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A Conspiracy History: Unraveling The Puzzles In Nigeria’s Future

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A Conspiracy History: Unraveling The Puzzles In Nigeria’s Future

By
Tunji Olaopa

In 1939, after the signing of the Nazi-Soviet Pact, Winston Churchill, the British Prime Minister, as dumbfounded as the rest of the world, characterized Russia as a “riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma”—an inscrutable state that defined her own international relations rules and played by them. Nigeria does not share anything in common with Russia in terms of her notoriety in world affairs. Russia’s political history, from Josef Stalin to Vladimir Putin, has been one long trajectory of aggressive foreign policy. Nigeria is a postcolonial state that has many crippling structural and institutional legacies to contend with in her attempt to make developmental progress. And yet, it is in these very attempts that Nigeria keeps confounding those who have invested thoughts, intellect, efforts and sagacity into making Nigeria realize her greatness. Since independence, sixty-one solid years, Nigeria’s ship of state has kept floundering, even with the best of the governance vision of succeeding governments and development planning.

To make matters worse, the inauguration and national progress of the Nigerian state has been further enmeshed in a series of conspiracies that seem to complicate the post-independence predicament and how to get out of it. And what we have come to know as the “Nigerian condition” or the “Nigerian Factor” is all the worse for it since it has been invested with some mysterious quantity that continues to undermine all that has been done politically to transform Nigeria’s fortune. For Dean Haglund, the Canadian actor, “The beauty of any conspiracy theory is that because it can’t be proved, that just makes it more ‘real.’ It’s not a question of believing or not believing, really; it’s more a question of just accepting a series of probabilities that lead to an undeniable conclusion.” In the case of Nigeria, the worry is the extent to which the conspiracies about the founding and development of the Nigerian state has occluded the real issues as to what we really need to do—what the political class needs to do—to get Nigeria out of her present condition.

READ ALSO: Narrow Politics And Questions Of Democratic Development

Colonialism and the amalgamation of the Northern and Southern Protectorates is the most significant factor that defined Nigeria’s postcolonial reality. Outside of the historical narrative of how the colonial arithmetic strung together ethnic nationalities and infrastructural conditions for the sake of facilitating the development of the European metropolises, so many other conspiracies have been cooked up in the underbelly of colonization. Did the Nigerian nationalists betray the postcolonial future of Nigerians with backdoor negotiations? Were they led on a leash to do what the colonialists actually wanted for Nigeria? Were the nationalists, from Anthony Enahoro to Herbert Macaulay, and from Ahmadu Bello to Nnamdi Azikiwe, too eager to replace the colonialists that they failed to look deeper into the dynamics of independence and the encoded landmines? Indeed, the negotiations that brought independence for Nigeria, through the so many constitutional conferences, were too burdened by historical gaps to achieve certainties.

One of the other historical refrains, like British-induced conspiracies, is the idea about the Islamization of Nigeria. The Fulani Jihad war of 1804 to 1808, led by Uthman dan Fodio, not only defeated the Hausa kingdoms, but also led to the creation of the Sokoto Caliphate. The decline of the old Oyo empire also facilitated the foothold of the Caliphate into Ilorin. So far, so good. This is all historical fact. But there are those who still insist that the march of the Caliphate is not ended. Its endgame is the Islamization and Fulanization of the whole of Nigeria. When in 1986, the then military head of State, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, took Nigeria into the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC), the conspiracy theorists had their “proof”! But then, the “proof” keeps getting stronger with the rising insecurity occasioned by the Fulani herdsmen and the hesitation of the Buhari administration to decisively intervene.

But then, it is not only the Hausa-Fulani that have generated conspiracies in Nigeria’s political development. In 1966, Gen. Aguiyi-Ironsi promulgated the notorious Decree 34 that unified Nigeria out of her former regional status. The Decree was supposed to put to rest the crises that regionalism supposedly plunged Nigeria into. There were several indications that conspiracy theorists identified as a secret plan to foster an Igbo take-over of Nigeria. First, Ironsi stocked very sensitive federal posts with Igbo functionaries—from his three-man advisory committee, all Igbo; to the Minister of Justice, Chief Michael Onyiuke, who replaced Dr Taslim Elias, a Yoruba. Second, out of the four regional military governors, two rejected the decree, one was noncommittal; only Lt. Col. Ojukwu, another Igbo, welcomed the decree. By July, 1966, a counter-coup had occurred, and the civil war, founded on the fear of Igbo domination and Biafra secession bid, was about to happen. From Ironsi to the present-day Biafra, nationalism seems like one connected trajectory for many conspiracy theorists. And, as the argument goes, it becomes a dangerous political game to allow an Igbo presidency given the possibility of using that pedestal to realize the vision of Biafra and Igbo self-determination!

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Even the civil service is not left out of the conspiracy. When the war ended in 1970, Gen. Yakubu Gowon became the head of state, reinstated the federal system, and had enough petrodollar to facilitate the rehabilitation of the Nigerian state. He also had the technocratic and strategic policy intelligence backend instituted by the famous super permanent secretaries. But, as the conspiracy theory goes, when the Gowon administration was toppled in 1975 by Gen. Murtala Muhammed, it was time to get back at the civil service and the super permanent secretaries who stood between the war generals and Gowon in the chain of command! And the 1976 purge of the civil service was the get-back strategy to whittle down the service. Of course, the theorists had nothing to say about the genuine need to downsize a system that was already over-bloated as a result of the Nigerianisation Policy and the principle of representativeness. On the contrary, the deathblow to the civil service was a means of making the institution realize the significance of power politics, and Nigeria sure will live for some time to come with the seemingly irresolvable unintended consequences of that political misjudgment.

We can cap this trajectory with the Yoruba factor in Nigerian politics, and the litany of theories about the marginalization of the Yoruba. The story moves from Awolowo to MKO Abiola and the Obasanjo presidency via the betrayal of IBB. Again, as with the other grand theories, it was Olusegun Obasanjo, a willing stooge of the Northern cabal, that undermined Awolowo’s chance of becoming president in 1979. And the same Obasanjo harvested the gains of the Yoruba’s chance of the presidency when the June 12 victory of MKO Abiola was annulled by IBB.

The entire gamut of conspiracy theories both indicts the Nigerian political class while simultaneously projecting elite nationalism as a means by which the futility of conspiracy can be unmasked in outlining Nigeria’s path towards national development and progress. The fundamental issue is that of how to undermine these conspiracies by outlining a strategic theory of change and socio-political reengineering praxis that will take Nigeria out of the national doldrums. The conspiracy theories complicate Nigeria’s post-independence predicament. That is one complication we not only cannot afford, but that must be creatively deconstructed to create a new narrative compass for envisioning a better and more reassuring future. But it is also one that is fueled by the incapacity of the political class to proactively put in place governance frameworks and dynamics that will advance Nigeria’s real interests on behalf of the well-being of Nigerians. As it is, the failure of the political class constitutes the ready manure that feeds the growth of these theories.

READ ALSO: Nigerian Democracy And Challenges Of Nation Building

When we put together the Conspiracy History of Nigeria (CHoN), then we are confronted with a straightforward conclusion that Nigeria’s predicament is an irresolvable one—a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. However, this is one conclusion that is very far from the truth. And that truth is derived from the many iterations of political histories in the march of civilization. From the Greek city-states to the rise and fall of the Roman empire, and from the dynamics of the Ottoman dynasty to the old Oyo empire, we have tales and trajectories of how national elites became the game changers in the evolution of national predicament and transformation. Indeed, one of my most famous examples is the injection of philosophical reflections, by Plato in the Republic, into the crafting of the political future of ancient Athens. Political elites have always been significant in the visioneering of the future of any state and society. And this is not less so in the urgent need to rethink the future of Nigeria.

The crass vision in the CHoN can be transcended by a politically genuine appraisal of Nigeria’s plural situation and development failures that serve as the basis for engendering first, a sincere dialogue about what ails this great state; and second, how we can generate a national health and integrity system to commence a healing process. Heroic leadership consists in making the people believe in the impossible. But then, Nigeria and her greatness are possible. All that is needed urgently are leaders who believe in the possibility of Nigeria and are willing to stake their reputation on that possibility.

Prof. Olaopa is a retired Federal Permanent Secretary , and Professor of Public Administration, National Institute
For Policy and Strategic Studies
(NIPSS), Kuru, Jos
tolaopa2003@gmail.com

 

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Opinion

NADECO’s Bliss That’s No More

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NADECO’s Bliss That’s No More

By

Tony Afejuku

I have been doing some investigation on NADECO – National Democratic Coalition. At this point I do not want to go intoto into what I wish or need to say about this uniquely patriotic body of patriotically patriotic Nigerians (some of whom are dead) who were the original founders and members. But I should like to state urgently that NADECO, the original NADECO, was a movement – yes a movement, of intrepid men, real nationalists, of diverse political, professional and intellectual activities. They were generally public figures who were committed to establishing an imperial state – if I may use the term – of bliss for all our compatriots, an imperial state where no one would be discriminated against and barred from occupying the highest office in the land on account of his/her religious and ethnic background and status. In other words, their commitment was to a scientific welfare state where no form of oppression or any kind of ridiculous schemes for manipulating the people and opinion to serve any selfish interest and class would be allowed and tolerated. The conceived imperial state would discountenance any kind of revenge which would not be allowed to ring anywhere and in all observations and complaints; no malevolence was expected to be seen in any praise or words of praise that should bring bliss to all.

READ ALSO: When God Visits A Beleaguered World

Were these basic values of NADECO not ones of Utopia? Was the ideology of NADECO not suspect in view of the fact that some property-owners would still like to exercise colonial control over their property and their communities where they commanded considerable influence? And who among the original NADECO members and founders were prepared in the real sense of the word to be linked to a different kind of nascent political power as conceived by them? Were they real? Were they genuine? These were some of the questions I posed recently in a discussion I had with a NADECO insider and originator and which I wanted him to answer as simply and as truthfully as possible. Meanwhile, his towered up thoughts shall be in abeyance.

What inspired our discussion (which was part of my NADECO investigation) was primarily the fresh released report of the Lekki procession of last year’s October which was the subject of this column last Friday. Our discussion dwelt on what would have been if NADECO’s divine strive against inequality and predominance of one group or class had come into being. The tarantulas that went to Lekki to bite the EndSars protesters would not have had any place in the land. And your country my country our country would have since become your country my country our country that we always have beautifully yearned to have. All kinds of tarantism would have since bitten themselves out of here. And all our young chaps would have since seen that NADECO is the clearest parable of a pleasurable political body to legitimate acutely the status also of refined political authority to serve the people.

READ ALSO: Covid-19, Managing in Crisis Times And Public Administration

Today we would not have been talking of restructuring as latter-day NADECOists are basically doing. As I understood (and I still understand it) the original NADECO’s capital was that of the political and professional intellectual: oratorical skill as a politician of beauty and rhetorical proficiency as a writer on the ideological sphere of combat to bring to bay that which must be significantly brought to bay to avoid past errors of our politics. NADECO’s politics as originally conceived and planned was the politics of the Superhero, the politics of the Superman. Each original NADECO personage was expected to possess some doses of Obafemi Awolowo’s extraordinarily significant organic intellectual capability and political acumen. To all intents and purposes therefore every original NADECO member knew and understood the meaning and “closeness to real political power” to be employed as Awolowo intellectually did as an important humanist who was very conscious of the main current of our clime. His distinguished reputation was expectedly expected to flow invariably in the consciousness of each one’s own private and public mind.

Clearly, today’s NADECO – if it still exists – possesses a mind which has since changed from the conscious past of progressive politics and governance to the conscious present of political and administrative restructuring that is remote from the awareness of the past that the current NADECOists’ consciousness is not at all prone to develop.

Who are or were the original NADECO members and founders? Comrade Jonathan Ihonde, an original member and founder – a foremost one – who was highly instrumental to the coming into being of the organized organization committed to wiping out of our land the poison spiders of our politics, is writing a book on the subject. The book is detailing what I don’t want to detail here. For now it is suffice to say that on account of the late MKO Abiola’s plea to him when he purposely came to visit him in Benin City, Comrade Ihonde, the creator of the then very popular NTA Benin “Hotel de Jordan,” a high drama of politico socio-cultural dimension, went to the late Chief Anthony Enahoro to plead for MKO Abiola after contacting various interest groups from every region of our country. This was after IBB killed Abiola’s presidential electoral victory in 1992. Of course his SDP – Social Democratic Party – top guns and fellows had bitten him badly. He meant and vowed to survive the poison of his party’s tarantulas.

READ ALSO: Lekki Procession One Year After

NADECO was thus born in Benin City. The Soviet-trained Comrade Jonathan Ihonde became the organization’s revolutionary Vice-Chairman after Chief Anthony Enahoro was equally elected/appointed its chairman. Other patriots who were visible members/originators of NADECO were Mr. Mike Ehimah (Secretary), the late Senator Olu Akpata, Mrs. Nadena Emovon, Mr. Alex Ayatola (Enahoro’s PA of Igbo stock) and others I cannot immediately recall. Of course, the late Alfred Rewane was aware of the formation and was part of it from inception even though he was abroad at auspicious times of its meetings. But he was NADECO’s indisputable tower of financial strength. Eventually, it was agreed that Abiola’s Western Nigeria should champion the divine battle against the injustice which the northern juntos led by IBB master minded.

Chief Anthony Enahoro and Mr. Alex Ayatola were mandated to visit the late Chief Michael Ajasin at Owo to persuade him to take over the leadership and to gaze into the far field in the endeavour to give Abiola joyful splendour and to usher bliss post-Awolowo to our fatherland. Chief Ajasin had the full mandate to reach out to fellow like minds from his region and elsewhere to give daylight happiness to everyone in the land. The rest from my end is history. But how many of us now cannot but be giddy with pain – how many of us? Are the tarantulas still not poisoning our bliss and happiness? “There must be punishment and justice” (not revenge) to cleanse your country my country our country when our Superman appears. The consciousness of the original NADECO must be re-awakened in us. The real progressive leftists have been silent for too long. We must wrench our true daylight from the darkness and dark hands and dark grips of the current poison spiders that are worse and more than worse than pythons. And let me share this gem with you: the Supreme Spiritual Masters of Merit (SSMM) are seriously turning well in their deathless states.

Afejuku can be reached via 08055213059

 

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Covid-19, Managing in Crisis Times And Public Administration

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Covid-19, Managing in Crisis Times And Public Administration

By

Tunji Olaopa

The year 2020 would be remembered in the annals of world history as the year that the coronavirus visited the world and transformed every dimension of human endeavors, from eating and greeting habits to administrative frameworks and the way we see the human world. With millions already dead and many more infected, especially through many variants deadlier than the original virus, the pandemic has already defined a new normal in human relations and activities. It does not take any serious reflection to see that public administration becomes the most significant human endeavor to be challenged not only in dealing with the pandemic, but also in responding to the ordering of the human world in a post-COVID-19 world. All across the world, public administration has often been called upon to deal with wars, pestilences, development efforts, and state projects of all kinds. In Nigeria, for example, public administration had to contend with the task of prosecuting the Nigerian civil war as well as outlining an administrative framework for a post-war social rehabilitation and reconstruction.

The implication of this assessment of public administration and its confrontation with existing realities of each period in history is that public managers must always operate efficiently within what has been called a VUCA — volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous — administrative environment. In such an environment, public managers and the public service are tasked beyond what the traditional administrative machinery is  able to take charge of. This is the situation with the COVID-19 pandemic. It has created a volatile situation determined by the unpredictable behavior of the virus. This makes the administration of human activities even more complex than it usually is. For instance, the lockdown procedures come with stringent economic realities that affect human freedom and well-being.

READ ALSO: Can Civil Service Profession Be Saved from Politics?

One of the greatest challenges of the public service, especially in a postcolonial administrative context like Nigeria, is the determination of what bureaucratic model could best enable a public service that is effective and efficient sufficiently to deal with the challenges of the VUCA environment while also smartly delivering democratic services. Max Weber, the German philosopher who did a lot to influence the emergence of the traditional administrative model, was also confronted with this kind of VUCA-situation in the early twentieth century. The crisis situation came as a result of the hostility between the German Emperor, Wilhelm II and his Chancellor, Otto von Bismarck, over the content of foreign and social policies. The emperor’s erratic foreign policy has been considered to be one of the root causes of World War I. Max Weber was a very keen philosophical observer of the defeat of Germany in the first world war, as well as the bureaucratic implications of the power tussle between Wilhelm II and Chancellor Bismarck. For instance, he noticed how administrative dominance of the state consolidated in the absence of a strong political leader. This led him to reflect deeply on how to juxtapose political leadership with a bureaucracy that assists  the state in terms of modernisation and development.

Weber’s understanding of the crisis led to a need to model politician-bureaucrat relationship in ways that determine the boundaries of power and authority around policymaking. For Weber, the way out was to generate a bureaucratic tradition that centralized legal-rational authority founded on hierarchical structure and a one-size-fits-all service-wide standardization of governance and operations. The command-and-control structure constructed the public servant as apolitical, loyal, neutral and anonymous. With the bureaucratic model, Weber achieved a crisis management dynamic in the aftermath of the first world war. The question, however, is whether that Weberian model is sufficient to handle the crisis occasioned by the COVID-19 and the myriad challenges of the new normal. This question resonates even more so in a postcolonial context like Nigeria considered one of the worst administrative settings in Africa. An even more fundamental question is how can public services  become efficient in a time of crisis like the pandemic and its future variants?

Putting the questions like this speaks to the need for organizations like the public service to recognize the necessity of change as the most constant factor that demands of organizations a reform template made up of continuous learning, change management and iterative incremental improvements. In organizational development theory, organizations usually fall prey to three development traps that define what has been called the “first cycle” of the bureaucratic culture. First, organizational success leads to self-satisfaction and an unreflective defense of the status quo. Second, size brings the fragmentation of organizational procedures that takes the public managers far away from customers’ feedback which serves as the mechanism for innovative growth. Third, the age factor implies that the older an organization gets, the more it breeds tradition which over time tends to supersede innovative and creative handling of challenges.

READ ALSO: What Does The Future Hold For Public Administration?

The question of high-performing public service in a time of crisis also demands the emergence of astute public managers who see decision-making as the nerve of organizational efficiency. In other words, the smart public managers need to transform the public service into a bold, preemptive and high-performing organizations with the capacity to make fast and effective decisions in the time of crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic. However, decision-making must not be allowed to degenerate into groupthink that hinders individual and organizational creativity, information overload, analysis paralysis that leads to indecision, or overconfidence in the crisis management competence in ways that create tension at both the operational and strategic levels.

The efficiency of any CEO or public manager depends on three critical competences. The first is the capacity to effectively delegate authority in a way that prioritizes the discretion of a crisis manager to independently work in the organizational frontline within a framework of exceptions to the rules that do not however erode the normal regulations in ways that break down the organization. The second competence the public manager needs requires creating a balance between the command-and-control dynamic on the one hand, and participatory team-based decision-making approach on the other.

The third competence that a crisis period demands, is the need for intelligent public managers to be open to alternative scenario planning that anticipates both uncertainties and possibilities. This enables the public servants to bring multiple perspectives to policy challenges and public service delivery using foresight techniques to test different scenarios, and building resilience into policy design from potential shocks and unforeseen events.

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Fashioning new professional skills set involves several other requirements. First, it demands a human resources management architecture around which a new professionalism will be built. Second, this affects the way we reflect on the workplace, work structure and work dynamics that will affect the performance and productivity Nigeria needs. And thirdly, the professionalism must be undergirded by new culture and value changes that enable the public servants to focus on the new enabling values and ethos as well as helping them to think outside of the administrative box.

The idea of scenario planning speaks to the familiar four stages of “forming-storming-norming and performing” model of organization formation that enables any institution and organization to become efficiently formidable not only in dealing with a present challenge but also in anticipating future situations. A public service that wants to be efficient in the new normal created by the COVID-19 pandemic must, within the imperative of scenario planning, adopt a framework of strategic thinking that becomes strategic by challenging the status quo, challenging assumptions and framing strategic choices that allow the public service to not only wade through the difficult times, but also make the best of the situation for the benefit of the citizens.

Furthermore, such a public service must reorder its institutional and structural dynamics and frameworks through several processes, in organisational development trajectory, that must continually refresh the organisational dynamics and prevent it from going into institutional stagnation. These include: (a) Learning organization: An all-out effort is required on the part of managers to keep its employees educated on the latest technology, systems, knowhow and processes; (b) Total quality management: TQM involves employee involvement, teamwork, decision-making, problem-solving, high-level involvement, adopting a work culture aimed at growth and quality of product and services. TQM requires total commitment, removing fear psychosis  due to failure at lower levels, development of successful work culture and continuous improvement; (c) Visioning: Visioning envisages as to what the organization would look like in the future. It is related to the shape in terms of which HR facilities, the growth and the needs of people it is likely to fulfill. Based on the vision, database is required to be built, leading to interpretation of information, arriving at suitable decisions and setting a course of action leading to growth. Visioning refers to looking at the organization in ‘totality’; and (d) Virtual organizations: Getting whole system in one room, evolving action plan and implementation.

READ ALSO: When God Visits A Beleaguered World

In the new normal, public administration is now doubly tasked to achieve an efficient service delivery to the citizens. This means that it cannot not be business as usual for public managers, not in terms of the traditional bureaucratic culture and definitely not in terms of the skills and competency sets. The new normal requires a new public service that is smart and decisive with regard to a decision that transforms the well-being of citizens who are struggling to make sense of their environment.

Prof. Olaopa is a retired Federal Permanent Secretary, and  Professor of Public Administration, the National Institute For Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru, Jos

tolaopa2003@gmail.com

 

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Opinion

Ibadan: My City of Fame

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Ibadan: My City of Fame

By

Toyin Falola

I have searched; I have attempted, and I conclude that there are not enough words to quantify how much Ibadan     the city of the brave and fierce     means to me. Yes, I did attempt to describe my love for and affinity to the city in my memoir, A Mouth Sweeter than Salt, but I have since acquiesced that Ibadan is that indescribable lover. It is valid to say this love and affinity can be likened to what everyone feels towards their city of birth and origin. However, for me, it is beyond that.

Ibadan is my place of birth; the city of my forebears; and the place where I was raised. What I am today has its roots in where I was born and the receptivity of the environment in which I grew up. It is what psychologists call the nature-nurture continuum. A wise man reminisces, and in reminiscing, he is able to tell how circumstances interwove to produce a unique turn of events. For decades, I have researched and produced papers and studies in history, and at the heart of my scholarly works is African history. I am deeply interested in African history, and that interest can be traced back to Ibadan. As breastmilk to a neonate, Ibadan was my first taste of Africa. Thus, at the mention of Ibadan, or whenever memories of Ibadan surface, a fountain of happiness and contentment surges in my heart, so much so that joy flows through my veins and touches a smile upon my lips.

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Culturally rich, historically blessed, full of resplendent human resources—Ibadan—the city of the brave! To be born of Ibadan parents is to be doubly smart in human dealings. To be born of Ibadan parents, in Ibadan, is to be triply knowledgeable on how to navigate this world of humans. Fortified with thrice as much knowledge and smartness, I ventured into the world. But not until I had learned at the feet of my people. But to love Ibadan goes beyond having natal affiliations to the historical city. Spread like a terrestrial mat across seven hills, Ibadan is famous for its bravery and the intelligence and dexterity of its warriors. Military strength and prowess were at the heart of the dealings of Ibadan people in the past. From the very beginning, the rulers of old Ibadan were warriors who had to prove their superiority by the number of wars they had successfully led their charges to win.

The evolution of Ibadan is worthy of aesthetic praises in itself. Ibadan, at inception, was just scattered war camps on an unmarked forested territory. Lagelu, touted as the founding father of the now extensive city, only wanted a common ground for warriors from Ijebu, Ife, and Oyo. What started as a haven of defense rose to become one of pre-colonial Oyo Empire’s most respected and famous cities. Ibadan went to wars, and Ibadan won wars. Ibadan military gurus were known to specialize in the art of going to wars and winning them.

Miniature industrialization sprang up in some focal cities in Nigeria   Lagos, Kano, Ibadan, among others. With this miniature industrialization came amenities such as the railway, which strengthened the commercial and political importance of a city that was strictly a growing expanse of war camp settlements. Ibadan has greatly developed, and it is still developing. Three things are enviable about Ibadan: its large expanse of land that spreads so far; the boldness of Ibadan citizens to speak their minds, even at gunpoint; and the beauty of Ibadan’s historical aesthetics, better viewed from Layipo, which now houses Bower’s Tower.

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The history of Oyo    as a region and then as a state    cannot be complete without the mention of Ibadan. Decades after the amalgamation of the Northern and Southern protectorates, there was the compartmentalization of the new Nigeria, resulting in the regional system of administration, which ran till the independence of the state. And, which other city in Western Nigeria would have become the regional capital, if not Ibadan? Ibadan was the regional capital of the Western region, from where the administration and development of the various extensions of the Western region took place. Today, we have Oyo, Osun, Ogun, Ekiti, Kwara, Delta, Edo, Lagos, and Ondo    states whose development started from the days of the Old Oyo region, when Ibadan was the center of administration and developmental policy-making. Ibadan is, today, the capital of Oyo State.

READ ALSO: Toyin Falola: A Gong And Drums To Honoured Merit

Self-actualization comes for different people in different ways. For many scholars, self-actualization comes from the continual recognition of their works and a commitment to lifelong learning. I am among such academics and scholars who see these two phenomena as a means of self-actualization. Thus, this should help you have an inkling of how thrilled I am to be receiving the Doctor of Letters degree from Nigeria’s premier university, the University of Ibadan, domiciled in the city of history. I have received several Doctor of Letters (Honoris Causa) degrees, but this one, from Ibadan, my City of Fame, is a degree for which I went into an academic sojourn. My life and times have been principally about histories    through studies, analyses, and extrapolations. And yet, another history is made as I am the University of Ibadan’s first graduate of the Doctor of Letters degree in the humanities. For this, I am grateful, and I am delighted to identify with one of the most prestigious universities in Africa and a citadel of learning for excellent and world-class education.

It feels amazing to be back home, to my City of Fame, and to receive this honor with the deepest gratitude to everyone who made this remarkable journey worth the while. I appreciate the support I received from the Provost and Deputy-Provost of the School of Postgraduate Studies, as well as my examiners and evaluators at various levels, and the Director of the Institute of African Studies. To those who facilitated the paperwork, payment of school fees, the assemblage of diplomas and essays, the heavy running around, I owe an enormous debt of gratitude to Professor Adeshina Afolayan and Mr. Wale Ghazal. Professor Ademola Dasylva, in his relentless promotion of the University of Ibadan and what it stands for, paid for the elegant academic gown. I am grateful for the invaluable guidance and encouragement I received; all these spurred me on and made this day possible.

There is the affection, joy and fulfillment that come with us as humans and the humanities. This degree and other awards are testaments to the richness and importance of the work I have done and continue to do as an historian. My affinity with the Ibadan School of History is equally significant. All these culminate in a climax of deeply-seated emotions that I will embalm and keep with me for as long as I breathe.

READ ALSO: Is Nigeria On The Brink?

Again, I sincerely want to thank everyone who made this history-making occasion possible. Thank you all.

The above was Prof. Falola’s  gratitude statement  on the conferment of the D.Litt. degree at the University of Ibadan on November 17, 2021.

 

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