From: Laide Raheem, Abeokuta
A university don, Prof. Toyin Falola, has called on the Federal Government and the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) to name a street after a retired Professor of Geography, Akin Mabogunje.
The call, according to Falola, became imperative in order for the Federal Government to honour the professor emeritus for what he described as ‘Mabogunje’s matchless designs and development of the FCT.’
Falola, a Professor of African History at the University of Texas, Austin, USA, made the call in a statement, in Abeokuta, to eulogise Prof. Mabogunje, who clocked 86 years recently.
In the words of Falola, “I am not sure there is a street named after him in Abuja. If there is one, he deserves it. If there is none, it is a great omission. In 1976, if my memory serves me, he took a team of geographers, microbiologists, geologists and others, to map out the proposed new federal capital and determine what facilities and landmarks would be located where.
“Today, despite his advancement in age, he is not tired yet as he continues to contribute to national discussions, offering ideas on how to move the nation forward.
“Prof. Mabogunje, has combined academic excellence with community service and given an enviable account of himself in all the endeavors in which he has engaged. I am not sure there is a street named after him in Abuja”.
Falola, noted that apart from Maboguje’s contribution to the development of FCT, he had served in various capacities in the Nigerian public and private sectors, such as developing the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye, working on the DAWN Project in the South West among projects.
While describing him as the ‘Father of African Geography’, Falola, however, expressed his disappointment in government’s failure to implement some of Mabogunje’s policies, ideas and suggestions, particularly, in the area of physical and economic planning.
“This intellectual giant thought to himself that being the brain behind policies was as important as getting political power and through that shrewd decision five decades plus ago, he has been a tremendous influence in Nigeria’s political and urban landscape.
“His career as a university teacher, an advisor to different governments in Nigeria and Africa on developmental policies, a writer, and heavyweight intellectual have been the sum of his many parts, all of which coalesce into an iconic picture of a pioneer scholar and intellectual who has had remarkable inputs in the shaping of this country’s history and geography”. Falola submitted.