By Faith Igbudu
“Hearts grieve, eyes full of tears but we cannot query God we all belong to him, and to him we shall return,” cries Dr Tyotom Keghku, a brother and a mentee of late Prof. David Ker.
Keghku further appealed that: “For those Prof. Ker mentored and very well too, it is good that they take after him, with that, there will be a lot of impact in the society. Sometimes people are selfish, when they are mentored, they refuse to mentor other people, it is not good. When someone helps you to get to the top, do not take the ladder off so that others can also climb up. The world is full of good and bad people but let the good try and do more work so that there will more good people for death is inevitable.”
According to him, “I and the late Prof. are from Gwer East, Local Government Area, Benue state. Asides that, he made it possible for me to be employed, and we worked on so many committees together. I came to him for consultation sometimes political, sometimes academical.
“Ker was such a humble person. If you had an argument with him, he will always submit to superior argument based on the points you brought. He was also a philanthropist as he helped so many people who are in need of assistance. He never liked people who never wanted to progress, especially in the area of education.
“We will miss him because he was a great mentor. He mentored a lot of people. If you count a hundred people, especially in Benue, half of that number has been touched or mentored by Ker, either in academics or in the community or in politics. One way or the other a lot of lives has been touched by him.
“We will miss his kindness, he was always willing to help. We will greatly miss him not just Benue, that name David Ker is a significant name in Nigeria, if you go to Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria, if you go to Ibadan, if you go to Keffi, Abuja and several other universities. Infact, he examined two Ph.D students in Keffi few days before his demise. He was the Chairman, visitation panel to Modibbo Adama University of Technology, Yola and the panel just submitted their report yesterday, so with this, a lot of people will miss him.
‘He belonged to several societies, both in the church and outside the church to name a few. He was a member of the English society, he was the Patron Association of Nigerian Authors, member Board of Trustees Makurdi Club 1930 and several others. He was either an EXCO member, a former EXCO member or a patron, so with these, he had quite a number of persons around him who could vouch for him. If you have been reading comments on social media you know this man touched lives positively.
Prof. David Ker celebrated his 70th birthday on 27 June, 2021. He is from Mbabur, Ngyohov District of Masev, Gwer Local Government Area.
Ker had his first degree at Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria where he graduated with a Bachelors of Arts B.A English (second class upper division) in 1974. He went for a Masters of Arts (MA) at the University of Sussex, United Kingdom in 1978 and followed it with a Doctorate Degree (Ph.D) in English Literature from Stirling University, United Kingdom in 1984, honourary doctor of Literature from Grand View College, Des Moines, Iowa, USA in 1991.
Ker was two times Commissioner for Education, Benue State from 1994-1997. Prof. Ker rose from various ranks at the University of Ibadan (UI), Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria and Benue State University (BSU), Makurdi respectively.
The university don became the Vice Chancellor, Benue State University in 2000 and was named the best Vice Chancellor of state owned universities in Nigeria in 2003.
During his tenure, the university was also adjudged to be the best in North Central region of Nigeria. Immediately after his tenure as VC BSU, Ker was appointed the pioneer Vice-Chancellor, Veritas University, Abuja.
Prof. Ker authored many books and has many publications at national and international levels to his credit. His bias for human development earned him a Federal Government merit award as the Officer of the Order of Niger (OON), among others.
In 2015, Prof. Ker aspired to govern Benue state under the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), despite his wide acceptability, his aspiration could not see victory at the polls.
Prof. Ker was recently appointed by the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari as the Chairman, Visitation Panel of Modibbo Adama University of Technology, Yola, Adamawa State. He was also the President of Aliade Old Boys Association (AOBA).
Prof. Ker is happily married to Prof. Beatrice Ker, a professor of Counseling Psychology with Benue State University, Makurdi and the union is blessed with four children.