The Oasis Reporters
May 26, 2020
After forty years of service as a lecturer in University of Ibadan, Nigeria’s premier university, Professor Matthew Umukoro of the department of Theater Arts has just retired. It is mandatory for university lecturers to retire at the age of 70 in Nigeria’s public universities.
Professor Matthew Umukoro is leaving behind a legacy of incorruptibility. Or how do you describe this situation ?
His wife, who he married in his home state of Delta before she gained admission to study theater arts in the University of Ibadan, Nigeria’s South West was busy ”swotting” for an examination. Her husband was the examination officer, and he knew that she was reading the wrong topics. Still he ignored her and she failed the course.
The reason is that Professor Umukoro abhors corruption. His former student, Dr. Edward Imo describes him as “…an eagle-eyed critic and painstaking examiner. As the external examiner for my Ph.D oral defence, he took me on page after page and drilled the living daylights out of me for three concerted hours. Not even the last missing dot or comma was spared in a 400+ page thesis. When he was done, I felt like fish out of water in the defence of an area where I felt like a doyen.
“He has left a very big shoe in theatre pedagogy. He symbolises the civility that is associated with the old brigade of Nigerian academics. May you continue to live in good health as we continue to tap from your ocean of theatre experience”.
The Oasis Reporters wrote on University of Ibadan 42nd University lecture in 2019 which the eminent professor delivered to rapturous delight.
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The Oasis Reporters was equally on hand to witness the gathering of the theater arts glitterati as they celebrated emeritus professor Bode Sowande at 70 in 2018.
All plans to celebrate Professor Matthew Umukoro at 70 in a big and glorious way was aborted by the ongoing Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities (ASUU) strike. This was further compounded by the global Coronavirus pandemic that has forced all theater and cinema houses to shutdown.
Virtual offers of congratulatory messages are pouring in to celebrate the newly retired professor.