EGERTON UVIEGHARA: AN ASSIDUOUS LAW TEACHER
BY AKINLOLU AJE
IN the intellectual citadel often called ‘Ivory Tower’, one may not brush shoulders with the masterminds who, year in, year out, turn out into the world, men and women of excellence it. You can walk past these mind moulders and motivators, without your knowing who passed you by.
That is because these university dons wear no name tags to announce their presence, or proclaim their lofty attainments which qualify them for their smugness in the universities- the homes of nursed ambition, the incubators for man’s ingenuity in all spheres, ventures and challenges.
But Egerton Egherun Uvieghara, Master of Laws and a professor who had been teaching Labour Law at the University of Lagos since September, 1966 had a soft spot for truancy in his elementary school days. His father was rather very strict, which did not stop young Egerton from missing classes in order to go and swim and indulge in sight – seeing.
Born on March 5, 1937 at Abra-ka, Delta State, Mr. Egerton Uvieghara is the first chairman of the Nigerian Copyright Committee. He is also chairman of the Chief FRA Williams endowed chair for the Laws of Nigeria, Faculty of Law, University of Lagos. This involves the development of the laws of Nigeria.
When the International Labour Organisation (I.L.O) wanted ideas and recommendation for minimum disciplinary rules for erring workers, Uvieghara was their man. Together with other overseas scholars (he alone, represented Nigeria), he contributed immensely to the International Encyclopaedia for Labour Law and Industrial Relations, a major ILO reference book.
The book “Philosophy and Dimensions of National Communication Policy” Volumes I and II was authored jointly by Messrs Tony Nnaemeka, E. E. Uvieghara and Adidi Uyo. Egerton attended the CMS School, Sapele.
In his first day in school, he sang and clapped. His school’s headmaster was Chief Ajasin, former civilian Governor of Ondo State.
And when he was moved to the Government School, Sapele, he recalled being caned severely by Chief Okotako Enahoro, father of the journalist and former first Republic Western Nigeria Minister of Information, Chief Anthony Enahoro.
In 1951, he left that school for Government College, Ughelli where he was classmate with Dr. Popoola Akinyanju, former lecturer, UNILAG and Professor Abiodun Adebona of the Obaferni Awolowo University.
In 1960, he left for Britain to study law at the London School of Economics which had a small Department of Law. He completed that course in 1963. Then, he enrolled with the Inner Temple. Then, he went back to do his masters, which he completed in 1965.
He was gathering materials for his doctorate decree thesis when a vacancy occurred in UNILAG and he was offered the appointment which he holds to date.
The part he played in drafting the privatization of the radio and television stations gave him satisfaction and joy. So also was his involvement with the Copywright Council over which he now presides as chairman.
With a 26 years stint in the university, Egerton Uviegbara has served under all but one of the Vice Chancellors of UNILAG. He was not around when Dr. Eni Njoku was Vice Chancellor. He was around when Dr. S.O. Biobaku took over from Dr. Njoku. Then, Dr. T. O. Elias, Professor Babatunde Adadevoh, Professor Akin Adesola and the incumbent Professor Nurudeen Alao.
First published Saturday, February 6, 1993.