Prof. Femi Odekunle, a member of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), is dead.
Odekunle, 77, was Nigeria’s first Professor of Criminology.
He died at the COVID-19 Isolation Center in Gwagwalada, Abuja, Tuesday evening.
Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, seemingly made a veiled reference to his demise.
“A good friend of this government just passed on at 6:30pm”, the SGF said at the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 briefing.
Odekunle, a graduate of the University of Ibadan in 1968, got his PhD in Sociology and Social Psychiatry from the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, United States, in 1974.
Odekunle lectured at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in Kaduna, and other universities.
President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed shock at the demise.
Buhari, in a statement by his spokesman, Garba Shehu, described Odekunle as a valued friend and a towering intellectual giant with an impeccable knowledge of his chosen academic field.
“His death is very saddening. His lasting contributions as well as his charisma, wit and sense of humor will be sorely missed by all of us, his friends and associates. May the Almighty repose his soul,” he said.
Profile of Prof Femi Odekunle
After completing primary education at Otapete Methodist School (1955), secondary education at Ilesha Grammar School (1962), and higher secondary school at Molusi College, Ijebu-Igbo (1964), he was further educated at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria (1965-1968) and Ivy League’s University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA (1969-1974) in Sociology and Criminology, respectively. He trained at Pennsylvania on scholarship as a University of Ibadan Rockefeller Foundation Scholar as well as a Russell Sage Fellow.
Having taught Criminology and Sociology in the U.S.A. (e.g. at Lincoln University) for about two years, he returned to Nigeria in 1974 to assume duties as Lecturer II in Ahmadu Bello University where he started the Criminology training programme: 1975 (Lecturer I), 1977 (Senior Lecturer), 1979 (Associate Professor), and in 1982, he was recommended for the rank of full Professor which was formally conferred him, effective 1985.
That is, he has been a full Professor for almost 30 years. During the period, he also served as Faculty Sub-Dean; Head of Dept; Dean of Faculty of Social Sciences; Senate-elected Member of the Governing Council of A.B.U; Government-appointed Member of the Governing Council of the University of Lagos; and Board-of-Regents-appointed Member of the Governing Council of Igbinedion University.
As a researcher, he had conducted studies into virtually every aspect of crime-prevention and control in Nigeria and has about sixty (60) publications. He has attended and presented invited papers in about a hundred (100) academic and policy conferences/seminars/workshops in Nigeria and abroad on the subject of crime-prevention and control, corruption, security and related topics. He has made significant contributions in community service, having served the Federal Government in many committees and has been a member of many international professional associations. In 1994 he was detained on allegation participation in a coup plot but later found not guilty and acquitted.
Currently, he is a “free-lance” public-intellectual and Consultant in criminological and social-science issues and on contract-appointment with the University of Abuja, Abuja, Nigeria where he teaches Criminology and had served as the first Director of the University’s newly-created Centre for Corruption Studies for about two years (2008 -2010).
He has received numerous academic and service awards. He is a Fellow of the Social Science Academy of Nigeria (FSSAN) and currently the President of the Nigerian Society of Criminology and Criminal Justice Administration. He is cited in published “Who’s Who” in Nigeria and abroad and was elected a “Life-Member” of the World Society of Victimiology over ten years ago.