Ayo Banjo, longest-serving rector of Nigerian university, dies at 90

Emeritus professor of English and former vice-rector of the University of Ibadan (UI), Ayo Banjo, has died at the age of 90.

This was confirmed to PREMIUM TIMES by the former vice-chancellor of the university and apprentice of the deceased, Idowu Olayinka, a professor of geology.

Olayinka said he first saw the news on the group’s page for the Chapel of the Resurrection, where Banjo worshipped.

“Later I found out from the dean of the Faculty of Letters and he confirmed it,” Olayinka told our journalist in a telephone interview.

The former vice-chancellor later shared his tribute to the deceased with the newspaper.

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Meanwhile, university spokesperson Joke Akinpelu said she was yet to confirm the development and promised to revert as soon as she was officially informed.

However, at the time of filing this report, he had not yet returned to the newspaper.



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About Banjo’s death

The circumstances that led to the death of the deceased are still unclear, but multiple sources confirmed to this newspaper that the elderly academic was weak and unable to attend public events for months.

Mr. Banjo, who has worked in the Nigerian education sector in various capacities, turned 90 on May 2.

Since his service at the University of Ibadanfirst as interim rector between November 1983 and November 1984 and as substantive rector between December 1984 and November 1991, his last public position was that of President of the Governing Council of the National Commission of Universities (CNU).

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He also served as Chairman of the Governing Council of some universities including the University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, and Ajayi Crowther University, Oyo, among others.

Tribute

In his tribute to the deceased, former UI Vice-Chancellor, Olayinka Idowu, described Mr Banjo as “an icon and an eminent citizen of the world”.

Titled: “Farewell Professor Ayo Banjo, 1934 to 2024”, Olayinka, who described himself as the deceased’s apprentice, said Banjo’s death had marked the end of an era.

He wrote: “I have just learned of the transition of Professor Emeritus Ladipo Ayo Banjo, the longest-serving Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ibadan (1984 to 1991). This is very sad news, even at the ripe old age of 90: the end of a most glorious era. Rest in perfect peace, Baba. All of us who knew you will miss you deeply.

“My deepest condolences to his entire family and to all of us, his apprentices and academic children. We value your wise advice at all times. You were very approachable. An icon. An eminent citizen of the world. The gift of UI to humanity.

“It hurts me a lot to start referring to you in the past tense. However, we thank God for his life of selfless service and valuable legacies. Goodnight Mr.”



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