By Bassey Okon, Calabar
The Vice Chancellor of the University of Calabar Professor Zana Akpagu has deplored the practice of racial discrimination and alienation in the society emphasizing that such dichotomy is tearing people apart.
Professor Akpagu particularly identified the impact of such alienation as being very manifest in literature produced by black in the Caribbean saying this has resulted in their act of protest to reclaim their identity.
He made this known at the International Conference Centre Calabar during the presentation of the 88th Inaugural Lecture of the institution with the theme: L’Autre: Otherness, Alienation and protest in Francophone Afro-Caribbean Novels”.
Speaking while delivering the lecture which also coincided with Professor Akpagu’s 60th birthday, he said the practice is morally condemnable and should be done away with in Cross River State and beyond.
“The black Antillean is the ‘other’; racial other, cultural other, religious other, linguistic other, political other, simply the other. His otherness is based notably on his ethnic origin, racial differences and cultural peculiarities.
“To protest this situation of otherness and to find an escape outlet, the black Antillean has reacted in various ways ranging from violent or passive resistance to asserting his self identity.
“It is an act of protest to reclaim their distinctly unique racial identity and self asserting their Caribeanness. The UN convention on racial discrimination, affirms that racial superiority based on racial differentiation is scientifically false, morally condemnable, socially unjust and economically dangerous as there is no justification for it anywhere in theory or in practice”, he said.
Speaking earlier at the Cross River State Council of Chiefs while being conferred with a chieftaincy title alongside his wife, he called on Cross Riverians to do away with otherness and all forms of divisions because such practice has held people bound in the state.
“Where you take dichotomy to differentiate people, you tear people apart and make a distinction, we are constructing otherness.
“May it never be our portion in cross river state, may we live in unity, intermarry, have children so that we can obliterate completely this tribal and ethnic divisions that have held us bound in cross river state”, he said.
Speaking while conferring a chieftaincy title on Professor Akpagu and his wife, the chairman of the Cross River State Traditional Rulers Council said the honour is conferred on the VC because he deserves it.
He said the VC has developed the University in diverse ways and the people of the state have taken note of his giant strides hence the decision to honour him.