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Akin Mabogunje, Nigeria’s first professor of geography, is dead

Akin Mabogunje, Nigeria’s first professor of geography, is dead
August 04
18:07 2022

Akin Mabogunje, the first professor of geography in Nigeria, is dead.

Mabogunje is said to have passed away on Thursday morning. He was aged 90.

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

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



Born on October 18, 1931, in Kano, the professor attended Mapo Central School for one year and left for Ibadan Grammar School after passing its entrance exam.

In 1953, he earned a degree in geography from the University College, Ibadan, now the University of Ibadan, and later worked there as a lecturer.

He got a doctorate in the same discipline from the University of London in 1961, and became Nigeria’s first professor of geography at the University of Ibadan, in 1965.

Mabogunje, who was regarded as the father of African geography, was the first African president of the International Geographical Union, a position he held from 1980 to 1984. In 1999, he was the first African to be elected as a foreign associate of the United States National Academy of Sciences.


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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