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He Will Forever Be Missed





Remembering Philip

This site was created in memory of  Professor Philip Igbafe by his children. Our loving Father & Grandfather.


Born in Uzairue (near Auchi), Etsako West, Edo State, Nigeria


Philip Aigbona Igbafe was born on December 15, 1936 in Uzairue, Etsako West Local Government Area of Edo State in mid-western Nigeria. He started his education at St. Peter's Catholic Central School, Uzairue from 1943 to 1949, secondary education at St. Thomas's Teachers Training College in Ibusa from 1950 to 1954 when he qualified as a Teacher Grade 2. He then started his teaching career, first as a tutor in Catholic School, Abraka from January 1955 to July 1955, moving on to teach at St. Thomas's College, Ibusa from July 1955 to March 1958. He also taught briefly at the Western Boys High School, Benin City in 1958 before gaining admission and a federal government scholarship to study history at the University College, Ibadan.

Philip Igbafe graduated from the University College, Ibadan in 1961 with BA in history and worked briefly in the federal civil service before returning for graduate studies at the University of Ibadan where he came under the influence of the famous Ibadan School of History dominated by scholars like J.D. Omer-Cooper, J.C. Anene, J.F. Ade Ajayi and K.O. Dike and noted for its championing of a new approach to the study of African history that sought to do away with the Euro-centric approach which saw African history only in terms of European activities in the continent as opposed to unveiling the ancient civilizations and politics of its people.


Among his contemporaries were Obaro Ikime and Adiele Afigbo and together they went on to pioneer the ‘made in Nigeria PhD’ that were founded on research on Nigerian history with his work focusing on the political, economic and cultural development of the ancient kingdom of Benin and its economic and diplomatic relations with European powers.

Professor Igbafe obtained his PhD in 1968 and became a foremost authority on major aspects of Nigerian history especially the history of the Benin and Edo people, researching, writing and publishing several works that not only laid the groundwork for current and future scholars in the field but continues to be the unrivaled source in Africa's historiography. Igbafe was honored in 2011 with Nigeria's Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (MFR) award.

His Life


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