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Eskor Toyo was a role model, says Afejuku


ToyoEMINENT personalities from the Labour movement and the university community have extolled the qualities of the late Professor Eskor Toyo, an academic and intellectual, whom they described as a mentor and comrade.

Those who paid tributes at an event organized in honour of the late scholar in Benin City, included Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) members, friends, colleagues, students and workers.

They included erudite scholar, Prof. Tony Afejuku of the University of Benin, and Jonathan Ihonde who spoke on behalf of Toyo’s friends.

Born in 1929 at Oron in Akwa Ibom State, Toyo’s funeral begins today and he will be buried tomorrow.

Toyo who died on December 7, 2015 was a one-time Secretary to the late Pa Michael Imoudu, a labour leader and a founding father of the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN). Other positions he held included, Consultant Economist to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as well as Co- founder of the Labour Party and Leader, Nigeria Youth Congress in 1960.

Afejuku said Toyo was a role model, stressing that though the university community mourn and missed him, he would forever be celebrated.

He noted that late activist was an enigma, a good scholar and committed fellow in the struggle for a better Nigeria. He also lamented the “pains of betrayal” which the late Professor Emeritus suffered in his lifetime for a just society.

Ihonde said they were joining friends of the late radical economist globally to “pay revolutionary tribute to a foremost fighter during this celebration of his passing on to the world beyond.”

“In the 1980s, he was a foundation member of the Labour Party when Pascal Bafyau was president of NLC. His efforts and inspiration, in addition to those of other veterans in his category, were the catalysts that led to the eventual formation of the Labour Party,” he remarked.

Noting that Toyo was a member of the board of trustees of ASUU, Ihonde while describing the late activist as a nationalist who fought against colonialism in Africa and others parts of the world, particularly his country, said he was a mobile or nomadic revolutionary.

Ihonde added: “In this way, he lectured Nigeria railway workers, radicalized and raised the consciousness . He urged them to form a party of their own. In these struggles, he ran into troubles with the authorities and fellow fighters for an egalitarian Nigeria which left him seriously bruised and traumatized.”

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