Professor Dan Izevbaye has described the advent of Internet as a serious damage to education. According to him, internet has gradually displaced the ‘pen and paper’, especially by the electronic media. He said that Nigeria needs a revival of the book culture to develop as a nation. He, therefore, enjoined scholars and stakeholders to invest more in books. “Internet contains viruses; not the virus associated with computer. It is American and when it was given to the rest of the world, it is a Greek gift,” he noted, adding that, “there are fine bookshops. But where are the people to buy the books? Are there not scholars? Are there not people who want to buy? Are there not people who want to buy and present books as gift? Scholars and stakeholders, library, publishers and others should give grants to the researchers of literature. The media also has an educative influence of modernising people,” he explained.
Izevbaye spoke on Tuesday at a gathering of literary giants in Ibadan to honour one of their own, Prof Biodun Jeyifo, who celebrated his 70th birthday.The event served as an opportunity for the audience to discuss the state of the literary world. At the event were Emeriti Profs JP Clark, Ayo Banjo and Ayo Bamgbose, Wole Soyinka, Prof Femi Osofisan, Prof Adebayo Williams, Prof Ropo Sekoni, Prof Molara Ogundipe, UI Vice-Chancellor, Prof Idowu Olayinka among others.
The don also stressed the need to tackle the problem of cultural identity foisted on the African society by the colonial and westernized educational system. “Formal education was introduced by the West and so its product, assumption and idea are not neutral. They have connection with colonial society and age. One of the problems of education is identity. We are forced into finding our identity as Africans.
“I spent the last 10 years teaching undergraduates most of who are from middle class homes. These are the future leaders of Nigeria. One of the things I have concluded is the problem of identity. Where does it come from? Parents who don’t speak Nigerian language even though they are skilled in it. That is the impression I have about the class I taught.
“The proverbial ‘black is beautiful’ is dead as women now wear wigs while their male counterparts wear shirts and trousers. Though there is no problem with it but it is one of the things I called problem of identity. They are children of globalisation.
The don decried the Boko Haram insurgency as “the confrontation between the West and the Middle East but it is being fought on Nigeria’s soil. Africa doesn’t feature.”
In his remarks, DrLekan Are of the University of Ibadan, said parents must ensure that the next generation learns to speak their native languages, “if our language dies, we are gone. Let’s teach our children how to speak our language,” he said.
By Dike Onwuamaeze