(Last Updated On: March 28, 2017)


By Gbenga Gbelee


The Chairman, Nigerian Oral Literature Association and Erudite Professor of Literary studies;

Professor Gabriel Darah has advocated a review of the Nigerian University curriculum to lay more

emphasis on making graduates focused thinkers and builders of the human society.

Prof. G. G Darah who spoke on the theme; ‘The humanities and the redemption of Africa’ also

frowned at what he called leap services being accorded the Nigerian education sector by government

at all levels especially when viewed against the backdrop of the lukewarm reaction of political

propietors when Ivory towers embark on industrial actions.

Prof. Darah was the guest speaker at a public lecture in Honour of Professor J. P. Clark being part of

activities marking the 55 th anniversary of the Department of English, University of Lagos which held

in the Afe Babalola hall of the institution at Akoka, Lagos.

Prof. G. G. Darah who was Chief of Staff to former governor of Delta State; Chief James Ibori was

particularly displeased with the emphasis placed on Sciences and Technology even at the expense of

Humanities’ based studies in higher institutions of learning.

While referring to various historical facts and anthropological studies, the Professor of Oral literature

buttressed the place of Philosophy as the path to understand the world especially from the non

religious perspective as against overreliance on theology.

He cited the works of philosophers such as Aristotle, Socrates, Pirates, and Plato among several others

as facts which gave credence to the emanation of University Education from Africa with emphasis on

Mathematics, Sciences and Philosophy.

The guest lecturer who expressed reservation over the shallow depth of history in Archaeological and

Anthropological studies in many Nigerian universities particularly identified the Egyptian mastery in

Grammar, Logic, Arithmetic, Philosophy and Oration as feats which drove the world to its present

state of knowledge, a milestone which he said must be well celebrated and taught far and wide in all

higher institutions of learning.

While arguing in favour of the imperativeness of a knowledge driven society, Prof. Darah advocated

an increase in the number of Universities in Nigeria from the present 170 just as he referred to the

United States of America, China and India where there are five thousand Universities each as well as

Mexico and Bangladesh which have one thousand Universities each.

Other speakers at the event which included scholars from the Department of English of the University

of Lagos and beyond also called on the Nigerian government and others across the African continent

to increase their budgetary provisions for education and vocational training.

Earlier in a remark to welcome guests and dignitaries which included representative of the former

governor of Delta State, Dr Emmanuel Oduaghan, the Vice Chancellor, University of Lagos; Prof

Rahamon Bello who was represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academic Planning and

Research; Professor Toyin Ogundipe described the lecture as another testimony of UNILAG’s

commitment towards celebrating excellence in academic milestones as exemplified by J. P Clark who

became a Professor of English Language in 1974 making him Africa’s first and adding value to

knowledge as a University of First choice and the Nation’s pride.