Late Prof Felicia Adedoyin: The Woman Who Wrote the Nigerian National Pledge

Late Prof Felicia Adebola Adeyoyin was a renowned educationist, academic and author of the Nigerian national pledge.

She was born on November 6, 1938 in Ogbomoso, Oyo State, as a princess from the Iji ruling house of Saki. She attended Idi-Aba Christian Baptist School in Abeokuta, where she graduated from its teacher programme in 1957. She married Solomon Adedeji Adeyoyin, a Mobil employee, in 1965 and had four children with him.

Late Prof Felicia pursued higher education in London and New York, obtaining a bachelor’s degree with honors in Geography from Birkbeck University of London in 1968, a diploma of Education from the same university in 1976, a master’s degree in Social Studies from Columbia University in 1977, and a PhD in Education from the University of Lagos in 1981 .

Her doctoral thesis was titled “The Dynamics of Teaching Social Studies at the Grade Two Teachers’ College Level in Lagos State” and was supervised by J. U. Aisiku and A. I. Asiwaju.

Prof Adeyoyin had a distinguished career as a lecturer, professor and consultant in the field of education. She joined the Faculty of Education at the University of Lagos in 1978 and taught there until 1994. She was also a consultant for the United Nations, serving as the Regional Adviser on Education from 1994 to 2008.

She was best known for writing the Nigerian national pledge in 1976, which she did after being inspired by her children who were studying abroad and reciting pledges to their host countries.

She published her pledge in the Daily Times newspaper on July 15, 1976, under the title “Loyalty to the Nation, Pledge”. The then Head of State, Olusegun Obasanjo, modified her pledge slightly and introduced it as the official national pledge for Nigeria, decreeing that school children should recite it during assembly .

Her pledge has become a symbol of patriotism and loyalty for millions of Nigerians and has been recited by generations of Nigerians at various occasions and events, such as Independence Day celebrations, National Youth Service Corps orientation camps, sporting events and civic ceremonies. It has also been translated into various Nigerian languages and dialects.

She was recognized for her contribution to national development with a national award, the Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON), in 2005. She was also a deaconess of Yaba Baptist Church in Lagos.

She died on May 1, 2021, after a brief illness. She was 82 years old.

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