Adegoke Olubummo: Nigeria’s First Professor of Mathematics

Adegoke Olubummo
Adegoke Olubummo

Adegoke Olubummo was Nigeria’s first Professor of Mathematics in 1964. He was born on April 19, 1923, to the honoured first literate Olorin of Orin, H.R.H. Oba William Adekolawolu Olubummo II and Olori Abigael Osarayi Olubummo in Orin Ekiti.

As a royal child, Olubummo received a quality education at Methodist schools where he worked (Ifaki Methodist School) as a pupil-teacher in 1937. At the age of 14, Adegoke Olubummo was admitted into Wesley College in Ibadan, 1938.

In 1942, he returned to his alma mater as a teacher and for the next few years, he taught at primary and secondary schools in Nigeria, Ghana (then Gold Coast) and Sierra Leone. He earned his B.A. from Fourah College in Freetown, Sierra Leone in 1950. Adegoke Olubummo earned his M.A. in Mathematics (1952) and his PhD (1955) from King’s College, University of Durham in Castle-Upon-Tyne, United Kingdom.

In 1955, he began a career as a lecturer in the Department of Mathematics, University College, Ibadan, Nigeria, where he was promoted to (Full) Professor in 1964. Dr. Olubummo was Head of the Department of Mathematics at the University of Ibadan for many years, where he was determined to create qualitative traditions in spite of the handicaps of development in a young African university. In 1985, he retired from the University of Ibadan and became Dean of the Faculty of Science of Ondo State University.

Adegoke Olubummo, with James Ezeilo and Chike Obi, was one of a trio of black (indigenous) mathematicians who pioneered modern mathematics research in Nigeria. He pioneered the establishment of the Forum for Functional Analysis and its Applications and the Nigerian Mathematical Society.

The Olubummo family in the late 1960s
The Olubummo family in the late 1960s

All three of Adegoke Olubummo’s children are mathematicians. His daughter Yewande Olubummo is currently in the U.S. as an assistant professor of mathematics at Spelman College.

Many of his Ibadan students, T. O. Adewoye, Olusola Akinyele, S. K. Assiamous, V. A. Babola, the Senator S. O. Iyahen, E. O. Oshabi, and O. Popoola, went off to earn a doctorate in Mathematics.

Professor Adegoke Olubummo died on October 26, 1992, at the age of 69.

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References:

  • Sowunmi, C. O. A. Professor Adegoke Olubummd o [1923–1992]—a multidimensional view. Memorial issue for Professor Adegoke Olubummd o. J. Nigerian Math. Soc. 11 (1992), no. 2, iii–iv.
  • Akinyd ele, O. Adegoke Olubummd o [1923–1992]: the man, the teacher, the mathematician. Memorial issue for Professor Adegoke Olubummd o. J. Nigerian Math. Soc. 11 (1992), no. 2, i–ii.