For those that do not know Professor Adebayo Adedeji, he was a patriotic Nigerian who used hislife, energy, passion, intellectual gift for the development of the African continent and was widely regarded as the intellectual father of African integration. His memorial symposium that held Saturday, 7th July 2018 was to honour of the former Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) who died on April 25. The symposium was held at the Radisson Blue Hotel Ikeja in Lagos under the theme; ‘Africa’s Development Agenda: Lessons from the Adebayo Adedeji Years and Policy Options for the 21st Century’.
Prof. Adedeji’s served as Executive Secretary of ECA for sixteen years (1975- 1991); the longest tenure in that position by any executive secretary. He was a foremost Pan-Africanist who committed his life to the service of Africa. Some of the historic economic initiatives that took place with ECA’s intervention under him include the famous Lagos Plan of Action and the Final Act of Lagos of 1980, the Abuja Treaty establishing the African Economic Community (AEC) of 1991, the African Charter on Popular Participation in Development and Transformation popularly known as the Arusha Declaration of 1990, and the African Alternative Framework to the Structural Adjustment Programme for socio-economic recovery and transformation (AAF-SAP).
Even in retirement, Adedeji continued to serve the continent in various capacities. He was the chairperson of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) Panel of Eminent Persons. He also served on the Committee that reviewed the ECOWAS Treaty in 1992 and chaired the committee established by the heads of state and government of the African Union to audit the integration efforts of the AU in 2007.
The symposium was attended by Prof. Peter Anyang Nyong’o, Governor of Kisumu County in Kenya, also former Minister for Medical and Health Services, ECA Executive Secretary, Vera Songwe, Heads of State, former and current and other distinguished personalities, following his burial on Friday in the Ogun State of Nigeria.
Prof. Adedeji not only the ECA but the continent as a whole in various positions without fear nor favour. He used his leadership to push for African solutions to African problems as the great thinker that he was as well as fighting a good fight and has left African leaders with a legacy to follow.