It is with great sorrow that the United Nations University learned of the passing of Professor Jacob Festus Ade Ajayi on 9 August 2014, aged 85 (coincidently the same day that his close friend and former UNU Vice-Rector, Professor Alexander Adum Kwapong, also passed away).
Professor Ade Ajayi was a distinguished Nigerian historian and a leading scholar in Ibadan School who focused on introducing African perspectives to African history.
He was appointed as a member of the UNU Council and served in the period from 1974 to 1980. He was elected as Chair of the Council for the period from 1976 to 1977.
He returned to support UNU almost a decade later when he served as a member of the Ten-Year Evaluation Committee for the University from 1986 to 1987.
UNU is indebted to Prof. Ade Ajayi for the important and valuable contribution he made to the University, particularly in its formative years.
We also would like to acknowledge the important role he played in Nigerian higher education as the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, before becoming the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lagos from 1972 to 1978.
He was a great supporter of the United Nations. For example, his written works include “General History of Africa (Volume VI): Africa in the Nineteenth Century until the 1880s“, which he edited on behalf of UNESCO.
Internationally, Professor Ade Ajayi was a well-respected figure and he was awarded the Distinguished Africanist Award by the African Studies Association in 1993 as well as becoming an Honorary Fellow of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, in 1994.