Grace Ego Omoni
The world is changing rapidly in all facets of life…technology, science, education, fashion, money-making and of course our religion including absurd activities of many church leaders, I mean the so- called “men of God.” Stories surrounding the “self-anointed men of God” are so incredible that one is left but to ask whether they were really called by the Lord who instituted the church or it was a self-induced call.
Career choice in guidance and counselling in the school system is based on the use of psychological tests, one of which is the Vocational Interest Inventory by Prof C.G.M Bakare. Unfortunately, many schools know little or nothing about this all-important tool which assists students to choose a career based on their area of interest, ability and capability. So many people find themselves in professions not actually meant for them but are there just to make two ends meet. Of all the professions most bastardized, is the pastoral ministry where we find every dick and harry calling and parading themselves as “men of God” whereas the anointing is very, very far away from them.
They are of different shades: the trained but not carrying grace, the charlatans, the self-appointed church leader, the illiterate pastor, the morally bankrupt church leader, the false prophets/prophetesses and the general overseer church leader( which I have labelled: one-man company) and a host of others. My problem is that many of these so-called “men of God” do not realise that church leadership is dependant on God’s power and call and not just a feeling or a desire. It is a decision taken which entails relying on God based on what He has revealed about Himself through His nature and the Scripture.
READ ALSO: When Engineers Go Unethical
Unfortunately, some of these “men of God” who are supposed to influence society positively in their biblical teachings and moral behaviours are the ones perpetrating corruption and immorality unabated in their environment. Unhealthy toxic culture has crept into the church and it is being spread sporadically by this calibre of Christians popularly applauded as “men of God.” Hence my question: Haba, Mr. Ichabod, were you actually called or you see this noble profession as your last resort after failing to secure a job in the secular world? Why have you decided to make the glory of God to depart from the church? This article is meant to help us reposition and redefine the influence and the role of church leaders in our society and not in any way to bring her to disrepute.
Thus, we shall be looking at this discussion under the following sub-topics:
1) The characteristics of the ideal church leader or pastor.
2)Levels of immorality among pastors.
3)Factors facilitating immorality among pastors.
4)Consequences of these practices on the society.
As earlier observed, this article is not to play down Christianity but it is with a view to repositioning the integrity of the church and for society to realise that the office of the pastor is sacred, noble, ordained by God, a model worthy of emulation and thus must be held in high esteem.
Characteristics of an ideal pastor or man of God or church leader:
According to 1Cor 2: 14, “the natural man receiveth not the things of the spirit for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them because they are spiritually discerned.” Thus a real man of God is spiritually inclined, anointed and called by God Himself. He is able to discern spiritual things; listens and hears from God. He is one who can give a defined testimony of his or her call into the ministry. Such a one must have undergone proper training in a bible school, a theological seminary or college. There must be evidence of this training; he or she must show evidence of being qualified to pastor the church by his or her character. That is he must possess a licence which gives him the authority to minister under laid down principles, beliefs and practices of the denomination he belongs to. This licence acts as checks and balances to him in his role as a church pastor. The implication is that such a licence can be withdrawn from a pastor who fails to live up to expectations as outlined in the ethics, beliefs and practices of the church.
The scripture also identifies the many qualities of a pastor. He must be blameless, husband of one wife with disciplined children and able to rule his house. He must not be a drunk nor a brawler. He must not be covetous. He must be of very good moral behaviour, accommodating, not greedy or boastful or proud. The pastor is patient, not given to wine, hospitable, vigilant, full of wisdom from above and not sexually immoral or weak. He is not given to telling lies, not quarrelsome or one who exhibits uncontrollable anger. He is disciplined, , a lover of peace, sober and is judicious with his speech and not greedy for riches or women. He must be able to teach the word in truth and in spirit and must be able to influence the church and the society positively.
READ ALSO: Dealing With Mental Illness In The Family
Levels of unethical and immoral behaviour among pastors.
The church is supposed to be the core institution where morality is taught and a campaign against immorality ought to be mostly carried out. Morality relates to the act of being right or wrong. It pertains to the principles concerning good or bad behaviour in which man is supposed to act; whereas, immorality connotes unethical practices not acceptable by the society. It pertains to all forms of absurd abominable corrupt and evil acts by individuals. It is pathetic to observe that immorality among Christian leaders/ pastors is going on at an alarming rate.
The level of immorality among “men of God” is rampant and high and causing embarrassment to the church. It has negatively affected the society. It has brought serious shame, disgrace and mockery to Christendom as well as lawlessness/disorderliness to the larger society. It is an irony that men of God who are supposed to be role models to the secular world are actually the shameless vanguards and perpetrators of immorality. The integrity of the church is now at stake making the glory of God to depart( Ichabod).
Stories of pastors engaging in all manner of unethical practices, corruption and immorality abound. They range from frauds, deceptions, intimidation, false teachings and prophecies, heterosexual and homosexual acts ( gay/lesbianism relationships), sex abuse, adultery, fornication, violent conducts, vandalism, covetousness, pride and power intoxication to misappropriation of church funds, acts of schism, cheating, swindling of funds, fighting, lying, ostentatious lifestyles and bullying. Here are some scenarios as reported in the media, by friends and those personally witnessed. It was reported recently in the media of a pastor caught in an adulterous act with a member’s wife and he shamelessly asserted that God told him to do so. Does God have a double standard?
The 10th commandment says that we should not covet a neighbour’s wife but this pastor claimed that God told him to sleep with his member’s wife right inside the church office! Haba! Some weeks back, a pastor was made to pay the dowry and perform all the marriage and funeral rites of a dead woman who had an abortion for him. It was reported that he forced the lady to go for an abortion because it was shameful to hear that he put a girl in the family way out of wedlock. Just a few days ago, a friend narrated how a pastor resold plots of land he had already sold years past to new buyers just recently and lavished the proceeds on women leaving the mother, the real owner of the land homeless and the immediate family in total penury.
Presently, he is roaming about with nothing because the church has relieved him of his appointment. Yet another story of our so-called “men of God.” Some years ago, a pastor fought his members in the church with only his pants on in the presence of onlookers and without remorse. He was already at loggerheads with the church, so he refused to release the musical instrument for the members to use. What a shameful act! What a world! Recently, a group of people witnessed an ugly situation of money swindling by a pastor right inside the church and people could not talk and arrogantly carted the money away.
READ ALSO: Guilty Of Being Nigerian In Ghana
A story was also told of a pastor who engaged in administering drugs and giving medical treatment to people in a village in the Niger Delta Region. He was neither a trained nurse nor a doctor or a pharmacist. This very pastor was also involved in a sexual relationship with a widow in the church. This last but not the least story is an eye-witness account. During an executive zonal meeting of a denomination, this pastor exhibited very terrible anger and boasted to members of how three of our members died because he was challenged. He confiscated the property of the church he was pastoring under his care, carried away the church notice board, sold the church land, resisted arrest and attempted fighting the police when he was to be arrested.
Dear reader, what will you call this kind of pastor… a murderer, or a sorcerer or a cultist or a thug? I can go on and on to cite examples. Some are ritualists, cultists, serial killers, rapists, dupes and thieves. I am led to ask, is it compulsory to be a “man of God”? Should you use this sacred title to cover up for your atrocities, Mr. Ichabod? Yet many people are still following them sheepishly even when the glory of God has left them. Some of them cannot teach the undiluted word of God.By their fruits, you shall know them!
Factors facilitating immorality among pastors:
These will be briefly itemized:
a) Many pastors are not called by God. They are self-made.
b) Many lack formal education.
c) Most of them do not have pastoral training. They neither went to bible schools nor theological institutions.
d) Some came into the profession just to have a means of livelihood.
e) There is proliferation of false prophets for money-making.
f) Many people patronize them with money for powers and to help them solve their seemingly insurmountable problems.
g) The society worships them without questioning their source of power.
h) The society is already lawless and disorderly.
i) Unemployment and poor economy sydrome.
j) The craze for wealth and power.
k) Gullibility of followers especially the female gender.
l) High-level criminality in the society without appropriate punishment meted out to culprits.
m) The culture of silence among the high and the low especially, the leadership of the Christian Council of Nigeria. The idea of covering up the atrocities of these pastors has eaten deep into the society.
n) Proliferation of churches in every nook and cranny of the society by men of shady characters. The factors are inexhaustible!
Consequences of unethical behaviour and practices by the so-called “men of God”:
a)Disruption of the integrity of the Church of Christ. Their unethical and immoral practices have brought shame and mockery to Christendom. The Glory of God seems to have departed from many churches.
b) It has increased the level of doubt people have on the integrity of real pastors in our churches.
c) Societal lawlessness, indiscipline and criminality are on the increase as unscrupulous individuals hide under the name of the churches to perpetrate heinous crimes in the society.
d) There is a high rate of sexual atrocities among members and their pastors. Cases of sexual abuse, heterosexual and homosexual relationships abound now as well as adultery. These have led to a high rate of divorce and single parenthood. e)Paternity issues are on the increase no doubt.
f) Instability in families is also on the increase.
g) Many so-called men of God seek powers from herbalists, cultists and marine spirits leading to more evil such as ritual killings.
h) Since it is now a lucrative business, charlatans, false prophets and false teachings are on the increase.
i) Competition and jealousy among pastors are now the other of the day. There is no more unity, love and peace in the body of Christ.
j) Conflicts and schism( division) in the church is the order of the day.
1)Formal education and seminary training must be the criteria for becoming a church leader. The Christian Association of Nigeria must see to this.
2) the curriculum content of training pastors must include relationships, educational laws, rights of the citizen and guidance and counselling. These will help would-be pastors to adjust well to societal issues.
3) Seminars and workshops should be organised periodically by different bodies such as the Christian Association of Nigeria, denominations, non-governmental organisations, counsellors, bible schools and theological seminaries for pastors in the field to discuss trends in their profession as they relate to the society.
4) sanctions should be meted out to culprits.
5) The culture of silence should be stopped among Christians especially by the leadership of CAN.
6) Men of God found guilty should be prevented from practising as church leaders and the licence of such withdrawn. No pastor should be allowed to practise without licence from a properly registered seminary or bible school.
7) The society should stop being gullible and learn not to be easily deceived by this category of pastors. So church members need counselling too on who to call to pastor the church and how to handle him when issues on unethical behaviour arises in the church .
8) Families should take care of their children and spouses. Members should caution themselves on too much dependence on their pastors. This gullibility should stop.
9) The society should lay emphasis on morals and not on wealth, fame and power.
10) Churches take care of your pastors financially, morally and socially. They are human beings and can be tempted, so pray for them without
We exhibit faith when we trust in the wisdom and logic of God’s plan. Faith in God is a choice and not a feeling. Many so-called men of God are but a lie and exhibit behaviours that have brought shame to Christendom in Nigeria. Unhealthy toxic culture at work in the church has penetrated the society at large. This includes money temptation, sexual temptation, anti-Christ teachings, suspicious criminal acts such as cultism, ritual murders, exaggeration of fake miracles, lies, pride and fraudulent “men of God” playing god before their gullible members. These practices have influenced the society negatively and have also destroyed the integrity of the Christian body in Nigeria. The glory of. God is fast departing in churches harbouring this category of church leaders .
The culture of silence among the high and low in the church has further heightened the scandals, abuses and moral fallouts among the pastors. There is a call that enough is enough! The church leadership should rise up to fight against this pollution and unhealthy immorality in the church by teaching the undiluted word of God, resisting unethical behaviour by fellow men of God, counselling, restoring the old-time religion of the apostles, abolishing the culture of silence and flushing out culprits, withdrawing their licence and taking legal actions against them. These will help in restoring the glory of God in our churches and further bring sanity to the society.
Read more authentic news on our social media platforms
NADECO’s Bliss That’s No More
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.
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
Read more authentic news on our social media platforms
Covid-19, Managing in Crisis Times And Public Administration
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.
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.
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.
READ ALSO: The Church And The Challenges Of A Nation
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
Read more authentic news on our social media platforms
Ibadan: My City of Fame
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.
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.
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.
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.
Read more authentic news on our social media platforms
NEW TIMES CULTURE
Gumi Protests As Court Declares Bandits As Terrorists
Court Declares Bandits As Terrorists
Telecoms Services Restored In Kaduna
Obiozor’s election as Ohanaeze president well-deserved – Buhari
The War In The Cameroons
How Buhari’s Making Nigeria Prosperous Pulled Me To APC – Ayade
Opinion4 days ago
Ibadan: My City of Fame
World2 days ago
Girl Takes Mother’s Doctor To Court For Allowing Her Birth
World18 hours ago
How Museveni Surrendered Uganda’s Only International Airport For Chinese Loans
Latest News4 days ago
Corps Member Jailed For Two Months
World4 days ago
El Salvador To Build Ocean Side Bitcoin City