Nigerians, Africans and members of United States’ cultural and diplomatic communities came together Thursday in Washington DC to pay respect to late Ambassador Adebowale Ibidapo Adefuye.
More than 300 guests turned out for a memorial service hosted by Nigerian Embassy staff and members of Adefuye family to celebrate the life and work of the deceased diplomat.
It was one of the most crowded events ever held at the Embassy.
The large hall was filled to capacity, with about one-third of the guests having to sit under an outdoor tent or stand by on the Embassy grounds.
Although the memorial was planned to run for two hours, it exceeded the 6:00 to 8:00pm time slot as many guests arrived earlier than six and many more stayed much longer than the upper time limit.
The extra time was justified and well spent. In addition to the religious exhortations led by Pastor Ghandi Olaoye of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, friends, co-workers and family members also took turns to speak about the late Ambassador.
Many recalled the leadership style and professional skills he brought to the job, qualities that endeared him to the Nigerian diaspora, co-workers, fellow African diplomats and colleagues from the government of his host country.
A 48-page book of tribute was specially produced for this event and an online commemorative memorial was also set up at this link.
Born on January 13, 1947, the Late Ambassador Adefuye died on Thursday August 27, a few days before his five-year tenure as Nigeria’s representative to the United States was to expire.
He was a tenured professor of History at University of Lagos before he joined the diplomatic service.
He previously served in Nigeria embassies in Jamaica and the United Kingdom as well as with the Commonwealth and Economic Community of West African States.
He is survived by a wife and three children.