Seven former university professors, whose writings were published in the University of Ibadan Historical Series between 1965 and 1981, were on Friday, 2nd March, 2018 honoured by Adeyemi College of Education, Ondo.
The honorees, described as pacesetters of modern African historiography, were among the crop of the 23 scholars who pioneered the Ibadan Historical Series at the Nigerian premier university.
The eminent historians conferred with Lifetime Achievement Platinum Awards were Professors Obaro Ikime, (Senator) Banji Akintoye, (Emeritus) Anthony Ijaola Asiwaju, Olatunji Oloruntimehin, Tajudeen Gbadamosi, Emeritus (Ambassador) Jide Osuntokun and Dahiru Yahya.
Also honoured was the current president of the Historical Society of Nigeria and Head of Department of History, University of Ibadan, Prof. Christopher Bankole Ndubisi Ogbogbo.
Preceding the plaque presentation and decoration ceremony, the history gurus had a re-union tagged "First Academic Retreat" in the Assistant Pastor (Dr.) Olatunde Oladiran Mini-History Library in the College.
Subsequently, the visiting icons of history later proceeded to the Palace of the Osemawe of Ondo Kingdom, Oba Dr. Victor Adesimbo Kiladejo at Enuowa in Ondo City.
Introducing the visitors at the Palace, the Provost of the College, Professor Olukoya Ogen described them as great historians and pioneer members of the Ibadan Historical Series, a publication of the Department of History, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, which was in vogue between 1965 and 1981.
He explained that the former university teachers were in the College to exchange ideas on how to resuscitate the now defunct Ibadan History Book Series and improve the teaching of history in Nigerian schools to enable it contribute positively to national development.
Speaking first at the palace on behalf of the visiting former university dons, Professor Banji Akintoye stated that their decision to visit the Palace was in "demonstration of respect they have for traditional institutions."
He also stated that the courtesy visit was undertaken to intimate the royal father about the retreat, being held in Adeyemi College of Education, Ondo, geared towards resuscitating history as a subject, which had erroneously been removed by the government before it was recently re-introduced into the primary and secondary school curricula.
Professor Akintoye stressed the importance of history in society and urged the three tiers of government in Nigeria to give more attention to its development, saying the move would advance the growth of Nigeria.
Similarly, other speakers, Professors Gbadamosi, Asiwaju, Ogbogbo, Yahya and Osuntokun paid glowing tributes to the royal father and described Ondo community as one of the notable, progressive and historical towns in Yoruba land.
Responding, the Osemawe expressed happiness for the visit and used the occasion to appeal to the visiting retired professors to use their position as members of the Historical Society of Nigeria to pay greater attention to advancement of indigenous history of the Yoruba race, saying the move would go a long way in proffering solution to conflict resolution and falsification of Yoruba history.
Oba Kiladejo who described the visit as historical, however, urged the visitors to remember Ondo Kingdom during their deliberations by helping to put the history of Ondo Kingdom in the right perspective.
On the quest for the upgrade of Adeyemi College to Adeyemi Federal University of Education, Ondo, the royal father was optimistic that it would soon become a reality. He, however, appealed to the former university dons to assist the community by using their positions to advance the course of the university status agitations.
Speaking later during the award ceremony, Professor Ogen lauded the seven icons for their pioneering efforts in the development of history as a profession in Nigeria, adding that their presence in the institution was aimed at advancing the status of history and creating rooms for it to make more meaningful contributions to national development.
The provost paid glowing tributes to the foremost historians, describing them as role models, outstanding scholars of the Ibadan fame and great assets for the present and future generations. He explained that the decision of the College to celebrate them was to appreciate them while alive for their contributions to humanity and the nation at large.
In a short address presented on the occasion on the topic entitled: "Contributions of the Ibadan School of History to the Development of African Historiography," Professor Ogbogbo described the honorees as great scholars, who made valuable contributions to the development of history and pioneered the establishment of the Ibadan University History Series published between 1965 and 1981.
Describing the publications as highly educative, the HSN president said the books were sources of inspirations which assisted in changing African "history narrative from foreign-based written mode to oral ones, which enable Africans to write their own history effectively."
Professor Ogbogbo also lauded the foremost history scholars for helping "to chart the path for others," stating that the development has helped in enhancing their writing skills and elevated West African history to a higher level, thereby transforming it to a global brand.
He commended the management of the College, particularly the provost, Professor Ogen stating that the decision to honour the former university professors would remain a reference point in the annals of history in the institution.
In their various responses after receiving the plaques, the honorees thanked management of the institution for honouring them, stating that the gesture would energize and spur them to make more useful contributions to humanity and Nigeria as a nation.
Meanwhile, two of the award recipients, Professors Akintoye and Emeritus Asiwaju, advised students of the College to give more attention to their studies so that can contribute to national development in future.
Giving his advice, Professor Akintoye, a second republic senator, stressed the importance of hardwork and urged students of the institution and youth to shun indolence, stating that Nigeria could only become a great nation when its youth exhibit hardwork and express readiness to contribute positively to its development.
The foremost historian also advised Nigerian leaders to prevent brain drain, which he said had affected the nation negatively, saying "No country sends out its best to other countries can develop."
Also in his advice, Emeritus Professor Asiwaju emphasized the role of history in national development and its importance as a means of producing good citizens who would be needed in leadership positions.
He advised students of the institution, including those studying history, to make judicious use of knowledge acquired in the course of their training, saying "when we teach you history, we expect you to end up a good citizens."
The renowned history professor also challenged history students not to limit their knowledge and understanding to what they learn in classes, but constantly seek for additional information that would enhance their writings.
The highpoint of the ceremony, which had members of the College management including the Deputy Provost, Dr. Samuel Akintunde; Registrar, Mrs. Olufisayo Fakorede; Deans and Directors, Heads of Department among others in attendance, was the presentation of the plaques to the honorees by a chieftain of the pan-Yoruba socio-cultural association, Afenifere and Asiwaju of Oka Akoko Land, Chief Seinde Arogbofa.
The exercise was followed with the decorations of each of the award recipients and the provost of the College with the lapels of the Historical Society of Nigeria by its president.