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Abiku Phenomenon: Nigeria As Cesspool Of Development Ideas

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Toyin Falola At 70: The Reminiscing About A Scholar And Legend

By Tunji Olaopa
This contribution is a mix of a development prospecting post-2023, experience sharing and policy advocacy. In recent times, I have been reflecting a lot about the àbíkú phenomenon in Yoruba thought. And specifically, about how that metaphysical phenomenon could help make sense of the protracted opportunity for greatness that the Nigerian state has been forfeiting since it came into existence. The àbíkú myth narrates the pain and trauma associated with a child who dies at birth, and persistently returns multiple times to the same mother to be born anew in a process of renewed agony. Since the spirit of the àbíkú never really plans on staying alive, it keeps returning to shatter the aspiration of a fulfilled marriage. Once an àbíkú is born, the joy derived from the birth and the hope that attends seeing that child grow are extirpated in a short while. And the die is always cast, no matter the effort of the parents. Wole Soyinka poetically memorialized the haunting pain the àbíkú inflicts: In vain your bangles cast; Charmed circles at my feet; I am Àbíkú, calling for the first; And the repeated time

I can easily relate the mocking tone of the àbíkú in this poem to the ways by which the Nigerian state has defied all possible remedies to alleviate her governance and development predicaments. The àbíkú phenomenon becomes for me a metaphor for elusiveness—the deferred possibility that has attended Nigeria’s historical trajectory since independence. The question is why, like an àbíkú, the greatness that lies ingrained within Nigeria’s mandate of nationhood has remained perpetually delayed?

It is easy for me to relate with the traumatic pain of the parents of the àbíkú child. As an institutional reformer, I have witnessed for too long how fervent optimism around reform ideas, paradigms and blueprints have been undermined by several factors and variables that we now call the “Nigerian factor.” Reform is first a personal endeavor—the reformer is psychologically involved in the reform effort because she invests hope and optimism in ways that draw her into the processes. And successes or failures affect her continuing attachment to the reform. It seems axiomatic to say that when there is life, there is hope. However, when hope keeps getting deferred, especially in the protracted expectation that Nigeria will yield to governance reforms that will transform her institutions and her citizens’ lives, then hope seems to lose its capacity to inspire further actions.

This is a personal trauma for me, having been involved in the reform business on behalf of the Nigerian state for most of my adult life. And it feels similar to handling an àbíkú child. And I am already gripped by the premonition of another aborted hope with regard to the forthcoming election in 2023, and the prospect of another political dispensation for Nigeria beyond 2023. I, and so many others of my generation, have come a long way from those heady days of potentialities, highlighted by Nigeria’s nationalists and intellectuals. I refer, for instance, to the emergence of the discourse around the very idea of Nigeria itself. From Chief Obafemi Awolowo to Professor Billy Dudley, there was that patriotic concern to unravel the possibility of the Nigerian nation beyond being just a mere geographical expression. I was also within the context of my intellectual maturation when Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe contributed to the large prospecting for Nigeria’s future with his idea of diarchy that seeks to accommodate into the political sociology of the Nigerian state the emergence of military governance after the 1966 coup.

By the time Chief Obafemi Awolowo would commence his latter-day revision of the governance miracle in the Southwest in 1979, my reform lesson was taking another dimension under the joint tutelage of the late Professors Ojetunji Aboyade and Akinlawon Mabogunje. Both intellectuals explored their patriotic commitment to the development of the Nigerian state through an exploration of rural development via their Optimum Community (OPTICOM) concept. This concept pushes the boundary of social capital and subsidiarity as the basis for unraveling people-centered and bottom-up grassroots development as the foundation for enlivening Nigeria’s federalism. This would have served as the conceptual basis for Awolowo’s development blueprint had he become president in the second republic. He did not become president. That reform paradigm will, in part, be implemented with limited successes as policy initiatives by different administrations. But that historical accident did not stop me from incorporating that thesis into my doctoral investigation in the late ‘80s, and the search for strategic development communication OP-ED leverages that eventually led me into the IBB administration and its development policies through MAMSER, DFRRI, the community bank project that saw to the emergence of the People’s Bank, and the primary healthcare project. The IBB Political Bureau was a framework for ideological reflection that resonated with my emerging reform understanding of the path for Nigeria.

I was then juggling my embryonic reform frames with lots and lots of ideological readings in my political science and theory class at the University of Ibadan. The ideological discourses were conditioned by colonialism, postcolonialism and neocolonialism, with large dose of exciting volumes to read, from Walter Rodney to the dependency theory in our attempt to understand Africa’s place in the international political economy. Marxism was a fixation in those days, while Nigerian intellectuals, Ola Oni to Bade Onimode to Peter Ekeh, and from Billy Dudley to Claude Ake to Bala Usman provided the scholarly framework within which we could reflect around the possibility of a revolutionary transformation that could push the Nigerian state into a truly developmental dynamics within which, for instance, a civic public could emerge from the primordial loyalty of the ethnic nationalities that make up amalgamated Nigeria.

And this was how my governance and institutional reform teeth were cut within the combination of theoretical political reflection and policy professionalism that fed my expertise in implementation research. And this was what I deployed as the fundamental reform competence that took me from the policy architecture of one administration to the other, in the attempt to cobble together a solid governance and institutional framework that could transform Nigeria into a democratic and developmental state. Success was far from assured due to several and serious negative binding constraints, the most fundamental of which is the lack of political will to see implementation through to its logical conclusion. From 1999 and before my eventual retirement, providence landed me in a series of significant positions, starting with the education sector as a commencement point, and through the Management Service Office and the culmination into the crafting of the fundamental reform document, the National Strategy for Public Service Reform (NSPSR). I eventually became a permanent secretary, and started the campaign for national productivity as the culmination of all governance and institutional reform processes that transform the public service into a performing, efficient and functionally optimal machinery for democratic service delivery. When retirement happened in 2015, I switched tacking by establishing the Ibadan School of Government and Public Policy (ISGPP) to continue the task of reform advocacy.

READ ALSO: Can Any Development-Good Come Out Of Nigeria’s Bethlehem, Post-2023?

My reform efforts over the years have focused on two correlated themes. The first is the emergence of a transformational leadership that is able to create a change space which not only harness the capacities and competences of a select set of game changers, but also the foresight to create the vision and strategy that takes the civil service through the VUCA—vulnerable, uncertain, complex and ambiguous—environment into a synchronized mode for optimal productivity. The second theme is that of a cultural adjustment programme that demands a value reorientation which brings the citizenry to heel on significant behavioral and attitudinal changes that connect everyone to the leadership on the need to transform the Nigerian state. This carries the fundamental message that institutional reform hangs on the dynamics of value reorientation. In other words, widespread vices among the leadership and the populace, that coalesce into political and bureaucratic corruption, will consistently undermine the power of reforms to transform.

Cultural adjustment requires that we put religious and ethnic affiliations in their proper place that will not displace due respect for institutional integrity. For example, we cannot always set up God as the focal point for our individual and collective lack of responsibility. With the leadership in the land, showing example through their lifestyles and those of their family members as well as what they value, it demands that the unproductive investment in owambe parties be redirected to cooperative efforts to create jobs and self-help. This moderates our collective belief that it is only the government, federal, state and local, that we must always look up to for relief from our socioeconomic predicaments. The consumptive malaise, at the expense of a productive economy, must be dispensed to facilitate an industrialized and growing economic base. Here, vocational and non-vocational education must take its place at the core of government’s budgetary investment, while emphasis on R&D as driver of innovation and global competitiveness is not downplayed.

The government and the governed are both implicated in either the successes or failures of reform exercises. And as we keep focusing on the electoral year just around the corner, I have arrived at a familiar point of anxiety: will Nigerians do right in critically and vigilantly electing an administration which they will then monitor and press into reform service for the sake of good governance? The reformer in me is very apprehensive due to experiential variables. And yet, the incurable optimist in me also remains eternally hopeful that Nigeria will eventually get it right. This àbíkú child might yet stay this time around.

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

 

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Opinion

Modelling Success: Dr Adedeji Adeleke And Adeleke University

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

By Toyin Falola

Success is a broad concept that has been widely researched and discussed for many years. While there is no specific formula for achieving success, certain principles are commonly observed among individuals deemed to be successful. Success transcends mere material wealth or professional achievements; it is a phenomenon shaped by intrinsic belief, goal setting, dignity, and respect for divine will. Dr. Adedeji Adeleke, a Nigerian businessman and philanthropist, exemplifies the principles of success through his life and impact on individual and societal growth and development, serving as a beacon of inspiration to many and reflecting these values through his accomplishments.

Success is believing in one’s capabilities and potential. Successful people have an innate sense of self-efficacy, confidently believing in their ability to take actions that will lead to the attainment of set goals. Such a belief is a powerful source of motivation, as it pushes one to remain consistent even in the face of adversity and to approach tasks proactively and with a positive outlook. Successful people also understand the significance of setting clear, specific, and attainable goals.

It is worth noting that while the path to success is often super-frustrating and challenging, it is achievable with well-defined goals and persistent efforts. As such, one must continually aim forward, transition step by step, and ultimately weave together a remarkable success story through various engagements by preparing detailed actions that translate into bigger ambitions. The journey to success begins with unwavering self-belief, which is not merely about confidence; rather, it is a deep-rooted conviction in one’s ability to achieve their dreams. This resilience is required to face life’s ups and downs with a positive mindset, seeing opportunities where others see obstacles.

Success is not only due to human will and actions but is also influenced by environmental factors that can pose significant challenges. These factors can become potential stumbling blocks if the individual does not believe in the power of their dreams. Dr. Adeleke’s story is indeed one of belief in self and in the guiding influence of divine will. Despite the numerous challenges he encountered on his way to achieving his set goals, he believed in himself and his immense potential, also trusting in the divine purpose for his life. This propelled him forward, enabling him to build a legacy that cuts across different areas, including education, business, and philanthropy.

Accepting divine will means a careful, responsible acceptance without succumbing to extraneous rules or laws that rob us of our confidence and authenticity. This perspective fosters humility and gratitude and an acknowledgement that our achievements are not solely ours but are also gifts and opportunities that come from a higher source. Dr. Adeleke exemplifies humility and a powerful sense of purpose. Despite his immense success, he remains grounded and attributes his accomplishments to divine guidance.

His philanthropic efforts include huge contributions to education and community development, demonstrating his commitment to giving back and serving the greater good. Dr. Adeleke’s story indicates that true success is a harmonious blend of self-belief, goal setting, and submission to a higher purpose. It is about striving for excellence while remaining humble and purposeful.

From Dr. Adeleke, we learn that the idea of success is personal and varies from individual to individual. It is not defined by societal standards or criteria but by one’s own goals and values. Through inspired actions, individuals can realise that success is achievable for anyone who believes in themselves, sets clear goals, and respects divine will. Modelling success requires more than ambition and hard work; it involves an inherent belief in oneself, discipline in setting and pursuing goals, and a humble recognition of the divine influences in our lives. Dr. Adeleke’s life is a testimony to this whole process of success, demonstrating that success is both an internal and external journey.

Dr. Adeleke exemplifies that success is achieved through belief, goal-setting goals, and respect for divine will. He has shown that his achievements stem not merely from external factors but from nurtured internal qualities. For everyone to be successful, they must follow these prescripts and approach their goals with belief, intention, and reverence toward the divine. Belief provides the motivation, while goal setting charts the course. Goals, when clear and well-defined, act as a blueprint and a guiding light, directing actions and decisions and making the path to success easier. Goals break down the seemingly insurmountable journey into manageable steps, making the path to success more navigable.

Remarkably, Dr. Adeleke’s success in business and life is proof of his strategic mindset and commitment to setting goals. His achievements with Adeleke University and other ventures illustrate how his endeavours have successfully evolved through effective planning. Milestones play a crucial role in goal planning and maintaining focus, and Dr. Adeleke’s invaluable achievements in different spheres of life epitomise that setting realistic goals and pursuing them with dedication and hard work yields significant rewards.

 

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Opinion

Sogolo’s Moral Values And Social Change In Nigeria (5)

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Readers’ Showers Of Encouragement
Prof. Tony Afejuku

By Tony Afejuku

Our reading of Professor Godwin Sogolo’s mature opinions on our moral values and human situation in general terminates today.

Read it!

Moral Imperatives of the 4TH Industrial Revolution (4IR)

The 4th Industrial Revolution is already transforming the way we live, work, and interact. One of the key areas in which moral values will have a significant impact is in the development and implementation of emerging technologies – artificial intelligence, automation, big data analytics, genetic engineering, etc. These technologies have the potential to revolutionise industries and societies, for good! But, they also raise complex ethical dilemmas and challenges. For example, the fear is that the widespread use of artificial intelligence and automation in the workplace would lead to job displacement and economic inequality. While these technologies have the potential to increase productivity and efficiency, they also have implications for workers’ rights, fair distribution of wealth, and human dignity. Moral considerations for justice, equality, and respect for human rights must be the guiding principles in the development and deployment of the new technologies. 

Furthermore, the collection and analysis of massive amounts of personal data raise concerns about privacy, consent, and the potential for surveillance and manipulation. Moral values such as privacy, autonomy, and informed consent are essential in ensuring the protection of individuals’ rights and freedoms in the digital age. As technologies continue to advance, it is important to consider the implications they have for our value systems, and to address potential ethical dilemmas before they become widespread. That assessment falls within the purview of the humanities in general, and philosophy in particular.

Another important function of moral values in the 4th Industrial Revolution is to address the socio-economic implications of the new technologies on employment, income inequality and social cohesion. Moral values such as compassion, solidarity, social justice, etc., are essential in ensuring that the benefits of the emerging technological progress are shared equitably, and that vulnerable populations are not left behind.

The 4th Industrial Revolution has the potential of either exacerbating or mitigating the ecological challenges that we currently face, depending on the strength of our moral values and the decisions and actions of individuals, groups, businesses, governments, etc., in connection with the issues of environmental sustainability. Technologies relating to renewable energy, smart grids and circular economic models offer promising solutions. But, they require a commitment to moral values such as environmental stewardship, intergenerational responsibility and sustainability. It is important to prioritise these values so as to minimize the negative environmental impact of the new technological advancements in furtherance of sustainable development.

In adapting to the new technologies, we must bear in mind that moral values also guide issues relating to personal ethics and the well-being of the individual. The constant connectivity, information overload, and digital distractions that come with the 4th Industrial Revolution pose serious challenges to the issue of personal identity and mental health of the individuals in matters of inter-personal relationships and group interactions. We need to develop faith and confidence that the human ingenuity that created the new technologies is also able to devise means of controlling its negative consequences. For instance, if you ask ChatGPT to provide information on how to prepare a nuclear bomb, the response will be that it cannot help because it is dangerous and illegal. That is how values can assist in controlling the negative and disastrous effects of the new technologies. What the people need are moral values such as empathy, compassion, mindfulness and digital responsibility, essential for cultivating a healthy and balanced digital life that puts premium on the collective interest.

Finally, although I have emphasized the role of Philosophy in this discussion, I must add that other disciplines in the humanities also have their unique roles to play in the 4th Industrial Revolution: the classical studies and history can provide models of  personalities, social institutions and historical events that have propelled human civilisations in the past: linguistics and the languages perform communicative functions that give the individual an understanding of human relations and the working of social institutions, while the creative, visual and performing arts recreate human models, personalities and events, both real or unreal, thereby informing and inspiring the people. And, of course, the discipline of religious studies helps the individual in coping with the vicissitudes of our confusing world, further complicated by the flux of unending changes.  Together, the humanities are designed to prepare the individual to understand, control and adapt to the new changes. Already, Western nations, led by the United States of America and some European nations, have shown the moral and political will by working together on ways of controlling and adjusting to the changes that will accompany the 4th Industrial Revolution. Very recently, the American President, Joe Biden, announced a joint project with Microsoft to setup an AI control Centre in the US. Africa, especially Nigeria, cannot afford to miss out, again, on the journey of moving to the next level.

Conclusion

Historical antecedents, years of bad governance, misplaced values and ill-conceived education system, have led to a state of moral crisis in Nigeria. The social ills have had the most severe impact on Nigerian youths who, today, lack the moral foundation needed to transform the animal (Aristotle’s tabula rasa) into a human person. Not only is a large proportion of our youths denied access to basic education, the few that are lucky to have access, have been taught nothing but techniques that are bereft of positive moral values and integrity. It is obvious that Nigerian youths are ill-prepared for the arduous and compelling demands of a changing world. Surely, there is an urgent need for  retooling  our educational curricula, with emphasis on the inculcation of moral values in our youths, to save the nation from descending into the Hobbesian state of nature, anarchy  and more importantly, to enable our society to  keep pace with the changes that are coming with the 4th Industrial Revolution.

Concluded.

Afejuku can be reached on 

08055213059.

 

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Opinion

Aáwé’s Day Of Glory And Development Challenges

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The Alawe of Aawe, Oba Cornelius Taiwo Oladokun

By Tunji Olaopa

July 5 2024 was a historic day in the political and cultural annals of Aáwé town. That day was the memorable culmination of more than thirty years of a struggle to achieve the status of a beaded monarch for the Alaawe of Aáwé, Oba Cornelius Taiwo Oladokun. And the Oyo State Governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde, made this feat possible by the singularly courageous act of cutting through the red-tape of political shenanigans and prejudices to underscore historical imperatives that have to do with the cultural status of Aáwé as a significant Yoruba community in the southwest. Aáwé has always been a town that has been shaped by sociocultural and political conflicts and circumstances. And so, it becomes inevitable to connect this current breakthrough with the trajectories of so many others that situate Oba Taiwo Oladokun right within the dynamics of the Aáwé forebears and the Aáwé mystique.

What I have been calling the Aáwé mystique derives from Aáwé’s pragmatic mix of critical enlightenment, communal investment deriving from social capital, and educational commitment that facilitate the capacity of a small town to forge its own path within the context of complex sociocultural ferment from then till now. Aáwé’s strength lies in the generational, communal and diasporic investment that birthed great names that contributed to Aáwé’s image of resilience and progress. Even though Aáwé is a small Yorùbá town, it carries the weight of great achievements — the aggregation of its diverse indigenous pool into a developmental capital that propels continuous advancement in social, cultural, economic and political terms. Aáwé’s indigenous pool is made up of the expatriates abroad who invested in educational advancement and those, equally educated, who stayed behind to keep up the chain of communal commitment and advancement.

This mystique is founded on an even more fundamental governance principle that takes the grassroots seriously as the basis of a distinct and peculiar development founded on subsidiarity and social capital. These two principles form the basis of local governance that embeds governance and development in traditional institutions and the will of the members of the grassroots. I have provided these sociological and political narratives to underscore two points. The first is to underscore the rationale behind the doggedness and courage of His Royal Majesty, Oba Cornelius Abiola Taiwo Oladokun. This kind of struggle and sacrifice to realize the transformation of the status of the monarchy at Aáwé could only further elevate the status of the town and the historical forbearance of Aáwé’s forebears. The Kabiyesi is only following in the footsteps of the Aáwé ancestors who kept up the trajectory of historical and cultural responsibility to the town and to posterity. The new beaded crown is therefore a testimonial to the historical resilience of Aáwé as a small town that withstood the complexities and intrigues of being situated within the context of larger Yorùbá historical circumstances that had the capacity to swallow it up.

More importantly, therefore, beyond the pomp and circumstances of the coronation, I am reading the entire event as Aáwé’s Nehemiah’s moment. At a very critical juncture in time, the biblical Nehemiah came to that conscious moment when all circumstances became propitious for him to take on the challenge of harnessing the will of the people and the resources of the land to reconstruct the walls of Jerusalem. I am convinced that Aáwé has reached its own critical moment when there is a conjunction of history, vision and possibilities; it is a moment to rehabilitate the shared vision that has never failed to unite the Aáwé homeland and the Aáwé diaspora, or the Aáwé people and its distinguished elites towards a sustainable developmental future. Given the committed efforts of Aáwé’s ancestors to the Aáwé mystique, there is already in place a vast demography of generational capital — in terms of human capital and available resources — that creates a space of possibilities. What must then be added is a context for the sharing of opinions and blueprints for moving Aáwé forward. And it is the responsibility of the Alaawe to facilitate the flowering of the space that accommodates different shades of opinions and scenarios within leadership large-hearted seminal spirit; especially the peculiar one, required to manage a demographic of people with perhaps one of the largest professors and professionals per capital in the world, for moving Aáwé forward.

Like Nehemiah, these needed conversations and discourses need to be had around the urgency of taking Aáwé to the next level of composite development. There is no questioning the visible and tangible level of infrastructural achievements that dot the landscape of Aáwé as a result of self-help efforts. And they are though few, but too numerous to be mentioned, from the Oba’s palace to the Odo Sogidi tourist center, and from the police post to the bank. We must also not fail to mention the industrializing spirit of the late Chief (Sir) Anthony Amoje (the Otun of Aawe and his Amo Sanders), Chief Debo Omotoso (the Asiwaju of Afijio and his Bond Chemicals), etc. These self-help and industrial activities tell a tale of communal and collective responsibilities to the perceived need of a community that has always been aware of itself. However, by reason of this significant event of the crowning of the Aáwé monarch, we are challenged to rethink Aáwé’s development status and to take the self-help initiatives a fundamental step further. This is to the extent that the existing self-help efforts provide the enabling motivation to ground real development that transforms the well-being of the Aáwé people.

I mentioned that part of the Aáwé mystique is the available demography of people and resources that have been accumulating for a long time. This implies that there is really no need to reinvent the development wheel in putting Aáwé on the map. Starting from the Egbe Omo Ibile Aáwé to the Aáwé Development Plan: The OPTICOM Approach — and the ongoing but relevant Chief Emmanuel Adisa, the Asiwaju of Aawe-led attempt at developing an Aáwé Vision 2050, a blueprint that encompasses Aáwé Economic Renaissance and Restructuring for Economic Activities and Revitalization — speaks to the larger intention to take Aáwé beyond its present status in terms of leveraging local governance principles. For instance, Professors Ojetunji Aboyade and Akin Mabogunje’s OPTICOM — from optimum community — represents a unique experimental approach to grassroots mobilisation for community development. It is an attempt at establishing interactive platforms between researchers and grassroots producers in a unique synergy that facilitates the critical flow and fusion of knowledge and expertise. The OPTICOM thesis rests on the assumption that traditional structures possess the inherent capacity, borne out of centuries of adaptability and resilience, to bear the weight of responsible policy initiatives properly managed by equally responsible and development-sensitive leadership.

A revitalized OPTICOM approach, adapted to current development challenges, will provide the framework for transforming individual efforts into cooperative endeavors. For example, Aáwé farmers could be given the opportunity of re-organizing into enhanced cooperative societies and the building of entrepreneurial networks that could connect them with multi-sourced credit and infrastructural supports within a structured agro-processing industry value chain. This feeds directly into the poverty alleviation component of the Opticom model that is meant to reduce the burden of individual efforts that do not usually amount to much outside of cooperative capacities. This also speaks to Aáwé’s small and medium enterprises whose tenacious capacities as cottage industries not only delimit Aáwé’s comparative advantages, like the ebu ose (black soap) industry, but also remain the key to the creative industrial and economic transformation of Aáwéland. When the late Prof. Mabogunje consolidated this component in the celebrated experiment in Ijebu Development Initiative on Poverty Reduction (IDIPR), its success had the critical support and the transformational leadership inspiration of the HRM the Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Kayode Adetona. This is then the crucial benchmarking of traditional governance structure and development achievement that Aáwé needs to emulate.

The development drive in Aáwé is also tied further to the dream of connecting Aáwé to the world, especially through age-long struggle to facilitate the establishment of a tertiary institution, as well as the urgent construction and rehabilitation of Aáwé’s network of roads and highways. Three highways are crucial in this regard—the Aáwé-Ife Odan, Aáwé-Akinmorin and Aáwé-Iwo roads. These are significant contributors to the industrialization of Aáwé. At the sociocultural level, Aáwé is also embedded in a historical and cultural axis under the sway of the Alaafin of Oyo. This places a heavy burden of wisdom and diplomacy on the Alaawe to find the right amount of relational skills and diplomacy that will make the peaceful coexistence between the different interests within Aawe town and those in diaspora on the one hand, and with our neighbors on the other, the centre-point of Aáwé’s development. And given that the days of imperialist expansion are long gone, what we are left with is a scenario of mutual and peaceful coexistence within the context of regional advancement that Aáwé itself can benefit from.

Therefore, even before the euphoria of the crowning ceremony wears off, it is time to commence the process of communal dialogue instigated by the Alaawe, the council of chiefs, Awe Development Corporation, the numerous egbe omo ibile Aawe, the Aáwé elite at home and in the diaspora, and the Aáwé people themselves. It is high time Aáwé took its place in the comity of places that deploy local governance through the political and sociocultural sophistication of their traditional governance structures to connect their people to human flourishing. This is a critical junction when the broken walls of Aáwé’s development trajectories needed to be rebuilt. And I believe the omens are auspicious sufficiently for us to re-start the formidable engine of progress.

Olaopa is a Professor of Public Administration, and Chairman, Federal Civil Service Commission, Abuja.

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