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Inaugural Lecture-Acknowledgement
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THE PROSPERITY AND POVERTY OF NATIONS
Inaugural Lecture
By
Benedict Bernard Benapena Naanen

Acknowledgements

The journey that has culminated in my appearance on this podium today is a long one. I acknowledge with gratitude all the individuals that have made that journey and the event of today possible. To God almighty be the glory for my life. I owe eternal gratitude to my late grandmother, Elizabeth Leve Naanen, who laid the foundation, showered me with loving care and wanted to see me “grow into a man”. My late mother, Patricia Monsika Naanen-Dike, lovingly complemented the work of my grandmother and as a teacher gave me an early start in education. Chief (Hon) Kemte Giadom, Ken Saro-Wiwa, and Chief Edward Nna Kobani, all of them now of blessed memory, filled the gap at critical conjunctures in my undergraduate days.
I thank my friends, colleagues and former students at the Department of History and Diplomatic Studies, University of Port Harcourt, and other institutions in Nigeria and abroad, for a shared life of scholarship. They include Professor Abi Derefaka, Professor Adaye Orugbani, Dr Charles Asuk, Dr Mfon Ekpo-Otu, Dr Jeremiah Mbadiwe, Dr Stanley Okoroafor, Dr Emmanuel Obuah, Dr Etido Inyang, and Dr Dominic Akpan of the University of Uyo. Professor John Enemugwem, as my Head of Department years ago, subtly reminded me that I was overdue for professorship and rallied for my assessment at a time when external affairs seemed to make me forget that I was supposed to be a professor.
Professor E. J Alagoa inspired me to take up a position at the University of Port Harcourt at a time I was set for a career in the Nigerian Foreign Service. Professor Onwuka Njoku, my former lecturer, has continued to be a friend to this day after both of us met at Dalhousie. The late Muriel Duckworth, a distinguished and generous Canadian and her friend, Betty Peterson, provided a motherly environment for my wife and I when we were students in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Professor Don Baridam, I appreciate the good times, including your days in Quebec City and mine in Halifax and thereafter. A meeting with Stephen Ellis in London produced a fellowship at the African Studies Centre, University of Leiden, the Netherlands, which saved me from possible hang man’s noose in Nigeria at the height of the Ogoni crisis. NIDEREF staff, Felix Mberekpe, and Ruth Daniel, have continued to offer valuable assistance in my scholastic and civil society engagements.
I thank God every day for the great family he has mercifully given me. My wife, Virginia Naanen, has been my best friend and pillar of support since we met and got married at an early age. I cannot easily forget the day she slipped on the slippery ice-covered sidewalk in Halifax and lost our wedding ring which flew off when she flung her left hand to clear the snow on it. My children Baribefe, Dum-adi, Bariture and Leesi I appreciate all of you and your mother for being so patient with your father who was frequently absent. My late mother-in-law, Mrs Mary Sitorava Vibele patiently provided motherly care; Earnest Naanen, Peter Naanen, Dominic Dike, Mrs Comfort Nam, and Mrs Grace Mbari have played various roles in my family setting. Chief Michael Koote, Chief Sylvester Kogbara, Chief Solomon Berebon, Elders Confidence Nyode and Geoffrey Kpenu, I appreciate the relationship we shared at different times.
Finally, I thank the University of Port Harcourt, past Vice-Chancellors and the current Vice-Chancellor, Professor Joseph A Ajienka, for providing me the opportunity of developing my career and for tolerating my frequent foreign trips. I often wonder whether any other institution would have been so tolerant with me. Emeritus Professor N D Briggs very kindly prevented what could have been a regrettable break in my career.

 

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Mission Statement
To mitigate poverty and conflict in the Niger Delta through good governance and the sustainable management of the region's environment and natural resources.

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Vision Statement
 A Niger Delta that enjoys prosperity through good governance,
sustainable management and equitable distribution of the proceeds of the
region’s environment and natural resources.

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