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BOOK REVIEW: Adetanwa Odebiyi’s Twisted Love And The Dangers Of Favoritism In A Nuclear Family



Dele Jegede In Conversation With Prince Yemisi Shyllon


Toyin Falola

The story of Jacob’s family is a popular tale among religious families, but there is an aspect of the Biblical story of Joseph to which people do not pay attention. There are many aspects to that story, but the one that seemingly gains less attention is Jacob’s favoritism of Joseph over his brothers. The eventual end of Joseph’s story and the portrayal of Jacob’s bias, as a part of the larger plan to see Joseph become a governor in Egypt and the savior of his people, makes it difficult to critique the Jacobian bias. If Joseph had not aligned himself with the set plans for his life, he could well have perished due to his father’s bias for him. As often as this critical part of the Joseph story is neglected, the truth remains that the cons of favoritism in a family—nuclear or extended, monogamous or polygamous—outweigh the pros.

What happens when parents, in a typical Jacobian move, favor one child over another? What happens when parents do not allow for individual differences in their children? What happens when all children are scrutinized from the same high pedestal without factoring in their individual strengths and weaknesses? What happens when parents overlook a child’s flaws just because such a child seemingly covers up for it with excellent academic performance? What happens when parents flippantly ignore concerns of heightened sibling rivalry?

In a world where the sad news of sibling-rivalry-induced vices such as killing, injuring, or kidnapping is prevalent, Adetanwa Odebiyi’s seven-chapter Twisted Love explores these salient questions in a way that exposes the grave dangers of open bias for a child over others. True to the maxim that literature is the mirror of society, Twisted Love is a social commentary wrapped in the skin of fiction, and its comments touch primarily on the overreaching and dangerous effects of singling out a child as the continual recipient of biased familial love. In 208 pages, Adetanwa Odebiyi explores how sibling rivalry, if left unattended to, can degenerate into a lifelong hatred among siblings and go as far as murder. She does not waste time on unnecessary themes; the subject matter is clearly treated from the outset, and her level of expertise in seeing that such a subject matter is sustained to the end, without losing readers’ interest in the book, is worthy of accolades.

READ ALSO: BOOK REVIEW: The Aesthetics Of Performance And Orality In Na’Allah’s Dadakuada

Twisted Love is a book set in early post-colonial Nigeria, and it opens with a description of life in the family of Mr. and Mrs. Adeoti, a middle-class family with both parents as top civil servants in the educational sector. The Adeotis have four children: Funmi, Ronke, Bayo, and Lolu. From the beginning, the reader is made to understand that the Adeoti’s family places primacy on intellectual prowess and excellent academic performance. They are blessed with intellectually sound children, save for the second child, Ronke, who is not as academically bright as her siblings. The other children are indulged, and their excesses are overlooked because of their brilliance. Mr. Adeoti does not mind when Funmi shies away from house chores, and he sees no wrong in Lolu being a spoiled boy, as long as they keep their excellent grades. Also, Mr. Adeoti does not hide the fact that Funmi is his favorite of all the four children, and he expresses this by showering her with gifts. Ronke, having noticed her parents’ bias for Funmi, learned to throw tantrums and circumvent her parents’ decisions. So she can get a new pair of sandals, Ronke destroys the used sandals passed down to her from her sister. All through their childhood, Ronke strives to be as accepted as Funmi, but she does not possess the qualities that Funmi has, and her parents are not ready to give her the same level of attention, not minding her person.

Mr. Adeoti’s bias for Funmi clearly shows in how he handles her tantrums even after she fails to do her daily chore of wetting the flowers. Instead of punishing Funmi for over-logging the flowers with water, Mr. Adeoti explains to her why she should have responded differently; whereas, he flogs Ronke with a belt at the slightest provocation. Of course, this style of scolding is not lost on Funmi’s siblings, especially Ronke, and it contributes to their perception of their father as a biased parent. There are many instances in the book where Mr. Adeoti flogs Ronke, particularly when she asks him why he did not give Funmi a harder punishment for overlogging the flowers with water.

As the children grow, so does the animosity between the girls. As the animosity between Ronke and Funmi waxes strong, their father scolds them almost every time, but this only leads to Ronke being overly outspoken and confronting what she believes is her father’s unfair treatment and bias for her sister. Ronke’s perceived lack of encouragement and support from her parents pushes her to be self-defensive and gives her the effrontery to stand up to her father’s unfair treatment. Age does not reduce the level of animosity that Ronke has for Funmi, as their father predicted.

Some chapters into the book, we see that Funmi continues to excel in her studies, even in medical school, where she emerges as the overall best student. She goes on to marry Kunle, one of her classmates, and they give birth to three children. Another recurring theme that Odebiyi explores in her book is that of infidelity among husbands. Mr. Adeoti, Funmi’s father, cheats on his wife when he is transferred to Umuahia and Bauchi as a civil servant. He enjoys staying out late, frequenting nightclubs, and having affairs with other women. These same vices are found in Funmi’s husband, Kunle Ojo, who has affairs with two people at his workplace—Rosemary, his departmental secretary, and Peju, a nurse at the hospital where Kunle and Funmi work. He also engages in another extramarital affair with Dolapo, Ronke’s erstwhile classmate, at Ronke’s urging.

Twisted Love is a tale of many plots woven into the fabric of favoritism and how it breeds other problems. It is written in an easy-to-read manner, with a defined plot progression, and there is a balance between the narrative technique and the dialogue technique. This makes it an engaging prose work. The author’s plot development techniques are so subtle that at a surface level, especially in the first few pages of the first chapter, the average reader will find it difficult to pinpoint the book’s protagonist. Is it the girl suffering from perceived maltreatment and a degree of rejection from her family? Is it the girl whose name and deeds keep recurring on the pages of the book? It takes a careful following of the events in the book to unravel the mystery of the plot and character development–that Funmi is the protagonist, and her sister, Ronke, is the antagonist; as Ronke’s ordeals in a family where it seems that she is not loved and accepted turn her into a villain.

READ ALSO: BOOK REVIEW: Abdul-Rasheed Na’Allah’s Seriya And The Aesthetics Of Socialist Realism

A clearer reading of the book reveals that Ronke must have interpreted her father’s preference for Funmi out of proportion. Mr. Adeoti does not hate Ronke; rather, he talks more about Funmi because she possesses the qualities that every parent would want in their child, qualities that a parent could boast of to their fellow parents. However, that is not to say that Ronke’s talents and skills are not admirable. It’s just that she gets so used to being asked to emulate her sister that she has little time to give to the development of her own skills and talents. Twisted Love provides all the motives one could ever think of in cases of aggravated sibling rivalry, and it is proof that scars never fade. It is a book that teaches parents to be cautious of how they train their children because there will be instances to refer to many years later, and the aggrieved never forgets.

Men are portrayed as people who lord over their wives and who would always want to have their way. While this may seem true in part as it concerns some men, it is imperative to focus on changing societal perceptions on affective issues and seeing to ways to bring about change, not projecting and promoting such issues. If the author wants to condemn wife battery and unbridled husband dominance, then it is to be known that things went south, as that scene only succeeds in passing the wrong message and proving that a married man could do whatever he wants without questioning or fear of the consequences. If Twisted Love is to be rewritten according to the message of change it preaches, Mr. Adeoti will love Ronke as much as he loves Funmi. Beyond that, he will advise her to embrace her strengths and support her career in the culinary, catering, or music industry. Not every child has their future divinely tailored from the sufferings that stem from their parents’ favoritism; therefore, parents should desist from placing one child above the others, as there are far-reaching consequences for this familial vice.

Twisted Love has all it takes to be a much-sought-after book. It is written in an accessible language. It touches on salient issues, brings to the fore the rippling effects of favoritism in a family, and encourages all-round familial love that factors in individual differences.

(This is a review of Twisted Love by Adetanwa Ibironke Odebiyi, published by Abbi Books, 2021)


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Toyin Falola, Memories Of Africa: Home And Abroad In The United States



Dele Jegede In Conversation With Prince Yemisi Shyllon
Prof. Toyin Falola

By Olusegun Olopade

Toyin Falola, Memories of Africa: Home and Abroad in the United States (Atlantic Migrations and the African Diaspora) | © March 2023

Book Details

Publisher‏: ‎ University Press of Mississippi (March 24, 2023)

Language‏: ‎ English

Paperback: ‎ 256 pages

ISBN-10: ‎ 1496843487

ISBN-13: ‎ 978-1496843487


Memories of Africa: Home and Abroad in the United States suggests a new lens for viewing African Diaspora studies: the experiences of African memoirists who live in the United States. The book shows how African Diaspora memoirs beautifully and grippingly depict the experiences of African migrants over time through political, social, and cultural spheres. In reading African Diaspora memoirs from the transatlantic slave trade period to the present, a reader can understand the complexity of the African migrant legacy and evolution.

Author Toyin Falola argues that memoirs are significant not only in their interpretation of events conveyed by the memoirists but also in demonstrating how interpersonal and human the stories told can be. Memoirs are powerful because they are emotionally captivating and because important themes and events circulate around a particular person (in this case, the memoirist).

Undoubtedly, a memoir is significant because it can teach anyone about a part of the human experience, even if the “facts” are not described without bias. Through this sort of narrative, the reader cannot help but enter into the memoirist’s mind and, therefore, feel more empathy for them. In doing so, the reader can “feel” what the memoirist feels and “see” what the memoirist sees as clearly as is humanly possible. In this way, the historical events and life lessons become tangible and poignantly real to the reader.

Editorial Reviews

Memories of Africa makes a significant contribution to the study of the African Diaspora, African intellectual history, to our understanding of African autobiography, and more importantly to life studies. Falola provides fresh insights that will reinvigorate the field. — Olabode Ibironke, author of Remapping African Literature.

Memories of Africa opens a new dimension to the understanding of the experiences of home, space, and place, and their interactions in African and diaspora studies. — Adetayo Alabi, author of Oral Forms of Nigerian Autobiography and Life Stories.

Toyin Falola is Professor of History, University Distinguished Teaching Professor, and the Jacob and Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities at the University of Texas at Austin, USA. He has received over thirty lifetime career awards and sixteen honorary doctorates. He has written extensively on the African Diaspora, including The African Diaspora: Slavery, Modernity, and Globalization.

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12th Toyin Falola Annual International Conference On Africa And The African Diaspora (2023 TOFAC) Set To Hold



Dele Jegede In Conversation With Prince Yemisi Shyllon
Prof. Toyin Falola

Second/ Extended Call for Papers


July 26 – July 28, 2023

Venue: University of Abuja, Main Campus, Giri-Airport Road, Abuja Nigeria

Purposeful leadership and inclusive political and economic institutions have been identified as necessities for Africa and all Africa-related peoples and regions to begin to address past failures, confront present predicaments and chart a credible course for the future. Unfortunately, Africa’s leaders have largely failed to transform the African state and its institutions into agents of development for the benefit of the citizens. Several explanations have been adduced for the observed leadership deficiencies that have become almost permanent narratives of Africa. Such explanations have often included, but not limited to, externalist arguments that point to the legacies of colonial exploitation and its neocolonial challenges, the sustained colonial legacy of economic dependence on foreign powers, as well as contemporary global events that systemically constrain Africa’s opportunities for growth and development. There are also internalist explanations that attribute Africa’s leadership conundrum and institutional failures to successive African leaders’ rapacity and irresponsible choices. Whatever these explanations may be, there is an emerging consensus that real progress cannot happen until Africa addresses its leadership questions and transforms its weak and predatory institutions into inclusive and formidable ones.

The 2023 TOFAC Conference will critically examine Africa’s political leadership and extant institutions vis-à-vis the continent’s history of underdevelopment, present challenges, and future trajectories within the global political economy. Scholars are invited to interrogate the nature and evolution of leadership and institutions in Africa from the pre-colonial era to contemporary times. Institutions in this context are broadly defined to include formal and informal institutions, including the people’s history, traditions, religion, and culture. Arising from this, there are underlying questions. Is it leadership that shapes institutions, or do institutions determine the quality of leaders that emerge? How can African states achieve the leadership and institutional transformation necessary to address the perennial development challenges of the continent? Are there lessons that could be drawn from the experiences of the pre-colonial era to inform contemporary issues of leadership?

We invite proposals for papers, panel presentations, roundtables and artistic works/performances that critically examine these and other related issues on Africa’s leadership and institutions. As in years past, participants will be drawn from around the world. Graduate students are encouraged to attend and present papers. The conference will allow scholars from various disciplines and geographical locations to interact, exchange ideas, and receive feedback. Additionally, selected papers will be published in a series of book volumes. Finally, submitted papers will be assigned to particular panels according to similarities in theme, topic, discipline, or geographical focus. Panel proposals (of 3-5 presenters) are especially encouraged.

We invite submissions that include but areI Inot limited to the following sub-themes and topi Institutions Conceptualized

· The nature and role of formal and informal institutions

· Institutional path dependency

· Institutional change and transformation

· Incentive structures and the choices of agents

· Institutions and Economic Performance

· Policy institutions

· Institutions and enforcement mechanisms

· The state, its institutions and the citizens

· People as institutions

Leadership and Institutions in Pre-colonial Africa

· The nature of leadership in pre-colonial Africa

· The role of chiefs, kings, monarchs and other authority figures

· The interface between culture and leadership in pre- colonial Africa

· The evolution of culture from the pre-colonial era to the present

· The society and the citizen in the pre-colonial era

· Traditional institutions versus contemporary systems

· The position and influence of religion in pre-colonial political institutions

Leadership and Institutions in the Colonial Era

· State formation in Africa

· The nature of colonial institutions

· Interactions of colonial institutions and pre- colonial systems

· Constitutional development in colonial Africa

· Africans input in the development of colonial institutions

· The rise of new elites

· Integration of indigenous leaders in colonial administration

· Dislocations, transformations, and modernity

· Nationalism and new trajectories

Colonial Legacies

· Colonial exploitation and the emergence of predatory state-society relations

· Neocolonialism

· Postcolonial economic models and African dependency

· Western democracy and the conflict of culture

· Foreign institutions and the problem of adaptability

· Rural-urban divide and the challenge of active citizenship

· Education, culture and the leadership question

The Nature of Political Leadership in Postcolonial Africa

· The role of Africa’s independence leaders in setting leadership standards

· Leadership recruitment processes

· The role of culture in determining the type of leaders that emerge

· Religion and leadership

· Foreign interventions in domestic policies

· Education, training and leadership

· L e a d e r s h i p , E t h n i c i t y a n d Separatism/Secessionism

· Democracy and accountability

· Citizenship, expectations, and civic engagements

· The role of civil society in holding leaders accountable

· The role of the media in African politics

· Class and the political economy of leadership recruitment

· Africa’s Big Men

· Patriarchy, gender and the leadership question

Institutions in Postcolonial Africa

· The nature of political and economic institutions

· Evolution of institutions in postcolonial Africa

· Colonialism and the legacies of exploitation and expropriation

· Military intervention and role in the development and growth of institutions

· Examination of critical institutions of the state – public service, the Police Force, etc.

· Constitution development in postcolonial Africa

· Property rights institutions

· Anti-corruption crusades and institutional reforms

· Law enforcement and the judiciary

· Economic systems, financial institutions and systems

· Election institution, concept, process, outcomes, and consequences

· Law enforcement and anti- corruption institutions

· Institutions and informal politics and spaces

· The future of traditional institutions in Africa

The Cold War and Africa’s Postcolonial Leadership

· Africa’s decolonization and the Cold War

· The impact of the Cold War on Africa’s independence leaders

· The nature of foreign interventions during the Cold War

· The Cold War and the emergence of violent political culture

· International legitimacy versus domestic popularity for African leaders

· The Cold War and Africa’s political institutions

· Post-Cold War transformations of African leadership

Multilateral Institutions in Africa

· The role of the World Bank and IMF in Africa’s economic systems

· Public debt and the choices of African leaders

· Foreign interests and interventions in leadership selection

· Economic development ideologies versus local realities

· The futility of universal recipes in economic policies

· Foreign aid and leaders’ responsibilities

· Conditionalities and citizens’ welfare

· The future of development assistance to Africa

· The effect of foreign aid on institutions

· The influence and contribution of ECOWAS, A U , a n d o t h e r  r e g i o n a l / c o n t i n e n t a l oragnizations

· Commonwealth, UN, and other international organizations on African politics

Information Technology and Social Media

· Social media and citizens’ demand for leadership accountability

· Dissemination of government programs

· Social media and government transparency

· Information technology and the election process

· Leadership recruitment, retention and removal

· Citizenship participation in the governance process

· Public engagements and institutional change


· Education and citizenship rights

· The relationship between education, industry and bureaucracy

· State involvement in education

· Quality and availability of basic and compulsory leadership education

· History, leadership and the African state

· The role of the media in institutions building

Creativity and Performance of Leadership/Institutional deficits

· Creative governance

· Leadership Accountability

· Models of institutional checks and balances

· Governance peer review mechanism

Each individual proposal must include: 1) title of the work and an abstract of 200 words, 2) the name of the presenter (with the surname underlined). 3) mailing address, 4) number phone, 5) email, 6) institutional affiliation, and 7) three to five keywords that best characterize the themes and topics relevant to your submission. Participants are encouraged to abide by these guidelines.

Proposals for panels (3-5 presenters) must include: 1) title of the panel and a collective summary of 250 words on the panel’s theme, including the title of each individual work 2) a 200-word abstract for the presentation of each speaker 3) mailing address 4) phone number 5) email and 6) institutional affiliation of each presenter. Panels with four presenters or less may be completed with other relevant presentations.

Proposals will further be accepted till July 10, 2023 and should be sent to uof

A mandatory non-refundable registration fee of $100 dollars for scholars (or the Nigerian equivalents in Naira) and $50 for graduate students (or the Nigerian equivalents in Naira ) must be paid immediately upon the acceptance of the abstract. This conference fee includes a conference bag, admission to the panels, workshops, special events, and transportation to and from the hotel and conference events.

Confirmed key Note and Lead Speakers at Plenaries/Members of LOC:

1.-Key Note Speaker -Professor Eghosa Oseghae-Director, Nigerian Institute for international Affairs, Lagos

2. First Lead Paper Presenter -Professor Jibrin Ibrahim-Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD),Abuja 3.Second Lead Paper Presenter -Professor Uchenna Okeja-Rhodes University,South Africa

4. Professor Lawrence Ogbo Ugwuanyi-Department of Philosophy, University of Abuja-Member, Organising Committee

5. Professor Philip Akpen-Department of History, University of Abuja- Member, Organising Committee 6.Dr.Umar Kari-Department of Sociology, University of Abuja- Member, Organising Committee

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Kenyatta University Holds Toyin Falola At 70 Conference



Kenyatta University Holds Toyin Falola At 70 Conference

The Department of History, Archeology and Political Science of the Kenyatta University is set to hold a Toyin Falola at 70 Conference.

The conference with the theme “Post-Colonial Africa: Historical and Contemporary Realities” is scheduled to take place between May 10 and 12, 2023 at the Kenyatta University.

Modern African economic, socio-cultural, and political realities have been considerably influenced and defined by colonialism. Colonialism created the foundation of the post-colonial. Since the start of the post-colonial and (especially) the post-cold war era, there has been increased academic interest in colonialism– both in the classic and the neo-colonial forms. There have also been considerable academic and non-academic efforts at decoloniality and decolonizing Africa. These efforts have led to studying and documenting African pre-colonial history, literature, and cultural intricacies to achieve self-determination and re-establish the African identity. It is, therefore, necessary and logically consistent with the above to study Africa’s past in relation to its present. Essentially, it is important that aside from examining the print of colonial pedagogy, methods, and philosophies, Africa is studied in the light of its actions, attempts at self-governance, and realities defined by its stakeholders.

READ ALSO: Toyin Falola Donates Over 500 Books To Kaduna State University Library

A considerable effort has been directed at researching, documenting, and analyzing Post-colonial Africa across different fields of the Arts and the Humanities. Through such efforts concepts such as neo-colonialism, political hegemony, economic instability, societal disillusionment, administrative lapses among others that touch on the African post-colonial condition have been explored by several researchers and academicians. However, the very basis of the evolution of knowledge and the foundation of the academic world is the consistent evaluation of knowledge, theories, and philosophies. As much as there has been enhanced scholarship around the aforementioned issues, there are still thematically important aspects of Post-Colonial Africa that are relatively unexplored or under-explored. New concepts, skepticism, and relatively new subject matters have developed with the continent’s evolution – particularly concerning socio-culture, administration, globalization, conflicts, diplomacy, and ideological paradigms. For instance, it may be important to define the extent to which pre-colonial Africa influences the post-colonial realities of its nation-states, regions, and Sub-regions, as it applies across respective fields.

Other relevant aspects of the post-colonial African reality like identity dynamics and minority politics, institutions and sub-institutions in Africa, diaspora dynamic, administrative evolution in Africa, Post-colonial gender dynamics in Africa, intercultural realities of distinct nation-states in Africa, cultural awareness, and preservation in Africa, decolonial legal education and practice, ideological politics in post-colonial African, among others. The COVID-19 pandemic presented new dynamics to interpret and understand the place of post-colonial Africa in the world in light of global power politics and diplomatic spate over the causes of COVID-19, vaccine politics, and international travel restrictions. COVID-19 highlighted the need to rethink post-colonial Africa’s readiness to respond to global challenges independently.

The Department of History, Archeology and Political Studies through the Research and Innovation Committee (DRIC) plans to host a conference that is directed at answering the conceptual questions that underline some key aspects of post-colonial Africa – as defined by the necessary contextual factors and underlining theories. The conference is expected to feature different themes and introduce concepts, arguments, and theories that are well-adjusted to current African realities.

The department also wishes to use the occasion to celebrate the 70-year life journey of Professor Toyin Falola, a world renowned Distinguished Professor of History and the Jacob and Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities, at the University of Texas at Austin. Professor Falola has dedicated his entire academic life, with over 150 titles under his name, reflecting on the African condition both in historical and contemporary terms. In March 2022, the Department hosted Professor Falola, who gave thought provoking lectures on “Decolonization of Africa Studies”. As a department, we are keen to use the conference to continue enriching our conversations around this and related themes, enhance our scholarly connections and collaborations, establish new research and publication partnerships as well as strengthen existing ones.


The conference sub-themes will include but are not limited to the following:

  • Decoloniality, and decolonization, as it intertwines with post-colonial studies
  • Internationalization in the African region – key factors for consideration should include Pan-Africanism as examined through the lens of its basis, the status quo, and possible ways forward.
  • Post-colonial economy and the role of the nation-state in establishing independent regional control
  • Resource control as it affects neo-colonialistic affiliations and European hegemonic influence in Post-colonial Africa
  • Liberal ideological predispositions and the socio-philosophical future of the African Nation states – with considerations to the influence of the youth demography
  • Developmental politics in Post-colonial Africa
  • Gender dynamics and politics in Post-colonial Africa
  • Post-colonial Literature and the future of the arts in Africa
  • Migration, conflicts, and peace actions in post-colonial Africa
  • Regional collaboration and diplomatic politics in Post-Colonial Africa

The conference is expected to attract participation from academicians, researchers, experts and practitioners in the area of African history and other related humanities and social science disciplines. These shall be drawn from mainly Kenyan and other African institutions as well as from outside the Africa continent. The conference will allow for a blended mode where some participants will be present on-site at Kenyatta university while others will present online.

READ ALSO: Where Did All The Money Go?

Prospective participants are encouraged to send abstracts of between 250 and 500 words, including their full contact details (title, name, address, email address and telephone number) as well as their institutional affiliation by 30th February, 2023 to:

Final Output
Authors of accepted abstracts will be notified by 5th March 2023 and asked to prepare full papers to be presented during the conference. The official language of the conference will be English. Papers presented at the conference will be peer reviewed and published in an edited volume.

Important Dates

27th January, 2023: Call for Papers/Abstracts
30th February, 2023: Deadline for Receipt of Abstracts
5th March 2023: Notification of Acceptance of Abstracts/Papers
15th April 2023: Deadline for receipt of Full papers
20th April, 2023: Registration begins
1st May, 2023: End of Registration
10th to 12 May 2023: Conference Dates

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