When A Professor Endorses Another

(c) This Day Newspapers, 2007

Someone who saw my full-length resume sometime last year had commented about the number of professors I had in my reference section — there are actually five of them. Maybe this is a clear indication of why I continually do what I can to move on with my academic and research involvements, even in the face of obvious discouragements. It is not that the title draws me towards itself, but the opportunity to increase knowledge to a level where it can make sense to both the knowledge seeker and his community drives me towards these professors who are equipped with the powers of both intellectual and practical prowess in their various areas of influence. And of these two professors, two have probably influenced me the most in terms of my committment to the good of the Nigerian nation: one of them is known as the conscience of the nation (his words are never missed by the media), and the other is leading a much-needed revolution towards value-based leadership in Nigeria.

Yesterday, in Lagos, Prof. Wole Soyinka publicly endorsed Prof. Pat Utomi and announced him political party’s support for the other Professor. While I am not too surprised by the much-awaited endorsement, I am not ignorant of the weight it lends to the candidacy of Prof. Pat Utomi. Over the last few years, Prof. Soyinka has established himself as a leading social crusader with both national respect and global influence, and his warnings about the political environment have always been taken seriously by both sides of the equation. So strong are his public comments that some not-so-smart paid public servants spend our tax-money trying to unravel the words of this igilango Oyinbo. Simply put, Prof. Soyinka’s endorsement of Prof. Utomi goes to show that like minds think alike, and that there are more forces for the good of Nigeria than there are against.

Coincidentally, I’m writing this from the Banker’s Hall — venue of the public lecture held in honour of Porf. Pat Utomi’s 51st birthday. Prof. Itse Sagay is doing what he knows best, telling the story of democracy and its place in development. Before the lecture, he spent some time speaking about the reason why he believes Prof. Utomi holds the ace for Nigeria’s leadership need. Now, that is another endorsement from a fellow professor for Prof. Utomi. But don’t miss the point, his endorsement doesn’t only come from professors — or the academia at large — but by every Nigerian who believes that the time to literally redeem our lives from bondage. Well, as if to prove me right, Edrees Abdulkareem took the microphone to announce his support for Prof. Pat Utomi. In his words, “the street is hungry… we must fight for our rights and put the right person in the right place.”

Tomorrow, at the Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-Ife (Osun State), Prof. Utomi will continue at the task of nation-building (which he’s always been busy at) by speaking at the annual public lecture of the Economics’ Students’ Association. Fortunately, I will be speaking just before Prof. Utomi at the meeting, and I hope to let out my thoughts on why today’s students may become dead on delivery at graduation if they don’t embrace the new platform for career exploration. As at last night, the title was Careers 3.0. 🙂 After the Ife meeting, I will be visiting the Federal University of Technology Akure (Ondo State) — in the state of my birth — where the student chapter of the Nigeria Internet Group (NIG) will be inaugurated. On Friday, I will proceed to the University of Ado Ekiti (Ekiti State) where the Intellectual Network has asked me to also shed some more light on Youth Empowerment. Saturday belongs to Ogun State as I’ll be speaking on Youth and Entrepreneurship at the Gateway Television, Abeokuta. If January was the month of The 3-Nation Tour, then February is the month of The 4-State Tour 🙂 Nay, too early, to limit February because it’s a pregnant month — and more of that later.

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