By Victor Chijioke
Professor Akinlawon Mabogunje, renowned intellectual, Nigeria’s first geography professor, and father of UNILAG Vice Chancellor, Professor Folasade Ogunsola, was remembered by relatives and associates — among them the brass at the universities of Lagos and Ibadan — at a memorial ceremony conducted on the first anniversary of his death.
The ceremony, which was conducted on October 18, 2023, at the Trenchard Hall of the
University of Ibadan, saw fond memories of the deceased relived, and his intellectual milestones proclaimed and remembered.
The deceased, who is also the first African to be elected as President of the International
Geographical Union was known for being at the forefront of advocacies for better urbanization in Nigeria and Africa.
The debut memorial lecture given in his memory was delivered by Professor Taibat Lawanson of the Department of Urban and Regional Planning, UNILAG.
In her lecture, Professor Lawanson paid glowing tributes to the late Prof. Akin Mabogunje,
adjudging him a leading light in the field of Geography.
The Professor of Urban Management and Governance highlighted some of the milestone
contributions of Prof. Akin Mabogunje, especially in the development of Abuja as Nigeria’s
Federal Capital Territory and in the development of Lagos Megacity, as well as his advocacy for
land reforms, poverty alleviation, community development and industrialization.
Prof. Lawanson decried the failure of stakeholders to adopt and implement research findings and recommendations by academics.
She posited that the late Professor has laid a solid foundation for urbanization through significant research contributions, which would solve several urbanization challenges if well
The ceremony, graced by the entire management team of the University of Lagos, also featured the presentation of two publications: special issues of Benin Journal of Geography, Planning
and Environment, as well as late Prof. Mabogunje’s last book, Egba Palimpsest.
Daughter of the deceased, Professor Folasade Ogunsola, also unveiled the Akin Mabogunje
Foundation, a project she said is intended to immortalize the intellectual legacies of her father.
Former President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, sent in a message extolling the virtues of the Late Professor Mabogunje who served as Coordinator, Centre for Security and Dialogue
of the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library.
Represented by Professor Peter Okebukola, Obasanjo described the late Professor as a friend and compatriot who gave his best in service to his community, profession and humanity at large.
The first Professor Akin Mabogunje Memorial Lecture, according to the hosts at the University of Ibadan, was borne out of the need to celebrate the virtues of the deceased as a thinker, leader, and a distinguished achiever with sterling legacies.
Born on October 18, 1931, Professor Akinlawon Ladipo Mabogunje holds a place in history as
Nigeria’s first Professor of Geography and the first African scholar elected an International
Member of the United States National Academy of Sciences. He breathed his last on August 4,