By Daniel Reyenieju
“A little learning is a dangerous thing; Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring: Their shallow draughts intoxicates the brain, and drinking largely sobers us again.” Alexander Pope, 1711
Ayoro, Chronologically, you have spent more time reading books, writing research papers, presenting seminal papers and tirelessly involved in civil activism geared at making better the lives of Nigerians and to furthering the frontiers of humanity.
I still ponder why you chose the academia, where mental rigour is unquantifiable and reward is dwarfish. Your thirst for the giving of knowledge’s fountain, could succinctly encapsulate your reasons and watching you regurgitate the waters of the “Pierian spring” is enchanting.
Several decades ago when our paths crossed for the first time in my secondary school, where you were my Vice Principal, I never would have thought that down the line, I was going to be sitting side-by-side with you and sometimes at opposite ends straying to attain the common good. You saw me and knew my potential and to stayed locked on me as a channel. You thought I should philosophise because you believed “But for Philosophy, what is Dan?”
The heights and depths I have gone in my quest for a better me is beyond what I could have imagined without taking the dive. Through those times, you were always lurking and pushing because of your believe that the only thing that could ever stop me from reaching farther was myself.
It is gratifying to know that the humanity parties in the feast of your academic prowess. Among the many you have produced, I am but one of them and to be in the presence of you on this August occasion, where the University of Port Harcourt, have invited the world to it’s 168th Inaugural Lecture, where you will open the window of the world into your treasure trove is enlivining.
Reading the topic you have so scrupulously chosen for your Inaugural Lacture, exhibits the depth of your knowledge and the air of grandeur that there should be around which an iroko of a man. Yet, you have remained on of the most humble and humane persons most will ever know.
I feel sorry for those who will come with exaggerated expectations of wanting to hear so much grammar, highfalutin is not your way and where the margins are necessary, even the infant will be able to make sense of it’s usage.
To express pride at having you at such a time in our collective histories underscores it for me. But for all you have been even beyond philosophy and into the pursuit of the good for the Niger-delta and the well being of the Itsekiri people, I thank you and even the birds are singing songs for of good deeds as a father, a friend, a mentor and an untiring drunk of the Pireian spring.
I am indeed very proud of you and Congratulate you and your entire family.
Daniel Reyenieju O.