Judex Okoro, Calabar
The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Calabar, Professor Zana Akpagu, has decried the practice of racial discrimination and alienation in society.
He said such dichotomy is tearing people apart.
Speaking while delivering the 88th Inaugural Lecture at the International Conference Centre, Calabar, with the theme: “L’Autre: Otherness, alienation, and protest in Francophone Afro-Caribbean Novels,” Professor Akpagu said such alienation is very manifest in literature produced by black in the Caribbean which has led to protest to reclaim their identity.
He said: “The black Antillean is the ‘other,’ racial other, cultural other, religious other, linguistic other, political other, simply the other. His otherness is based notably on his ethnic origin, racial differences and cultural peculiarities.
“To protest this situation of otherness and to find an escape outlet, the black Antillean has reacted in various ways ranging from violent or passive resistance to asserting his self identity.
“It is an act of protest to reclaim their distinctly-unique racial identity and self-asserting their Caribeanness. The UN convention on racial discrimination, affirms that racial superiority based on racial differentiation is scientifically false, morally condemnable, socially unjust and economically dangerous as there is no justification for it anywhere in theory or in practice”, he said.
Speaking earlier at the Cross River State Council of Chiefs while being conferred with a chieftaincy title alongside his wife, Akpagu, to celebrate his 60th, tasked Cross Riverians to do away with otherness and all forms of divisions because such practice has held people bound in the state.
“Where you take dichotomy to differentiate people, you tear people apart and make a distinction, we are constructing otherness.
“May it never be our portion in Cross River State as we hope to live in unity and intermarry, have children. With this, we can obliterate completely, these tribal and ethnic divisions that have held us bound in Cross River State,” he said.
Also speaking while conferring a chieftaincy title on Professor Akpagu and his wife, the chairman of the Cross River State Traditional Rulers Council, His Majesty, Etim Okon Edet, said the honour was conferred on the VC because he deserved it.
According to him, the VC has developed the university in diverse ways and the people of the state have taken note of his giant strides hence the decision to honour him.