History Department Fetes Derefaka

By Ethel Timi-Johnson


Following his retirement from service, staff and students of the Department of History and Diplomatic Studies in the Faculty of Humanities put together a send forth ceremony for Professor Abi Derefaka at the Elechi Amadi Auditorium on Thursday, June 24, 2021.

Speaking at the event which also doubled as the official launch of the book titled, Perspectives from the Niger Delta: Essays in Honour of Abi Derefaka, representative of the immediate past Acting Vice Chancellor and Coordinator of Academic Affairs, Professor Abdulrazaq Kilani, described Professor Derefaka as a great historian who served the University meritoriously. He commended the Department and Faculty for appreciating his effort and services rendered over the years.

Chairman of the event and former Vice Chancellor, Professor Joseph Ajienka, lauded the pioneering effort of Professor Derefaka as the founding Director of the Institute of Niger Delta Studies and his contributions to the growth of the Department.

“We are celebrating scholarship and a culture of creativity and innovation. We are appreciating effort aimed at deepening academic culture and scholarship. We are celebrating Professor Derefaka today even as we pray that he continues to be of service to the University and society,” Professor Ajienka said.

In his welcome address, Acting Head of the Department, Dr Charles Asuk, noted that the event provided an opportunity for staff and students to evaluate the cumulative work of Professor Derefaka in his over three decades of service to the Department and University.

“Professor Derefaka is an Archaeologist and Anthropologist of international repute who has contributed immensely to the shaping of the discipline in Nigerian universities. I am pretty sure that even in his post-retirement life, he will continue to mentor and guide younger academics,” he remarked.

Responding, Professor Derefaka expressed gratitude to the Department and University for the honour. He advised younger academics to work together to achieve lofty heights. “When there is unity, you can achieve a lot. Today’s event shows that the efforts I put in serving the University is recognised and appreciated. If my predecessor, Emeritus Professor Ebiegberi Alagoa is still contributing to knowledge, then I can still contribute my service to the society,” Professor Derefaka said.

Highpoints of the event included the cutting of a cake to mark the 71st birthday of Professor Derefaka and goodwill messages from Emeriti Professors Alagoa, Nimi Briggs and Professor Adewale Dosumu.

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