Varsity holds 275th inaugural lecture

Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, commemorated her 275th inaugural lecture series on Tuesday, 26th May in Oduduwa Hall.


The inaugural lecture was delivered by a professor of Literature who also doubles as the Director of Institute of Cultural Studies, Prof. Gbemisola Adeoti.

The hall was packed on Tuesday at 5 p.m.

Professor Gbemisola Adeoti, from Iseyin, Oyo State, has a collection of poems; Naked Soles, lampoons and x-rays the malaise of political, economic, and cultural tragedies of Nigeria.

Currently on the reading list of NECO and JAMB, his lecture titled, “Literature and the Art of Shaving a Man’s Head in His Absence” was greatly applauded and attended by important dignitaries from within the university community and invited academic scholars and stakeholders who came to celebrate with the poet.

The professor acknowledged during his speech that the source of his lecture theme was from a Yoruba’s proverb: “a ki fa ori leyin o’lori”— which loosely translates — you cannot shave a man’s head in his absence.

As he unraveled more in the lecture, he added the fact that the title was borrowed from the uncrowned President-elect, MKO Abiola’s speech when he spoke against the ING arrangement saying, “How can you shave a man’s head at his back?”

In this ‘writership’ business, he elucidated the business of literature as the art of assisting to create people’s histories, cultures, norms, reflecting their entirety in literary works. He emphasized how his works – which have appeared in several local and international journals – have tackled the gamut of issues in literature; African literature.

As a critic, he pointed out the problem of language as well as its beauty in the experimentation with ‘Yorubanglish’ as employed by dramatists such as Ola Rotimi. This elicited laughter  from the audience as he pointed out some examples in Ola Rotimi’s Kurunmi, among others.

As a scholar in literary business and erudite in all regards, he spoke about his practical involvement in home videos such as Owo Eje, his pristine presence in the world of Nigerian poets; his critical and pioneering work on Ahmed Yerima; and other colossal impact his creativity has made, as his work is on different reading syllabuses within and outside Nigeria. Audio-visual rendition of his poems, ‘Naked Soles’ and ‘Anguish’ were rendered during the event. In his closing remarks, he said, “Whatever I write and whatever meaning you are able to make out of the writing then, will still remain an eternal business of literature.”


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