An American Professor of leadership studies has attributed his academic success and financial freedom to his early discovery of the importance of libraries in society. Professor John Alizor who retired from the University of Phoenix, USA stated this on Friday, 13th of August 2021 while donating copies of one of his authored books titled “Leadership Understanding Theory Styles And Practice” to the Delta State Library, Asaba.
Alizor who was full of praises for the governor of Delta State, Dr. Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa for establishing a state-of-the-art digital library for Deltans used the occasion to narrate how he was able to leave Nigeria for further studies in the U.S.A by Sea (45 days journey) in 1968 despite being an orphan.
According to the Otolokpo-born Professor, he lost his parents when he was still in primary school. And in an attempt to acquire skill, he left Otolokpo for Benin city where he enrolled for training as a stenographer. He later completed the training and returned to Agbor for professional practice. Continuing, Professor John Alizor said he had to leave for Lagos when he could not find fulfillment from the practice of stenography in Agbor.
He pointed out that he got to Lagos, only to become a house boy to one of his uncles whose wife was in the business of local tobacco processing.
In his words, “My uncle’s wife used to process powdered tobacco for sale, with which I assisted her in the business as a little boy.
“Over time, I was able to discover a state library in Lagos Island, making it my relaxation place, using the opportunity to read books and all sorts of magazines, as there was no Facebook in those days; what we had was ‘pen pals’.
“I was reading one of the magazines when I discovered an American lady named Ms. Gardner Sharpe who needed pen pals from some countries, including Nigeria and I wrote to her and indicated my interest which she accepted.
“This was how she sent me all the funds required to relocate to the U.S.A for further education on her scholarship from secondary school level to my Ph.D.”, he narrated.
The educationist who is also the “Ogbaji Igwe” of Ejeme Aniogor in Aniocha South Local Government Area of Delta State concluded by saying that he decided to donate books to the library as a mark of his appreciation for the provision of library services in Nigeria through which he was able to overcome poverty and ignorance. The teacher became emotional when he recalled that he had earlier scheduled to donate the books along with his late American-born wife, who died a day before the appointment with the library in May 2021.
Receiving the books on behalf of the library, the Director of Library Services and head of the Library, Mrs. Rosemary Eboh thanked Professor Alizor for his kind gesture, urging him not to relent in making his wealth of experience available to the Nigerian education sector where the culture of reading and writing is fast fading away.
The librarian further assured the donor that the books will be made available to the public who patronize the library facilities. Eboh equally used the occasion to call on well-meaning Nigerians to donate books and other equipment such as electric power generating sets that would ensure the continued maintenance of the library.
She added that one of the ways of appreciating Governor Okowa for establishing the library is its patronage by the citizens of the State.
By: Augustine Omilo