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In the early seventies at the then University of Ife, the Philosophy programme was run in a joint Philosophy/Religious Studies Department until the 1975/76 academic session, when Philosophy and Religious Studies were established as separate Departments. As was the case with many other academic Departments, the Department of Philosophy was staffed largely by expatriate Professors and lecturers, mainly from British and American Universities.

The founding Head of Department, Late Professor J. Olubi Sodipo was at that time the first and only Nigerian full Professor of Philosophy. Professor Sodipo’s legacy of visionary leadership was particularly evident in two areas. The first is the clear Anglo-Saxon analytic orientation of the Department (with due attention to other philosophical traditions, e.g. continental, oriental). The second is the determined effort, right from the beginning, to Africanize the content of philosophical knowledge. The same determined efforts informed the introduction of courses in African Philosophy. Professor Sodipo’s far-sighted programme of recruiting and training philosophically gifted young Nigerian graduates of philosophy as Lecturers, Assistant Lecturers, and Graduate Assistants, has a positive long term effect on the quality of teaching and the development of scholarship in the Department. ). Through this measure, the products are equipped with all necessary skills of philosophizing which in turn enable them to compete with any graduate of philosophy from any part of the world. Over the years the Department has produced many first rate graduates at both the undergraduate and post graduate levels; some are now leading Professors and Lecturers in Nigeria and in various institutions in Europe and America. Yet others occupy eminent positions of responsibility in the Nigerian economy and all over the world. These feats were made possible by the pioneer scholars of the Department.

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