Benin National Congress deploys University of Benin for choosing Chief James Onanefe Ibori as guest lecturer for its founder’s day celebration. 22nd November 2009.

By Edo Benin
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After all attempts to call University of Benin's authority to order inform of a letter addressed to the Acting Registrar failed to yield any desirable result, it has become expedient to make the letter published. The original letter was dated 11th November 2009.

Dear Registrar,
We read with alter consternation and a great sense of betrayal of the integrity and patriotism of the living and fallen heroes of the University of Benin; whose creation was fought with similar energies like the Midwest struggle- the choice of Chief James Onanefe Ibori (the immediate past Governor of Delta) as the guest lecturer of the prestigious founder's day celebration. We are at a loss as to the denigration of the sanctity of the Ivory Towers which is supposed to be a mirror or a platform for socio-political rebirth, because over the years we have seen deliberate arrangements to promote the parochial and destructive interests of our inglorious politicians by offering them conspicuous places in honorary programs and intellectual occasions such as the one being put together to re-establish the patriotism of the founders of Uniben.

It is to the best of our knowledge as a socio-cultural organization that the resolve to honor Chief Ibori as a guest at the event is a calculated attempt to by managers of Nigeria's Ivory Towers to bastardise the morality of Nigeria's university community. It is to say the least an unprovoked attack on the sensibilities of Nigeria's intelligentsia, because at a time Chief Ibori is being touted as a suspected felon and criminal who is being prosecuted in Nigeria and the concerned International community for corruption and crimes against humanity, to present papers which at a ceremony to be attended by patriots and scholars of no mean repute. It will be right to say therefore that the University of Benin is encouraging intellectual hypocrisy because as an academy charged with the twin tasks of research and teaching; it should know that over eighty percent of Nigerians in an opinion poll will reject Ibori for that intellectual assignment because he has not demonstrated any traits of intellect or leadership at least since his over fifteen years of relevance in partisan politics. We also see it as an attempt to mortgage the intellectual goodwill of the University of Benin, hence we hand you (on behalf of Uniben) this fourteen days ultimatum to publicly change the guest lecturer for the ceremony.

An institution that is fortunate to have provide thousands of Nigeria's intellectuals in a wide spectrum of knowledge or fields of live cannot reduce itself to a bread and butter academy that is subservient to the whims and caprices of the oppressive class. We hereby call on the National University Commission to beam its search light on all Ivory Towers in Nigeria as there are traits of steady decay in their leaderships which should not be allowed to linger on. On our part, we will not tolerate the desecration of intellectual values by unpopular politicians and any other person for that matter in any part of Edo State territory particularly and Nigeria in general. We are further inspired by the immortal words of Prof. Wole Soyinka in his book, “The Man Died”. We consider the present reality as a case of foisting neo-intellectual tyranny on Nigerians by the supposed trustees of academic and moral excellence; and history will not be fair to all who noticed it and kept silence, hence we voiced our unbiased and dispassionate reservations.

Comrade Iyobo Osato- Director of Action and Mobilization, Benin National Congress.

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