Brazil and the United States. In the US, he was the Melville Herskovits Distinguished Professor of African Studies for the session 1978-79.
Mabogunje had also served in a number of public sector positions in Nigeria.
Among these are as Chairman of the Western State Forestry Commission (1968-74), Chairman, National Council for Management Development (1976-79), Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Ogun State University (1982-91), Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Nigerian National Merit Award Endowment fund (1989-94), Vice Chairman of the Directorate of Food, Roads and Rural Infrastructure in the Office of the President (1986-91), Executive Chairman of the National Board for Community Banks (1991-1994), Chairman of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria from 2002, and Chancellor, Bells University of Technology.
Mabogunje had published extensively especially in his field of urban and regional development.
In 1980, he was bestowed with the Nigerian National Order of Merit (NNOM), the highest national award for distinguished contribution to the academic and intellectual life of the country.
He was also the recipient of the national honours of Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON).
He had the honorary doctorate degrees of the Stockholm School of Economics, Sweden (1973), Michigan State University, East Lansing (1976), University of Benin, Benin City (1995) and the Ogun State University, Ago-Iwoye (1996).
He is the first African to be elected Foreign Associate of the United States National Academy of Sciences in 1999 and is the recipient of numerous research medals from international professional associations.
Mabogunje had been active within the international Geographical Union. After serving three terms as Vice President of that international organization, he served as its President between 1980 and 1984.
At different times, he served consultant to the World Bank, the United Nations Development Programme and the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements.
He is also an Honorary Fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Engineering. He has been married now to his wife, Titi, a retired justice, for 64 years.
*Mabogunje’s bio-data provided by the Nigerian Academy of Engineering: http://www.nae.org.ng/fellows_profiles.asp?id=50