Biodun Jeyifo to be Honoured by OAU

Prof Biodun Jeyifo. Photos by Idowu Ogunleye

Biodun Jeyifo, a Professor Emeritus in the English Department at Cornell University, Ithaca, USA and currently a professor of Comparative Literature/African and American Studies at Harvard University, Boston, USA will be conferred with Doctor of Letters (D.Litt) Honoris causa by the Obafemi AwolowoUniversity, Ile Ife. TheNEWS gathered that four candidates were proposed but only Jeyifo was selected.

Born and bred in Ibadan 72 years ago, Jeyifo, a highly gifted and respected scholar teaching Comparative Literature at Harvard University, was, according to the preface to his interview published in TheNEWS in February 2016, is one of the pioneers of radical, Marxist Literary tradition in African universities. He was, as contained in the report, also the first National president of the Academic Staff Union of Universities in Nigeria. With incredible courage, commitment and intellectual panache he led a winning team of unionists—among who were Festus Iyayi, Mahmud Tukur, Dipo Fasina and T.U. Nwala.

Prof. Oluseye Bolaji, the Chairman, OAU Ceremonial Committee, who revealed the plan to honour Jeyifo to journalists on Wednesday added that no fewer than 410 persons would receive doctoral degrees in various disciplines at the combined 2015/2016 and 2017/2018 43rd convocation of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife.

Giving the breakdown of grades of the graduating students, Oluseye said, “For the 2015/2016 and 2017/2018 combined convocation, 182 students made first class, 2,925 made second class upper, while 4,146 students graduated with second class lower division. We have 1,088 students graduating with third class and 790 with unclassified grade.

“326 students will bag 326 postgraduate diplomas, 1,701 students will bag professional master, while 1,629 will bag master by research. 145 others will bag Master of Philosophy, 410 students will bag Doctor of Philosophy.”

Oluseye mentioned one Miss Aarinola Olaiya as the first student in the last 28 years to graduate with distinction from the Faculty of Clinical Sciences, saying the institution would celebrate her during the convocation.

He added that Olaiya needed three distinctions to graduate, but she got 13 distinctions.

According to him, one of the activities lined up for the 43rd convocation was a lecture, titled, ‘University Education in Nigeria: Revisiting the Ife Dream,’ to be delivered by a retired Professor of History and Second Republic Senator, Professor Banjo Akintoye.