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A Peep Into Olaopa’s ‘From ISGPP To NIPSS: Retirement And Post-Retirement Think Tanking’  



Prof. Tunji Olaopa

By  Mohammed Kuta Yahaya

 The latest book The Unending Quest for Reform by Prof Tunji Olaopa got me moved from the independent forewords by two erudite scholars, Dr Mathew Hassan Kukah and Prof Eghosa Osaghae, as well as  other interesting chapters that chronicle his life journey with turbulent moments that one couldn’t just ignore. Undoubtedly, each chapter constitutes elaborate lessons, and should be considered an irresistible life guide for any young person aiming for the top. But getting to the pinnacle of one’s career is a natural dream of all professionals, like Professor Tunji Olaopa. However, certain developments could make or mar lofty aspirations or create uncertainties as you get to the top and the fear of the unknown, after such attainments creates other unthinkable conjectures and uncertainties. Hence, my attraction to the Chapter Sixteen: From ISGPP TO NIPSS: Retirement and Post-Retirement Think Tanking.

 The author is a thoroughbred professional whose trajectory in development work, academia and civil service would remain remarkable footprints in the service of Fatherland. His unending quest for reforms may have been triggered by his enormous wealth of experience in Nigeria’s civil service system that is unarguably stigmatised and left with a sour taste of doubts of whether the system has the ingredients to propel the country’s socio-economic development or not.  Hence, Olaopa’s quest for unending reforms is understandable and genuine.

 The dysfunctional dynamics that go with most operations and activities in the civil service live after the civil servants who are generally believed to be professionally founded and expected to set paths for socio-political development of the country. These are some of the issues highlighted by the author in this chapter from his enormous wealth of experience as a bureaucrat with so many questions bordering on the lapses as a result of the dysfunctions in the administrative processes of government which he believes should bother every serious minded and patriotic civil servant. He argues that until these dysfunctions are effectively tackled, the system would continue to deteriorate, especially when resources meant for development are not properly channeled for human capital and material development.

 In his words: “After all, I have consistently argued about Nigeria’s cost of governance, as well as lack of coherence and justice in downsizing a bloated civil service.”

These propositions might have been difficult for any bureaucrat to point out to powers, while in service, but it is an experience that had survived in the mind of the author for several years. Consequently, a lot of efforts have been made by the government to engender reforms to correct the loopholes and bridge the gaps that have been identified by genuineness to service. But such reform efforts have ended in futility due to lack of commitment to transform the system for better service delivery.The unexpected that happened in 1975 with administrative purge in the country instilled fears of the unknown and uncertainties in the minds of the majority of civil servants. The workers, therefore, opted to prepare ahead for any eventuality.

 What is the best way to prepare than to elevate personal desires over public interest? This is one of the major reasons for the accentuation of bureaucratic corruption in the history of Nigeria’s public service. Corruption, since then, became an institutionalised phenomenon in the country and justifies Olaopa who posits that “after the 1975 purge, it became almost inevitable for the culture of deferred gratification to be substituted by that of instant gratification”.

 Since governments could sack its workforce with unrepentant whimscality, then the workers had better prepared ahead for any eventuality. The author, having realised where the dysfunctions in the system could lead him, began to prepare for his post- retirement regime and, as rightly as he could choose, he decided to return to academia, considering his intellectual prowess and academic qualifications.

 He would soon launch rigorous contributions to the total reforms of the system through scholarly publications that later gave him the hope that his post-retirement regime was bright. According to the author, scholarly pursuit in search of administrative understanding and grounding for institutional reforms was what instigated his desire to write the biography of Prof. Ojetunji Aboyade titled:A Prophet is With Honour: The Life and Times of Ojetunji Aboyade,  published in 1997 which profiles the life of an astute and consummate intellectual and administrator whose professional life served as his template for becoming a scholar-bureaucrat and how professionalism and genuineness  can contribute in pursuing goals.

 He recalls with nostalgia, while gathering the materials for the book in 1992, a fascinating discussion between the author and Aboyade led to the emergence of the vision that gave birth to the Development Policy Centre (DPC). The DPC encapsulates the OPTICOM Model, championed by Aboyade and Mabogunje. More importantly, the initial seed for the establishment of Ibadan School of Government and Public Policy (ISGPP) was sown in that exploratory discussion. Also,in one of his assignments at the Management Services Office (MSO) in 2003, an encounter in Pretoria, South Africa, with Ms Thuli Radebe and many others on the workings of South African Centre for Public Service Innovation (CPSI), influenced his decision to set up a similar centre that would serve as his retirement base and fast forward his unquenchable passion for reform outside the corridors of Government (NGO).

 ISGPP was conceived as a non-profit think tank, a platform for deepening policy and reform work with evidence-based research that is expected to instigate the government to work better for development and democracy. The ISGPP experiment, of which I’m a privileged pioneer faculty member, is well-grounded in the think tank business and resembles the Development Policy Centre (DPC) and the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS). Its uniqueness derives from its research capacities and executive education platform that were meant to transform the policy architecture of the Nigerian state.

 In the spirit of practice what you preach, the author has left no one in doubt with the ISGPP. It is fundamentally set to address the skills and competence deficit in the public service anchored on“inspiring strategic transformation” through research and executive education founded on a continuous mix of new perspectives and evidence-based analysis, with creative approaches. The author elaborately justifies the purpose of education in reducing poverty because, once the majority of the people in the country are educated, they are likely to get jobs, earn a living and assurance to provide the basic needs for their families palpable.

 According to Olaopa: The idea of enlarged and comprehensive learning becomes essentially a national objective in a state like Nigeria that is plural and subject to conflicts from all sides. A part of that conflicting predicament is that Nigeria lacks a value framework around which the virtues of decency, civility, tolerance and charity can be fostered to counter the vices of ethnic jingoism, religious extremism, gender inequality, divisive politics and social anomie.

 He cites C.P. Snow’s argument about the debilitating effects of what he called “the two-culture thesis”, and how that separation between the sciences and the humanities have robbed us of the benefits of a liberal education. Indeed, in the world of neoliberal capitalism, the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) curriculum has become the template for a development-oriented pedagogy.

 From ISGPP to NIPSS: Issues and Dimensions

As a deep thinker and reform ‘activist,’ the NIPSS was his mirror for ISGPP as Nigeria’s foremost think tank. Since its founding in 1979, the NIPSS has gone through several structural and institutional metamorphoses and challenges that makes it very ripe for a fundamental study. This among others are reflected in his published paper titled: NIPSS: Conception, Operations and Framework for Repositioning (2021),  considered  as the concrete manifestations of introspective reflections on what it means to do think tank in Nigeria and what consequences that had for the survival and institutional flourishing of the ISGPP.

In complementing the “fundamental objectives and directive principles of state policy” as outlined in the 1999 Nigerian Constitution, the motto of NIPSS was simple and fundamental: towards a better society and significant call on all Nigerians to participate in the rethinking of Nigeria in the context of the dynamics of a constantly changing world. Thus, the distinction makes for a whole lot of comparative divergences between the NIPSS and the ISGPP, especially on the matter of funding and patronage. The NIPSS draws its patronage from all government sectors and even the organised private sector. It attends to specifically crafted government policy objectives and has the capacity for reaching and drawing into its fold teaching and administrative resource persons across Nigeria.

Writing that exploratory seminal paper on the NIPSS provided the author with solid background for deepening thoughts about the experience of the ISGPP, which, to him, is a mixed one, spanning the continuum from despair to hope and optimism and fundamental challenge of sustainability. The NIPSS has been sustained since 1979 because succeeding Nigerian governments have remained committed to its fundamental objective in the achievement of the Nigerian project. On the other hand, the ISGPP depends on self-funding and the collaborations that it gets from partners and businesses. Outside of the availability of consistent grants, it begins to falter in its efficiency,  once the funding sources dwindle to a trickle.

So far, Nigeria has continued to pay lip-service to the need for research-based policy engagements that will transform the policy architecture of the Nigerian government. However, almost little has been done to take this commitment to its logical conclusion in opening up a broad-based relationship with non-governmental agencies and parastatals, as well as the Nigerian universities, to facilitate a continuous flow of relevant research that the government would find useful in jumpstarting her development drive. The constant bickering between the government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) seems to be a fundamental indication that the government is still beholden to an adversarial industrial relations model that is undermining the tertiary institutions and their relevance to national development.

In conclusion, Tunji Olaopa succeeds in setting the agenda that not only encapsulates the beauty in modeling ideas and preparing well in life, but also building good relationships and standing for fairness.  The chapter does not only serve as a model path to prosperity, it teaches the rewards in good conscience, quality service delivery, no matter the situation one finds himself in. It is an encyclopedia of righteousness and need for good public and civil services reforms for the greater development of Nigeria. Henceforth, I hope the political elites will take up the patriotic challenge to showcase their manifestos at NIPSS or ISGPP than instead of Chatham House!

Yahaya is a former Secretary to the Niger State Government and Professor of Agricultural Extension & Development Communications, University of Ibadan.


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A Review Of Tunji Olaopa’s The Unending Quest For Reform: An Intellectual Memoir 



Prof. Tunji Olaopa

By Festus Adedayo

 Literally, memoirs perform retrospection surgery on the memory. They do this by removing shards that encumber and make remembrance difficult. Intellectual memoirs do even more. As academic works spiced with human existential narratives, they offer one for the price of two. While the reader walks through the lane of history with the author to recreate the past, the reader is also afforded the benefit of a profound discourse which, together, forms a corpus of memorable intellectual narrativization.

Tunji Olaopa’s The Unending Quest For Reform: An Intellectual Memoir ranks hugely in this category. A 249-page work, it is a journey, not only into the very didactic world of the author’s intellectual life, it also provides invaluable insight into what he calls the systemic structures and operational dynamics of the Nigerian civil service.

For anyone in search of titivating titles that surreptitiously lure the reader into the body of a work, The Unending Quest is at first uninspiring and uninviting. The title heralds a prospective travel into the world of staid academy and philosophy. However, a curious fascination lies ahead upon a cursory reading of the book. Then, the reader immediately transposes into another world as they encounter a very insightful, well-written narrative of the life of a man whose existential itinerary is woven, like a tapestry, round the quest for knowledge and scholarship.

Foregrounded by impressionable words from two renowned scholars, one in cassock and the other in the shawls of the academy – Matthew Hassan Kukah and Eghosa Osaghae – the kick-off of The Unending Quest begins on a fluid plane. Like all Forewords, both scholars’ interventions dissect the book by way of summaries, whetting the appetite of the reader about an eventful historical progression. They did not shy away from alerting the reader that the totality of the memoir is woven round issues Nigeriana but such that remarkably enfold themselves into and supervene in the life trajectory of the author.

Aside from the Forewords, the book is broken into eighteen chapters which narrate the life journey of the author and his very luxurious thoughts about Nigeria and her development. The first thing the reader will find out about the book is that it is very lean on the author’s personal life but very robust on the existential dilemma of Nigeria. Before embarking on this journey, the author offered an explanatory note on why Olaopa embarked on writing a memoir at this point of his life. As he narrated, two schools of thoughts explain the maturation of a memoir. The first, heeding the call of the philosopher, Michel de Montaigne, frowns on the vanity of self-portraiture that underscores writing of a biography. The other, whose justification was given by the author himself, unfolds itself into the quest to write a memoir. This, he said, is the realization of the sociality of man as “being in a community.” The explainer for this is that, man whose life project is concerned with “how the life projects of others within the political community can become the platform for making sense and meaning out of existence” has great motivation in explaining how he got to where he is. Memoir is one of those routes.

As the book blows own whistle for the commencement of a journey with Olaopa, the author unapologetically flaunts his Aawe, Oyo State ancestry and the life-long impact that the rusty and sleepy town of Okeho, also in the same state, played in his life journey and foundation. The reader will meet this flaunt almost at every intersection of the book, almost to a repetitive level, with the result of an underscore of a life structure moulded on core traditional African values.

The book romanticizes the flora and fauna of Aawe, its “ancestral founding and apocryphal imaginaries” as well as the picaresque beauty of Okeho’s landscape, which all find a maturation and encore in Ali Mazrui’s famous triple heritage of Africa thesis. For Olaopa, Aawe was a study in the dynamics of shared values, especially its capacity to “mediate and manage differences.” The author’s most profound takeaway from Aawe, it will seem, is its “stable crises of plural configurations” and “mosaic of multi-colour differences.” The icing on the cake that that this sleepy town provided for him lies in its dynamics of shared values and eventually, its ability to lend self as a community of loved ones.

The above theme was further adumbrated in Origins 11: Family Life where the book doubles down on the communal nature of the author’s upbringing, how “the moral eyes of everyone (were) on everyone.” However, in spite of how the author painted the marital amity and harmony witnessed in his father’s polygamous home, Olaopa still has a negative perception of polygamy which he feels was “not fair to the mental development of a child and the intergenerational handholding that a child requires to get a solid grasp of life and existence.” This negative reading of polygamy, for Olaopa, is due to its socio-cultural internal dynamics “that often go wrong and drag the child’s mental and psychological balance with it.” This, to him, is the most robust justification for Christian theological abidance with monogamy.

With another chapter entitled Christianity and the spiritual, Olaopa seems to have completed his narration of his personal memoir section of the autobiography, preparatory to discussing his intellectual journeys. In this chapter, like most philosophers who arrive at intersections of knowledge where they begin to query the existence of God, Olaopa was also drawn to that troublous juncture where three footpaths meet, apologies to Professor Ola Rotimi’s The gods are not to blame. Brought for reflection at this point was the dialogical relationship between the Yoruba spirituality and Christianity, the relationship between Christianity, mysticism and occultism, the author’s invariably tending seriously towards agnosticism and eventual return to the faith of his father. His son’s decision to walk the path of his father by staying at home on a Sunday woke Olaopa up from his solipsism. The reality rudely perched on his mind that rather than his personal experience being an exclusive feeling, it verged on the experience of others. With this reality slide in a subterranean manner into his thought, Olaopa there and then kindled afresh the dying fire of Christianity in him and set aglow the quickening of his return to the faith of his father.

In Books and Becoming, Olaopa offers the rationale for his bookish life and the obsessive place that the search for knowledge occupies in his life. “My entire life has always been defined and shaped by books,” he declares unapologetically. As an affirmation and testimonial to this apologia, the reader is taken through a kaleidoscope of Olaopa’s dialogical relationships with books, beginning from Daily Sketch, a newspaper which his father daily purchased and which he propitiated regularly to the god of his precocious mind. Olaopa also holds like a totem his encounters with the genie in the genius of Prof Ojetunde Aboyade and how, in Form Three, he masticated the generally considered bony offering of Wole Soyinka’s The Man Died. Then, he began to fill his mental barn, at that precocious point in his life, with works on historical heroes like Galileo Galilee, Queen Amina of Zaria, Mansa Musa and down to Archimedes. Among his classmates, this exemplary but unexampled relationship with books earned him the sobriquet Azikiwe, a literal reading of the “book – iwe” in a Yoruba reading of the name of Nigeria’s first president, Nnamdi Azikiwe.

Here too, the reader is led into the near marital disharmony that books were to cause in the author’s family. Finding it difficult to understand Olaopa’s incestuous consanguinity with books, the author confessed that his wife, at the teething stage of their matrimony, thought he was arrogant and perhaps, selfish. The woman, who was later to be a convert to her hubby’s life journey of spiritual affinity with books, found it difficult to penetrate this book obsession and felt he was selfish to carve a solitary world for himself inhabited only by him and his army of book companions.

Right from here, the reader will quickly realize that reading The Unending Quest has the potential of offering imperishable quips, per page, of the book. This reviewer has his own copy of the book pockmarked with pencils underlining those rich lines and which he has hoisted to lusciously enrich his life. One of those quips is where Olaopa sees his life journey as one constantly at the entrance of Apollo’s temple at Delphi, engaged with the graffiti, “Man, know thyself.” The second is Olaopa’s verdant discovery at the altar of Plato which taught him “the embryonic understanding of the relationship between knowledge and social construction.”

One major nuance of The Unending Quest is its simplification of staid philosophical schools and the offerings of their proponents. Chapter three of the book is one of those. The Republic of Plato is lent to explain Olaopa’s intellectual journey which he confessed wasn’t triggered from the four walls of the classroom but the existential agony he encountered when, in 1965, as a young boy, he escaped the gory bloodthirstiness of Western Region’s deadly political violence which nearly killed him. Deploying the large expanse of intellectual frameworks he acquired from reading the works of philosophers like Plato, the philosopher whose ancient Athens and its declining democratic fortunes constituted the hub of his philosophical obligations, Olaopa’s life quest too got enveloped by the quest to provide answers to that Platonic quest, “how can we build a city on the foundation of justice?”

Apart from the tissues of precocious audacity that he acquired from youth, in The Unending QuestOlaopa credits the University of Ibadan as where he acquired a lifelong intellectual armament, capacity for discursive engagement and boldness that have proved invaluable in his adult years. UI, as it is fondly called, the book recalls, was where the young Tunji was given a clear vision of the world. It was the place of incubation and maturation for his idealism and which moulded the man who would later mutate into one of Nigeria’s foremost intellectual public servants. It also taught him the worth of institutional values and the imperishable values of the intercourse of ideas and ideals.

The Unending Quest is however not a book ordered in a sequential chronology. For instance, while it begins with a chapter entitled Books and becoming, it was not until page 42 that it narrated a major occurrence of the author’s life at his birth. In this chapter, with the title, In the valley and shadows of death, the author avails the reader of a major existential travail that he underwent while growing up. As is the book’s renown, this chapter begins, not without a major philosophical quip to explain the binary of boom and gloom that life is renowned with. “From birth to death, the trajectory of life is marked by all kinds of experiences; the pleasurable and the most difficult, the sinister and the benign… the bitter and the sublime.” It was in the cusp of this that he narrates his mother’s encounter in 1960 at the annual baby show in Okeho where baby Tunji, without “a prize-winning physiognomy” caught the attention of a Reverend Sister who delivered a message to wit, no matter the challenge the author’s mother encountered grooming the child, he was never to be taken “outside the faith.” Thus, when in early life, he encountered a head-cracking recurrent pain that defied all prognoses and even spiritual medications, Olaopa took this existential travail, which almost drove him to the point of suicide, as one of the agonizing experiences that come with the binary offering of life.

In Further philosophical reflection on my spiritual journey so far, Olaopa, deploying philosophy, agonizes about Pentecostalism leaving the most cogent route of faith and its slithering into what he termed an absolutist theology.

In virtually all other chapters of the book, the reader is availed a peep into the fecund administrative career experience of this numero uno intellectual public servant. It is a very massive reflection and insight into, in the words of Professor Eghosa Osaghae, one of the writers of the two forewords of the book, “the nexuses among public policy, public administration, civil service and governance on one hand, and how these can be transformed along the paths of the reforms that seek to address the pathologies of bureaucracy.” This, Olaopa did in this book, with a philosophically in-depth and clinical knife that is delivered with the aid of scientific analyses.

For instance, Olaopa believes that there is an administrative pathology in the Nigerian civil service which he tagged “debilitating bureau-pathology” and that this conundrum can be surmised as “too many people doing nothing; too many doing too little and too few doing too much.” He doubled down on this public service equivocation in The making of a public servant reformer. Here, he dissected the messy, complex conundrum of reforms. More significantly, he laid out the task demanded of a public service reformer, as that of a responsibility to “think politically and act strategically.” The environment in which the reformer is expected to work is one that is circumscribed by politics and politicians, he says. In the book, you will be availed with Olaopa’s assessment of the Nigerian public service. To him, it is an institution that is inherently paradoxical, whose dysfunctional nature is matched only by its potential. Using the Chinese philosopher, Confucius and his philosophy of pedagogical dynamics, Olaopa used this philosopher to explain the expectation of society from the public servant. The expectation, he said, is for them to “work anonymously but assiduously at the foundation of good governance without any care for self-serving benefits.”

Olaopa also offers his frown on the pathological bureaucratic culture of the Nigerian public service, submitting that this culture is the very antithesis of the efficiency that is expected of the service and limiting its quest to serve as complement of democratic governance.

In other chapters of the book like Abuja and the presidency, From the MSO to the BPSR, Becoming a Permanent Secretary, Reform philosophy for Nigeria: The Socratic Imperative, Reform agenda, Administrative leadership and the politics of reform, From ISGPP to NIPSS: Retirement and post-retirement think tanking, the reader will come in contact with an effusion of the author’s constantly iterating mind and his eclectic prognosis of the Nigerian public service dilemma. You will invariably wonder how Nigeria would retire a man with such humongous recipes for her atrocious public service challenges at a time when the country required his services the most.

In From the MSO to the BPSR, Becoming a Permanent Secretary, for example, the reader will be thrilled about how the author deployed pre-Socratic philosophers’ treatment of the concept of change and the relationship between permanence and change, into explaining the flux, the “administrative befuddlement” that he met when he eventually left the speech writing office at the presidency for the Federal Ministry of Education. For him, what he called the “kaleidoscope of dizzying dysfunction” in the Nigerian public service has a relationship and explanation in Heraclitus’ world of flux and logos. This then explains the paradox of “how the logos can remain the same universe defined by constant flux.”

Olaopa’s understanding of the role of the Permanent Secretary differs from the simplistic “I am directed” zombie that he is perceived to be. For him, he is multidisciplinary or a generalist who is expected to serve “as an institutional memory, as well as the custodian of the traditions, knowledge and the chains of the interlocking conventions, rues and due processes that constitute the ministry she heads.” He thus needs, according to him, “a mix of strategic, tactical and operational capacities and commitments” to navigate through the dysfunctional complexion of the civil service.

In the Socratic Imperative as a reform philosophy for Nigeria, Olaopa bears his mind on how the Nigerian public service must, like Socrates, examine itself because an unexamined life is not worth living. The civil service, in overcoming its bureau-pathology, must accept the optimal system model. This offers a comprehensive analysis of how the service can overcome “both its internal administrative incapacities and external political challenges to effectively become an agent for good governance.”

The book ends with a chapter entitled, Prospecting Nigeria’s future as a nation which is essentially a diagnosis of Nigeria’s leadership dilemma and its objectionable following, as well as the ailments latent in the due. He submits that there is an urgent imperative for restructuring.

The book is a very compelling autobiography, the type that is a rarity in this part. From the beginning to the end, it is a compelling work which, like the preoccupation of the weaver of a tapestry, needles together primary data of the encounters of a participant observer in the theatre of governance.

Though downcast that he did not study philosophy as he desired to be navigated by his childhood mind compass, Olaopa eventually made a profound art of philosophy as a philosopher, practitioner, expert-insider, advocate of a better society, theorist and a man whose research mind will make a first class traditional ethnographer cringe with envy. In this book, the reader will hear the voice of a political scientist and an intellectual public servant whose understanding of the workings of the service is at best professorial.

All in all, the 249 pages of this book, The Unending Quest For Reform: An Intellectual Memoir ripple with nuggets and invaluable insights into the problems of Nigeria, from the vantage of the public service. Olaopa provides a verdant assessment of the service and, ipso-facto, boring down into the Nigerian existential malaises. On a personal note, it has been long I read a book of that intellectual texture that provokes such immeasurable fervor in me, from any public intellectual. It should be a must-read for students of political science, public administration, political theory, development studies and philosophy. It should also be an important companion for, not only anyone aspiring for a career in the public service but for anyone in doubt about the value of philosophy and intellectualism in any life engagement.

. Adedayo, PhD, is a  Tribune Columnist and Editorial Board Member. 


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Arts & Culture

Ghana University Holds Art Talk With Toyin Falola



Prof. Falola’s Art Talk is part of the project ‘Back to the Small Stage’, a journey conceived by Rebecca De Marchi to meet thinkers and reflect on how the production of knowledge starting from the Earth generates a variety of worlds and ways of inhabiting and using them. The project’s title takes inspiration from ‘The Monadology’ by Leibniz and refers to the immanent life after death. Using the fold metaphor, Deleuze suggests the discovery of connections between incompossible worlds.

In the Art Talk, Prof. Falola will reflect on the worlds shaped by ritual archives, organic libraries and African science and technology and their contemporary potentiality in a post-colonial and post-human scenario.

Toyin Falola, Professor of History, University Distinguished Teaching Professor, and the Jacob and Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities, the University of Texas at Austin. He is an Honorary Professor, University of Cape Town, and Extraordinary Professor of Human Rights, University of the Free State. He had served as the General Secretary of the Historical Society of Nigeria, the President of the African Studies Association, Vice-President of UNESCO Slave Route Project, and the Kluge Chair of the Countries of the South, Library of Congress. He is a member of the Scholars’ Council, Kluge Center, the Library of Congress. He has received over thirty lifetime career awards and fourteen honorary doctorates. He has written extensively on the humanities, including The Humanities in Africa: Knowledge Production, Universities, and the Production of Knowledge, and a forthcoming book by Rochester University Press, Decolonizing African Studies: Knowledge Production, Agency, and Voices. Professor Toyin Falola is a celebrated author, editor, writer, poet, academic leader, organizer, teacher, Pan-Africanist, and a visionary of extraordinary grace, talent, and accomplishments. An author and editor of over one hundred and fifty books on Africa and the African Diaspora, he has been invited to speak in all continents, and in over sixty countries, and widely proclaimed as Africa’s preeminent historian and one of the major intellectuals of our time. Many of his books have received awards, defined various fields, and inspired the writings of various critical works. He manages five distinguished scholarly monograph series, and serves on the board of over twenty journals. Being a global icon in African Studies, Toyin Falola has received several honorary doctorates across the globe.

‘Back to the Small Stage’ project is supported by the Italian Council, having as cultural partners SCCA Tamale and KNUST Kumasi (in Ghana), Leibniz Archive Hannover and M. Bassy Hamburg (Germany), and Associazione Isole Palermo and IUNO Roma (Italy).

The Art Talk is made in collaboration with Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Department of Painting and Sculpture, The University of Texas, and the Pan-African University Press.

Date: Monday, Jun 12, 2023 ⋅ 3pm Ghana / 10am Austin / 4pm Nigeria
Venue: blaxTARLINES, KNUST, Kumasi (and live on blaxTARLINES’ Facebook and Instagram)
Join Live:

ID meeting: 842 7780 5325
Passcode: 049252

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Toyin Falola, Citizenship And The Diaspora In The Digital Age: Farooq Kperogi And The Virtual Community



Citizenship and the Diaspora in the Digital Age: Farooq Kperogi and the Virtual Community (Africa: Past, Present, and Prospects) | © May 2023 | ISBN: 9781666933413 | By Toyin Falola

Book Details

Publisher‏: ‎ Lexington Books (May 2023)

Language‏: ‎ English

Paperback: ‎ 384 pages

ISBN: ‎ 9781666933413


• Acknowledgment

• Preface And Prologue

• Table of Contents

• Introduction


Chapter 1: Building an Online Audience

Chapter 2: Philosophical Foundations

Chapter 3: Black Cultures


Chapter 4: The Decay in Pre-Tertiary Education in Nigeria

Chapter 5: ASUU and the Decay in Tertiary Education

Chapter 6: Comparing Higher Education in Nigeria and America

Chapter 7: Politicizing: Media Communications in A Democracy

Chapter 8: The English of the Nation

Chapter 9: Comparative “Englishes”

Chapter 10: Societal Decadence

Chapter 11: A Nation on the Boil


Chapter 12: Assessment, Expansion and Evaluation

In Citizenship and the Diaspora in the Digital Age: Farooq Kperogi and the Virtual Community, Toyin Falola examines how the members of the Nigerian diaspora create a virtual community and instrumentalize the digital age to speak about the nation and its failures, possibilities, and promises. This book depicts individuals’ relationships with society and how the world’s progressive shift toward technology and globalization does not disregard the concept of society and its members. As a result of this shift, people have been migrating to new places without giving up their citizenship in their home countries. This book explores how migrants are focused on the idea of a virtual community, examines how citizens’ roles have evolved through time, and displays society’s essential principles in this light.

Furthermore, it evaluates social commentaries enhanced by the dynamics of the digital age, such as societal issues like education in Nigeria, the question of democracy, challenges facing the country, and the development of a national language. Many of these societal challenges are examined in this book from the perspective of Farooq Kperogi, who has conducted extensive studies and published on the above themes. This is balanced against emerging facts, Nigerians’ positions, and disregarded realities. Kperogi’s relentless writings on Nigeria make him a preeminent figure whose positions are valuable to the understanding of modern Nigeria.

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

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