Former Vice-Chancellor of the Ajayi Crowther University, Oyo, Rt. Rev. Prof. Dapo Asaju, has expressed his unalloyed belief in a united Nigeria and warned against nuances that precipitate strife among ethnicities, describing that as the handiwork of Satan.
Asaju, who is the Bishop of Ilesha Diocese, stated this while delivering a lecture to mark the platinum jubilee in honour of Prof. Emeritus Olugbemiro Jegede, the one-time Vice-Chancellor of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) and the Ogurefa of Ogori, Kogi State, held at NOUN Headquarters in Abuja.
Speaking on the topic of the 70th birthday Cele-Brain-Tion public lecture: "Curing the Malaise of Corruption, Religion, Ethnicity and Geo-politics in Nigeria,” the Professor of theology stated that "I believe in a united Nigeria but not one which will compromise the freedom, rights, peace and security of the Christian communities.
"We need to avoid war at all costs. It opens doors for Satan to exploit to waste lives, populate hell and inflict sufferings on innocent vulnerable people.
"I wish to suggest that the reports of past national commissions and conferences held over the state of the nation be re-examined and vital suggestions made by this assembly of representatives of the society be incorporated in the restructuring processes."
He expressed hope for a better Nigeria devoid of extremes of corruption, ethnicity and religious bigotry that will be a befitting gift to celebrate the 70th birthday of the former Secretary to the State Government of Kogi.
The clergy further made a 16-point recommendation in curing the malaise of corruption, religion, ethnicity and geo-politics in Nigeria and for a united country, calling on the elders of the various nations within Nigeria to organise a major conference to discuss the Nigerian question and come up with viable recommendations on how to restructure this country in a manner that will ensure peace, equity, federalism and less expensive system of government.
He urged Churches and Mosques to deliberately design means of training and raising credible leaders who are disciplined and knowledgeable enough to provide leadership at all levels and in all sectors of Nigeria.
PIX: Celebrant;Emeritus Professor taking a bow to appreciate the audience
Earlier in his welcome address, chairman of the planning committee and Vice-Chancellor, Admiralty University of Nigeria, Prof. Paul Omojo Omaji, described the emeritus professor as a man of intellectual and many dimensions. “He is Ogurefa of Academics and not just for ogori,” he disclosed.
He said the committee had planned further miniature events for the subsequent days in different locations to the septuagenarian.
NOUN Vice-Chancellor, Prof.Olufemi Peters in his remarks, said he was happy to host the event and celebrate a man of brain.
Peters, represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Administration, Prof.Isaac Butswat, said the life of the emeritus professor is worth emulating.
“As many that are here today, there is something worth emulating from the life of Prof. Jegede; his life is a lesson to everyone. There must be something, either his academic life, emotional life, temperament life, exercise life, among others, to emulate from,” he said.
Meanwhile, the highlight of the event was an abridged citation of the celebrant by the Director of RETIRIDOL, Prof. Christine Ofulue, which was also heralded by a saxophonist rendition of “Amazing Grace and Blessed Assurance.”
The event brought together crème de la crème in the academia, friends and family of the celebrant, with other participants joining via zoom.