Nigeria can be considered the world headquarter of paradoxes. Too many things are going wrong but, amidst the nightmare, many good things are also happening.
However one sees it, making a two time ex-Vice-Chancellor of two different federal universities the Chancellor of another federal university must be a very positive development. For one, such a Chancellor and the university community will find themselves using the same vocabulary. The chance of greater understanding in such circumstance is much higher than when it is otherwise.
In obvious appreciation of this uniqueness, the University of Benin in Benin, South-south of Nigeria organized a special convocation to install its brand new Chancellor who also happens to be the Tor Tiv, (the traditional ruler of the Tiv nationality in central Nigeria) and a Professor of Chemistry, His Royal Highness James Ortese Ayatse.
Information reaching Intervention suggests it was a grand ceremony, with traditional rulers from Idoma and Tiv – the two dominant ethnic groups in Benue State – who accompanied the Tor Tiv in what can be literarily called the Benue invasion of Benin. Most prominent on the Tor Tiv’s entourage were Chief Moses Anagende, the Tor Lobi; Chief Baba Odangla, the Oche Apa/Agatu; Chief Oga Ero, CP who is the Adirahu Ny’ Igede; Chief Ambrose Iortyer, the Tor Kwande and Chief Daniel Abomtse, the Ter Tyoshin,
It was not just a show of presence by the traditional establishment from Benue State to the ‘Benin Empire’, there was also the political presence. Engineer Benson Abounu, the Deputy-Governor of Benue State was also there on November 22nd, 2021 when the investiture took place
It turned out to be a many-sided event. Not only was His Majesty conferred a Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science (DSC) (Honoris Causa) of the University of Benin, a gesture recommended by the university Senate and endorsed by Council, the university also rolled out a book, 50 Years of the University of Benin, 1970 – 2020.
The ceremony is over but the memories will, according to those who savored it closely, take a long time to wane. Certainly for the University of Ibadan, Calabar and Surrey, (where he obtained his PhD in the UK) trained Begha or ‘Lion’ of the Tiv nation!