From Felix Ikem, Nsukka
Prof Damian Opata of Department of English and Literary Studies University of Nigeria, Nsukka, (UNN) has said that Africa continent needs pre-colonial knowledge to restore its past glory, dignity and development.
Opata said this in Nsukka on Friday while presenting his validatory lecture titled “O Buru Gi” (if it is you) in UNN.
He said before the advent of colonial masters, African people were using pre-colonial knowledge in training their children which made Africa great and productive.
The professor of English, who would retire on July 3, at the age of 70 after putting in 45 years in service, stressed that it was unfortunate that majority of Africa school curriculum copied from colonial masters were designed to favour their countries and not to address the needs of Africans.
“We are complaining of producing graduates who are job seekers instead of job creators because our school curriculum is designed by the westerners to meet their own needs and not that of Africa.
“Until we revert to using our local language in training our children in school as well as respecting African culture and tradition it will be difficult to move Africa to the next level.
“African countries must radically reform the operative of western model university system they operate in order to meet the Africa need,” he said.
Opata said it was because Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, the first President of Nigeria saw that Africa dignity in African knowledge had been eroded by colonial masters that made him to put UNN Motto as “To Restore the Dignity of Man”.
“I urge technology and Science people in Africa to show the same curiosity they exhibit in carrying out science researches, also in conducting research that will restore pre-colonial knowledge in Africa.
“it’s only when we restore the pre-colonial knowledge of Africa that the continent will move fast, be creative and original than coping the western world in almost everything.
“Colonial masters influenced and put Africa under their physical and ideological control through their foreign education and religion they brought to Africa,” he said.
Opata expressed appreciation to UNN for given him the opportunity to serve and pledged to be a good ambassador of the university as a ‘senior citizen’.
In a remark Prof Charles Igwe, chancellor of UNN described Opata as academic giant and good administrator who had contributed immensely to the university.
“Opata is one of the erudite professors in UNN who has contributed Immensely, the university is happy Opata retires meritoriously after 45 years good service to his fatherland,” he said.
The highlight of the occasion was a public presentation of a book by Opata titled “Coloniality of knowledge in Africa: Essay in honour of Professor Damian Opata.