Professor of Geography and an eminent Nigerian, Professor Akin Ladipo Mabogunje, is dead. He was aged 90. His death was announced by his one of his nieces, Temilola Visser-Mabogunje, on her Twitter handle where she disclosed that her uncle died early on Thursday morning at the age of 90. He would have been 91 on October, having heen born on October 1931.
According to her tweet: “My darling uncle, Professor Akin. L. Mabogunje, is no more: 18 October 1931 to 4 August 2022. He left us early this morning. A great man is gone. Brother, our hearts are broken but you will forever remain in our hearts. Temilola for the Mabogunjes.” Mabogunje died at an undisclosed hospital on Thursday.
The deceased was a 1949 alumnus of University College Ibadan, now the University of Ibadan. During his lifetime, he suggested that the Federal Government should hand over the University of Ibadan to the alumni association to manage.
Mabogunje served in various capacities, including foreign associate of the United States National Academy of Sciences, member of the Western Nigerian Economic Advisory Council in 1967; member, Federal Public Service Review Commission, 1972; chairman, Nigerian Council for Management Development, 1976 and Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council, Ogun State University.
He was also on the board of Obafemi Awolowo Foundation.
Until his death, Mabogunje was the chairman of Ibadan School of Government and Public Policy.
Reacting to Mabogunje’s death, President Muhammadu Buhari said his departure would be greatly felt by the nation, especially the academia.
In a release by his media adviser, Femi Adesina, Buhari commiserated with Mabogunje’s network of professional associates and experts at home and abroad, who have shared in his vision of nation building, with cerebral works in urbanisation, human and regional development, geographic perspectives and shelter provision.
The president noted the depth, reach and extensive research of the first African President of the International Geographical Union, who in 1999, was first African to be elected as a Foreign Associate of the United States National Academy of Sciences, and in 2017, was elected a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and received the Vautrin Lud Prize. In their separate condolence messages, Professor Anya, O. Anya described the news of Mabogunje’s death and that of Late Pius Okigbo as devastating, lamenting that the country has a truly great man and pathfinder.
The statement read: “The news is devastating in a very personal sense. Professor Mabogunje and the late Pius Okigbo were my models and mentors of the intellectual leader in the public space.
He was a valued member of the ‘Burdened Elders’ where his wise counsel and insightful discernment were used in the service of our nation.
“His going frightens me at this particular juncture in the history of our beleaguered nation. Go well exceptional teacher and visionary leader. Our Lord shall welcome you with His special welcome. Our prayer is that His mercy and love will accompany you to the throne of grace. Let it be known that Nigeria today lost a truly great man and pathfinder. My sympathy and love to his exceptional wife and family.”
In his reaction, Professor Emeka Anyaoku, who conveyed his condolence message to the family through the chairman of the African Newspapers of Nigeria Plc, Dr Tokunbo Awolowo-Dosunmu described Mabogunje as an outstanding patriot with friends and associates throughout Nigeria.
The letter read: “This is sad news indeed. Please convey to Professor Akin Mabogunje’s family the deepest condolences of all of us in the selection committee. Mabogunje was an outstanding patriot with friends and associates throughout Nigeria and a member of our committee whose counsels were always treasured for their wisdom and perspicacity. We join his family in praying for his soul to rest in peace.”
Similarly, the national president of the Ibadan Grammar School Old Students’ Association, Oladimeji Mako described his passage as a great loss to the country and the housing sector