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Tribute for BJ

Jane Bryce


When Teju asked if I wanted to write something about BJ, I thought about it and decided I couldn’t. There were many reasons for this. Though BJ was my PhD supervisor at the University of Ife when I was there in the mid-80s, we hardly had an academic relationship. Perhaps because I fell into an in-between category—a mature foreign student, undertaking my own research and not attending classes—I was not well-situated to benefit from his undoubted brilliance and the sense of responsibility he showed towards his undergraduate students. BJ’s centre of gravity was his political activism, especially, at the time, as head of ASUU, and he was constantly on the move in his battered Volkswagen beetle, the socialist car of choice. To get him to talk to you, you first had to catch him, and when he was in Ife, he inevitably had more pressing concerns than advising a free-floating foreigner on her nebulous research. So I dismissed the idea of writing about him because my relationship with him was altogether more complex than that of adviser to student, and I wasn’t sure what I could say.

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West Africa Review. ISSN: 1525-4488 (online).
Editors: Adeleke Adeeko, Nkiru Nzegwu, and Olufemi Taiwo.

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