By Kofoworola Belo-Osagie
Renowned urban planner, Prof. Akin Mabogunje, has donated his collection of books to the Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State.
The first professor of Geography in Nigeria and the first African to be President of the International Geographical Union, handed over his library of books to the Authorities of the OOU at his Ibadan resident Tuesday last week.
Mabogunje said he donated the library to re-pay the honour of being the institution’s first Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council.
“In appreciation of the honour done in choosing me as the first and foundation Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council of the Ogun State University (now Olabisi Onabanjo University), Ago-Iwoye, I have great pleasure in donating all my library of books, medals, certificates and other articles of personal recognition to the Library of the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye,” said Mabogunje.
The 2017 Vautrin Lud Prize Winner said he feared what would become of his books after his passing and decided to donate them to the institution for study and research.
He said the books now take more space than planned for in his Ibadan and Ijebu-Ode homes, compelling him to move some volumes to his reception room in Ijebu Ode.
Mabogunje, who turns 89 in October, urged the university to move the books as soon as possible.
“The Executors of my will have been so informed of this donation. It will be for me a matter of great satisfaction if the university can arrange to move all the books and artefacts from my residence in Ibadan and Ijebu-Ode as soon as it finds it convenient to do so in the not-too-distant future, at least whilst I am still alive,” he said.
Also speaking, Mabogunje’s eldest child, Seun, thanked the University for accepting the books. He said he and his siblings had been agonising what to do with the books, which he described as unique and priceless.
He advised the university to make judicious use of the books.
Receiving the books, the OOU Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Ganiyu Olatunji Olatunde said he felt privileged to lead the team to receive the donation from the pioneer Pro-Chancellor.
He thanked him for always having the university in mind and for his robust pioneering efforts at planting the seed for the development of the university between January 1982 and September 1990.
“The University you nurtured is now one of the best universities in the world. Of the 72 academic programmes of the university so far visited by the National Universities Commission, 70 have full accreditation status while Anatomy and Architecture programmes have interim and denied status as a result of limited space,” he said.
Olatunde further said that OOU had moved from recording 76 per cent in accreditation status when he took over in 2017 to 97.2 per cent presently.
The VC promised to inform the University Council, Senate, students and other stakeholders of Mabogunje’s kind gesture.
On his part, the University Librarian, Dr. Adebambo Oduwole, said the donation was timely as the university would be receiving the NUC Accreditation Team for Geography and Regional Planning in November.
“Since most of your books are from this discipline, it is a big plus for the university. A special place that will be designated MABOGUNJE LIBRARY shall be created for your collections in our University Library. On behalf of the Vice-Chancellor and the university, I want to assure you sir and your family that the university will make the best use of these rare books,” he said.
Other members of the delegation present were: Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Administration), Prof. Ebun Oduwole; Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academics), Prof. Deji Agboola and the Chair of Oba Sikiru Kayode Adetona Professorial Chair in Governance, Prof. Ayo Olukotun.