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UniAbuja celebrates renowned Indian scholar, Prof Gayatri Spivak

It was an atmosphere of excitement on Monday evening at the University of Abuja (UniAbuja), as staff, students and other distinguished Nigerians came out in large number to welcome renowned global scholar, Prof Gayatri Spivak, to the institution.

Gayatri Spivak is an Indian scholar, literary theorist, freedom fighter, feminist critic, a Professor at the Columbia University, a founding member of the establishment’s Institute for Comparative Literature and Society.

Speaking at the reception in her honour, Vice Chancellor of the University of Abuja, Professor Abdul-Rasheed Na’Allah, said the institution was delighted to attract the presence of Spivak, who is celebrated across the world.

“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 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 I believe the students have a lot to learn from her.”

The VC commended Spivak for her commitment to scholarship and humanity, describing her 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, described her visit to the University of Abuja 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.

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.

Reporting by Daniel Adejo; Editing by Julian Osamoto