Niyi Osundare, a Professor of English at the University of New Orleans, U.S.A has asked the newly elected Governor Fayemi of Ekiti State to dismiss desperate, extreme need and deprivation in the state.
He gave the charge in a message titled: ‘Still in Defence of Lasting Value’ at the Governor Kayode Fayemi Inauguration Lecture in Ado Ekiti yesterday (Monday).
The renowned poet lamented that the situation had turned the proud people of Ekiti into exponents of the stomach infrastructure.
Osundare, who cherished the values of Ekiti people said: “I never saw people starve and die in the Ekiti of my youthful days. Whoever had a little more shared the surplus with the needy and hungry.”
He added, “hard work and honest labour were highly valued, and the length of your ogba usu (yam barn) at harvest time in December and/or the impressive expanse of your cocoa farm were the toast of the town, which brought honour to you and your family and might even win you a new wife.
“Wealth, honestly earned, was respected; wealth from dubious sources was disdained and ridiculed in traditional songs and snide remarks.
“The barbarism and jungle justice witnessed in this state in the past four years is, without doubt, a consequence of the decimation of those long-enshrined Ekiti values that have featured so prominently in this lecture.”
He continued, “all of a sudden, illiteracy became so attractive, even desirable in a state where virtually every family boasts a university graduate, and the designation ‘Professor’ used to rank close to highest in the order of enviable titles.”
Osundare further expressed his concern that there’s an absurd mentality that makes you feel sorry for being “too educated” He said: “Our artisans, transport workers, Okada operators, and others less privileged largely due to the bottom of the pit to which a satanically unjust society has thrown them, were inveigled into thanking their stars for not having been corrupted by education.
“They were turned into the army for the enactment of wrong-headed, ill-motivated civil disobedience, implementation of arbitrary political fiats and enforcement undemocratic edicts. A one-man authoritarian rule emerged that was strange even to the spirit of Nigeria’s ‘nascent democracy,” he added.