Category Archives: Africans @ QUB

African staff and PhD students in 2022

Left to right: Dr David Nyaluke (Fellow, UCDublin); Dami Osekita (PhD student, SSESW), Gift Sotonye-Frank (PhD student, Law), Dr Felicity Kalu (Lecturer, Nursing & Midwifery, Nkem Itanyi (PhD student, Law), Dr Linda Oyama (Lecturer, Biological Sciences), Dr Dina Zoe Belluigi (Reader, SSESW), Dr Chirangano Mangwandi (Lecturer, Chemistry & Chemical Engineering) — all members of the QUB African Scholars Research Network.

Mary Ekpiken

First female African student at QUB

Born in Assang Eniong, Cross Rivers State, Nigeria, Mary Ekpiken arrived in Belfast in 1953. She came to study economics with a Nigerian government grant. She resided at Riddel Hall until she graduated in 1955.

After Queen’s, Mary returned to Africa to work for the Nigerian Civil Service. In 1965, she was Senior Labour Officer within the Employment Division of the Federal Ministry of Labour in Lagos.

She continued in the Ministry until she retired on 18 May 1984 as a director in the ministry. She was the first woman to reach such position in Nigeria and was awarded a Nigeria National Honour (OFR).

She passed away in 2010, leaving behind an adult son, Tunji Roberts, who is a media entrepreneur in the United State. Tunjo visited Belfast on his mother’s traces in November 2012, and saw the small dossier the QUB archives hold of her mother.    

Joshua A. Alokan

btyFirst African student in History at QUB

Born in Ekiti state in 1921, Nigerian student Joshua Adeware Alokan arrived at Queen’s University in 1957. He was the first African student in the departement of History, coming with a Nigerian Federal Scholarship. He graduated in 1961 and chose not to continue with graduate studies. Instead he chose (in spite of available funding) to return to Nigeria to work for his church. He developped thereafter a most successful carreer as a pastor for the Christ Apostolic Church in Nigeria and as a lecturer in several Teacher Colleges – becoming the principal of the Divisional Teachers’ College in Oye Ekiti and Erifun for 22 years. He passed away in 2015. Attached is the cover of the celebration book for his funeral (courtesy of his son, Dr Olusegun P.  Alokan, senior lecturer at Joseph Ayo Babaloal University, Nigeria). Joshua Alokan wrote several books, among which Idasile ati Idagba soke Ijo CAC Nilu Efon (1975); The Christ Apostolic Church, 1928-88 (1991), Church Worship (1996); The Origin, Growth and Development of Efon-Alaaye Kingdom (2004); Christ Apostolic Church at 90 (2010); and Medaiyese: A Patriarch and Promoter of Pentecostalism in Nigeria (2014). He also wrote his own memoirs entitled Cradle and Beyond: an autobiography (2000). For more on his life, see his obituary on Queen’s website:—all/obits—joshua-adeware

Ahtletic Club, 1959

QUB Athletic Club 1959

© Queen’s University Athletic Club
More photographs on the University’s Flickr page:

  • John Riverson (from Ghana) participated in the Northern Irish Championship of 1960 and won in the 100 Yards in 10.4.
  • Michael Ekue (from Ghana) participated in the Northern Irish Championship of 1960 and won the Pole Vault with 3.66 and again in 1963 with 3.50.
  • George Deh (from Ghana) participated in the Northern Irish Championship of 1961 and won with a Discuss throw of 40.40.

Prof. Akin O. Adesola

Akin Adesola came to Belfast in 1953 to study medicine. He graduated in 1956, did a year of  academic surgery at the Royal Hospital, then a postgraduate course between Belfast and London. In Belfast he stayed with the Gardiner family; his mentors were Prof Harold Rodgers and Prof. Richard Welbourn; his co-students were Sam Meshida (engineering) and George Johnston (medicine).

After returning to Nigeria, Akin Adesola became a lecturer at the University College Hospital Ibadan, then at the University of Lagos Medical School where he became Professor and head of Department in 1967. Followed a most successful national and international carreer which led him to become, among others, the Vice-Chancellor of the university of Ilorin and of the University of Lagos. Over the years he received many awards, one of which was an Honorary Doctorate from Queen’s University Belfast in 1989 – the first such doctorate for an African. In his later days, Prof. Adesola wrote his autobiography entitled A Bridge Endowed.

Graduation Gardiners   Adesol and the Gardiners

Prince Adedoyin

First African QUB graduate

Prince Adegboyega Folaranmi Adedoyin was born in 1922, the son of the akarigbo [king] of Ijebu Remo in Southern Nigeria.

He came to study medicine in Belfast in 1942 on advice from his brother ‘Zik’ who was studying in London. Soon after arriving in Northern Ireland (by boat), he became involved in local sports. This came about almost inadvertently, after he was invited to join in by the coach of a University team he was watching play.

He immediately revealed talent. In a first mention in the Irish Times (14 May 1946), the journalist mentioned that “Adedoyin, a tall West African, has both the build and style of an athlete, and shows great promise, particularly as regards high jump”.

A week later (22 May) the same newspaper noted: “When Adedoyin first appeared it seemed to be his intention to go boating at Islanbridge. For he wore immaculate white flannel trousers, a check-coat, and a hat. He strolled about, taking the sun, for no little time, while C. Fitzgerald (…) repeatedly tried to jump the bar”.

Adedoyin won many competitions and broke several records. Among others, in 1945 he broke the high jump record at Queen’s University; in 1946 he broke the record at the Universities Athletics Union’s championship (with 6ft 1 inch); and in 1947 he won the AAA Championships with a clearance of 1.93 meters.

In 1948, he attended the Olympic games where he did not win a place on the podium but produced the best results for the whole British team. Overall his best jumps 7.35 metres in the long jump (1947) and 1.969 meters in the high jump (1949).

After graduating in 1949, Adedoyin married Hannah Hotoba-During, a Sierra-Leonian who had grown up in Belfast, and together they moved to Liverpool for work purposes. Soon after, they moved to Sierra Leone and then to Nigeria. Prince Adedoyin passed away on 31 January 2014 in Nigeria.

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