Wednesday, February 11, 2014

UNO Professor Pens Open Letter to Nigerian President

University of New Orleans Professor Niyi Osundare being decorated with the Nigeria National Order of Merit Award by Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan.  State House PhotoUniversity of New Orleans professor Niyi Osundare has penned an open letter to Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan,
encouraging the leader to distance himself from militants who have threatened civil war in the African nation if Jonathan is not reelected.
The letter, which was originally published on the news website, Sahara Reporters, has elicited an enormous response
from Nigerians and the Nigerian diaspora community.

University of New Orleans professor Niyi Osundare has penned an open letter to Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan, encouraging the leader to distance himself from militants who have threatened civil war in the African nation if Jonathan is not reelected.

The letter, which was originally published on the news website, Sahara Reporters, has elicited an enormous response from Nigerians and the Nigerian diaspora community.

Osundare is a distinguished professor of English and the 2014 recipient of the Nigerian National Order of Merit award, the nation’s top prize in science, medicine, engineering/technology and the humanities. He is a poet, essayist and dramatist who has authored 18 books of poetry, two selected books of poems, four plays, a book of essays and numerous articles on literature, language, culture and society.

In his letter to President Jonathan, Osundare asks him to live up to his constitutional responsibility by personally speaking out against the war threats by militants. “Put succinctly, it is your inescapable duty to respond personally and unequivocally to all such utterances with an emphatic: Not in my name!” Osundare wrote.

He continued: “There surely must be a wide discernible difference between a national leader and a tribal jingoist. Say something, Mr. President. Say something. Your silence in this instance is anything but golden. Your ostrich cannot hide for long, for the Nigerian sand has become so transparent, thanks to many years of painful wisdom and enlightened skepticism of the people.”

Osundare concluded: “Again, as I told one of your predecessors at this kind of electoral juncture a couple of years ago, please remember there is life after power. Let us do everything to circumvent the 2015 apocalypse. Make sure history does not write you down as the last President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

Osundare is a past winner of the Tchicaya U Tam'si African Poetry Prize, Africa's highest poetry prize; the Noma Award, Africa's most prestigious book award; and the African Literature Association's Fonlon/Nichols Award for "excellence in literary creativity combined with significant contributions to human rights in Africa."

In 1999, Osundare received an honorary doctorate from the Department of Anglophone Literature at the University of Toulouse, France. Awarded only twice in the 20th century, this degree was last conferred in 1947 on the prominent British novelist W. Somerset Maugham, author of The Razor's Edge and Of Human Bondage.

Read More

Niyi Osundare Letter to President Jonathan Osundare, Sahara Reports
War Threats: Pressure on Jonathan to Move Against Tompolo, Others, Nigerian News