Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
The President-elect, Asíwájú Bola Tinubu, has congratulated two Nigerian academics in the United States, Professors Jacob Olupona and Dr. Mohammed Pate, over their election into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Olupona and Pate were among the 269 outstanding individuals recently announced as new Fellows of the prestigious Academy.
Tinubu, in a statement issued by his office on Sunday and signed by Tunde Rahman, commended Olupona, a Professor in the field of Religious Studies, for his outstanding contributions to knowledge production and humanity.
He said: “I congratulate the Nigerian, Harvard University Professor, Jacob Olupona, for his outstanding academic achievement.
“To have been elected into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences is a no mean achievement, which is a testament to his high academic quality and deep knowledge.
“This comes as no surprise to me. The fact that he knows his onion is easily evident in conversations with him and Prof. Olupona and I have had several intellectual encounters.”
The president-elect said Olupona has not only done remarkably well for himself and the Ivory Tower, he has also made Nigeria and indeed Africa proud.
Tinubu noted that his accomplishment was a testament to the great Nigerian spirit and to what is possible and achievable given the right academic environment, something which he promised to provide and sustain during his presidency.
“I rejoice with Professor Olupona and I salute him for his invaluable contribution,” he noted.
Olupona, a former lecturer at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, is a renowned Professor of African Religious Traditions, with a joint appointment as Professor of African and African-American Studies in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and Professor of Religion at Harvard Divinity School, Harvard University, Cambridge.
He has held many academic appointments both at home and abroad.
Olupona has also published many books, academic journals and articles among which are ‘Òrìsà Devotion as World Religion: The Globalization of Yorùbá Religious Culture‘ (University of Wisconsin Press, 2008) and ‘City of 201 Gods: Ilé-Ifè in Time, Space, and the Imagination‘ (University of California Press, 2011).
Also, the president-elect in his congratulatory statement also praised another illustrious Nigerian, Pate of Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, who is among the appointees, saying his research work did not go unnoticed.
Pate was Minister of State for Health in the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Pate is a Professor of Practice of Public Health Leadership in the Department of Global Health and Population at Harvard University and a former Director of Global Financing Facility for Women, Children and Adolescents at the World Bank.
“He has had a distinguished career in public service in Nigeria as Chief Executive of National Primary Health Agency and later as Minister of State for Health from where he proceeded to join the World Bank and now at Harvard University. His global reputation as a Professor of Practice in Public Health continues to bring honour and prestige to our country,” the president-elect said.
Academy President David Oxtoby and Chair of the Board of Directors Nancy Andrews made the announcement of the 2023 list of recipients of the honours.
According to the Academy, both Olupona and Pate along with other newly appointed members will be inducted on Friday, September 29, 2023, with the formal ceremony on Saturday, September 30, 2023.