Tuesday, October 18, 2016 10:09 pm
Profesor Niyi Osundare will, on 17 November 2016, be conferred with an award of Doctor of Literature (honoris causa) by the University of Ibadan. This is part of the institution’s 68th Foundation Day Ceremony.
This was revealed today in a release by O.I Olukoya, Registrar and Secretary to Council.
He said that was after the Governing Council of the University of Ibadan approved the recommendations of the Joint Council-Senate Committee on Honorary Degrees and Fellowships.
Niyi Osundare born in 1947 in Ikere-Ekiti, Ekiti State, Nigeria) is a prolific poet, dramatist and literary critic. He gained degrees at the University of Ibadan (BA), the University of Leeds (MA) and York University, Canada (PhD, 1979). Previously professor (from 1989) and Head of English (1993–97) at the University of Ibadan, he became professor of English at the University of New Orleans in 1997.
He has always been a vehement champion of the right to free speech and is a strong believer in the power of words, saying, “to utter is to alter”. Osundare is renowned for his commitment to socially relevant art and artistic activism and has written several open letters to the former President of Nigeria (Olusegun Obasanjo), whom Osundare has often publicly criticised.
Osundare believes that there is no choice for the African poet but to be political:
“You cannot keep quiet about the situation in the kind of countries we find ourselves in, in Africa. When you wake up and there is no running water, when you have a massive power outage for days and nights, no food on the table, no hospital for the sick, no peace of mind; when the image of the ruler you see everywhere is that of a dictator with a gun in his hand; and, on the international level, when you live in a world in which your continent is consigned to the margin, a world in which the colour of your skin is a constant disadvantage, everywhere you go – then there is no other way than to write about this, in an attempt to change the situation for the better.”
Professor Osundare currently teaches at the University of New Orleans, United States