Embattled Nigerian author, Onyeka Nwelue, has commented on a recent article published by Cherwell, a students’ newspaper at Oxford University, describing him as fake and fraudulent, saying the report was meant to ridicule and cancel him.
“The idea of that piece is to cancel and ridicule me. They have succeeded in doing that,” he said in response to the article.
In the response, Mr Nwelue said he never claimed to be a professor at either the University of Oxford or Cambridge as it was public knowledge he does not have a first degree.
He insisted, however, that he was a ‘Professor’ before going to Oxford.
Although his social media profile suggested he is a professor at both institutions, the author insists Cherwell writers have a comprehension challenge.
“If I were a professor at Oxford, why did I need to add an Academic Visitor? Comprehension is a problem, so I don’t have to blame the writers of the article meant to scandalise me, for not understanding what I said in the language of the country they live in. Even the reporter from The Telegraph refused to ‘comprehend’ it,” he said.
Mr Nwelue in the statement apologised to those who believe he is a racist, a misogynist, sexist or other crimes against humanity from the ‘evidence’ screenshot from his social media posts.
He insists the controversial posts were meant to elicit feedback for his books.
He accused Cherwell and Telegraph of refusing to insert his responses, where he explained to them that he had been a professor before coming to Oxford and Cambridge.
“They didn’t want to publish it. They already made up their mind,” he said.
His journey to Oxford University
According to Mr Nwelue, it was the idea of the University of Oxford for him to come as an academic visitor.
“What brought me to the University of Oxford, was an idea I shared with James Currey and he put me in touch with Professor Wale Adebanwi, who in turn, introduced me to Professor David Pratten and after weeks of forth and back, Professor Pratten informed me, that the proposal was approved. That on Monday, I would get an official letter for it. I received a letter that I had now been approved as an Academic Visitor,” he narrated.
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Mr Nwelue said he became the envy of the world following his confirmation as an academic visitor to Oxford University as it was something impossible but someone did it.
He added that he paid the bench fees of £1000 to Oxford and £9000 to Cambridge as an academic visitor.
“Academic visitors are unpaid at the universities they are attached to. So, they are not employees of the universities, so I never in this world, told anyone that I was a professor at Oxford and Cambridge,” he said.
Losses following Cherwell’s article
Mr Nwelue said the first message he received after Cherwell’s article was published was from his Canadian publisher, Bibi Ukonu, telling him they will remove his book, The Strangers of Braamfontein, from their list.
He said he was shocked seeing that it came from a “fellow Nigerian” who he considered an elder brother, a confidant.
“For him, it is business, so he will throw me under the bus to protect his business because I am now a pariah dog,” he remarked.
Additionally, the South African publisher, who was supposed to publish Mr Nwelue’s book, The Strangers of Braamfontein, in 2021, will no longer publish it.
Although he has yet to be informed, according to him, the publisher has informed those who pre-ordered the book.
“It is easy to cancel me, but the question is: to what gain? Where are the proofs that I hate women or disrespect them? I have more respect for women than anybody. The women around me know this,” he said.
“Cherwell News wrote an article about a Nigerian, so it is sensational to sprinkle in words like, “fake” and “fraudulent” as captions, to elicit the responses they want from the world about Nigerians, Mr Nwelue added.
Although he did not specify which of the universities between Oxford and Cambridge, he said the university has begun to remove links that have my name from their website.
I did not lose a job
Mr Nwelue in his post said that it appears to people as though he has lost a job but that is not the case as he was not being paid.
“It was a platform to be seen as powerful, a platform to leverage on. That was why, many people came around me, to associate with power and prestige and when it was announced by Cherwell, I saw those people distancing themselves from me. What money and power can not do, does not exist!”
On students paying to attend David Hundeyin’s book event, Mr Nwelue said the event was not advertised as an event for students.
“Fans of the author came from cities like Liverpool. They had no issue coming for it. Another problem is the use of the logo, which I apologised for and removed after I was asked to remove it.”
He noted that Mr Hundeyin, like him, is not a character loved by many.
He said he has received messages from those who love him asking him to calm down and that everything will be okay.
“I have apologised to the University and taken full responsibility for what happened because I will never blame anyone for my failure,” Mr Nwelue said.
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