Plaudits rang Monday as writers, scholars and activists gathered at the Odia Ofeimun at 70 Celebration held at the Julius Berger Hall of the University of Lagos, Akoka, Yaba to pay deserving tribute to one of their own.
With a theme, Taking Nigeria Seriously, the session was chaired by former Governor of the State of Osun and incumbent Minister of the Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, and had in attendance several notable activists, writers and politicians.
They included former Ondo State Governor, Dr Rahman Mimiko, Professor Tunde Babawale, Barrister Femi Falana, SAN, Chief Wale Oshun, Professor Onookome Okome, Prof. Ogaga Ifowodo, Ms Molara Wood, Professor G.G Darah and Professor Femi Falana.
Others were Ms. Taiwo Ajayi-Lycett, Mr Chido Onumah, Ms Iquo Eke, Mr Tunde Fagbenle, Prof. Hope Eghagha, Prof Duro Oni and Mr Owei Lakemfa.
In his keynote address, Harvard Professor and Ofeimun’s long time friend and associate, Professor Biodun Jeyifo, lauded the writer for taking positions through the years in defence of what has since come to register as his primary and immediate constituency, the poor and disadvantaged people of Nigeria, saying that he had not only been faithful to his craft as a writer but that he has equally been able to keep a brave and dignified face in spite of all the odds that his choices have brought upon him, given the realities of the Nigerian environment.
Speaking earlier, the Interior Minister who insisted he was attending the session in his personal capacity as a long-time friend and associate of the celebrant, called attention to the need to provide a more conducive environment for intellectual workers in the country, even as he reminded the celebrant that there were many like him who were still waiting for him to write and publish a blockbuster on his life and relationship with the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo. (Ofeimun had served as Private Secretary to the departed sage).
One of the highlights of the event was the cutting of the 70th Anniversary birthday cake by Ofeimun and his friends. There was also a poetic performance of some tribute poems in honour of Ofeimun that were rendered by the journalist and theatre practicioner, Ms. Evelyn Osaghae.
Mr Ofeimun is author of several publications including The Poet Lied and London Letter and Other Poems.
Ofeimun and friends at the event, Monday
The Sanusi debacle: A tale of power, pride and preservation
The Difference News is a pan-African newspaper and an digital news media based in Lagos, Nigeria. The Difference reports online daily on events taking place within and outside the continent that could have an impact on the people of Africa.