Dr Daniel Chile
Prof. Igbana Wansua Ajir, 1958-2022.
Late Professor Igbana Wansua Ajir was born to the family of late Pa Wansua Igbana Ajir Dajo and Mama Igbana Ajir of Ushia, Mbaav Kindred of Jato-Aka, Kwande Local Government Area of Benue State on 26th June, 1958 as the first child of his parents.
Professor Ajir who was known for his early determination and willingness to acquire western education started his primary education at NKST Primary School, Jato-Aka, Benue State in 1968. With the zeal to further his education, Having completed his primary education he proceeded to Government Secondary School, Otukpo from 1970 1974 where he obtained his West African School Certificate (Division One).
He attended the then Borno State College of Basic Studies for his Interim Joint Matriculation Boards Examination (IJMB) programme between 1977 – 1978 where he obtained excellent grades in History, Literature-in-English Language and Geography.
Late Professor Ajir was then admitted into the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria as a direct entry student where he obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology from 1978-1982. His endless quest for education continued as he proceeded for his Master of Science degree programme in Sociology in the same institution from 1984 -1991 and graduated with a distinction.
Consequently, Professor Igbana enrolled to further his studies beyond the Master’s Degree level with special interest in Industrial Sociology and eventually bagged his PhD at the Benue State University Makurdi.
Due to his sterling academic performances, Professor Igbana Ajir Wansua was offered a lecturing job with the Ahmadu Bello University Zaria as Graduate Assistant. The employment which was aimed at harvesting him as one of the best brains to add to the academic excellence force of the institution.
For the consummate love of his people and state Benue, Professor Ajir voluntarily transferred his services from Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, a federal institution to the Benue State University as Lecturer II, when it was newly established in 1993 and needed qualified hands for its start off. He diligently worked at the Benue State University and earned his promotions through the ranks to become a Professor of Industrial Sociology in 2019, a rank he occupied till death.
This very accomplished scholar and unionist, who was the epitome of integrity was a humble and brilliant scholar who devoted all his entire life to render professional and academic services to the country, contributing immensely to the growth and development of Sociology in Benue State and other universities in Nigeria.
He was a visiting lecturer to various universities across Nigeria amongst them were University of Mkar, Mkar, from 2008-2012, Federal University of Kashere in Gombe State, from 2014-2015, Federal University of Dutsema, in Kastina State, from 2015-2016 and also Taraba State University from 2017-2019. This, he was diligently doing it in the spirit of a true member of the academia and custodian of the university tradition and culture, and to contribute to building education in Nigeria.
Also, he served as an External Examiner for various universities in Nigeria. He was the Examiner for Postgraduate Studies in the Department of Sociology, University of Maiduguri, and External Examiner for Undergraduates, Department of Criminology and Security Studies, Kwarafa University, Wukari and the Department of Sociology, University of Mkar, Mkar.
Late Professor Igbana Ajir has supervised numerous Undergraduate and Postgraduate works that were credited to him while alive. He also served the university in various capacities through committees right from his days at ABU to Benue State University. He was former Head of his Department from 2000 to 2004; Coordinator Security Benue State University from 2012 to 2015, a member Benue State University Senate from 1994 to 2004 and currently member of the BSU Senate.
The late Professor Igbana Ajir’s life and career could be described as a mirror for the up-and-coming academics with eyes for distinction. Simple, humble and gentle were some of the prominent features to describe Professor Ajir, but these had their foundation in his vision and doggedness.
A publisher of numerous scholarly books; contributed in journals other academic papers presented in several conferences and workshops across the country, speak eloquently of a quintessential great scholar with both local and international recognition.
The late Professor Ajir was not just a member of the academic, but a respected community mobilizer, who rendered numerous services to community building and development across this country.
Prof was a core unionist right from his university days at various levels. He was Secretary National Union of Benue State Students, Ahmadu Bello University Zaria (1981-1982), Financial Secretary Tiv Senior Staff Association Zaria Branch, Welfare Secretary Akensua Hall Ahmadu Bello University Zaria (1979 -1980) and many more.
His love and interest for the most outstanding Academic Associations in Nigeria, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has no bound. He loved unionism with a passion and only felt that the standard which universities in Nigeria would always hold is true dialogue and bargain.
Based on his genuine passion and commitment for unionism, he was elected and became the second ASUU Chairmen, Benue State University Chapter, a position which he held from 2000 to 2004. After that, he also held other sensitive assignments for ASUU-BSU, ASUU National and headed some committees at various levels. He was also appointed ASUU Zonal Coordinator, Nsukka Zone from 2018 to 2020. A post he held and performed exceptionally well making the union proud.
Although the unifying theme in the life of the scholar the entire state is mourning today is distinction, one can find it important to break the confluence of his achievements while alive into two. One will be Professor Igbana’s contributions to scholarship in Sociology, through research and teaching. The other is his life and career as a unionist of repute, who stood firm defending a just course, his symbolic representation of the union across the country has become a reference point.
Prof Igbana Ajir met his lovely wife and life partner, Mrs Ololade Juliana during his National Youth Service year at Oriwu College Lagos, where he taught her literature-in-English. They later tied their knot in 1984.
He was a member with the Methodist church of Nigeria right from childhood, having been baptized during his secondary school at Otukpo.
Prof Igbana Ajir was not diagnosed of any sickness as he was healthy and sound until 13th January, 2022 at about 10:00am when he came to work and was preparing to attend an examination committee meeting with his colleagues in the departmental boardroom and which he was supposed to chair. His colleagues waited for him at the venue of the scheduled meeting for unusually long time and had to send a colleague to check on him. It was then discovered that he was sitting lifeless on his office chair. He was quickly rushed to the Benue State University Teaching Hospital Makurdi, where he was painfully confirmed dead.
The entire Academic Staff Union of Universities, will greatly miss his comradeship, his department will miss his academic contributions and the entire Benue State University community Makurdi will eternally mourn his demise, praying that God should grant his family the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.
The late Professor Igbana Ajir is survived by his wife; Mrs Ololade Juliana Ajir, three children: Tavershima Ajir, Doofan Rita Thompson and Gandepuun Ajir, and two grand children, Olivia and Gabriella Thompson Igba.
May the Almighty God grant his soul eternal rest in His Kingdom.
Dr Daniel Chile
Assistant Secretary, ASUU-BSU and
Chairman, Publicity Sub Committee