Adegoke Olubummo

Quick Info

19 April 1923
Orin Ekiti, Ondo State, Nigeria
26 October 1992
Orin Ekiti, Ondo State, Nigeria

Adegoke Olubummo was a Nigerian mathematician who was the first Nigerian professor of mathematics.


Adegoke Olubummo was the son of Olorin of Orin, H.R.H. Oba William Adekolawolu Olubummo II and Olori Abigael Osarayi Olubummo. This meant that he was born into one of the most important families in the district with the Olubummo family being one of two families, both descendants of Oba Olayisade, who, for over 200 years, produced the rulers of the town. Being a child of such important parents meant that Adegoke received the best possible education.

The Methodist Mission had been the first to bring primary education to Ifaki Ekiti when they founded a Methodist Primary School at Ilogbe, Ifaki Ekiti. They also founded Secondary Schools in the area. Adegoke attended this Methodist Primary School at Ifaki Ekiti and then entered Christ's School, Ado-Ekiti [1]:-
Christ's School, Ado-Ekiti was founded on 30 June 1933 by the British Missionary, Archdeacon Henry Dallimore. It was originally named 'Ekiti Central School' and it functioned as a day and boarding secondary school. The school was established with the sole aim of providing quality secondary education for Ekiti's future leaders and to let them become useful persons to themselves and the community at large. ... In 1936, the school moved from its first location to its permanent site at the Agidimo Hills, Ado.
Olubummo graduated from Christ's School in 1937 with the Standard Six Certificate. This Certificate obtained after six years of primary education, is known in Nigeria as the 'First School Leaving Certificate'. This was the minimum qualification to enter into a Teacher Training College, but there was also a requirement that the student serve as a pupil teacher for a period of two years as a pupil/assistant teacher. Olubummo taught as a pupil/assistant teacher at the Methodist Primary School at Ifaki Ekiti in 1937. In 1938 he enrolled in Wesley College, Ibadan, Nigeria, which was at that time a teacher training college, qualifying as a teacher in 1942. He then taught at various primary and secondary schools in Nigeria and Ghana over the next few years.

Soon, he decided to further his education and, for his university studies, he went to Sierra Leone [3]:-
How he made the journey to Sierra Leone still remains an unresolved mystery to most of his associates.
His reason for going to Sierra Leone was to study at Fourah Bay College, a university situated in the Mount Aureol district of Freetown, Sierra Leone. This College, founded on 18 February 1827, is the oldest university in West Africa and the first European-style university built in West Africa. It was established in February 1827 as an Anglican missionary school by the Church Missionary Society with strong support from Charles MacCarthy, the governor of Sierra Leone. It gained an excellent reputation and students came from Nigeria, Ghana and the Ivory Coast to study there.

While at Fourah Bay College, Olubummo met Michael Adekunle Ajasin (1908-1997) with whom he shared having been born in Ondo State, Nigeria. Ajasin entered Fourah Bay College in 1943 and obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, Modern History and Economics in June 1946. He went to London, England, where he obtained a Post Graduate Diploma in Education in June 1947. In September of that year he was appointed as Principal of Imade College, Owo, Ondo State, Nigeria. He was keen to have top quality staff at Imade College and he persuaded Olubummo to take up a position there as a teacher of mathematics and English in 1949 after he had received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Fourah Bay College.

In 1951 Olubummo travelled to England to undertake research for a Ph.D. He enrolled at King's College, Durham University, and after studying for a Masters Degree in 1951-52 was awarded the degree of M.A. in Mathematics (1952). At this time the University of Durham was based in both Durham and in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. King's College was in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and was part of Durham University until 1963 when it became the independent University of Newcastle. He continued to undertake research for a Ph.D. at Durham University advised by Werner Rogosinski and was awarded the degree in 1955 after submitting his thesis Studies in the Theory of Linear Spaces. Although Rogosinski was the official advisor of his thesis, nevertheless Olubummo was greatly influenced by Frank Bonsall who was a lecturer at King's College, Durham University, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, when he was studying there. Bonsall was becoming a world leading expert on Banach algebras at this time and Olubummo benefitted from his advice as he undertook research in this area.

After the award of his Ph.D., Olubummo returned to Nigeria and was appointed as a lecturer in the Department of Mathematics of University College, Ibadan. The University of Ibadan was established in 1948 as a College of the University of London, England; it is the first university to be established in Nigeria. It became an independent university in 1962 after the country gained its independence from Britain. He published Left completely continuous B# -algebras (1957), The Laplace-Stieltjes transform of an increasing vector-valued function (1957) and B# -algebras with a certain set of left completely continuous elements (1959). The second of these three papers contains results from his thesis while in the 1959 paper he thanks Frank Bonsall for his helpful suggestions.

Olubummo married Edak Bassey Adam; they had there children, Yewande Olubummo born on 8 February 1960, Ronke Olubummo and Gboyega Olubummo all of whom studied mathematics. Yewande Olubummo became an exceptional mathematician and has a biography in this archive. The Olubummo family lived on the campus of the University of Ibadan until around 1970 when they moved to live in a house in Bodija, a district of Ibadan. In 1960, the year his eldest child was born, Olubummo's book The emergent university, with special reference to Nigeria was published. It has chapters titled: Historical Introduction; The Nature and Function of a University; The Methods of University Education; and The University and the Community. Let us quote from The Methods of University Education chapter to illustrate Olubummo's views:-
(a) Teaching. The outside public who think of a university don as a glorified school-teacher regard his sole function as that of a teacher, and cannot understand why he gets paid so much for doing so little. This is a complete misconception. But teaching is part of the normal commitment of a don (though most universities carry a few research posts which involve no teaching). It is part of his public responsibility to train others; it is also a part of his own training, for he needs his mind to be brought against the stimulus of fresh, questioning minds. About ten hours' actual teaching per week is regarded as normal in most British universities. It should be remembered that one hour's teaching is reckoned to involve at least two hours in preparation, and that it sometimes happens that a week or more's solid work is needed to deliver a single lecture.

(b) Research. The balance between research and teaching is not easy to decide. Some regard the prime function of a University as being to add to the sum of knowledge, and teaching as an incidental adjunct; others put teaching first, and regard original work as important chiefly because it keeps the teacher fresh. We take neither of these views, and regard teaching and research as both important in their own right. Research itself is not always understood by those who are not engaged in it. Some kinds of research add to the sum of our information; they give us fresh knowledge. Others give to us fresh understanding through a new interpretation of facts which were already known. Both are important, and both require a combination of insight, judgment as to what is significant, open-mindedness, meticulous accuracy, and a laborious examination of many particulars.
At Ibadan, Olubummo was steadily promoted reaching full professor in 1964. He [4]:-
... 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.
Let us note here two students who gained Ph.D. degrees from the University of Ibadan with Olubummo as their thesis advisor. These are Olusola Akinyele and Charles Olusegun Adedayo Sowunmi. Akinyele was awarded a Ph.D. in 1971 for his thesis Studies in Abstract Harmonic Analysis on Semigroups. He became a lecturer at the University of Ibadan, later at Iowa State University, USA, and is now at the HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) Bowie State College in Maryland, USA. He has published around 50 papers. Sowunmi was awarded a Ph.D. in 1971 for his thesis A Study of Some Systems of Linear and Quasilinear Elliptical Partial Differential Equations. He also became a lecturer at the University of Ibadan and published many papers on biomathematics and continuum mechanics.

Seye Adetunmbi writes in [3] about Olubummo:-
His students attested to the fact that punctuality was his hallmark, coupled with brilliance embedded with humility and forthrightness. He was indeed an embodiment of decency, who imparted convention of respectable behaviour to the people around him and this he did by example and certainly not by precept. To this writer it was a privilege growing-up to know the erudite Professor Olubummo as a devoted person to his true friends ... Professor Olubummo was someone with strong passion for traditional ceremonies and cultural events. He was strict yet kind and approachable. Every opportunity he had he was always bringing his nucleus family to Ekiti to enable them to interact with his siblings, relations and family friends. He was inclined to plan his visits to Ekiti so that they afforded him the opportunity to see some annual traditional festivals in his community and environs. There were few instances when his family came to join his very close ally the Adetunmbis to see Ikosun and Okorobo festivals at Ifaki as far back as 1960s. He had a very liberal disposition to life which explained his inter tribal marriage to his beloved wife of Calabar origin. Like every other mortal he had his own share of low periods when he lost his devoted wife and mother of his three brilliant children in the late 1970s.
In addition to the book we mentioned above, Olubummo has published the book Introduction to Real Analysis (1979) and around 25 papers, the last two of which both appeared in 1989. These are (i) A note on irregular measures and (ii) (with V S Kofi Assiamoua) Fourier-Stieltjes transforms of vector-valued measures on compact groups. We note that his co-author Kofi Assiamoua, was based at the Université de Lomé, Lomé, Togo. The Introduction to the paper with Kofi Assiamoua, which was published in the Hungarian journal Acta Scientiarum Mathematicarum, begins:-
In recent years, various studies have shown the growing importance of vector-valued measures as can be seen from many recent publications. To give just one specific example: the Fourier transforms of the distributions studied by P Bonnet [J. Funct. Anal. 55 (1984)] in generalizing the Bochner theorem to noncommutative Lie groups turn out to be vector-valued measures. In the present paper, we study the Fourier-Stieltjes transforms of vector-valued measures defined on an infinite compact group.
In 1985 Olubummo retired from the University of Ibadan, and became Dean of the Faculty of Science of Ondo State University, Ado-Ekiti. He continued in this post until his death in October 1992. His funeral was held on 14 November 1992.

References (show)

  1. G Aladeojebi, History of Yorba Land (Partridge Africa, 2016).
  2. S Adetunmbi, Exit of One of the Early Nigerian Academics, Prof Adegoke Olubummo (1920-1992), Nigeria World (Monday, 30 October 2006).
  3. S Adetunmbi, Prof. Adegoke Olubummo - The 1st Professor Of Mathematics In Nigeria, Dawn Commission.
  4. S W Williams, Adegoke Olubummo, Mathematicians of the African Diaspora, The Mathematics Department, State University of New York at Buffalo (2008).

Additional Resources (show)

Other pages about Adegoke Olubummo:

  1. Entry in the list of African men PhDs

Cross-references (show)

Written by J J O'Connor and E F Robertson
Last Update March 2019