December, 14th, 2009
Recently, Fugar Community stood still for
Professor Emmanuel Omoh Eshiemokhai to hear the news he had
to break. Prior to this, there was on going information that
a University was proposed for Fugar. Those who heard and
those who read the posters and banners could not believe
their ears and eyes.
On this historic day, as public announcement went round
Fugar at the early hours of that day, people had to change
their plans for the day. They did not want to be told, but
rather wanted to hear and see for themselves the news about
the proposed AFEMAI UNIVERSITY, FUGAR. Before the schedule
hour of 11 O’clock a.m, the Council Hall which was the venue
of the meeting was filled to capacity and overcrowded with
people. The people were not only interested in the Theme of
the lecture: THE HISTORY OF UNIVERSITIES: THE UNIVERSITY
IDEA; but more so to hear from the horses mouth the
authenticity of the news concerning the proposed University.
Before the commencement of the Professor’s lecture, Mr.
Joseph Imhoitsike took time to give an appraisal of the
Professor’s Curriculum Vitae. The C. V. had to be abridged
for time factor and was greeted with lots of applause. With
the qualifications and experiences of Professor Eshiemohai,
it removed all doubts from the minds of the people about the
possibility of establishing the University even before they
heard from him.
At this juncture, Professor Eshiemokhai took the floor to
address the people. He began his lecture by telling the
people what informed the establishment of the proposed
Afemai University. He said the knowledge which is the core
of human existence needs to be promoted among our people.
And that is what a University is all about – to promote
knowledge! According to the Professor, intelligent survey
revealed that the people of South, South Geopolitical Zone
of Nigeria are the most intelligent Nigerians, which we are.
But in terms of educational facilities and opportunity, we
have been disadvantaged unlike the major ethnic groups in
Nigeria. And more so, the people of Afemai have been more
disadvantaged as far as University institution was
concerned, said Professor Eshiemokhai.
Explaining more about knowledge, he stated that knowledge
could be categorized into three as Plotinus said, “firstly,
Opinion; secondly, Science which moves the society and
thirdly, Illumination which is a spiritual gift of God.
In Nigerian history, the University Idea came around 1948
when the Colonial Masters wanted to train Nigerians whom
they could work together to govern the country. This led to
the establishment of the University College at Ibadan in
1948. This college later metamorphosed into a full-fledged
University of Ibadan as we call it today.
Professor Eshiemokhai as a man who had traveled far and wide
across the globe and studied in seven different universities
around the world, he told us what he once told the white men
that the University Idea originated from Africa. The first
ever established University was in Timbuktu in the country
of Mali. This was followed by another in Morocco all in the
continent of Africa. It was after this that one was
established in Italy, followed by one in France and then
Oxford in England and the Cambridge university which is the
richest and one of the best Universities in the world today.
According to Professor Eshiemokhai, the University Idea is
to promote excellence. This must be the pursuit of every
reasonable person, he said. To this end, he advised parents
to ask their children to be sensible. A University Idea is
being promoted in all fields of knowledge. Sensibility is
the beginning of human knowledge.
Science which is the secondary aspect of knowledge is the
ability to think higher in order to discover and know how
things work and why they work the way they do. He referred
to the buildings we dwell in and the appliances we use as
all being the results of Science knowledge.
The Professor further explained that the ability of
analytical thinking of scientists enable them to make the
right decisions which leads to discoveries and inventions.
This is also projected in University Education whereby one
would develop the ability of analytical thinking and
decision - making to improve our lot in life and the entire
The third aspect of knowledge which is illumination is a
natural gift from the Almighty God. It is as the religious
world defers to the talents and gifts of the Holy Spirit. At
this juncture, Professor Eshiemokhai dived into religion and
gave a gospel song praying the Holy Ghost to come down. And
as they sang after him, the whole audience was thrown agog
and thrilled by the music of the gospel song. This made the
occasion the more memorable!
The sense of illumination of the Holy Spirit makes people to
be innovative which brings good things their way to better
their lots in life. “All these aspects of knowledge of the
University Idea” is out to promote, said the Prof.
Before he rounded up his lecture, he presented several
documents with evidences to prove to the people that the
proposed Afemai University was for real. The people
applauded long and loud! The name of the University was
already duly registered with the Corporate Affairs
Commission C.A.C. and therefore the name has come to stay.
He also told the people that he had already filled forms for
the Nigeria University Commission (N.U.C.), for approval.
Further, he announced that the University would be a quality
one to produce the best University Graduates in Nigeria, and
shall be affordable. As a University of excellence,
Professor Eshiemokhai said that he shall employ the services
of qualified Professors and Lecturers, half of which shall
In a drive for excellence, he told the people that the
already existing Pioneer Secondary School in the community
would act as a preparatory school for prospective local
students to the University. He therefore said that the
school should now be recognized as Afemai University
Preparatory Secondary School.
According to the Professor, the departments that shall form
part of the take off includes College of Medicine which
shall be located at the former Nazareth Hospital, Fugar; A
College of Agriculture; Trinity College (School of Theology)
to be headed by Minister Patrick L. O. Enike; College of
International Law and others. However, he pointed out that
the take off would take some time yet as we need to have
some standard structures on ground for the University. There
is need for befitting accommodations for the coming
lecturers and hostels for the students. With the coming of
foreigners, he said that we do not have standard structures
on ground in Fugar to accommodate them. To this end, he said
there is need for those who are well to do to come over at
home to invest in helping to solve accommodation problem,
which shall soon arise in Fugar because of the University.
Finally, Professor Eshiemokhai warned that the people should
not misrepresent the interest of the proposed University.
And neither should they cause any go-slow to the effort. It
is a collective Afemai development effort, which we must all
join hands to achieve. The campuses of the University shall
not be limited to Fugar Community alone, but shall ensure a
wider spread across the old Afeimai division said the
As it is popularly known and said, “behind a successful
husband, there is a good wife, was demonstrated at this
occasion as the wife of Professor Eshiemokhai, Barrister
Mrs. Elizabeth Eshiemokhai strongly stood behind her husband
to show her support. On her own part, she directed her
advice to mothers to ensure the training of their daughters
to a higher education level. She cited her own experience as
an example when her mother stood her ground to ensure she
received education to a higher level, which she is enjoying
today. She said that early marriage of daughters, as an easy
way to hedge out of parental responsibility is not the best
for parents and not in the best interest of our female
children. She further exhorted fathers and mothers to join
hands together to give proper education to their children.
The Chairman of the occasion, Chief, Dr. Joseph Akhigbe
Alemoh, the first Executive Chairman of Etsako Central Local
Government Council, thanked Professor Emmanuel Omoh
Eshiemokhai and praised his magnanimity for the thought and
decision to propose a first class University in Fugar. He
said that the present and future generation of Fugar
Community shall ever remain grateful to Professor
Eshiemokhai, his wife and family. He stated that the citing
of a higher institution of learning such as a University had
been the yearning of the people of Fugar. And now the
Almighty God is answering our prayers through Professor
Chairman Alemoh used the opportunity to appeal to the
illustrious sons and daughters of Fugar to support this
great proposal in order to speed it into reality. At the
same time he rehearsed the developmental efforts that have
been made which had transformed the name and image of Fugar
Community. To this end, Vice Admiral Mike Okhai Akhigbe
(Rtd.) is to be reckoned with as one of those who
transformed the name and image of Fugar with the creation of
Etsako Central Local Government Area and the tarring of
Fugar township roads. If more of such illustrious sons and
daughters of Fugar could demonstrate such patriotism by
attracting development to Fugar, Fugar Community would
become a wonderful place in terms of development said Chief
Alemoh. There are people who thrive on opportunism. They
should have a re-think.
As pointed out by Chief Alemoh, with the coming of the
proposed University, the present residential accommodations
in Fugar are not enough and not even standard enough to meet
the need of the challenges of becoming a University town. He
therefore joined the Professor and said that all hands must
be on deck to lift the image of Fugar and Afemai Community
as a whole to greater heights by embarking on
infrastructural development effort within the shortest
Those who invest in our Afeimai University will have first
rights in every advantage the University will provide since
a Board of Honours will be erected for all to see. It is
important to stress that this is our Afeimai University
through which the educational aspirations of all Afeimai
will be realized.
At the end of this ceremony with a vote of thanks moved by
Chief Fidelis Omoera (JP), the former Vice-Chairman, Etsako
Central Local Government Council, and prayer led by Pa Sir
A. B. C. Nasamu, the people of Fugar and all in attendance
went home with satisfaction and pride that in actual fact
Fugar is becoming and has become a University Town.