A colloquium for late Maitama Sule

Professor Siyan Oyeweso
Participants on the occasion

The Board of Trustees, Management and Staff of Centre for Black Culture and International Understanding (CBCIU), Osogbo, over the weekend, precisely on August 22, 2020, held the second edition of its Webinar Colloquium aimed at celebrating eminent Nigerians that have impacted positively on Nigerian history, culture and national development. 

This particular edition of the programme, in collaboration with the Centre for Peace and Strategic Studies, University of  Ibadan, was in memory of Alhaji Yusuf Maitama Sule and was tagged ‘Maitama Sule: A National Hero and Nigerian Nationalist for All Season (1929-2017).

Executive Director of the centre, Professor Siyan Oyeweso, in his welcome address, revealed that since his assumption of office as Visiting Professor and Executive Director of the noble organization, the centre has taken the initiative of honouring eminent Nigerians who have made great marks and giant strides in their life time. 

He said whether young or old, the intention of the centre to chart this new course is hinged on the need to re-orientate the people and instill in them a culture and mentality of hard work, truth and dedication through the initiative. 

According to him, “the noble effort is needed at a time some of our youths are more dedicated to amoral behaviours, which put a negative dent on the image of the country,” adding, “the same way we honour the living, so we have for the departed.” 

Although, the lofty agenda of the Centre for the year 2020 was largely impeded owing to the ravaging Corona Virus, Prof Oyeweso disclosed that the Centre has been able to ensure that it continues as much as possible in fulfilling its objectives and goals. It is in lieu of this, he explained, that the center embraced the use of information and communication technology for the execution of some of its programmes. 

The centre, which made its first experiment of a webinar colloquium on July 25, 2020 with the National colloquium in memory of Oba John Adetoyese Laoye I, the Timi of Edeland (1946-1975) tagged the life and legacies of Oba John Adetoyese Laoye (Time of Ede): 45 Years After, said its choice of Alhaji Maitama Sule, this time, was predicated on the its entrenched efforts at extending its frontiers to other parts of Nigeria where outstanding individuals with sterling qualities and invaluable legacies are singled out for celebration. 

No doubt, the late Maitama Sule was a widely known figure across the length and breadth of the country and cast a very respectable personality within the international community, Oyeweso reminded, adding that he was at different times a politician, diplomat and elder statesman who used his rich experience for the progress and to stir national development for the country.

The late Maitama Sule was one of the finest diplomats Nigeria has ever produced and apart from possessing exceptional oratory prowess, delineated by sonorous voice and eloquence, he also had a reputation for being tough and a go-getter, Oyeweso said. 

As chairman of the United Nations special committee on Apartheid in the 1980s, he was reputed to have given a strong face to Nigeria’s foreign policy thrust towards apartheid and it is to his credit that apartheid was viewed as a discriminatory policy through some of his critical interventions at the UN, Oyeweso also noted among many other attributes.

Other speakers at the colloquium included Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, who is chairman, Board of Trustee of the centre, and Comrade Owei Lakemfa, former Secretary-General, Organization of African Trade Union Unity. Both described the late Alhaji Sule as a strong advocate of national unity that also stood for justice at home and abroad. 

Oyinlola, for instance, said, “He was a man whose vast knowledge of contemporary Nigerian history pulled lifelong friendship and solidarity to him across the Atlantic. He was a man of family value and culture who held local traditions with high esteem. His concept of family institution, respect for elders, respect for constituted authority, which he considers the cardinal principles of our society and bane of our challenges, is incomparable.” 

The occasion was chaired by former minister of interior, Lt. Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau, and moderated by JAMB Registrar, Prof Is-haq Olarewaju Oloyede with 10 panelists making presentations.

The panelists included Dr. Shuaibu Shehu Aliyu, Director, Arewa House, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria; Dr. Ayuba Tanko Abubakar, former Secretary to Jigawa State Government and former Head of Civil Service, Jigawa State; Prof. Aisha Abdul-Ismail, Director, Centre for Gender Studies, Bayero University, Kano; Prof. Dahiru Yahya, Department of History, Bayero University, Kano and Prof. Olukoya Ogen, immediate past Provost, Adeyemi College of Education, Ondo. 

Others are Amb. Fatima Bala Abubakar, former ambassador to Botswana and chairperson, National Governing Board of NYSC; Prof. Abdulkadir Adamu, Department of History, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria; Dr. Bashir Kurfi, Director, Network for Justice, Kaduna; Owei Lakemfa, former Secretary-General, Organization of African Trade Union Unity  and Prof Chike Okolocha of the Department of Sociology, University of Benin.

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