By Damiete Braide
Mrs Peace Obiageli Ubeku, the widow of the late Abel K. Ubeku , in the company of West African Women Association (WAWA), has donated 400 copies of Industrial Relations in Developing Countries: The Case of Nigeria, to the University of Lagos.
Ubeku, who was awarded with the title MFR due to her philanthropy, said donating books had become a routine during the lifetime of her late husband, which she had emulated.
She said: “The books were given to the Overall Best Student every year in Unilag, and it became dormant, because, after my husband’s demise in 2014 —this is the sixth year — it dawned on me that I should do something to keep his legacies alive. So I reactivated the donation of the books in 2015, and, due to that, the Vice-Chancellor of University of Lagos recognised my efforts with the prestigious Alumni Award to motivate me to do more.
“My husband didn’t collect royalties from the books; rather, he brought the books and kept them at home. He gave some to University of Lagos Bookshop to sell, but returns were not forthcoming, but he wasn’t discouraged, and decided to give the books out for students to read.
“He had a big library in the house, and when she checked the books and saw that they were so much, she could have gone to Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, to give the books to them, because he was the first Pro Chancellor of that university. I could have gone there, but since we have started so well at Unilag, that made her start with the Unilag’s library.”
However, at the University of Lagos, during the donation last week, she and her team, surprisingly, got a bad reception from the library officials. First, she was told they didn’t have space for the free donations. Even her bookstand was returned by a library official. She had to go back to the library with the bookstand and insisted that they must display it in the library. With that, she decided to give out some of the books to various faculties as reference materials for researchers.
She told Daily Sun she couldn’t understand the reason for the bad, yet, “To me, this is a blessed day, and all the women with me have all worked tirelessly for this donation of books.”
Her husband, Abel Ubeku, once ran for the presidency of Nigeria. “All that I am doing is to encourage people, which my late husband also did by supporting various women groups, whether he knew them or not,” she said.
Due to the uncooperative attitude from the library officials at Unilag, Mrs Abeku has decided to donate some of the books to Ambrose Alli University, Delta State University, and other universities in the country. “It is a challenge but I won’t give,” she noted.