Claude Ake

Politician, Author

1939 – 1996


Who was Claude Ake?

Professor Claude Ake was a Nigerian political scientist. Ake gained a Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1966 and during his life he held various academic positions at institutions around the world, including Yale University, University of Nairobi, University of Dar es Salaam and University of Port Harcourt. He was active in Nigerian politics and is well known for his work in studies of development and democracy, his overriding concern being Africa. He died in an airplane crash on a flight between Port Harcourt and Lagos in Nigeria.

Claude Ake, a prominent Nigerian political scientist who was a visiting professor at Yale, died November 7 when the Boeing 727 on which he was a passenger crashed into a lagoon in a mangrove jungle 25 miles northeast of Lagos, Nigeria. He was 57, and his permanent home was in Port Harcourt, Nigeria.

Professor Ake was one of 142 people killed when the plane, operated by a local airline, Aviation Development Company, crashed, leaving no survivors.His death is widely believed to have been orchestrated by the then military junta of Gen. Sani Abacha of whom Prof. Ake was an uncompromising critic. This is in addition to the fact that Prof. Ake was a mentor to slain author, Ken Saro-Wiwa and a brain behind the Ogoni agitations against exploitation.

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Feb 18, 1939
  • Nigeria
  • Columbia University
Nov 7, 1996

on July 23, 2013


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