Ayodeji Oladimeji Olukoju obtained a B.A. (First Class Honours) degree from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka in June 1980, and MA and PhD in History from the University of Ibadan in September 1982 and April 1991, respectively. He taught at Ogun State (now, Olabisi Onabanjo) University (1984-87) before joining the services of the University of Lagos, Akoka-Yaba in September 1987. Olukoju was appointed Professor of History in 1998 and University Distinguished Professor in 2018. He was a DAAD Guest Professor of Economic History at Bayreuth University, Germany from May to August 2022.
Before his appointment in 2019 as Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council, Chrisland University, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Olukoju was two-term Vice-Chancellor, Caleb University, Imota, Lagos State (2010-16), two-term Dean of Arts, University of Lagos (2005-2009) and Head, Department of History (2001-2004). He served on the Governing Council of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (2011-12) and New York-based African Peacebuilding Network of the Social Science Research Council (2016-2018). He was appointed Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Samuel Asabia Chair of Business Ethics, University of Lagos in 2017.
Inducted Fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Letters in 2011, Olukoju previously held Postdoctoral Visiting Research Fellowships of the Japan Foundation, the British Academy, DAAD, Institute of Developing Economies (Tokyo), Henry Charles Chapman Foundation and the Leventis Foundation, both at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, London, and a West African Research Association (WARA) Residency at Emory University, Atlanta, USA. He was University of Lagos Best Researcher in the Arts/Humanities in 2006 and 2009.
Olukoju is a member of the editorial advisory board of Journal of Global History (Cambridge, UK) from 2021 to 2023, and a long-serving member of the advisory board of the University College, London (UCL) Urban Laboratory. He served on the editorial advisory boards of Journal of African History (Cambridge, UK), African Economic History (Madison, USA), Afrika Zamani: Journal of the Association of African Historians (Dakar), and History in Africa: A Journal of Debates, Methods and Source Analysis (Cambridge, UK) at various times between 1998 and 2015. A specialist in maritime, economic and social history, he was elected the first-ever African on the executive committee of the International Maritime History Association in 2008.
Olukoju’s over 160 scholarly publications include five sole-authored books, Maritime Trade, Port Development and Administration: The Japanese Experience and Lessons for Nigeria, (Tokyo, 1996), The Liverpool of West Africa: The Dynamics and Impact of Maritime Trade in Lagos, 1900-1950 (Trenton, NJ, 2004), Culture and Customs of Liberia (Westport, CT, 2006), Infrastructure Development and Urban Facilities in Lagos, 1861-2000 (Ibadan, 2003) and The Fourteenth Commissar of Works: The Life and Labour of Rauf Aregbesola (Lagos & Winnipeg, 2007), six edited books, Nigerian Peoples and Cultures (1997), Fundamentals of Economic History (2003), Northeast Yorubaland: Studies in the History and Culture of a Frontier Zone (2003), Global Understanding in the Age of Terrorism (2008), Security Challenges and Management in Modern Nigeria (2018) and African Seaports and Maritime Economics in Historical Perspective (2020); several monographs, and scores of articles in high-impact journals and book chapters.
Ayodeji Olukoju has delivered Conference Keynotes in Nigeria, the UK, Spain and Mexico, and Convocation Lectures of the Nigerian Academy of Letters (2013), Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (2014), Crawford University, Igbesa (2016) and Ajayi Crowther University, Oyo (2016).
He has assessed professorial candidates for Universities in the UK, Ghana, Sierra Leone and Nigeria, reviewed manuscripts for leading international journals and academic presses, and consulted for UNESCO, European Research Council, Nigerian National Merit Award Board, Ford Foundation, WOTRO: Netherlands Foundation for the Advancement of Tropical Research, CODESRIA, Israel Science Foundation, Deloitte, Guaranty Trust Bank (Nigeria), and Lagos State Government (Nigeria).