It’s the third day today but the shock is still too strong for many to bear. Political scientists are particularly hit that they do not have him in their midst anymore. Many of them were still unable to talk as late as last night. Only one has so far spoken briefly on the late Professor Ebere Onwudiwe, the author of, among numerous academic outings, “Image and Development: An Exploratory Discussion”, a 1995 journal article in Volume, No. 3 of the Journal of African Policy Studies.
There is no knowing if this could be called his hottest academic outing but it was the one that a Nigerian student on the problems of ‘preponderance of negativity’ for development in Africa was handed at the first exploratory meeting between the graduate student and his potential supervisor in a British university less than a decade ago.
Since then, Prof Onwudiwe has relocated from the United States back to Nigeria and has been involved in the rather reflective side of civil society work in Nigeria, with understandable bias for education.
It was, for instance, at one of his functions on October 22nd, 2019 that Dr Usman Bugaje made the important statement that thinking critically is not part of education in Nigeria at the moment, saying Nigeria has a big problem with epistemology, the result of which he sees in too much of opinion that even lack accuracy, precision and clarity. The event was, as usual, filled with top flight intellectuals, from Prof Fabian Osuji to University of Ibadan’s Prof Adigun Agbaje, Prof Jibrin Ibrahim of the CDD, Ambassador Omaki then of Savannah Centre, Abuja; Prof Emeka Aniagolu of Wesleyan University in the US and very many others.
Easy going, jovial and organised, Prof Onwudiwe’s death is coming on the heels of several others in the wake of the more savage return of Covid-19: Prof Chukwuka Osakwe and Moses Tedheke from the Nigeria Defence Academy, Kaduna; Prof Habu Galadima who was DG of the Nigeria Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, (NIPSS) in Jos; Prof Femi Odekunle of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria; Prof Ibidapo-Obe of the University of Lagos. There are others.