Chief EK Clark: Chronicling the Advent of Great Uniben
Title: The Founding Of The University Of Benin
Author: Chief Dr. Ek Clark, OFR
Reviewer: Wilson Macaulay
Publisher: Eml Publishers
No Of Pages: 360
On the 25th of May, 2021, National leader, Chief Dr E K Clark celebrated his 94 years birthday. In honour of his contributions to our nation’s building effort, he churns out a book titled, The Founding of Them University of Benin.
This book is essentially the catalogue of events that led to the founding of the University of Benin. In so doing, the author quoted many witnesses concerning the various events that led to the founding and establishment of the great institution.
As it was, Nigeria was operating a regional system of government which chafed the minorities under the yoke of regionalism as they suffer a lot of setback and hardship. As the author pointed out in page 2, the minority tribes were very much under the political, economic and social yoke of the majority. The Mid-Westerners, driven by this strong desire for emancipation, rooted for the creation of a region.
However, the creation of the region also threw up a new challenge amongst which was the educational need of a University.
The Founding Of The University Of Benin presents the clinical details of the conception and birth of the Great Uniben when the author, Chief EK Clark, was the Commissioner for Education of the Mid-West Region.
Brigadier(Dr)Samuel Ogbemudia noted in the foreword at page six (VI): “there has been claims and counterclaims from various quarters by people who actually had little or nothing to do with the conception of the ideas and the eventual founding of the University of Benin.”
It, therefore, gladdens my heart that Chief (Dr.) E.K. Clark has painstakingly put paid to these controversies by putting his work together to set the records straight for now, and for posterity through this work.
The author was essentially inspired to write this book due to the prevailing circumstances and the mood of the public concerning their perceptions, response as to how the University of Benin the great citadel of learning came into being.
About 25 years after, the author found it necessary to put to rest all issues surrounding the establishment of the school which were a bit hazy.
The book was published to remove every strain or cloud of misinformation surrounding the foundation of the great University of Benin.
As major key players in Mid-West attested, the book proclaimed the fundamentalities and also corrected the wrong public view about the origin of the University.
A quote from Brigadier General (Dr.) Ogbemudia, the then Governor about the authenticity of Clark information put the perspective straight, as a lot of persons really wanted to take undue credit and the general public was also misled to give undue recognition to some persons before Clark came up with the book that put paid to avoidance of any doubt.
In page 107, without any exaggeration, the author said: “The writing of the founding of the University of Benin was an opportunity to look back into an old world and how tortures the journey has been.”
The University of Benin was built in a period of quest for University Education.
A close examination will reveal to any reader that the book seeks to set straight distorted records of how three major characters fought to achieve one purpose – the Great Uniben.
The book also contains speeches and statements made by other people who participated actively in the affairs of the institute in the early years, in order to corroborate the author’s story.
The main theme of the book is centered on the narratives of the highlights of what took place, from the conception to the successful birth of the University.
The book is the story of the strings that were pulled and drawn to make sure that the ambition of the founding of a credible University for Mid-West was not scuttled on the altar of excuse of the young age of the region.
The book, in my modest view, is the product of an endless hard work of labour, day and night, with unwavering hope to succeed in laying the academic foundation of the Mid-West Region under the watch of the author Chief (Dr.) E.K. Clark as the super Commissioner of Education.
Clearly, Uniben is an academic balm that healed the wound of the Midwestern people.