Praises flowed freely on Monday at the University of Abuja (UniAbuja) as the institution rolled out the drums to welcome visiting global literary giant, Professor Gayatri Spivak, to the campus.

Speaking at the reception in honour of the Indian scholar, UniAbuja’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Abdul-Rasheed Na’Allah, said both staff and students of the University were delighted to have Spivak in their midst, describing her as a great teacher.

“University of Abuja is very honoured to play host to her. I tell her that I personally considered her as my teacher. I started reading her a very long time ago, when I was in school in Canada, we have to pass her theory.”

Asked on the impact the visit would have on the students, the visibly elated Professor Na’Allah said :”I bring her to the campus because I want her to be an example in the 21st century; in this global age, when all you hear is ‘Yahoo-Yahoo’- people who want to turn millionaire overnight, that here is a woman, who has held on to integrity, who has in all of her life fought for the downtrodden and theorised what is good about human, and I think they have a lot to learn from that, and I want all my students to be like her.”

The Vice Chancellor also lavished praise on Spivak for her commitment to scholarship and humanity, describing as a great freedom fighter.

” She has fought many fights, from fight of imperialism to postcolonialism, colonial and all that, “he said.

On her part, the 81-year-old literary giant, who went down memory lane on her humble beginning in India and a bold decision that saw her to a University in the United States in the early 1960s, described her visit to UniAbuja as an informal one.

She commended the Vice Chancellor, the university staff, students and others for rolling out the drums to receive her.

“This is an informal visit, I thanked you all. I enjoyed the students as they danced joyfully. Joy is part of learning,” the renowned Professor of comparative literature said.

“At age 81, I don’t go to so many places again…., I have lived a life of integrity. I am not the best scholar. The honesty and integrity that my parents gave me, that is why I have a friend like Abdul-Rasheed (Na’Allah), she added.

One of the highlights of the event, which attracted former Nigeria’s ambassador to Canada and Mexico, Professor Iyorwuese Hagher, former Deputy Executive Secretary of National Universities Commission (NUC), Professor Chiedu Mafiana, among others, was the presentation of plaque to Professor Spivak by the UniAbuja’s Vice Chancellor.

Abujapress reports that the scholar is considered one of the most influential postcolonial intellectuals. She was awarded the 2012 Kyoto Prize in Arts and Philosophy for being “a critical theorist and educator speaking for the humanities against intellectual colonialism in relation to the globalized world.”

In 2013, Spivak received the Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian award given by the Republic of India. She is a University Professor at Columbia University and a founding member of the establishment’s Institute for Comparative Literature and Society.



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