One of Africa’s renowned Professor of History and former Vice Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, Emeritus, Professor Tekena Tamuno, is dead.
Tamuno, who was a former President of the Nigeria Academy of Letters, NAL, passed on in Ibadan on Saturday afternoon. He was aged 83 years.
The demise of the finest historian came as a shock to friends and colleagues as he was said to have recovered and healthy after returning from the United States where he was treated for prostate cancer mid last month.
As at the time of filing this report, details of his last moments were sketchy as his family members refused interviews when journalists 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 sympathisers declined talking to the press, describing their loss as “a private affair.”
Other Prof. Tamuno’s relatives also turned down entreaties to copy entries in the condolence register opened for the deceased, despite being reminded that the late historian was a public figure.
While reacting to Tamuno’s death, the Secretary of NAL and fellow historian, Prof. Olutayo Charles Adesina, said the Nigerian academic community and indeed the nation had 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 History Department in UI, where the deceased also taught, said the late Tamuno was an extremely approachable academic with excellent interpersonal relations qualities. “They don’t build them like that anymore, he was a study in humility,” he stated.
Another colleague and erudite linguist, Prof. Francis Egbokhare said: “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, Prof. Egbokhare added that the late Tamuno, an author of many books and articles in journals, would be missed for his numerous and quality intellectual contributions.
Nigerian Pilot recalls that Prof. 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, Prof. Tamuno was also a fellow of Rockefeller Foundation and a member of the National Universities Commission, NUC.
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.
Tamuno began his career as an Assistant Lecturer in History, University College, Ibadan in 1962 and was promoted Lecturer in 1963; Senior Lecturer, 1967; and Professor of History, 1971-1990. He was Head of Department of History, University of Ibadan between 1972-75 and 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).

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