Archive for March, 2009

Tribute from Stella Aririguzoh

March 25, 2009


I knew Prof Adiele Afigbo and his family, especilially his beautiful daughters -Chinedu and Ijeoma. Then, we were undergraduate students  in  the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He came across to me as a father who deeply cared for his children and did not hide in demonstrating it. He also showed his deep care for his aged mother when I went to his village in Ihube, Okigwe. 

Sir, I have always admired your personality, your early achievements’ and a fulfilled life. You have always given me encouragement, telling me to make the best of everything. 

May God grant you rest even as he strenghten the family you have left behind. 


Stella Aririguzoh 

Dept of Mass Communication 

Covenant University, Ota


Tribute from Chimamanda Adichie

March 25, 2009

My friend Ike Anya called me in Lagos to tell me that Professor Afigbo had died. “I am standing on a London street and crying,” Ike said, “and I don’t know why I am crying.” I was not sure what to say to Ike.

I felt, first, a deep dismay, and then a strange suspension of feeling.  It was as if it was not just one man who had passed away, but an entire era that was slipping away. Growing up in Nsukka, my family lived at 305 Marguerite Cartwright Avenue. My friend Ike Anya lived next door, at 307, and next to the Anya family, at 309, lived the Afigbo family. I remember the late Mrs. Afigbo, who I thought was one of the most beautiful women I had ever seen, with her large dreamy eyes and caramel skin. I remember the Afigbo children. I remember Professor Afigbo driving past on the street but I do not remember ever having a conversation with him – perhaps the occasional ‘uncle, good evening.’ Still, I came, as an adult, to know him through his work – the fiercely intelligent essays he wrote on Igbo and Nigerian history. 

To read his work was to feel that here was a man who believed what he was writing, who was emotionally invested, who was true. To read his work was to reclaim a kind of confidence about my past that my education had not given me. I have been meaning, in the past few years, to take out time and visit him and ask him questions and learn from him. It is too late now. He is gone. Professor Afigbo was part of a generation of academics, the real deals, who gave but did not often receive, who hoped but did not often see those hopes fulfilled. And yet he triumphed, by striding into the field of history and insisted on carving out a big slice for the Igbo, for Nigeria, for Africa. I feel grateful to him because his work emboldened my shaky grasp of my past. His book, ROPES OF SAND, is sitting on my shelf now. What an enduringly beautiful legacy to leave behind. May he rest in peace. May we be blessed with more like him.

Tribute From Prof. Onwuka Njoku

March 25, 2009


I was in my natal village in Ohafia, Abia State of Nigeria when one of the sons of Adiele Afigbo phoned to inform me that their father had passed on a few hours earlier. The news dumfounded and knocked me out for a variety of reasons. It was the most devastating news I have received in many years. Afigbo had been my mentor and intimate friend since I graduated from the University of Nigeria where he was my teacher in the 1970s. In recent months, we had been in almost daily contact, discussing a wide range of issues, including academic research projects. We had virtually arrived at a final decision regarding the publication of some of the papers presented at the International and Inter-disciplinary Conference held at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka in his honor. And he had been scheduled to feature prominently in a special anniversary of the University of Ibadan of which he was its first PhD product. All these and many more other projects suddenly seem to go forlorn.

The passing on of this “academic warrior” and guru is without a shred of doubt a tragedy of staggering proportions to the study of Igbo history and culture and the Igbo nation, as well as the Nigerian academic community. That Afigbo salvaged Igbo History from a state of obscurity and stereotyping to that of national and international recognition and acceptance is not in doubt. There is hardly any aspect of Igbo history and culture – ancient and modern – that he did not burrow into with outstandingly refreshing results.

Something else about this academic guru seems to go beyond the ordinary. The conference which we held at Nsukka in his honor kicked off on 8th December, 2008. That day was Monday and happened to be a Muslim holiday in Nigeria. This academic giant passed on exactly three months later, 9th March, 2009, which happened, curiously enough, to be Monday and a Muslim holiday in Nigeria. Muslim holidays are no ordinary days because they resonate with history; the same can be said of Afigbo: his name resonates with history and he certainly was not an ordinary historian.

The indefatigable warrior has laid down his arm at last, leaving on the rock of time footprints too indelible to be erased. This fact should serve as consolation to all his admirers, friends, colleagues and relations, including his children, even amidst our tears of sorrow. To his countless lieutenants he has left behind, the challenge is to keep a loft the academic banner which he hoisted about half a century ago and kept it flapping till his last hour.

Fare you well Adiele. May our extraordinary spirit and soul repose peacefully in the eternal care of God, the Almighty. AMEN.

Onwuka Njoku

Tribute from Prof & Dr (Mrs) Anyanwu

March 25, 2009


Tribute from Prof Okon Uya

March 24, 2009


Tribute from Prof Uya

Tribute from Prof Uya

A Hero Goes Home -statement from the family

March 20, 2009

Professor Adiele Eberechukwu Afigbo, a foremost Nigerian historian passed away in Enugu, Enugu state on March 9, 2009 surrounded by his three sons.

Adiele Eberechukwu Afigbo was born at Ihube, Okigwe, in Imo State. He attended Ihube Methodist Boys Central School, Ihube in 1944.Following that, he defied all economic odds and moved on to St Augustine’s (CMS) Grammar School,, Nkwerre, Orlu in Imo State with an Okigwe Native Administration Schorlarship won in a competitive examination. Another scholarship, this time from the government of Eastern Nigeria, enabled him read History at the then University College Ibadan (now University of Ibadan).

At the University College, Afigbo topped his undergraduate class and went on to become the first PhD graduate from an indigenous university thus earning himself the nickname “National Specimen”. On Obtaining the PhD, Adiele Afigbo rose very fast on the academic ladder, from Lecturer to Senior Lecturer in History in 1970, and Senior Lecturer to Professor in 1972, reaching the top of his profession after only 5 years.
In recognition of his wealth of knowledge and leadership qualities, he served the state and academia in different capacities namely:

  • Head of the Department of History and Archaeology a year after attaining professorship.
  • Dean of the Faculty of Arts Director of the Leo Hansbury Institute of African Studies in the University of Nigeria Nsukka ( several tenures).
  • Pioneer Director of Research – National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, Jos
  • Commissioner for Education – Imo State
  • Commissioner for Local Government – Imo state
  • Chairman – Michael Okpara College of Agriculture, Umuagwo, Imo State
  • Sole administrator – Alvan Ikoku College of education, Owerri, Imo state

As a result of his contributions to nation building and the academia, his kinsmen, peers and country honoured him as

  • Ogbute-Okwe-Ibe,
  • Ogbuzuo
  • Olaudah
  • Recipient – Nigeria National Order of Merit Award (NNOM)
  • Honorary member – Historical Association of Great Britain
  • Fellow – Historical society of Nigeria
  • The (Foundation) Fellowship Of the Nigerian Academy of Letters

Prof. Afigbo authored and co-authored several books and published well over a 100 journal articles.

Known as Prof, Adi or Adiele to his friends and colleagues, AEA Esquire, as he fondly and often jocosely addressed himself, led an exemplary private and public life.
He will be mostly remembered for his contributions to the academia and nation building.

He is survived by:

  • Daughters:  Igwe Nwanyi Ngozi Achebe, Ms. Ebele Ilo, Mrs Chinedu Mba, Mrs Ijeoma Onyegbula & Ms.Chinasa Afigbo
  • Sons:  Engr. Ozurumba Afigbo, Engr. Onochie Afigbo, Engr. Chukwuemeka Afigbo,
  • Grand Children: Ikenna, Ihuoma, Chidinma, & Kelechi Onyegbula; Ifunaya, Danjuma, & Nnamdi Mba; Chizara Afigbo
  • In-Laws: Mr Jerry Onyegbula, Mr Lawrence Mba, Mrs Evelyn Afigbo, & Mrs Kezzy Ann Afigbo

There will be Internment and celebration of his exemplary life on Saturday, April 4th, 2009 at his residence, Ezihe Haus in Ihube, Okigwe, Imo State Nigeria.

Call for Tributes

March 15, 2009

Dear All:


We would like to inform you that we are looking at putting out a booklet which would be given out at the internment ceremony to celebrate our father’s life. It would consist of contributions from family and well wishers… We are therefore inviting condolence messages or brief messages (not more than 1/2 -1 page) from interested close friends and colleagues…we would need these messages/messages to be in by the end of this week – we are looking at a deadline of the 18th of March…this will enable us pass them to a print house in time for the funeral. Please send tributes to We are sorry for such a tight deadline and short notice & are appreciative of your busy schedules…and we hope it would not cause too much inconvenience. Thanks,


Ijeoma Onyegbula & Chinedu Mba for the family

Celebrating the life of Professor Adiele Eberechukwu Afigbo 22nd Nov 1937- 9th March 2009

March 13, 2009

afigboProfessor Adiele Eberechukwu Afigbo was born on the 22nd of November 1937 in Ihube, Imo State Nigeria.He was one of the foremost Nigerian historians and the first person to obtain a PhD by a Nigerian  university. He made his name in the area of African history and historiography, and was regarded as one of the preeminent historians of Igbo history and particularly the history of Southeastern Nigeria. His work spanned the areas of pre-colonial and colonial history, inter-group relations, the Aro and the slave trade, the art and science of history in Africa, non-written-sources and the reconstruction of African history, history and nation-building. At various times, he held academic positions at the University of Ibadan, the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Abia State University and Ebonyi State University and served in various public service roles including as Commissioner for Education in Imo State

He passed away in Enugu, Nigeria on March 9th 2009 surrounded by his three sons, remembered with love and pride by his family, friends and colleagues. 

Details of his life and work can be found on Wikipedia

Funeral arrangements will soon be announced by the family. Well-wishers are invited to leave a tribute on this site