Africa Daily Insight

Former University of Ibadan Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ayo Banjo, Passes Away at 90 May, 25 2024

The academic world mourns the passing of Professor Ayo Banjo, a distinguished former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ibadan (UI), who recently died at the age of 90. Banjo's career in the field of education spans several decades, during which he left an indelible mark on Nigeria's academic landscape.

Prof. Banjo's tenure as the Vice-Chancellor of UI from 1975 to 1979 is often highlighted as a period of significant transformation and growth for the institution. Known for his visionary leadership, Banjo spearheaded major initiatives that laid a strong foundation for the university’s future. His tenure saw the establishment of several new faculties and departments, broadening the academic offerings and solidifying the University of Ibadan’s reputation as a premier institution in Africa.

Early Life and Academic Journey

Born in 1933, Ayo Banjo’s academic pursuits began early, driven by a passion for learning that would define his entire life. He earned his degrees in English, setting the stage for a career that would see him rise to the pinnacle of academic administration. His expertise and dedication quickly earned him respect within the academic community, propelling him into pivotal leadership roles.

Banjo’s early career was marked by a series of academic and administrative positions at various institutions, where he proved his mettle as both an educator and a leader. His deep understanding of the educational system and unwavering commitment to academic excellence made him a natural choice for the Vice-Chancellor position at UI.

Contributions to University of Ibadan

During his four-year term as Vice-Chancellor of UI, Banjo focused on expanding the university’s academic framework. He believed that a diverse array of faculties and departments would not only attract a broader range of students but also foster an environment of interdisciplinary learning and research.

Under his leadership, UI introduced new faculties including the Faculty of Education, the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, and the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. These additions were crucial in addressing the country’s pressing needs in various sectors and positioned the university as a key player in national development.

Impact on Students and Faculty

Banjo's tenure is also remembered for his commitment to improving student and faculty welfare. He introduced policies and initiatives aimed at enhancing the educational experience for students and providing faculty members with the necessary support to excel in their research and teaching. His efforts led to improved infrastructure on campus, better access to resources, and a more supportive academic environment.

He understood the importance of fostering a vibrant academic community and worked tirelessly to ensure that both students and faculty had the tools and opportunities they needed to succeed. This holistic approach to university administration set UI apart from its peers and earned Banjo widespread admiration and respect.

Legacy Beyond UI

Legacy Beyond UI

While his tenure at UI is perhaps the most well-known aspect of his career, Professor Banjo’s influence extended far beyond the university gates. He was an active member of the Nigerian Academy of Science, where he contributed to numerous research projects and policy discussions aimed at advancing science and technology in Nigeria.

His contributions to science and academia were recognized with numerous awards and honors, including being made a fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Science. Additionally, he was a recipient of the national honor of Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON), which acknowledges his significant contributions to the nation.

A Leading Voice in Nigerian Education

Banjo’s work within the broader educational landscape of Nigeria helped shape policies and practices that have had a long-lasting impact on the country’s academic institutions. He served on various committees and advisory boards, lending his expertise to efforts aimed at improving the quality of education at all levels.

His commitment to education extended to mentoring the next generation of academics and administrators, many of whom have gone on to hold significant positions in universities and other educational institutions across Nigeria and beyond. His legacy is one of inspiration, demonstrating the profound difference that dedicated leadership can make in academia.

Personal Reflections and Tributes

As news of his passing spread, tributes poured in from colleagues, former students, and friends, all of whom remembered Banjo not only for his professional achievements but also for his kindness, humility, and unwavering integrity. These personal reflections paint a picture of a man who was as dedicated to the people around him as he was to the institutions he served.

Many former students recall how Banjo’s encouragement and support were instrumental in their own academic and professional journeys. His commitment to nurturing talent and fostering a supportive learning environment left a lasting impression on those who had the privilege of knowing him.

The academic community will remember Professor Ayo Banjo as a towering figure whose contributions have left an indelible mark on Nigerian education. His commitment to excellence, visionary leadership, and personal integrity serve as a lasting legacy that will continue to inspire future generations.



Professor Ayo Banjo’s passing marks the end of an era, but his legacy lives on in the numerous contributions he made to the University of Ibadan and the broader academic community. His influence can be seen not only in the growth and development of UI during his tenure but also in the countless individuals he inspired and mentored throughout his illustrious career.

The academic world has lost a giant, but the impact of his work will be felt for generations to come. As we reflect on his life and accomplishments, it is clear that Professor Ayo Banjo’s commitment to education and his visionary leadership have left an indelible mark on Nigeria and the world.