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Dr Muritala Monsuru Olalekan

For the duration of his Visiting Fellowship, Dr Muritala Monsuru Olalekan is hosted by Queen Mary, University of London.

During his time in the UK, Dr Olalekan’s research will explore the nexus between the Second World War and the episode of communal riots that broke out in Ilesa, Western Nigeria in 1941. The town of Ilesa, populated by the Ijesa, a sub-group of the Yoruba, had been an extremely vibrant town and during the colonial period, had provided opportunities in commerce and industry for both natives and strangers. However, in 1941, in the face of dwindling resources and acute competition occasioned by the Second World War, the Ijesa people turned on the visitors and strangers in their midst.

This work, using undocumented oral reconstruction of popular memory in Ilesa and other parts of western Nigeria, private papers, newspaper accounts and colonial official reports in the National Archives at Ibadan and secondary sources, provides extensive interpretation of the consequences of World War II on identity and intergroup relations in an urban milieu in colonial Nigeria. 

Project part of

Visiting Fellowships

This programme provides academics based in any country overseas (and active at any career stage) with the opportunity to be based at a UK higher education or other research institution of their choice for up to six months.


We foster international collaboration in the humanities and social sciences, and promote the sharing of international perspectives on global challenges.