Lagos, Nigeria, July 6, 2018 (ECA) –Former Economic Commission Executive Secretary, Professor Adebayo Adedeji, was buried Friday in his home town of Ijebu-Ode in Ogun State, Nigeria.
The burial was attended by hundreds of people from all walks of life, including Namibia’s President Hage Geingob, who said his country and the African continent were indebted to the late Prof. Adedeji for the great work he did in seeking Africa’s economic emancipation.
President Geingob, noted that Namibia also had a memorial service for Adedeji in which his former students, associates, mentees and those who appreciate his immense contributions towards the liberation of Namibia attended.
“He was a true African. He fought a good fight for Africa and I want to say his legacy will endure. He was my brother, my teacher, my mentor, a great Pan-Africanist and an activist. We are saying thank you for your enduring sacrifice in the struggle for Africa’s emancipation,” said Mr. Geingnob.
He continued: “It is sad that we are still facing some problems in Africa, despite the struggles of the past for a buoyant, self-sustaining continent. However, on the premise of the building blocks people like Adedeji has laid, alongside present and past heroes, I am optimistic for the future."
Also present to bid farewell to the renowned Prof. Adedeji were Nigeria’s Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, former Nigerian Heads of State President Olusegun Obasanjo and Retired General Yakubu Gowon, top ECA officials led by Southern Africa Regional Director, Mr. Said Adejumobi, and hundreds others.
Prof. Osinbajo said Prof. Adedeji was an outstanding African who deserved all the tributes that were coming from all over the world for the great work he did for the African continent, in particular his quest for an integrated and economically emancipated Africa.
He said Prof. Adedeji, as the outstanding economist and great thinker that he was, did great work to ensure Africa elevated itself to greater heights; work he said should continue to be championed since the foundation had already been laid.
“He was deeply involved in the integration of Africa and he did a great work in projecting Africa. We are proud of all that he achieved in his lifetime,” the Vice President said.
Speaker after speaker lauded Prof. Adedeji for his commitment to Africa, his love for his people and the continent; his selflessness that went beyond measure. They praised him for what the positive influence he had on the economic and social development of the African continent.
Mr. Adejumobi described the burial ceremony, which started with a Roman Catholic Church service, as beautiful, colourful and very deserving. A very befitting way to say goodbye to an illustrious son of the Continent.
“It was totally befitting of the great man that Prof. Adedeji was and we are happy that as the ECA we were here today to thank his family for bequeathing to us and the continent as a whole a man of his stature who wanted nothing less but the total emancipation of the African people.
ECA feels honoured in celebrating this great pan-Africanist”, the ECA Director said.
In his sermon, Reverend Adebayo Akinde described Prof. Adedeji as a selfless statesman who had left a great legacy of service not only for Nigerians but the whole of Africa to emulate.
“He was indeed a great nationalist and as mankind we should start asking ourselves what kind of legacy we are going to leave behind as he has done,” the Reverend said.
Prof. Adedeji, who was the ECA Chief for 16 years from 1975- 1991, is acknowledged by many as one of the most towering intellectual figures and development practitioners in Africa in the late 20th Century.
He leaves behind 11 children and several grandchildren.
Meanwhile, the ECA will on Saturday, 7 July, 2018, host a high-level memorial symposium in Lagos, Nigeria, in honour of Prof. Adedeji.
The symposium will reflect on his ideas and notions of development, their relevance in contemporary era, the trajectory and current context of Africa’s development, and the challenges, opportunities and prospects for the structural transformation of African economies and the Continent.
Bio of Professor Adebayo Adedeji: https://www.uneca.org/pages/former-executive-secretaries
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