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Akin Mabogunje, Nigeria’s First Professor Of Geography, Dies At 90

Akin Mabogunje, the first professor of geography in Nigeria and first African president of the International Geographical Union, is dead.

Lola Visser-Mabogunje, his niece, confirmed his death in a post via Twitter, aged 90.

He passed away on Thursday morning.

“Prof. Akin Mabogunje, 1931-2022. A great man is gone but will remain forever in our hearts. We shall miss you brother,” she wrote.

My darling uncle Prof. 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 — Visser-Mabogunje L. (@VisserLola) August 4, 2022

Mabogunje, a well-known associate of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who in 1999 was the first African to be elected as a Foreign Associate of the United States National Academy of Sciences,  served variously as 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.

Mabogunje was the author of the seminal work, “Urbanisation in Nigeria”, in 1968, which explores urbanisation and state formation in the country.

Until his death at 90, Mabogunje was the Chairman of Ibadan School of Government and Public Policy and mentor to its founder, Tunji Olaopa.

He has received several awards including the Vautrin-Lud Prize which he won in 2017, becoming its first African recipient. The prize is the highest honour in the field of geography.

On his 90th birthday in 2021, President Muhammadu Buhari had extolled Mabogunje for the historic roles he played in the structuring, growth, and demography of the country.

Buhari also said the Professor’s publication titled ‘Urbanisation of Nigeria’, has guided the activities of the National Census Board and the Federal Capital Development Authority.

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