University funding: Olu Obafemi speaks in UNIJOS, as ASUU holds Heroes’ Day

Olu Obafemi

Prof. Olu Obafemi, a renowned poet, playwright, author, and Professor of English and Dramatic Literature, has been chosen as a guest speaker at the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU)’s public lecture/heroes’ day at the University of Jos.

Obafemi will speak at 10 a.m. on Friday, March 22, 2024, at Unity Hall, ASUU Secretariat in Naraguta Campus of UNIJOS on the topic “Government’s Commitment Towards The Funding Of Public Universities In Nigeria: The Past, Present, and Future.”

Obafemi, former President, Nigerian Academy of Letters (2016-2018), is believed to have pioneered an experimental tool for revolutionary aesthetics in Africa, typifying the plays of second generation Nigerian and African dramatists. His works have also influenced the interpretation of radical drama among theatre scholars in West Africa in the 1980s and 90s. Obafemi has also contributed to advancing the discourse on post-feminist aesthetics in Nigeria drama to the engagement in material perception of society.

A statement by the Convener of the event and Head, Department of English in UNIJOS, Prof. Jeff Doki, said the Chief Host is the institution’s Vice Chancellor, Prof. Tanko Ishaya; Host is Dr. Jurbe Molwus, ASUU chairman (UNIJOS Branch) but under the distinguished chairmanship of Prof. Monday Mangvwat, former Vice Chancellor of the University.

Doki said apart from being a detribalized Nigerian, Olu Obafemi is a man who is very willing to tear down the veils behind which the truth is hidden.

He said, “In 2023, when he served as a member of the Re-negotiating team between ASUU and the FGN, he asked the Federal Government to tow the path of honor by finalising the agreement it signed with ASUU in order to bring peace and industrial harmony on university campuses in Nigeria.

“Again, last year during a convocation lecture at the Federal University Lokoja, he decried a situation where the FGN allocates only 4 per cent of its total budget to the education sector and called on the FGN to pay university staff their withheld salaries. He also told the FGN that the dissolution of University Councils is clearly against the spirit and ethos of university autonomy. This is an abundant testimony of the fact that Olu Obafemi is a Comrade Professor.

“It is left to be said that Obafemi is a scholar with an unquenchable commitment for the emancipation of the poor and a distaste for the exploitation of one class by another especially in modern industrial capitalism. Obafemi represents the black radical’s anti-imperialist voice and tradition, he represents the black radical’s increasing commitment to justice, freedom and human rights, he represents the black radical’s revolutionary humanist political vision and theories of social change.

“In Obafemi could be found a combination of the political activist, social organiser, cultural worker or what the Italian critical theorist, Antonio Gramsci, grandly calls the ‘organic intellectual’. He is one of the most clamorous advocates of a free society in which the truth would be placed in the service of national liberation and the construction of a social order that favors the mass urban workers and rural producers at the base of the socio-economic pyramid in Nigeria.”