The Ondo State University Akungba, Akoko degree award controversy with Gani Fawehinmi leaves me a little depressed. Perhaps understandably so that I have vested interest in the person, a passion for the state and belief in the ideals for which the man should be honoured. As a citizen of the State, a believer in what Gani has fought for all these years even though a little noisier than I would have wished, an award coming at this critical time of National darkness would, in my mind be most appropriate. For our citizens too, the emotion of a Gani, frail, tired and almost withered from lung cancer adds occasion to this idea. I wish to seek your indulgence to get angry and express this sadness to you that as in the days of the Military, Agagu a supposed academic has once again moved in to puncture the tire of that very vehicle that brought him to Government House Alagbaka. Alas, Agagu as visitor, Adekunle Ajasin University as host, and Adekunle Ajasin, late, to whose memory the University is dedicated were myopically robbed of a glorious outing. A man of Gani’s stature internationally would obviously confer more credibility on that Rural University than the degree on offer can give to the man whose history Nigeria will forever treasure, alive or dead. BENEFITS I have not ceased, since this story broke to wonder what is in this for anybody. The controversy now christened Agagu Gani Akungba debacle must subject clear minds to a round of thinking. What can be in this for the Governor? What is the hidden political profit which ordinary non political minds like ours cannot capture? If it turns out to blow up in the powerful face of the University visitor, then perhaps his loud sounding opponents are right. That the lucid organized minds of a lecturer have suffered a development occasioned by a poisonous combination of power and alcohol or perhaps more powerful substance. Which politician would not realize that this is the most inappropriate time to pick a fight with Gani? Which soldier confronted him in a fight and came out victorious. For a politician to now create this monstrous scandal at a time all our prayers are drifting over the seas to where Gani lies in Hospital far away in London. Only a mind alcoholic in its curvature from reason can travel this path of permanent oblivion. Perhaps while we pray for Gani, we must reserve a little for his Excellency that he should recover and kick this terrible habit that has rendered a curse on such promise THE IVORY TOWER I do not know how much of it you have followed. For a University, processes leading to such an award of recognition cannot just be flippant. As a matter of fact, it is believed that the debates before, during nomination and following consideration would be as lively and entertaining as only an academic village can organise. I can imagine the robust minds posturing to argue on that day. Their points carefully assembled, the rehearsals prior to the debates in their vanity mirror the night before and the cold bottle of Larger terminating the exercise later at the staff room. The very reason why we all want to be around brilliant minds is because they present clinically faultless reasons for offering ideas great or small for issues worthy and not so noticeably valuable. The process of nomination and consideration can only be consummated by offer and acceptance. Just like in a simple transaction except that this coming from the Ivory tower must be more serious. An offer was made to a foremost citizen and worthy homeboy. A gracious acceptance was conveyed by a man who believes that charity must originate from home. I am disturbed on three major grounds · That a University that decides to honour a deserving citizen turns around to suddenly realize it had made a mistake just three weeks after its visitor had been humiliated at a tribunal whose ruling Gani had applauded · That the reasons given for this dishonourable cancellation is as crude as a gathering of illiterates can invent · That University Authorities cannot just stand up to whatever current politics is playing and uphold the flag of the University at a time of infancy when values need to be built and culture etched on the walls of future greatness at its infancy. Nigerian men and women of reason and intellect should I, believe make a loud voice of protest heard from all corners of the World where they currently reside. Apart from the emotional status of Gani’s health, his tall structure erected over the years in defense of his beliefs, his larger than life image in advocacy for the poor how crude can authority be permitted to whiplash common sense. Can a University with its ideas and ideals be allowed to sink to the level we find Akungba dragged into. As men of letters yourselves, your voice must be loud and clear that Akungba cannot be allowed to splash mud on a Tower that you have continued to help maintain around the Globe.
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