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

             Òṣèlú (1)

       By Toyin Falola

Attempting to translate many African words into English wastes time, as in the silly translation of a Yorùbá Oba to His Imperial Majesty. Why not retain the inherited titles: Alaafin, Ooni, Ewi, Awujale, and stop the nonsense of translation and equivalences? What imperial? Where is the imperialism? Africans had been modest in history; they never developed the idea of kings who would go to Europe or Asia to conquer and impose imperial rule. How many empires did the modern Imperial Majesty conquer and create? Can someone who presides over a land that you can traverse its length and breadth within fifteen minutes, like some villages which they call towns, call himself “Imperial”? The city of Ibadan now has over a dozen “Imperial Majesties,” one within a distance of three miles!

Oh, someone just said it’s a way of attaching so much importance to them to fit the oversized agbádá they often wear. How funny?Very funny! And what “Majesty?” What is the meaning of “Imperial Majesty” in Yoruba? Majesty in the imperial court of women? (Are the wives enough to populate an empire?). How do you convert “His Royal Highness” back into Yorùbá or Igbo language? And is there “His Royal Lowness?” Yes, when you walk along with seven wives and stand in the middle, three to your left and four to your right, creating an imbalance that means you must marry the eighth. After the number eighth wife, we can test whether you are indeed an Imperial Majesty if you can do the private rounds with all the eight at one round per person. Don’t faint; it’s just a test, after all!

Dr.Nnamdi Azikiwe

I laughed loud when one Kábíyèsí told me a story, in his palace (not more prominent than the BQ that the wealthy man who I know but whose name I cannot mention has ), about an armed robber who invaded him sat on his throne, and asked the King to put his crown on his head. His Imperial Majesty, without a police force, spies, archers, horses and cavalry, was trembling. How can an Imperial Majesty not have security detail and a command structure? No General! Kábíyèsí obliged. The armed robber asked the King to salute him. Why won’t you salute your master, facing AK47? So, the juju that His Royal Highness claimed to have is a myth. Not at all; he only forgot the long incantation lines! 

The King promptly prostrated to the armed robber, shouting Kábíyèsí, Aláyélúwà, Igbákejì Orìṣà. May your reign be long! The armed robber protested: Call me Kábíyèsí, the King of Boys, the Boss of Robbers! Wait o, is it not a taboo again for the King to prostrate before any other man? Well, maybe since my stroke, I have stopped drinking and can no longer think straight! Where is the ase that the King has? Ase, a word that commands. I would have sympathised if the King had called himself an Oba and not an Imperial Majesty.

Let us demolish circumlocution so that we can arrive at the circumstances. There is no need to put a comma after a period! For a non-Yorùbá speaking person, you might want to look further for the meaning of Ìjọba but do not go to the palace. Ìjọba means “government” in a literary translation. The essence of the usage is drawn from the emphatic use of the word itself from the crust of Yorùbá socio-linguistic intentions. It was difficult to label the British colonial government; thus, they called it Ìjọba-Geesi—the government of Britons! After that, they simply put the name of a leader in front of Ìjọba, as in saying Ìjọba Tinubu. It is a complicated translation which masks the complexities of a label. You will surely understand when you read all the parts I am offering.

Government and leadership in any society are core to the development of such society and all parts forming the social structure. It is essential in the determination of contemporary phenomena, the preservation and usage of the past, and the trajectory of the future. Where a nation grows, there is a need for an ideologically motivated government and practically engaged one for it to coast towards that lane; however, if it falls, the government has always been core to it. We may not agree on using the word Ìjọba, but everyone would agree on the existence of government and societal roles.

Dr. Kwame Nkrumah

Having agreed on the significance of the role of the government in the determination of the projection of every society, the Nigerian society has become a specimen for evaluating what a good leadership or government should be. The perspectival examination of the government depends on the general feelings and reinforcements coming from the people over the years. Although distrust in government and its institutions that form Ìjọba is a widespread phenomenon in Africa and a problem making waves, especially among countries facing different shades of challenges, Nigeria is a particular case study. To adequately finalise the question of the various impressions, this topic will be divided into four in this series: Òṣèlú, Ọjẹlú, Ọtàlú, and Ìjọbami, that is, privatised individuals who govern themselves. The four cover different political perspectives of the country’s different politicians. This part will be addressing Òṣèlú.

It seems the epistemological standing of the Yorùbá has given more trust and respect to the political elites far more than the current public evaluation of them. This is because the description of a politician in Yoruba is Olóṣèlú. Òṣèlú means the act of developing society and putting things in order. And Olóṣèlú is the person who does it. That should be the etymological conceptualisation of politicians, meaning those who make policies and decisions do so to improve the people’s affairs. However, the socio-linguistic understanding of politicians and Olóṣèlú in Nigeria has moved beyond the positive ascriptions the ordinary words mean. Olóṣèlú, in its original intended meaning, is optimistic: someone who uses power for the public good.

There is a repose of an expectation of corrupt practices, embezzlement, and low expectation of moral standing and good conscience of politicians in the country. When you hear one say, “he is a politician” or “he is Olóṣèlú“, it would not be surprising to people if you say, “God forbid,” or deny the description profusely in the country. Today, an Olóṣèlú has become a piece of thrash. The reason behind the notion is that the words of a politician are often supposed to be checked and rechecked over and over in contemporary society. It means you are a cunny, manipulative, and deceptive individual whose statements should be taken like a pinch of salt. You are a pathetic and consistent liar. You are a politician; You are Olóṣèlú. 

You dey trust politicians? Dey Play!

The essence of this first part in my series of four is not to align with the contemporary socio-linguistic understandings that “politics and politicians,” Òṣèlú or Olóṣèlú, have taken but to reiterate the historical expectation of a politician and let them know that they have not changed. The Yorùbá culture and philosophies give high regard to the leaders and prepare the people to have similar expectations. It is the understanding of why it reposes all rights in the Supreme, including the right to the lives of its people. Ọba lónilẹ. The King is alásẹ èkejì òrìṣà, second only to the gods. He is titled Kábíyèsí, meaning he is unquestionable. There was the expectation of justice and fairness associated with an Oba and Olóṣèlú.

The Yorùbá leaders are given such respect because they are supposed to be a reservoir of the law, justice, and shared trust of the people. They hold in trust the collective values and heritage of the people. Orderliness, communal and collective development, customs, and justice are phenomena the Yorùbá society holds in great esteem. Hence, if the leader is an emblem of the totality of what the society stands for, they are expected to act in all senses of respect and responsibilities and ultimately fulfil the welfare of the people. It only means fulfilling the sociological concept that the “welfare of the people is the greatest good.”

    Several attempts have been made to understand the duty of a politician. Aristotle believes that the primary responsibility of an Olóṣèlú is to promote the common good of the polis, the community. John Locke emphasises the duty to protect individuals’ natural rights through applying social contract theory. Immanuel Kant believed that their commitment must align with universal moral principles. John Stuart Mill posited that a politician is expected to maximise society’s overall happiness or well-being. Niccolò Machiavelli addressed the idea that politicians should ensure to maintain and consolidate power, although the perspective, if not carefully interpreted, may make dictatorship out of a leader. These various ideologies of politics and the roles of politicians further put the Yorùbá perspectives in the context of the contemporary standards and views of what an ideal politician should be. It may make this a utopic ecstasy, but they are standards that a politician should aim at.

    Having understood the concept of what an ideal Olóṣèlú should be, one must wonder how these concepts seem impracticable in Nigeria. From the formal amalgamation in 1914, Nigeria needed to grow in the same direction. The vision of those who took power from the colonial authorities must have been to raise the nation from what was left of it or what the colonial powers made of it. This is because the leadership problem had been evident even in the colonial period, as there were no close historical and sympathetical similarities between the persons in government and the governed. In 1958, Smythe, in his “The Problem of National Leadership in Nigeria,” captured the leadership challenge the country was facing and the need for better development in that area. However, the nation has been in different challenges up to contemporary days, making it look like the primary meaning ascribable to the word Òṣèlú is mere utopic euphoria. Òṣèlú includes the act of building a nation, and Olóṣèlú is supposed to take the position of the builders. It is the barest minimum expected from an average Nigerian politician.

Chief Obafemi Awolowo

To have real Olóṣèlú that would herald developments and progress in Nigeria, the nation needs to be more particular about ideological leadership, above mere political calculations that enthrone those with the means of getting to power over those with the ideological means required to wheel the nation forward. Figures like Haile Selassie of Ethiopia will always be referenced in the definition of reformative leadership, despite his shortcomings and identifiable imperfections in his years of ruling his country. Selassie heralded the need for modernisation across Ethiopia, encouraged the prioritisation of education to secure the future of his nation, and laid the foundation for democratic government. Selassie describes a politician, or Olóṣèlú, thus:

…throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted, the indifference of those who should have known better, the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most, that has made it possible for evil to triumph.

In the same vein was Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, who was a revolutionary and exercised his theories of political convictions towards a better standard of living for his people. Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, Nelson Mandela of South Africa, Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya, and other remarkable African leaders, including the celebrated champions of Nigerian democracy. Today, several politicians in Nigeria, especially from South Western Nigeria, claim to have subscribed to the political ideologies of Awoism, from the political conviction of the legendary Obafemi Awolowo, who canvassed for socialism and collective development of the people in general.

    Ideological and reformative leadership  are not phenomena of the past; neither are they mere descriptions or referential compensations for those who have fought for independence or democracy. It is a political state of things and does not need to elude a particular age but is sustained through the inherited customs of excellence. Nigeria’s lack of ideological leaders, without some philosophical chains of wants for the nation’s development, has only allowed chaotic missions by Nigerian politicians, shown by their usual excuses of underestimating the nation’s state, confusion, or utter irresponsibility.

    The continuous reoccurrence of leadership challenges in the country, coupled with the high rate of corruption, embezzlement, and misappropriation of resources, has painted the word Òṣèlú in a bad light. Good leadership does not necessarily need to be a testimony of the past; it should be the state of mind of every politician and leader. However, the solution lies on the shoulders of the ìlú, the society, or the people. Nigerians must be conscious of who they vote for and desist from momentary hypes occasioned by deceits, sharing of garri, and as low as N1000 naira. Can we even get to that point where the garri is thrown back at their faces to mean that ìlú are no more gullible? How long do we compromise our rights and voices for things that will not help our generation? The solution must first go from the bottom before it gets to the top. By being conscious of these, we agree to know that all of us are Olóṣèlú, whether in the excellent reference of the word or bad contemporary ascriptions. See you in the next part.

Acknowledgement: Professor Duro Adeleke, a scholar of Yorùbá Studies at the University of Ibadan, a character of indomitable spirit, an incurable homiletician, and my herbalist with a frightening beard, made the inspiration to write this series possible.

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Sabelo Ndlovu-Gatsheni: A Relentless Intellectual Warrior



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

By Toyin Falola

Anthropological insights into human activities in this jungle called the world have illuminated our understanding that the act of bravery, at some point in time, is demonstrated in an individual’s (or animal’s) ability to exert a destructive influence on the other forms of life that threaten their life and existence. This concept of bravery, coupled with knowledge, is particularly significant in the context of African intellectual history. From foraging in the wild to get maximum consumables and remain at the top of the food chain to facing daring ecological conditions that demand adaptive and coping strategies for survival, acts of bravery are demonstrated in different capacities based on the realities of the time.

Today, humans have successfully confronted these challenges, thanks to the emergence of strong individuals when the world needed them the most. Interestingly, in periods preceding “the age of reason,” these knowledgeable individuals were also considered brave, although they often received less recognition than their physically strong counterparts. However, every phase of the human journey requires the intelligence of such individuals to overcome its inherent challenges. In the current age, not only has it become an incredible mark of bravery to be knowledgeable, but it has also become a sole indicator of serious and uncompromising individuals.

While some people possess knowledge that could potentially save the world, it takes a special kind of courage to share this knowledge, especially when doing so might put one’s safety at risk. Fela Kuti’s poignant observation that many Africans shy away from confronting oppressive forces due to fear of death rings true. To be knowledgeable and to boldly speak the truth, regardless of the circumstances, is a mark of true bravery. It is a height that Fela believed was difficult for the average African to reach. Sabelo Ndlovu-Gatsheni, however, exemplifies this kind of bravery, inspiring others to follow suit.

Due to their adjacent position to the global power economy, academic institutions have become laboratories for intellectual experiments where ideas are manufactured and configured to satisfy preconceived desires. The African individual comes into such institutions, which are genealogically linked to Western epistemic foundations, and becomes Westernized or Europeanized to the extent that they lose their cultural identity as a matter of rational thought generation and self-awareness. The profound impact of these Western epistemic foundations on African identity is undeniable. Consequently, their thinking appears anti-African because the resources or their thinking are not extracted from their indigenous epistemic foundations. This leads to a civilization identity that alienates them completely from global calculations and misleads them to believe atrocious things about themselves.

As such, the average African who argues for the appropriation of most Western ideas in advancing their collective aspirations believes erroneously that these contributions are the best things to happen to the continent, not realizing they are merely expressing Western ideas and ideals through an African lens. Sabelo Ndlovu-Gatsheni recognized this early enough and deployed his intellectual arsenal to challenge the establishment, earning him the reputation of an intellectual warrior who is relentless and bold. His consistent efforts to reclaim the African mind from the encampment of its usurpers demonstrate his commitment to the collective emancipation of Black people. While he is not the first to undertake such a mission, it is reassuring to find such an illuminating mind in an age when the tendency to show confidence in this fight has continued to dwindle.

Before launching his intellectual crusade against the political complexities that have long dominated African leadership, Ndlovu-Gatsheni made remarkable efforts to confront African educational institutions, which have become leviathans that everyone is afraid of. Remarkably, his efforts are yielding incredible results. Ndlovu-Gatsheni launched himself into decades-long research engagements and has discovered that any true emancipation of Africans and Africa must begin by repositioning their epistemic values and traditions. He believes that repudiating the knowledge methods inscribed by Western ideologues is necessary and pivotal for delinking the African thought system from Western programming.

To become that vocal against a system inherited from racist imperialists can make an individual a target for attacks that will undermine their relevance, especially economic relevance. Historians would agree that individuals who verbally challenge institutions and establishments that exploit people’s resources–intellectual, social, political, economic and philosophical–often face the wrath of these establishments. Despite these risks, Sabelo remains unwavering in his determination to liberate the continent from the unseen hands holding Africa’s epistemic inheritance hostage, earning him the admiration of those committed to this emancipatory assignment.

When examining African universities, one might wonder if there are inferior intellectual resources there that have made it impossible to disengage the students’ thoughts from Westernized imaginations that make them perpetually loaded with self-hate. This intellectual of inestimable value has consistently argued that capitalists’ aspirations extend far beyond the commercialization of material resources. He predicted early on that capitalists are afflicted by insidious diseases that are difficult to cure. Their understanding that they could extend their corporate reach into people’s educational systems reveals their deep commitment to commercializing everything, including knowledge. The infiltration of capitalist ideology into the continent’s knowledge system has brought the people to a level where they cannot compete with others for several reasons.

Primarily, the commercialization of education has created a division among its consumers, where one group can afford it because of their better economic conditions, and others cannot, owing to poverty and indigence. Meanwhile, the privileged few who have access to education are themselves beneficiaries of the skewed systems that have operated on the continent for ages. To reach this level, it is apparent that the future of the continent is perpetually challenged by contemporary capitalist greed. Therefore, it is reassuring to see someone like Ndlovu-Gatsheni dedicating his energy and zeal to addressing this problem with the hope of genuinely bringing about true change for the African people.

Africa desperately needs the liberation that Sabelo advocates for, as that would eventually bring about the structuration of their political, social, economic, epistemic and philosophical identities in ways that are beneficial to the people. One remarkable aspect of his bravery is that he minces no words when addressing issues that he believes need immediate intervention. He is adept at connecting the dots that might seem obscure to others, an ingenious ability that highlights his intelligent mind. The fact that he articulates these connections without hesitation underscores his compelling qualities.

Global right-wing ideologues are critical of anything that obstructs their hegemonic politicking and will stop at nothing to achieve their goals. The proliferation of wars and the relentless pursuit of capitalist aspirations at the detriment of global peace and stability reveal how irredeemable their conscience is in the scheme of things. Their desperation is evident in their willingness to pursue their devious ambition, regardless of the detrimental impact on global peace. Meanwhile, they continue to enjoy tremendous support because many people are unaware of the connections between them and the numerous attacks occurring in different parts of the world. Ndlovu-Gatsheni serves as the conscience and the consciousness for a large population of the subalterns–those who are unassuming and unaware of the hegemon’s eroding power and its destructive escapades in the human world.

From real-life events to various unpopular places, these conservative groups have consistently challenged the fact that others can muster the confidence to call them out or stand up against their exploitative aspirations. They vehemently oppose anything that comes in the colour of freedom, to the extent that they demonized Negritude, attacked decolonization, and challenged any effort that could threaten their overlordship position. Nothing further proves the emancipatory potential of these movements, marked for destruction and despoliation, than the restless efforts of the hegemons to destroy them. They believe that global power dynamics should always favour them, to the detriment of numerous innocent people across the globe. They are quick to denounce others, attributing all manner of inconceivable and demeaning atrocities to them. Without confronting this mammoth of a monster through epistemic reorientation and reinvention, it will remain ultimately difficult, if not impossible, to achieve the emancipation of the African people.

In his academic trajectory, Ndlovu-Gatsheni has established himself as a tireless leader who continues to anchor the academic safety and political wellness of the continent through his mind-blowing engagements. He demonstrated the necessity of combating these problems starting from the university, the central power point where Africans can reclaim maximum intellectual resources to elevate themselves after liberation and freedom.

PS: This piece was composed at UNISA. I thank Stevens Mohapi for his care and affection.

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Modelling Success: Dr Adedeji Adeleke And Adeleke University



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



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.


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.


Afejuku can be reached on 



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