The event was attended by top political office holders and other Nigerians.
Scholars and students of Ropo Sekoni gathered in Lagos, Wednesday, to celebrate the retired Professor of Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies as he clocks 70.
The occasion also served as the presentation of Mr. Sekoni’s book, ‘Federalism and the Yoruba Character’, as well as the launch of his Yoruba Insight and Innovation Initiatives (YIII).
In his opening speech, Alani Akinrinade recalled Mr. Sekoni’s “prodigious intellectual property” during their days in the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) in the United States.
“Let me rudely tell you one of my observations,” said Mr. Akinrinade, a retired Lieutenant-General and the Chairman of the occasion.
“When you, Professor, during hard time, which was often, start to look three and a quarter straight, seemingly blank, with your lips pursed, some very profound thought will come out and solution will be found,” Mr. Akinrinade said.
Delivering a lecture titled ‘Make or Break: The Imperative of Cultural Democracy in Nigeria’, Femi Folorunsho noted that Nigeria’s overall scores in human development indicators are identical to those recorded in 1980.
“The simple fact is that given the advances in public health management over the past 30 years, infant mortality and maternal death is a shame to us all whenever and wherever it happens in our country,” said Mr. Folorunsho, a Scotland based Nigerian academic.
“In education, Nigeria continues to have low enrolment and completion rates in both primary and secondary education, relative to countries such as Ghana, South Africa, and the Republic of Korea.
“Most worryingly, in terms of actual investment and reward in education, the child in the public school system in Kenya, Bostwana, South Africa, Namibia, Ghana has a return on investment of between 75 and 85 percent compared to the Nigerian child whose benefit stands at less than 25 per cent,” said Mr. Folorunsho.
The guest lecturer also attributed some of Nigeria’s woes to its “backward” constitution which, he said, is riddled with “many imperfections.”
“As a scholar with interest in social and cultural theories, I have very little pleasure in defending the current Nigerian constitution as a progressive document for nation building,” Mr. Folorunsho, who was Mr. Sekoni’s student at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, said.
“That is because of its several inadequacies and defects as a federal constitution. It rewards rather than repudiates backward thinking,” he added.
Some of the guests at the event include Kayode Fayemi, the Ekiti State governor; Dele Alake, a former Commissioner in Lagos State, representing Bola Tinubu; Niyi Adebayo, former Ekiti State governor; Muyiwa Ige, representing the Osun State governor, among others.
Bola Fasehun, the book’s reviewer, insisted that the seven chapter book does not advocate for the secession of the Yoruba or the disintegration of Nigeria.
“The book cautions against violence in the campaign for a truly federal Nigeria,” said Mr. Fasehun.
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
TEXT AD: To advertise here . Call Willie +2347088095401...