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Just as he has been doing for many years now, influential business titan and Esama of Benin Kingdom, His Excellency Sir (Chief) Gabriel Osawaru Igbinedion literarily shut down Benin City, the capital of Edo State when he celebrated his 86th birthday.

The ever stylish and colourful Esama, who never settles for anything but the very best, despite scaling down festivities due to the global COVID-19 pandemic still attracted hundreds of thousands in the course of the week-long celebration.

This year, Chief Igbinedion began his programme with an intellectually-stimulating birthday lecture on September 3, 2020 at Nigeria’s  numero uno private university, Igbinedion University, Okada, Edo State.

The Guest lecturer was none other than His Excellency Dr Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo, former Governor of Gombe State who spoke on the topic “ “Globalisation and the future of Tertiary Education in Nigeria”

According to the Guest Lecturer “To be invited to deliver the 86th Birthday Lecture of this distinguished and illustrious Son of Africa, His Excellency Sir Chief (Dr.) Gabriel Osawaru Igbinedion, the Esama of Benin Kingdom is indeed to me, aunique privilege and an honour. I thank the authorities of the Igbinedion University especially The Chancellor, Pro-Chancellor and the Governing Council, Vice Chancellor, Senate and Congregation, the Academic community, the Administrative staff and all the students of this university for this recognition, I am deeply honoured to have been invited to join you on this auspicious occasion of the 86th Birthday Celebration of the Esama of the Universe of Igbinedion UniversityOkada.”.

Today’s lecture is captured “Globalization and the Future of Tertiary Education in Nigeria”. The choice of this Birthday Lecture topic is quite deliberate and highly instructive. First, the celebrant is an international business colossus, great patriot, educationalist, philanthropist and pathfinder. He has been operating businesses at a global level for several decades before the concept and issue of globalization began to gain worldwide attention. He, in a way, is a globalized person including in marriage.

He then went on to explore such sub-topics as: Nigeria educational policies, current educational policies, history of globalization, the impact of globalization, cross border education, mobility of students and lecturers, the Push Factor, future takeaways and deliverables and then rounded off thus: “In Nigeria today, most of our best eleven are professionals and expatriates working in different parts of the world in which significant number got there via internationalization or globalization. Nigeria must therefore design some deliberate policies to combat theattrition rate by putting in place a reward mechanism for those thatchoose to return, improve the quality and standard of education in thecountry to world class status and erect some international bureaucratic barriers that could discourage foreign studies and enhance effective utilisation of human mental resources within the knowledge economy.

An empirical validation of actual number of Nigerians lost through this phenomenon and an understanding of the real push-pull factors shouldbe carried out and investigated.

“ I congratulate the celebrant, the Great Esama of Bini Kingdom, his family and friends on this day of joy. For the Celebrant today, I cannot resist saying my favourite prayer for you; as your days, so shall yourstrength, your wisdom and favour with God Insha Allah.

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April 2024