CONVOCATION CEREMONY: DAY TWO: FUNAAB Is My Last Honorary Degree FUNAAB Is A Beautiful Closure for Me …I’m Done with Academic Honors — Prof. Wole Soyinka

Moments after bagging the Honorary Award (Doctor of Letters) of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka has expressed deep satisfaction on the honour to the extent of concluding and declaring publicly to the world that he’s taking no more Award other than the latest one just given to him by the University.

Visibly excited by the Honour, the “Ijegba’ born world acclaimed Scholar described his decision as a promise to the University and the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Kolawole Salako, in particular such that he won’t hesitate to refer whoever wishes to give him award to Prof. Salako as a witness and reinforcement of his vow not to take any other Award after the one bestowed on him by FUNAAB.

Speaking on behalf of the Honorary Awardees (the other being a renowned Professor of Cultural Studies and Convocation Lecturer), Professor Toyin Falola who also bagged (Doctor of Letters), Professor Soyinka said he was so pleased with the Award.

Soyinka who is the Author of the Best Seller, “Ake”: The Years of Childhood (a memoir or story of his boyhood before and during World War II in a Yoruba Village in Western Nigeria called Ake which is now the ancestral nerve centre of the cosmopolitan Abeokuta, the capital city of Ogun State) said he was unprecentedly proud of the Award because it was bestowed on him by a University in the homestead of Ake where he spent his first twelve years on earth and began his academic journey.

His word, “On behalf of both of us, Professor Falola and myself, I wish to thank FUNAAB for this distinguished honour, which of course means a lot to me than it can to him (Professor Falola). He is just an Ibadan man, I am an Ijegba (Ijebu-Egba) man from Ogun State and none the less”.

He continued, “I assure you in all seriousness that I am honoured to be honoured by this institution. There is one final statement which I want to make here today and before I make it, I want to assure Professor Falola that this does not concern him, at least to carry on and not feel that he’s in anyway bound by my remarks here”.

The Chancellor, His Eminence, Edidem Ekpo Okon (Abasi Otu V), Obong of Calabar being assisted by the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Kolawole Salako, the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman, Governing Council., Dr. Barr. Aboki Zhawa and the Registrar, Dr. ‘Bola Adekola to decorate Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka with his Honorary Insignia after bagging (Doctor of Letters) at the University’s 26th Convocation Ceremony.

Professor Soyinka stated further, “This remarks which follows are strictly for me; Yes it is true what you heard earlier that it is not easy for me to accept honours. It is not because I am choosy but it is just laziness. It is not easy as many people think to stand up and listen to one’s citation, it’s quite a task. Sometimes I have to wander-off and say hasn’t it finished yet”.

Then came this verdict on FUNAAB, “When I received the delegation headed by the Vice-Chancellor, at my Ijegba Forest there, I hesitated and suddenly, I had a flash, I said, wait a minute, this is an institution where in the same town, same State I took my first step to learning. I said it is symmetrical, it is a closure and suddenly everything became sensible and logical”.

Thereafter, Professor Soyinka foreclosed other Award(s), “I said this really is a way to symbolically conclude my teaching career. I know I won’t completely but at least I can shut down to some extent but there is one which I thought yes, yes, suppose this is the last honorary degree that I receive from anywhere. It is a beautiful closure”.

Not done yet, Kongi hit the nail on the edge, “And the reason I am announcing it now is because I can always use you, this institution, FUNAAB, this town, all the royalties who are here, the students, I can always say next time I am invited to accept a honorary degree, I would say I have made a promise to where I was born; oh no I am so sorry… go and ask the Vice-Chancellor of FUNAAB. So this is it. No more. I cannot think of a more appropriate place to say this is the last honour I’m receiving. Thank you very much”.

Earlier, the Chancellor, His Eminences Edidem Ekpo Okon (Abasi Otu V), the Obong of Calabar, ably assisted by the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council, Dr. Barr. Aboki Zhawa, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Kolawole Salako and Registrar, Dr. Bola Adekola had decorated Professor Soyinka and Professor Falola with the gown and scroll of their conferment (Doctor of Letters) in the presence of the representative of the Visitor to the University, the Minister of Education, Professor, Anthony Anwukah.

L-R: Representative of the Visitor, the Minister of State for Education, Professor Anthony Anwukah, Vice-Chancellor, Professor Kolawole Salako, the Chancellor, His Eminence Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi (Otu V), the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman, Governing Council, Dr. Barr. Aboki Zhawa and the Registrar, Dr. ‘Bola Adekola with the Honorary Awardees, Professor Wole Soyinka (3rd Left) and Professor Toyin Falola (3rd Right) after they were conferred with Doctor of Letters at the Convocation Ceremony.

In his speech, the Visitor said, “I am happy to note that Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta is living up to expectations through its Community Based Farming Scheme (COBFAS), which promotes students involvement in farming by making the students to live among the rural communities in the various parts of Ogun State”.

He, however, charged that “universities should be at the forefront of the fight against corruption”.