The literary community is set to honour one of its own, Prof. Benedict Ibitokun, who is taking a bow out of the university at age 70. A versatile critic, essayist, lecturer and writer, Ibitokun, a Professor of English and Comparative Literature, lectured in the Department of English, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State.
One of his students and lecturer in the same department, Mr. Chijioke Uwasomba, noted that Ibitokun was being celebrated by a generation of students and scholars. He added that he truly deserved to be celebrated.
He said, ‘‘Ibitokun is leaving the university system after attaining three scores and a decade. He is one of the best in the discipline cutting across the three genres of literature. He also has a ‘polyglotal’ advantage. He is an existentialist having been a student of the French philosopher, Jean Paul Sartre in France. His essence in the world of literature is unrivalled. Apart from his dynamism in criticism, he is also a creative writer as manifesting in his novel, Sopaisan: Westing Odua.’’
Uwasomba said literati, arts enthusiasts, students and lecturers alike would on April 9 converge on OAU to hold a formal valedictory service in Ibitokun’s honour.
According to him, the ceremony is designed to close an era of a life dedicated to literature and life-moulding.
‘‘The event is to close an era. It will be chaired by Prof. Dan Izebaye. In a formal sense, when he leaves OAU, he will continue to ply his trade. But we are holding the ceremony to appreciate his academic and intellectual impact. There will be a presentation of a festschrift titled: Existentialism Literature and the Humanities in Africa. It was edited by myself, Oluwole Coker and Adebayo Mosobalaje, who were his former students.’’
He further said the event would be festival-like, featuring stage performances from established thespians.
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