Beatrice Aboyade, Africa’s first female Doctor of English Literature Is Dead


Funeral activities of Africa's first female to obtain a doctorate in English Literature, Prof. Beatrice Olabimpe Aboyade, will commence on Thursday, March 30. Aboyade, who on March 3, was born on August 24, 1935 to the family of Omoba T.A Johnson Odubanjo, the grandson of Jagun Alausa of lmupa, Ijebu-Ode, who became the first Olowu of Owu ljebu.

The funeral programme of the late consummate academic was contained in a statement her family formally released at the weekend, reeling out programmes that would mark her journey to eternal rest.

The statement said the late matriarch “is survived by her , Mrs. Olufunmilayo Odia, Ms Olufunke Aboyade (SAN), Mr. Ojekunle Aboyade, Dr. Ojetunde Aboyade, several grandchildren and great grandchildren.”

It further revealed that the programme would commence with a Christian Wake keep at the Chapel of the Resurrection Hall, University of Ibadan. The statement also said funeral service would hold at the Chapel of the Resurrection, University of Ibadan on Friday, March 31 at 10.a.m.

According to the statement, this would be preceded by a lying-in-state at Trenchard Hall, University of Ibadan from 8.30am to 9.30am. Aboyade, a professor of Library and Information Studies, made history as one of the first five female professors in , alongside Professors Adetowun Ogunsheye (the first female professor), Bolanle Awe, Dayisi Oduntan and Oyin Olurin.

An academic of many firsts, the statement said the late matriarch set a record when she became the first or African Woman (South of the Sahara) to obtain a Ph.D in English Literature in 1970. Odubanjo, her father, was the grandson of Jagun Alausa of lmupa Ijebu-Ode, who became the first Olowu of Owu ljebu.

Jagun Alausa was a descendant of Oba Osimore of ljasi Ijebu-Ode, one of the first three founding Obas of Ijebu-Ode – along with two other Obas of lwade and Porogun areas of Ijebu-Ode.

A product of Queen's College, , and Queen's School, Ede, she was admitted in 1955 to the University College lbadan, then a College of the University of London, where, by virtue of her brilliant academic performance, she became a College Scholar, graduating with a BA Honours English degree in 1960.

Aboyade was only the second Nigerian Head of the Department of Library, Archival and Information Studies at the University of Ibadan. She succeeded Prof. Adetowun Ogunsheye as Head of the Department from 1977-1979, reappointed 1980-1983 and 1985-1988 a three-time record in the university.

During her tenure, the Department was expanded from being just the Department of Library Studies to the Department of Library, Archival and Information Studies (LARIS), thus incorporating the training of professional Archivists and Information Scientists as well as Librarians for the first time in Nigeria.

Aboyade was until her passing, Chairman of the Development Policy Centre in Ibadan, an international think–tank and research centre for capacity-building in formulating development policies and training in development projects.

The centre was founded by her late husband and renowned economist, Prof. Ojetunji Aboyade, with the support of the World . (THISDAY)

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