FOLLOWING IN THEIR FOOTSTEPS
Part of our objectives is to feature the stories of Nigerians who could be classified as ROLE MODELS; whose footsteps could be followed by the growing generation as a result of the successes recorded by these personalities by dint of hard work and enviable conducts. The activity also has the objective of promoting the feelings of empathy in the growing ones. It is also designed to make readers see hope in the future of Nigeria through enviable conducts.
REMEMBERING PROF. ADEBAYO ADEDEJI & HIS INTIMIDATING CREDENTIALS
Prof. Adebayo Adedeji, who died on April 26, 2018, at the age of 87 years was one of the greatest Nigerians with intimidating credentials. For 16 years, Adebayo Adedeji was United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa until 1991. Before then, he served as Nigeria’s Federal Commissioner (Minister) for Economic Development and Reconstruction for five years (1971-1975), following his tenure as a professor of public administration and Director of the Institute of Administration at the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife-Ife, Nigeria). Professor Adedeji’s achievements dot global landscapes. On the political scene, Adebayo Adedeji played a remarkable role by aligning with pro-democracy movements during the last military dispensation. Thirteen prominent people, led by Professor Adebayo Adedeji, signed the adopted Yoruba position that was forwarded to the 1995 National Constitutional Conference at the palace of the highly revered royal father, the Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Kayode Adetona. Late Chief Bayo Akinnola was the Secretary to the Committee. He wrote and edited numerous publications, most of which are still relevant and useful today.
“What we confront in Africa is primarily a political crisis, albeit with devastating economic consequences.” ……Prof. Adebayo Adedeji
BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE: VIEWED FROM THE PRISM OF THE UNITED NATIONS: Adebayo Adedeji was United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa until 1991. Before then, he served as Nigeria’s Federal Commissioner (Minister) for Economic Development and Reconstruction for five years (1971-1975), following his tenure as a Professor of public administration and Director of the Institute of Administration at the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife-Ife, Nigeria). Professor Adedeji has written and edited widely, and his publications include: Nigerian Administration and its Political Setting; Nigerian Federal Finance; Developing Research on African Administration; Africa, the Third World and the Search for a New Economic Order; Economic Crisis in Africa – African Perspectives in Development Problems and Potentials; South Africa & Africa, Within or Apart? Comprehending and Mastering African Conflicts: The Search for Sustainable Peace and Good Governance.’’
Professor Adebayo Adedeji –– B. Sc (Economics) London, MPA (Harvard), Ph.D (Economics) London, D.Sc (Econ) Honoris Causa (OAU), LLD Honoris Causa (Dalhousie University, Canada) University of Zambia and University of Calabar (Nigeria), Doctor of Letters (D.Litt) Honoris Causa, (ABU) Doctor of Science (D.Sc) Ibadan University and Ogun State University –– has had a singularly distinguished academic, managerial and national and international, diplomatic and political career having served his native country, Nigeria, in Africa and the international community for over four decades (1950-1991). Born in 1930 in Ijebu-Ode in Nigeria, he graduated from both London (B.Sc and Ph.D in Economics) and Harvard Universities (M.P.A). At the age of 36 years, he had become a full fledged Professor at the University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU).
In 1971, he was drafted into the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria of General Yakubu Gowon as the Cabinet Minister responsible for the economic development and reconstruction of post-civil war Nigeria. He was the founder and pioneer Chairman of the Nigeria National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and the pére da la CEDEAO –– the father of ECOWAS –– which he established in May 1975 ––after over three years of arduous negotiations with sixteen governments and countries divided into Anglophone, Francophone and Lusophone spheres of influence. He was appointed United Nations Assistant Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa in Addis Ababa in June 1975 and was promoted to the rank of United Nations Under-Secretary-General in January 1978 –– a position he held with tremendous success until July 1991 when he resigned his appointment to return to his native country after 16 years of international service.
FROM THE PRISM OF ACDESS
Records of the African Centre for Development and Strategic Studies (ACDESS) indicates that Adebayo Adedeji recorded colossal successes in his journey through Planet Earth. It must not be forgotten that, at the height of the African Great Drought Disaster and Economic Crisis of 1984 to 1986, Professor Adedeji was designated the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Africa’s Economics Crisis in addition to his onerous duties as ECA’s Chief Executive. Immediately after his resignation from the United Nations, Professor Adedeji established the African Centre for Development and Strategic Studies (ACDESS) – a non-governmental, independent, continental, nonprofit-making think-tank which is dedicated to multi-disciplinary and strategic studies on and for Africa. Born out of the need to fill the void in strategic thinking in Africa, ACDESS’ raison d’ être is to provide and promote options for overcoming the multilayered marginalization of the vast majority of African peoples – be it within local communities, within nation-states or within the global economic and political system.
Through his engagement for creating, in ACDESS, a viable and sustainable centre for future studies, Professor Adedeji thus dedicated himself to the struggle for an Africa which is an integral part and a fully respected partner of the world community. Little wonder that ACDESS first book deals with Africa Within the World: Beyond Dispossession and Dependence. He is also an unrepentant believer in African integration and development. In the 1990s, ACDESS mobilised the intellectual and research community in Africa and abroad in support of its research programme on South Africa Within Africa whose primary purpose is to identify policies, strategies and struggles for evolving mutually beneficial relations between post-apartheid South Africa and Africa as a whole. Adedeji has been a strong advocate of democracy in Africa and of the democratisation of the development process since 1975 at a time when it was deemed imprudent to do so. He has consistently argued that Africa’s persistent economic crisis –– severe as it has been –– is but a consequence of the political crisis which manifests itself in lack of democracy, accountability, good governance and the pursuit of a human-centred holistic development paradigm.
Indeed, the London-based weekly, The Economist, in its issue of September 7-13, 1996 approvingly acknowledged this long-held hypothesis of his in these words: People will never comprehend Africa’s crisis so long as they continue to assume that it is mainly an economic one, says Adebayo Adedeji, a Nigerian economist: “What we confront in Africa is primarily a political crisis, albeit with devastating economic consequences.” Mr Adedeji, who for many years was executive secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa, knows from experience that Africans cannot hope for sustained economic progress until they achieve good governance. The dialectics of democracy, accountability and development without the framework of the functioning state, the society and the economy is at the root cause of Africa’s perennial bouts of instability, conflicts, violence and war.’’
- Date and Place of Birth 21 December, 1930, Ijebu-Ode, Nigeria
- Educational institution attended
- Saviour’s School, Ijebu-Ode, 1940-43
- The Grammar School, Ijebu-Ode, 1944-49
- University College, Ibadan, 1953-54
- University College, Leicester (then a college of London University), 1955-58
- Harvard University, 1960-61
- Degrees and Diplomas obtained
- Diploma in Local Government Administration (Ibadan) 1954
- Sc (Econ.) (Hon.) (London) 1958
- Master of Public Administration (M.P.A) (Harvard) 1961
- D in Economics (London) 1967
- Litt (Honoris Causa), Ahmamdu Bello University, Zaria 1976
- D (Honoris Causa), University of Zambia 1984
- D (Honoris Causa), Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada 1984
- D (Honoris Causa), University of Calabar 1987
- Sc (Honoris Causa), Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife 1989
- Sc (Honoris Causa), University of Ibadan 1997
- Sc (Honoris Causa), Ogun State University 1998
- From Togo – Grand Officer of the Order of Mono (GOOM), 1972
- Mauritania – Commander of the Order of Merit (COM), 1977
- Zambia – Grand Commander of the Order of Distinguished
- Service (GCDS) 1982
- Senegal – Grand Commander of the Order of the Lion
- (GCOL), 1987
- Gambia – Commander of the Republic of the Gambia (CRG),1988
- Niger – Grand Officer of the Order of the Niger (GOON) 1988
- Namibia – Grand Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the Eagle (GCOL), 1995
- Nigeria – Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic (CFR), 2001CAREER
- Local Government Officer, Ministry of Local Government, April 1954 to September 1955;
- Assistant Secretary, Ministry of Planning, Western Nigeria, November 1958 to September 1960;
- Senior Assistant Secretary (Revenue), Ministry of Finance, September 1961
- to December 1963. In University teaching and administration 1963-1975
- Visiting Lecturer in Economics, University of Ibadan 1958-1970
- Associate Deputy Director, Institute of Administration University of Ife, December 1963 to January 1966;
- Deputy Director and Associate Professor, Institute of Administration, University of Ife. January 1966 to September 1967
- University of Ife, Director, Institute of Administration University of Ife, October 1967 to June 1975
- Professor of Public Administration, from October 1967
- Member of the Council, University of Ife October 1970 to October 1971;
- Visiting Professor to and External Examiner in a number of Nigerian, African and non-African Universities.
Political and Cabinet Employment 1971-1975
- Served as Nigeria’s Federal Commissioner (Minister) for Economic Development and Reconstruction from October 1971 to June 1975, during which he evolved policies for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the war-affected economy of Nigeria after the Civil War; Preparation and launching of Nigeria’s Third National Development Plan, 1975-1979; & Introduction of the National Youth Service Corps scheme. He was the Foundation Chairman of its Directorate, 1973-75;
- Establishment of the Economic Community of West African States in May 1975 following a three-year period of intensive negotiations; and Promotion of international, bilateral and multilateral co-operation between Nigeria and the rest of the world.
- Fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Management (FNIM), 1971;
- Fellow of the African Association for Public Administration and Management (FAAPAM), 1987;
- Fellow of the Nigerian Economic Society (FNES), 1988;
- Life Fellow of the American Biographical Institute (LAFABI), 1989
- Life Member of the Society for International Development (SID) 1989;
- Fellow of the African Academy of Sciences (FAAS), 1991.
Employment in the United Nations
- Appointed Executive Secretary, Economic Commission for Africa and Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations, June 1975;
- Chairman, United Nations Institute for Namibia from July 1975 until Namibia’s independence in March 1990,
- Promoted Under-Secretary General of the United Nations in January 1978;
- United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Africa’s Economic Recovery Crisis, in addition to his duties as ECA Chief Executive, January 1984 to July 1991;
- Chairman, United Nations Programme of Action for African Economic Recovery and Development, 1986-1990;
- Resigned as ECA Executive Secretary and as Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations (July 1991).