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Title: A BRIDGE ACROSS TIME: The Benin Factor in Nigerian History
Authors: IGBAFE, P.A
Issue Date: 29-Apr-1986
Series/Report no.: Twenty-third Inaugural Lecture;
Abstract: For several reasons, the topic of my lecture, ‘A bridge across time’, may sound to many in this audience as strange, bizarre and out of place except to those who are in my area of specialization. The sub-title was therefore quickly supplied to assure my academic and other colleagues that I have not changed my profession or academic discipline. In the first place, this institution of ours, now the University of Benin, was originally conceived, initially nurtured as a Mid-west Institute of Technology where the liberal arts had no place. Perhaps while many were not looking, the humanities and the social sciences crept into the system to dilute the purity of a science and technology institution. The building of bridges is the preserve of engineers who rightly belong to the science and technology fold. Secondly, we live in an age of science and technology when the stress on technological advance and the rapid transformation of society through technology is the preoccupation of all including governments, institutions of 1 higher learning and the business and commercial financiers. In such an age, it may sound strange and preposterous for a historian to speak of building bridges. The precise function of History, however, is to build bridges across time and space, linking together centuries of human activities as well as continents and societies across the seas in an endless time chain which portrays the essential unity of man’s development. What is not often realized and a theme which I would like to stress and return to later in this lecture is that even for the advanced countries of the world, no technological advance was made in a vacuum and without the very active support base in the liberal arts and the social sciences. It is necessary to make the point at this early stage that a nation that pursues technology without commensurate attention to the humanities ends up with a lop-sided development and intractable social problems.
Appears in Collections:University of Benin Inaugural lectures

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