November 14, 2019 becomes historic in the annals of Veritas University Abuja as it marks the first Inaugural Lecture titled "Of New Englishes and New Literacies", which commenced at 2:00pm with the a long procession of the academia from the Vice Chancellor’s block to the Multi-Purpose event hall. On arrival at the Veritas Multipurpose Hall, there was a standing ovation to usher in the Vice Chancellor, other principal officers of the university, Deans of Colleges, invited guests, other academia and the Guest Lecturer, Prof. Gabriel B. Egbe. The National and Veritas University anthems followed this respectively. The opening prayer was said by the Chaplain of the Veritas University Chaplaincy, Rev. Fr. Aloysius Achonwa, followed by the opening speech by the Vice Chancellor, Rev. Fr. (Prof) Hyacinth E. Ichoku.
In his opening remarks, the Vice Chancellor acknowledged all the principal officers of the university, Deans of Colleges, Heads of Departments and other invited guests. He welcomed everyone present and noted that November 14th, 2019 was memorable for Veritas University, Abuja, because it was a day that heralded the first inaugural lecture of the University titled “Of New Englishes and New Literacies” to be delivered by the ‘first Professor’ of the University, Prof. Gabriel B. Egbe.
He intimated that an inaugural lecture was a forum where a professor shares ideas from his/her many years of research. It was a day that a professor makes some assertions that cannot be counted against him or her; hence “Prof. Gabriel B. Egbe is going to be talking about “Of New Englishes and New Literacies” which is going to appear strange to some persons”. Prof. Ichoku said the inaugural lecture would afford Prof. Egbe the opportunity to demystify the topic. He commended Prof. Egbe for accepting to deliver the lecturer.
The Vice chancellor also used the opportunity to inform the public that the institution, for the first time, would be admitting candidates into Ph.D Programmes in Political Science and Diplomacy and Economics after been given approval by the National Universities Commission.
The citation of Prof. Gabriel B. Egbe's profile was taken by Dr. (Mrs) Juliet H. Mouneme, while Prof. Gabriel B. Egbe remained standing. Without any waste of time, the Guest Lecturer, Prof. Gabriel B. Egbe was invited to the beautifully decorated podium for his lecture.
Prof. Egbe began his lecture with an assertive statement “No two speakers speak the same language and no speaker produces the same sound twice”. Egbe called on the Nigerian government and all Nigerians to the need to begin the assessment of candidates for external examinations on the use of the Nigerian Standard English. Egbe noted that no one owned any language, because a language is owned by those who speak it.
The implication of this assertion would be that, there is no need copying the assent of a Briton in Nigeria and we should not expect Okechukwu, a Nigerian studying in a Nigerian University to speak what we may call the Queen’s English because it is not realizable. Egbe reiterated his comment when he said “Those who own English are those who speak it in any part of the world, implying that no one has the prerogative to determine what is good or bad English and “What we speak in Nigeria is not inferior to what anyone speak in any part of the world and so our standard cannot be drawn from the British English, American English or any other English in the world, because “No language is inferior to any language and every language is sufficient for those who use it for whatever they want to use for it”. In view of this, “Nigeria as a country must begin to own English language with efficiency, effectiveness and this must start from examining candidates with the use of the Nigerian Standard English.
Prof. Egbe noted that the concept of New Englishes had created the popularity of the language such that we cannot talk about English language without literacy. He insisted that it was not enough to speak English without understanding the linguistic of English but the need to speak English and understand it’s linguistic, noting there was a need to appropriate Literacies of academic English to the English we use in schools or homes for living and learning “the world is driven by new literacies and that has further shaped Englishes by the spread of Information and Communication Technology (ICT).” “What is important is to see how to develop English and use it for the purposes we want to use it for and no longer to see English as a colonial language but as a language of constitutional right. Finally, “we must beging to use it to achieve feasts as high as winning Nobel Laureates for Literature and other endeavours.” Prof. Egbe added.