By Tony Afejuku
The intoxicated celebrant is resting his celebration begun more than a month ago with randomly selected celebratory quotes from his primary Uniben constituency.
. Dr. I.A.: On this special day, I wanted to take a moment to wish you Happy Retirement and a Happy Father’s Day! You are not only an exceptional professor, but also an amazing father who deserves all the love and appreciation in the world. Your dedication to your work and your commitment to nurturing young minds, have inspired countless students including myself. Your passion for teaching and your ability to make complex subjects accessible is truly admirable. You have a unique gift for sparking curiosity and igniting a love for learning in your students. But it is not just your professional accomplishments that make you a remarkable father. Your kindness, patience, and unwavering support have shaped the lives of your children in profound ways. You have been a guiding light, always encouraging them to pursue their dreams and reach for the stars.
Your wisdom and guidance have instilled in them values that will serve them well throughout their lives. Your love and care have created a strong foundation for them to thrive and grow. The impact you have made as a father is immeasurable.
Today, as we celebrate fathers everywhere, I want to express my deepest gratitude for all that you do. Your dedication to your family and your unwavering commitment to being the best father you can be are truly inspiring. The love and strength you provide are invaluable.
Thank you for being an incredible father and for all the ways you have touched the lives of those around you. May this Father’s Day be filled with joy, laughter, and the warm embrace of your loved ones. Happy Retirement and Father’s Day, Professor Afejuku!
.Dr. Clement Odia:
A MAN OF WORDS
(For Prof Tony Afejuku)
Let words pour forth
For he sold words for a living
Let words become drums
For he danced with words
Let words become bullets
For he fought with words
Let words become prayers
For he interceded for the
Let words become maps
For he guided us with words
You are a man of seasoned words
with which you fought
Mongers of mendacity
Where are those who sell hollow
words for a living?
They recline on the ledge of lies
and like the tongue of the sun, they are licked.
Let words serenade his exit
Bring forth letters, words, phrases,
sentences and clauses
To escort this man of thought and
You make melodies with words
You rhyme words round sense
You build words into rhythms of
As you dance into memory
We cling to your enduring words in A Garden of Moods
As you dance into tomorrow
We hold on to your thoughts
In An Orchard of Wishes
As you dance away merrily
We sing ‘your words in
A Spring of Sweets.
.Dr. Sunny Ekerikevwe: It’s hard to believe that the drum of words exits at a time most needed. As your boy, you have sharpened my structures and constructs. It’s beautifully beautiful and perfectly perfect to know that you exit the academic stage but no page of pain and so can’t be caged, in great style. Congratulations, my amiable prof… a unique breed… I wish you the best nature can provide. And I pray you keep the fire of firing firing. God will continue to bless you with good health, more strength and prosperity. My interest in reverencing you from a distance has not reduced till now, it has instead grown now. This interest resulted from a huge academic respect that will definitely envelope me further as you retire meritoriously from the services of our great University where you held sway for 43 plus years. God bless you richly as you mark the last of great generational exits.
.Dr. Albert Onobhayedo: Your contributions, depositions, evocations, admonitions, necessary-adulations, and the blend of erudition and stoic-courage you exhibited at all times, are non-degradable elements in our reservoir of knowledge and intellectual energy. Intellectuals of your calibre do not retire. They only shove aside phantoms of distraction and move on to the higher planes of the universe of ideas, keeping the channels of communication open. Prof, I believe you will always be there for us.
.Dr. (Mrs. Benedicta Ehanire, PRO Uniben): This has come as a great surprise! Who will tell me in the course of academic work that I will nearly die but not die? You are a great man, Prof and we thank God for your life. I learnt, though belatedly, that underneath your ‘gra gra’ is a humane person desiring others to actualize their potential. To write that I learnt a lot from you is an understatement and for which I am eternally grateful. I will miss your intellectual sagacity and guidance. We pray that as God has favoured you to retire in sound and excellent health He will continually grant you every grace.
.Dr. Peter Odogbor: This hits so hard, and with mixed feelings, too! Yes, it’s normal to say congratulations on your retirement, but not so easy to easily suppress the overwhelming emotions that are ignited from recollections of the impact you have made especially with regard to the enviable sound academic direction that you and other very senior colleagues of our Faculty have shown (and are still showing). It is gladdening however that your retirement is in good personal health and aliveness, for which God’s name is to be praised. May God continue to uphold you and your household. Keep on trusting in God, serving Him. Happy retirement, Prof. Shalom.
.Prof. Constantine Yuka, Dean of Arts: Congratulations, Sir. Your kind is rare. You are part of the very special breed that makes the universities what they were originally conceived to be. These days quite a number are now drastically mentally driven by the small tiny little dissuading leanings. You held your own, even when in the minority of the politically correct crowd. No matter how unpopular your views, you stood your ground. Our Faculty will certainly miss those energetic arguments. You leave in good health and spirit. Many pray to leave with their feet like you. May your days be longer in good health, peace and good cheer? Congratulations to the Elder. Please, keep on writing.
.Prof. Eddy Erhagbe (Former Dean of Arts/University Orator): Congratulations to our most distinguished Professor, a truly living legend in the annals of the academic firmament of University of Benin. We thank God for your very superlative illustrious career while you were in active service here, but as aptly already captured by our colleagues throughout the University, we believe you will continue to make credible contributions to the development of our country and indeed humanity. Congratulations again Sir, a highly esteemed elder of our Faculty. May God open new vistas of opportunities for you as you take a well-deserved bow out of service.
.Prof. Emeritus Raymond Elaho: Congratulations, my dear Tony on your retirement in good health and without blemish. I wish you success in your future endeavours.
.Prof. Austin Asagba (Former Dean of Arts) Tony Holy! The last of the Titans! Congratulations on your very meritorious and highly productive career and well-earned retirement. The Lord is good. May God continue to bless and protect you as you impact in our society positively, my childhood and boyhood friend of many parts. Amen. For sure must have a big party. God bless.
.Professor Marcel Okhaku: Congratulations on a well-deserved retirement and I wish you God’s speed in your future endeavours .I know that you will not be too far away and that even if Oguanja or Waffi beckons, Benin will always be home. For this event that we have just witnessed starch and owo and banga soup and assorted fish must suffer. My brother, take a well-deserved rest, recharge and come back “smoking”. You must keep on exorcising the rubbish. Here and everywhere.
.Dr. Terry Head of Department of Foreign Languages: I became more interested in knowing you closely after I read your article published in Présence Africaine (a journal domiciled in Paris, France) in 2001. My thought then and now was: “Who is this Anglo-phone man from UNIBEN whose article has been published in the best French Journal the world over”? It wasn’t difficult to realize that I had stumbled on a great intellectual and a language philosopher with a “poetic license.”
.Ebiuwa : Wowwww!!!! This kind of gets me really emotional. “When a child rejoices at a new dawn he/she is unmindful of the fact that he/she is getting old.” “Great one, congratulations.” Not everyone got to the apex of their careers and retire still strong. God has brought you this far. I’m happy for you.
.Esohe: Big congratulations to you, our very wonderful Prof. We will miss you dearly. May your retirement favour you greatly in Jesus’ name.
.Dr Frank Ikponmwonsa (Head of History Department): Congratulations, Sir, erudite scholar. What you have attained in good health is what every one of us prays for and looks forward to in life. Thank Good God for your life and for your family. I hope you will not sever your uniquely unique style/writing from our circle. I love you, Prof.
.Dr FP Olise: Congratulations, congratulations, congratulations, on your very successful career celebration, dear high scholar, Professor Tony Afejuku, a man and scholar whose craft and art deeply flow from the heart.
.Dr John Ndubuisi Bardi : Congratulations, Prof. Thanks for serving humanity diligently.
.Dr Emmanuel Tobi: Cheers to a bold Nietzsche scholar. I wish there was/is no “exit” from the circle of one’s beliefs.
.Patience Osagie: Very big congratulations, Prof. May God Bless your meritorious services. I will rarely miss your beautiful writing.
.Ndifreke Akawaowo: One of the ways to honor a man of language(s) is to compose a well-crafted lengthy essay in his honour. I honestly wish I could use my long pen right now but for time. I hope the man of language(s) sees beyond the work of my short pen right now a light-hearted peace in true honour of great Tony, the fine writer Afejuku and his finely fine writing I am eager to imitate.
.Afejuku can be reached via 08055213059.