DELSU honours the prophets at home
Delta State University (DELSU), Abraka, recently held its 11th convocation ceremony. At the event, three distinguished sons of the state received appreciation for their lifelong works in the humanities and sciences, as they were conferred with honorary doctorate degrees, a negation of the popular saying that a prophet has no honour at home.
The universally acclaimed visual artist, Dr. Bruce Onobrakpeya, and two first class monarchs were also honoured with doctorate degrees, Ovie Richard Layeguen Ogbon, Ohworode of Olomu Kingdom and Asagba of Asaba, Professor Joseph Edozien.
A series of activities flowed into the convocation ceremony among which was the press conference held by the Vice Chancellor, Professor Victor Peretomode, the chief academic officer, where he reeled out his achievements and other sundry issues.
Peretomode congratulated the graduating students and commended government and critical stakeholders such as the Isoko Development Union (IDU) for their roles in the recent accreditation of the Faculties of Law and Engineering, and some departments. He, however, solicited for more funding and employment of teaching staff for under-staffed departments.
Another significant activity for the day was a convocation exhibition, organised by the Department of Fine and Applied Arts, under the chairpersonship of Dr. Nelson Edevwor, who also heads the department. The highpoint of the exhibition was the commissioning of the state-of-the-art Bruce Onobrakpeya Arts Gallery, in honour of the octogenarian master printmaker.
To deliver the convocation lecture was the Deputy Executive Secretary of National Universities Commission (NUC), Professor Chiedu Mafiana, who spoke on ‘State Universities and the Challenge of Relevance.’ He gave profound insights into state universities’ administration, the politics of university educational system and other pertinent issues.
Later in the evening, there was a convocation play, A Past Came Calling, written by Uche Ama-Abriel and performed by the Department of Theatre Arts.On the convocation day proper, Saturday, July 22, it drew a large crowd despite the torrential downpour. Dignitaries from all walks of life were in attendance, including the Visitor to the university and governor of Delta State, Mr. Ifeanyi Okowa. The event kicked off with a long procession, led by the students’ union, followed by chieftains of the Ivory Tower, chairman of the university’s Governing Council, Prof. Sam Oyovbaire, and Commissioner for Education, Mr. Jude Sinebe. When it was time for the conferment of honorary degrees on the three recipients, the Registrar, Mr. Daniel Urhibo, invited the University’s Public Orator and Head of Department, English and Literary Studies, Dr. Sunny Awhefeada, to introduce and give the citation of the honorees.
Resplendent in his academic gown, Awhefeada, in a slow, measured cadence, regaled the audience with the virtues and landmark achievements of the honorees, after which was the decoration of the deserving honorees and the acceptance speech by Onobrakpeya on behalf of himself and the other recipients in which he thanked the university for considering them worthy to be bestowed with the honorary degrees and government for approving the awards. He promised that they would do everything possible to uplift humanity and work for the progress of the university.
After which Okowa gave a speech in which he commended the university for its vision, foresight, and congratulated the graduating students for a successful academic programme. He advised them to be good ambassadors of the university and charged them to be creative, innovative and be resourceful. Okowa called for a synergy between the alumni and the university. He, however, noted that government alone could not fund education and charged management to explore other avenues for fund.
This was followed by the award of prizes to the best graduates. Immediate employment was also offered the overall best graduating student, Joshua Erubami of Mass Communication Department, who has a CGPA of 4.85.
For Onobrakpeya, the UNESCO designated ‘Living Human Teeasure,’ all roads led to his quiet country home at Agbarha-Otor for a grand reception, which had in attendance some of Nigeria’s literary heavyweights such as J.P. Clark, Awhefeada and his wife Dr. Ufuoma Awhefeada, DELSU’s students of English Department, first class traditional chiefs, among others. One of the famous Urhobo udje dance troupe was on hand to perform; also, there were poetry performances by Karo Enajemo and Phyliss Edafe of the Creative Writers’ Workshop, Abraka. And everyone relished sumptuous delicacies with the choicest of wines.
• Comrade Oreh is a former student of the Department of English and Literary Studies, DELSU, Abraka