Former U. I. Vice-Chancellor, Tekena Tamuno dies at 83 | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Former U. I. Vice-Chancellor, Tekena Tamuno dies at 83

Posted: Apr 13, 2015 at 8:42 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Oladele Ogunsola /  Correspondent, Ibadan. 


The former VC and one of Africa’s renowned Professor of History and
ex-President of the Nigeria Academy of Letters passed on in Ibadan on Saturday afternoon and
he was aged 83 years.

The great intellectual giant’s demise came as a shock to friends and colleagues as he was said to have recovered and looking healthy after returning from the United States where he was reportedly treated for prostate cancer mid last month.

Details of his last moments were sketchy as his family members refused interviews when our reporter called at the Agodi residence of the late university administrator and scholar yesterday.

One of his sons, a lawyer, Tamuno’s widow and a few other relations who received sympathizers flatly declined talking to the press, describing their loss as “a private affair” and
they also turned down entreaties to copy entries in the condolence register already opened for the deceased, despite being reminded that the late historian was a public figure.

Reacting to Tamuno’s death, the Secretary of NAL and fellow historian, Olutayo Charles Adesina, said that “the Nigerian academic community and indeed the nation has lost an extremely cerebral historian and foremost scholar of the humanities, who combined both the rigour and flexibility needed for a better understanding of his field”.


Adesina, a former Head of UI History Department, where the deceased had also taught, said the late historian was an extremely approachable academic with excellent interpersonal relations qualities.

“They don’t build them like that anymore, he was a study in humility”, says the NAL scribe with another colleague and erudite linguist, Francis Egbokhare following Adesina’s submission.

“For a man of his kind of stature as an intellectual and administrator, he was unbelievably accessible to the younger ones, unlike others who would strut like Emperors. If you were with him, you may forget you were not with your age mate. But, more importantly, he was a man who had great faith in God”.

Besides, Egbokhare said “the late Tamuno, a prolific author of many books and articles in journals, would be missed for his numerous and quality intellectual contributions.

Tamuno served as Chancellor, Redeemer’s University, Chairman of the Presidential Panel on National Security from October 2001 to December 2002 and Panel on Policing Nigeria Project 2002- 2003.

A poet and historian, Tamuno, was a fellow of both the Nigerian Academy of Letters and Rockefeller Foundation and a member of the National Universities Commission.        Born on January 28, 1932 in Okrika, Rivers State, he attended St. Peter’s School, Okrika, 1938-46; Okrika Grammar School, Okrika, 1947-51; University College, Ibadan, 1953-1958; Birkbeck College, University of London, 1960-62; and Columbia University, New York City, U.S.A. 1965-66.

He began his career as an Assistant Lecturer in History, University College, Ibadan in 1962; and was promoted Lecturer, 1963; Senior Lecturer, 1967; and Professor in History, 1971-1990, and was Head of Department of History, University of Ibadan, between 1972-75.

He was appointed the Dean of Arts, 1973-75; Chairman, Committee of Deans, University of Ibadan, 1974-75; Principal University College, Ilorin, 1975; Vice Chancellor, University of Ibadan, 1975-79; Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Governing Council, Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Port Harcourt, 1981-88; Visiting Professor in History, Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna, 1989-90; Research Professor in History and Distinguished Fellow, National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, 1990-94.

He was conferred with the award of Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR).