One of Africa’s most respected
intellectuals lost his life over the weekend in a tragic car accident.Nigerian-born political scientist Tajudeen
Abdul-Raheem, who was also secretary general of the Pan-African Movement died when
he reportedly lost control of his car while enroute to Jomo Kenyatta
International Airport in Nairobi, Kenya.
Taju, as he was popularly known was
also deputy director of the United Nations Millennium Campaign motivating
Africans to be more pro-active in engaging their leaders to meet the U.N. Millennium
Development Goals. He was 53 years old.
Professor Kabiru Mato, head of the political science department at the
University of Abuja told VOA
the death of Tajudeen has created a vacuum in the African
people’s struggle for self-identity.
was a big shock and horror for us when we received the news of the death of our
friend and colleague, Dr. Tajudeen Abul-Raheem. We deeply regret the news of
that tragic loss of a very committed global citizen who has spent all his life
working for a global community,” he said.
was a Pan-Africanist who like Ghana’s founding President Kwame Nkrumah and
other Africans believed in the idea of a united Africa.
said all progressive forces should do everything to carry on Tajudeen’s dream
of a united Africa.
struggle for the actualization of a more united Africa, I think, it’s something
that has to be continued by all progressive forces with the view to perhaps
seeing Africa becoming more unified in terms of economic and political
development. I think what those of us that are left behind will continue to do
is to really continue to carry the flag that ‘Taju’ as we popularly called him
carried to an invariable height while he was living,” Mato said.
Nigerian-born Tajudeen fled his native country after being imprisoned by Nigerian
military leader Sani Abacha.
said Tajudeen played a leading role in bringing about the democratization that
Nigerians are enjoying today.
actually became a rallying point in the United Kingdom where a lot of Nigerian
groups who were concerned about the tyranny which characterized that government…And
I think to a large extent that succeeded because at the demise of General
Abacha, the next government that came to power really prosecuted a transition
which invariably gave birth to this democratic era that we are experiencing in
Nigeria,” he said.
late Tajudeen was also deputy director of the United Nations Millennium
Campaign motivating Africans to be more pro-active in engaging their leaders to
meet the U.N. Millennium Development Goals.
said Tajudeen also stood tall for the ordinary African and that the vacuum
created by his death will obviously remain unfilled.
remember the last major function that we had with ‘Taju’ in Nigeria was
sometimes last year when he came and we all stood up against poverty. This was
really a remarkable thing because he got the highest office in the country to
recognize the need for a collective fight against subjugation and poverty. We
will continue to remember him. In fact the vacuum that his death has created
obviously will remain unfilled,” Mato said.