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When Udom Inoyo Faced The Media

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Ray Ekpu Award : Who Wears The Maiden Crown?

By

Sam Akpe

July 30 was, in several ways, a historic evening. The entire press centre of the Akwa Ibom Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists was filled up. More than half of the people in the hall sat outside, under canopies. My presence was based on an invitation by the State Council Chairman of the NUJ, Amos Etuk. He made me feel special. Amos disclosed that a respected technocrat, Udom Inoyo, would be the special guest. Udom retired recently from ExxonMobil as Executive Vice Chairman.

I knew it would be an opportunity to reconnect with colleagues I had not met in years. The event attracted almost every practitioner of journalism in the state. I listened and watched Udom deliver a well crafted and easily applauded paper. At the end, it was announced that only three questions or comments would be taken. I was one of the three people recognised to ask questions. I had three questions but I tried to melt them into one.

However, before then, in a conversation entitled: ‘Your Pen, Our Future,” Udom left no one in doubt as to how his past prepared him for what he has become in life. He talked about his late father with a sense of pride in what the man stood for. Here was a man whose life was ruled by the four pillars of hard work, contentment, integrity, and fear of God. Citing verifiable legacies, he said his father walked the talk on several fronts.

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He recalled: “I will never forget offering my father N300 in 1988, and he refused to accept it, querying the source. He had retired from service, and though I was an administrative officer on grade level 9, he thought the amount was too much for me to pull out of my savings. To date, I still visualize my hands stretched out and listening to his interrogations. He was always interested in the source of everything in our possession and even my friends, who would visit, especially in cars that seemed off their economic mark, did not escape such scrutiny. It did not matter if those cars belonged to their parents.”

Udom challenged Akwa Ibom-based journalists not to abandon investigative journalism. He reminded them of the legendary professional exploits of two Washington Post investigative reporters, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, backed by a determined editor, Ben Bradlee, who exposed a corrupt political system and forced a sitting American President, Richard Nixon, out of office. He noted that the action of the two investigative reporters also led to the jailing of more than 40 people including America’s chief law officer, the Attorney General of the United States.

Back in Nigeria, he called to remembrance the investigative prowess of Segun Osoba, who discovered the corpse of the first Prime Minister of Nigeria after the 1966 coup. His conclusion was that “today, there is the Freedom of Information Law that could help reporters do more than what others did, in the past. You do not need to bring down a government or discover a missing corpse, but you can do a lot to help the government and society through truthful investigative reporting.”

Suddenly, the hall exploded in endless applause as Udom said: “I have thought of what I could do as my little contribution to the NUJ in Akwa Ibom State with regard to this matter (of investigative reporting). Anywhere that I have gone in this world when people talk about journalism, one individual comes to my mind first. He is…an international award-winning journalist, who rose from a position of insignificance to that of global prominence. It is in honour of this high priest of quality reporting that I hereby request (you) to accept the institution of an annual award to be called: Ray Ekpu Award for Investigative Journalism.”

The award is to be administered annually by a panel of five first-class media chiefs comprising: two celebrated veteran journalists; one national officer of the Nigerian Guild of Editors; a nominee of the award sponsor; and the State Chairman of the NUJ. It is aimed at encouraging quality, factual investigative reporting in Akwa Ibom State and Nigeria at large. The prize money for the overall winner each year is N500, 000. But the journalist must operate from Akwa Ibom State.

Shortly after Udom announced the award, I put a call across to a delighted Ray Ekpu in Lagos to congratulate him. He was stunned after I revealed the detail of the award to him. He confessed: “I know Udom Inoyo closely. But Sam, I have never done anything special for him to deserve this kind of honour. This is purely from a heart of love. I’m glad to be so honoured by someone who has never placed a demand on me. I am greatly delighted.”

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Soon, it was time for questions and comments. So far, it was clear to me the combination of issues I needed to raise with Udom, whom I first met in 2005. I tried to make it a simple straight-forward inquiry; which required an equally straight shot of an answer, powered by facts. Both happened. Colleagues had thought nobody would have the intrepidity to raise such a contentious issue with Udom; who parades towering credentials in public service. He was also our guest. There was therefore the need not to embarrass him with any negative interrogation. It was even made clear at the beginning that no political questions should be asked. I considered that as self-censorship.

In journalism, every question is aimed at searching for and unearthing facts. It is these verifiable facts that would eventually open doors for truth to emerge. Only truth can heal doubts and end every speculation.

I cannot recall the exact words in which each section the harmonised question was captured. But it went this way: having left ExxonMobil, are you going into politics? If you are eyeing the governorship of Akwa Ibom as being speculated, what is your view on the issue of cultism which has recently brought avoidable bloodshed and death to the state?” Then I ventured into the hyper-sensitive, seemingly politically-motivated but widely-held conjecture that he had, during his university days, identified with the Pyrates Confraternity, also called Seadogs. I told him that no one has provided any evidence to prove that Seadogs is a cult. “But I want you to be categorical in your response: are you a member of any secret cult, or even the Pyrates Confraternity?”

The silence that ruled the hall suddenly ended. Uneasiness set in. Within a split second, tension took over the hitherto relaxed atmosphere. It was a question nobody wanted to ask, but which everybody now waited for the answer. A senior journalist who sat next to me whispered: So you came all the way from Abuja to ask one long satanic question! My eyes were however focused on Udom. I needed to observe and decode his reaction. Was he harassed?

Quietly, he took hold of the microphone, stood up with a tantalising smile, and confidently responded to the inquiries without any hesitation. He looked first in my direction as though trying to tell me something important enough to demand eye-to-eye contact. At that point, I only hoped he was not taking it personal. Then the smile waned. Diplomacy left. Seriousness took hold of him as silence returned to the hall. Journalists were ready for the news and every word must be recorded. Udom understood the moment and declared in no uncertain terms: “I am not a member of the Pyrates Confraternity.” He said this three times. He did not stammer. It was for emphasis. The message sank in. Something snapped; and the tension ended.

After the absolute declaration, he went ahead to state his position on the menace of cultism in the state. He spoke as a father whose children could have been victims of the bothersome situation. You could sense the pain as each word dropped from his lips. He expressed serious concern over the threats and challenged parents and every person to rise to the occasion: “We must not take the matter of cultism lightly. We must begin to find out what is driving cultism in our state and in Nigeria. We must take cultism out of the reach and the realms of politics.” It was another way of saying that cultism must not be used as an instrument for political gains.

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Udom refused to accept or deny any interest in the governorship issue. His position was that Governor Udom Emmanuel does not deserve any distraction as he focuses on the serious business of governance in his final two years. He told the media professionals that every indigene of the state and indeed every Nigerian should be politically conscious and must develop a sense of involvement in governance even without necessarily contesting for any office.

The position of the former ExxonMobil chief may have been a cautious demonstration of maturity in view of what a local newspaper did to his reputation earlier in the week. He woke up that morning to see a screaming headline in one of the state-based tabloids suggesting that he had a meeting two months ago in Calabar with a former governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke. The imaginary meeting was intended to lobby Donald to in turn arm-twist Governor Emmanuel to consider Udom as his successor.

The reporter who created the deliberate falsehood sounded as though he was privy to Donald’s conversation with Governor Udom Emmanuel. He cited the governor as telling Donald on telephone that “Inoyo is a hard sell” for the governorship. Udom’s description of the story was: “This is complete falsehood and a mischievous creation of a fiction writer. While I will never border to debunk such falsehood it would be better if all practitioners would uphold the basic tenets of journalism in their daily practice, which includes truth, accuracy, objectivity, social responsibility, etc.”

The evening ended on the high. With five laptops as gift, an institution of excellence award in journalism worth N500, 000; a promise to collaborate with the NUJ on several issues for the good of the profession; and of course, some other heavy but undisclosed packages, the weekend started well for my colleagues.

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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