A Tribute to Ambassador Ade Adefuye, Nigeria’s Ambassador to the United States
By: African Leadership Magazine
It was the great poet, Oscar Wilde that said, “To live is the rarest thing in life, most people just exist.” Nothing best explains the rarity of his breed than this assertion. Professor Adebowale Ibidapo Adefuye, Nigeria’s Ambassador to the United States, who died on the 27th August 2015, was no doubt one of the finest historians and diplomats to come from Africa. A seasoned diplomat, he was an Ambassador of Ambassadors. This much was shown in the deluge of tributes that poured in from the diplomatic circle in Washington DC, where he served his country, Nigeria, before his eventual demise.
Hardly has anyone ever encountered the diplomat without leaving with a different mindset about his country. He is so passionate about the country and the continent that he consistently takes on the media and the Washington establishments on things he feels are not in the interest of the country.
Under his watch, Nigeria’s image in the United States soared to an all-time high. For once, Nigeria had an Ambassador, who was respected and given a seat at the table of men. His advocacy and defense for Nigeria led to the delisting of the country from the list of countries of interest in the global terrorism watch list.
He diligently pursued the blow-by-blow implementation of most of the provisions of the US-Nigerian Bi- National Commission which was inaugurated on April 6, 2010 by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation Yayale Ahmed in Washington, DC. The Commission was a strategic dialogue designed to expand mutual cooperation across a broad range of shared interests, including: Good Governance, Transparency and Integrity, Energy and Investment, Niger Delta and Regional Security Cooperation, Food Security and Agriculture. Adefuye put flesh and bone to the continuous execution of the finer details of the intentions of the Bi-National Commission while in Washington.
Born in Ijebu-Ode, Adefuye attended the University of Ibadan, first graduating in 1969. He obtained a Ph.D. in history from the same institution in 1973. During his academic career, Adefuye was named a Fulbright Scholar and used the funds to do research at Columbia University, the University of North Florida, and the University of Florida. Adefuye taught at the University of Lagos, heading the school’s history department from 1985 to 1987.
He was named the Ambassador to Jamaica in 1987, serving until 1991. During that period, Adefuye also concurrently served as the ambassador to Belize and Haiti. He was then the Deputy High Commissioner to the United Kingdom. Adefuye left that post to serve as the deputy director of the Commonwealth of Nations for fourteen years. After leaving the Commonwealth, he became an advisor to the Economic Community of West African States in 2008. President Goodluck Jonathan appointed Adefuye the ambassador to the United States in 2010. During his tenure, Adefuye continually advocated for the United States to provide more military aid to Nigeria to effectively counter the forces of Boko Haram. He was recalled in 2015 after Muhammadu Buhari was sworn in as president of Nigeria. He died in Washington, D.C. on August 27, 2015, of a heart attack.
As a member of the Advisory Board of the African Leadership Magazine, his unique contribution and guidance have helped tremendously in positioning the group as a leading international pan-African Magazine, with huge followership within and outside the shore of the continent. His wisdom is epic and knowledge outstanding.
As the music fades, and the mourners gradually depart, we again make this assurance, as we have done in the past, that African Leadership which symbolizes everything you stood for in the broader context of the African continent, will not let your light go dim. We will strive to uphold the things that you hold dearly, which is the pride of Nigeria and the continent. After all this is what you live was about. We know that in doing so, you leave on!