By Kenneth Jukpor
Members of the University of Jos Theatre Arts Class of 1988, also known as TIATA88, have applauded the appointment of Prof. Tor Joe Iorapuu as the Vice-Chancellor, Benue State University, Makurdi, stating that Iorapuu had all the qualities and expertise to excel at the job.
According to a press statement by the group which was signed by its spokesman, Dr. James Odaudu, Prof. Iorapuu’s appointment is akin to putting a square peg in a square hole, as his leadership qualities have never been in doubt.
“As classmates to Professor Iorapuu, we can attest to his leadership attributes and his ability to engender both physical and academic development at the Benue State University, going by his track records at the University of Jos”.
“We congratulate the Benue State Government for thorough search that threw up Professor Iorapuu amongst the plethora of learned academics and administrators, and we are sure that the state owned University will be the ultimate beneficiary of Iorapuu’s experience in human and material resources management,” the TIATA88 spokesman said.
The group stressed that those who have been privileged to sit under his tutelage in the Theatre Arts Department in the University of Jos would attest to the fact that Iorapuu is many things rolled into one, adding that the erudite professor of Theatre Arts from the University of Jos has made indelible imprints in the academia and the social society struggle.
Iorapuu who hails from Aliade in Benue State, began his tertiary education at the College of Education Katsina-Ala in Benue State where he was renowned for his high interest in theatre for development (Tfd), thereafter, he proceeded to the prestigious University of Jos for his tertiary education.
Giving an insight into his humble beginning, the erudite scholar had said that his interest in the academia was spurred by the determination of his mother for him to get formal education.
Professor Iorapuu also adorns a charisma that sees him generally looked up to for leadership and this was evident when he was unanimously elected as the Dean of the faculty of Arts, University of Jos as the only contender for the slot voluntarily stepped down for him.
Before his election as the Dean of the Faculty, Iorapuu had successfully served as the Head of Department of Theatre and Film Arts in the same University where he exhibited sterling leadership abilities that eventually lead to his elevation as the dean of the faculty. Being an alumnus of the same university the Professor has dedicated his life and efforts in giving credible service to the University.
Because of his commitment to rendering credible service and influencing change in society beyond curricular requirements, he has provided leadership in the founding and running of Youth, Adolescent, Reflection and Action Centre (YARAC), a youth organisation based in Jos.
Professor Iorapuu also served SONTA in several capacities for over a decade, and at one time was the Editor of SONTA. During his tenure as editor of the SONTA journal which is a selection of papers presented in annual conferences was published without failing. Due to the excellent services rendered he was the winner of the SONTA 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award.
He is described as one who is dedicated to eliminating issues of social justice in his community and to inspire the next generation to be passionate and driven to see change. A great scholar of his field: articulate and capable administrator, excellent interpersonal skill, erudite manager.
As someone who is widely acclaimed to be determined to make impact in his endeavours, Prof. Iorapuu said thus while addressing final year students of Nasarawa State University, Keffi (NSUK) during their practical presentations in Production Workshop as the External Examiner at the Department of Theatre and Cultural Studies despite been bereaved.
“I lost my Mum on Sunday but I decided that we must knock this off. I am doing this because I am a professor today because of my mother. I hated going to school; but she will beat me to a point that there was no day we never had a drama or performance just to go to school; and in the process her wrapper will fall off but she insisted I must go to school and did everything humanly possible for me to go to school. Today, she is no more.”
Continuing, “The night she went into coma, that was the night University of Jos Library went on fire and I was there, fighting with students to protect the place till 4am and in the morning of Sunday, I was still getting feedback from home and I said let me go so I can meet her alive. It was then the other floor of the Library started burning. I stayed back to keep pushing on but by noon, I said I must go to see my mother; but as at the time I got there, she had passed on.”