By Toyin Falola
I am surprised you don’t know that my father owns the Cocoa House in Ibadan. My brother just bid to buy the Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos. We will soon change the name of British Airways to Oduduwa Air, and we don’t have to call it an Airline since we own all the skies. Land is not as expensive in Lagos as you think. I will talk to Sister Bola, who manages my mother’s estate. I have not seen Chief Adeoye for some time, my friend in Abuja who is next to Dangote in wealth. I am tied down with too much work, as I plan to buy Polaris Bank to merge it with the First Bank. I must create my conglomerate, the Baba Isola Empire. Let me call you back, as I must pick up the call from President Joe Biden, who has been wishing to speak with me for three days without luck.
Growing up, my father had a plane that was powered by water. We rarely traveled by road as we went everywhere by air. At age 3, I had toured the whole of Europe. My father later sold the plane because he did not want me to be a spoilt rich kid who was proud of other children living in our estate. He put the money from the plane sale in a trust fund for me. I have not accessed it, though, because I am now self-made. I might eventually do a giveaway with the money on Facebook.
Did you say “God When?” or ask God if you are a spoon or a potato? No, you are not. I am only rehearsing my lines since the motto is “Fake it till you make it.” I would not want to be caught off-guard when asked to share my “from grass to grace” story. My story is inspiring, although none of the above is true. But since we are faking it, the above story will sell more. I should also do an Instagram Live to motivate others and give them tips on becoming a successful trust fund kid since many people look up to me.
It is very easy to create the life we want in our heads, and truly, nothing is wrong with that because we sometimes need to escape from reality. It only starts to become wrong when we start to live a lie. Fake life; that is what it is called. Fake It or Make It is now the motto of life. Lóri Rọ́.
The street code for fake life is Lóri Rọ́—statements and claims grounded in lies. Lóri Rọ́ is now the way we roll in Nigeria. The government will magnify its achievements, giving 100 million people jobs this year. A church of 54 people becomes a million members. Everything is “double-double.” We have fake professors, fake millionaires, fake nails, fake faces, and even fake lies. Someone who has never travelled out of Nigeria has a coaching office at Ilesa to assist you in living in Canada. Last year, his company obtained visas for over a thousand people. His brother, a professor in the United States, secured jobs for all Nigerians and could assist you in writing your PhD statements for admission. He even said you were his Research Assistant and had already collected all the data needed to complete your degree. You can use a Webinar to conduct a conference where we see no one, but you can claim that over six hundred people are in attendance. You attended the University of Texas because you visited Toyin Falola for two days. Lóri Rọ́!
Lóri Rọ́ is a way of living, especially for those in the diaspora who permanently mislead those at home. A crowded one-bedroom apartment in London becomes a life of luxury, like living on Banana Island in Lagos. A struggling janitor in Houston is a businessman. A tailor in Dallas is now a fashion designer, making clothes for Beyonce. All is Lóri Rọ́. Mothers forget to tell their daughters the personal experiences of how their fathers told them they were wealthy before they got married. A week after the wedding, creditors began to knock on the doors for unpaid debts. Snakes suddenly swallowed the money. Friends betrayed them. Fraudsters cleaned their accounts. The fathers did not change their ways: they all came first in all their classes, and all grades were 100 percent. Lóri Rọ́! Do you want that Yellow Sisi to say “yes” right away as you brew instant coffee? It is easy: you will buy her a car and send her to Dubai for a few days. Lóri Rọ́.
Interestingly, little children usually create funny fantasies just to impress their friends. The largest TV in the world can be found in their father’s mansion, with plenty of rooms and uncountable servants. Meanwhile, the poor father is probably a civil servant waiting for the government to pay his six months’ unpaid salary. Unfortunately, adults who are supposed to know better have become specialized crooks, serving very cold zobo (lies) just to put themselves in a certain light. Original Zobo!
Fake life thrives so well on social media. It is a buzzing hub for wannabes and people who make a living from manufacturing fake lives. Surprisingly, several Nigerian celebrities and some people’s role models lead fake lives. It is worrisome that some people compete with those they do not know while others try to impress strangers, forgetting that social media is not real life.
Social media users only put out whatever they want people to see, called content. People dish out content as they deem fit, whether to gain followers, become popular or be acknowledged or accepted. It is common to see people flaunt luxurious items, vacations, sophisticated houses, their daily routines and every internet-worthy thing they can think of on social media. However, it is an open secret that many people borrow or rent these things just to pepper people on Obasanjo’s internet, and those who were successfully peppered put themselves under unnecessary pressure over a borrowed outfit or jewellery or even a photoshopped picture. Did I let out a much-guarded secret? Forgive me, please. Everyone on the internet is living their best life. #zeroworries #lifeisgood #chasingthebag #livinglavidaloca
Nollywood actors and self-acclaimed influencers are at the fore regarding fake life. Some celebrities will stop at nothing to remain relevant, even if it means renting wads of money from Aboki for a couple of hours to take pictures for the gram. There are stories of how some of these celebrities will send out housewarming invites for a borrow pose house, together with aṣọ ẹbí for a party that will be thrown in a house that does not belong to them, ah lóri rọ́! Several celebrities have been dragged on social media for refusing to pay after renting jewellery, clothes and even wigs to an event. These celebrities go as far as chasing “clout” for fame. You see them post senseless philosophies, especially women who come on social media to “advise” other women on what they deserve and how to be treated by men. Lori Ro!
Funny how these attention-seekers are unmarried, divorced or, worse, homewreckers. Many people live happier and better lives, but the façade most celebrities are cloaked in deceives many into thinking they are better off, causing them to feel unsatisfied with their lives. It does not matter what it is; as long as it makes them go viral, they are okay with it. Anything for the gram, my darling.
In 2019, a relationship blogger, popularly known as Blessing CEO, was arrested for allegedly misrepresenting herself as the owner of a 7-bedroom duplex. She had posted the house on her 30th birthday with a few motivational words to celebrate her “achievement”, only for the displeased owner of the house to debunk her claim and expose her. She, however, insisted the house belonged to her and went on to share a house plan and pictures of herself in nightwear in front of the house. Unfortunately, the owner of the house, who had flown in from China, had her arrested, and in a video that went viral, she confessed that the house was not hers, that she had only begged the gatekeeper to let her in so she could take pictures. Two years after being dragged for lying, she now has a mansion of her own. Talk about faking it till you make it! Such motivation!
Fake life is neither age-specific nor gender bias; it cuts across both males and females, young, middle-aged or old. You will be shocked to find men living fake lives to impress a woman! They show off their flashy lifestyles with borrowed pose clothes and fake bling bling, in a desperate attempt to get the attention of a lady who may even be above their social class. Some spend lavishly, lying about their occupation and salary.
In May 2023, there was a case of a certain Saul Murray, a father of 6, who a woman and her friends murdered after seeing pictures of him on social media showing off expensive watches and wealth. After communicating via messages, he invited her to his house, and she came with a friend. Unknown to him, it was a planned robbery, as they had two other male accomplices outside the house. His drink was spiked, but it was not enough to knock him out, and he was unfortunately murdered when he tried to fight back. However, in an interesting turn of events, the Rolex watches they came to steal were all fake. Lies kill lies!
You may have heard of mechanics who pose with their customer’s cars as theirs or drivers who use Oga’s cars to flaunt to look good to women and their friends. In their defence, the breed of women in this generation will not look at you twice if you have nothing to your name. Awon iregbe! As a man, you have to be able to guarantee her a secure future laced with the finest things in life. Unfortunately, you have only love to give, but love will not pay for a trip to Maldives or a bikini party where she will ṣèdí bàlàbàlà in a thong on a yacht. Also, as your set’s best-graduating student, it is unfortunate that your efforts to get a good job have been futile. Now that you are a driver, it will not hurt to fake it to the unserious student in your set who is now a Lagos big boy that the car is the least of the many exotic cars you own as the Chairman of a multinational company. You even give him one of the fake complimentary cards you printed for this purpose. Sodiki!
Do I need to talk extensively about women who, on a normal day, have about two or three fake things to wear and then decide to make their lives more complicated by living fake lives? Instead of a woman sticking to wearing fake hair, eyelashes, bum and breasts, she goes on to live a lie, telling anyone who cares to listen that her synthetic hair is 100% human hair and it costs one million naira only, minus installation. After washing and ironing to remove the familiar okirika smell, she claims that the dress she bought from a thrift store at Balogun market for 3,000 naira costs 85,000 naira only, and she bought it at Fashion Nova’s online store. Check her posts on IG; it is giving everything it is supposed to give. Purrrrrr! Like Bose, she is a trust fund kid who can only access the money 10 days after her wedding. She does not know why, but it is probably because she is Daddy’s girl, and her daddy does not want her to chase potential suitors away because she is an independent rich woman. Aminatu-lie!
Surprisingly, many so-called rich people you admire live off loans and borrow money to fund their expensive lifestyles and pay their staff. They acquire debt to keep up the image they have presented to the public. The frequent trips, vacation homes, private jets and excessive shopping are bleeding red and leaving huge minus signs while you, who are debt-free, are screaming “God when?” in their comment section. Rich people live fake lives too. E shock you?
There are varying reasons why people pretend to be what they are not, but it all boils down to one main thing: pressure. The pressure is always getting wesser. Pressure from friends, parents, and society can be so overwhelming. There are ridiculous standards set for people that they must maintain, and when it becomes impossible, living a lie seems to be the best resort. One would be scrolling through the streets of Twitter or Instagram and see a post that reads: “What have you achieved in the first quarter of 2023?” or “I became a house owner at 23. What about you?” followed by comments of people who may have hit a milestone or had a major achievement in barely 3 months. An image of perfection is constantly painted on people’s faces. This can be quite an insensitive post for someone who may not even have a job or is going through a mid-life crisis. This alone can put thoughts into such a person’s head, and they begin to live a lie.
Some are not under any pressure but may be under a curse to use the whole of their lives to impress people. What explanation can one give to deciding to “feel among”, to impress others, particularly people you do not know? Many people have lived fake lives so bad that it has been integrated into their system, and they can no longer differentiate between reality and the lie they are living. The misrepresentation of truth has distorted the actual lives they have fabricated over time.
Low self-esteem and an inferiority complex are other reasons people fake their lives. Humans generally want to be seen and accepted and get approval and praise from people. Irrespective, living a fake life does not help solve a low self-esteem issue. You must understand that people will always be people, and their opinion of you does not define who you are. You have to realize your worth and know that you are enough. The people you are trying to impress or get acknowledgement from with your fake life do not even care about you. Any “friend” who makes you feel less of yourself because you are not living large or living like a baddie is not a true friend; you do not need such people. A superiority complex also contributes to fake life. The idea of being better than others fools people into living a lie just to keep up appearances. Pride goes before an internet dragging. To thyself be true.
Fake life only sets you up for disaster. It affects your mental health and well-being. You will even chase your helper away because, with the life you project, you are richer than your helper. If you have been contemplating living a fake life, this is a call to order: Desist! Abort mission!! Over!!! If you know someone who is a fake life ambassador, approach them with wisdom and talk them out of it without judgment. If you live a fake life, start coming out with the truth gradually before everything blows up. Yellow Sisi, return to your black skin. Distinguished Professor, your books will not create jobs in Lagos. Fine Mummy, wrinkles are on the way. Area Fada, cancer will knock you out. Sai Bai is now in Daura, ten miles from the Niger Republic!
As for me, pay no mind to the story at the beginning of this piece. Na imagination wan wound me.
The West And The Hypocrisy Of Democracy
By Toyin Falola
Western deception has been with Africa forever:
1493: Pope Alexander VI issued a papal bull, “Inter Caetera,” proclaiming the right of Spain and Portugal to enslave Africans and own the land. They were subjects. They stole your people and your land.
1885: Africa was a Dark Continent. It required colonization to become civilized. Europe would bring change and civilize them. They stole your raw materials and truncated your self-development.
1940: When over a million Africans fought in Europe, North Africa and the Far East during the Second World War, the West convinced them they were dying for freedom and democracy. But where in Africa do they receive freedom and democracy? Indeed, Apartheid was inaugurated in 1948 in South Africa.
When will this deception come to an end? So, Gabon and Niger were democracies before the 2023 coups? You must be using the wrong dictionary to define democracy. Cameroon under the invalid Paul Biya is a democracy? You must be confusing the Mali Empire with the modern country of Cameroon. And the presidents who rule for as long as they want practising democracy?
You need a little education.
Recent developments in Africa’s political space, particularly the growing number of military takeovers, have informed fresh queries around the expressions of neo-colonialism in Africa and the commitment to liberal democracy as the ideal political model for the region. The point of reference for these queries is the ceremonial reactions from the acclaimed “champions of democracy” in the West, who waste no time issuing condemnations at every instance of “democratic failure” on the continent without any actual commitment to ensuring that power indeed lies with the people. Not only have these champions of African interests—the United States (US), Britain and France—touted democracy as the best system of political organization to achieve political stability and economic prosperity in Africa, but they have also prosecuted wars, allegedly in its defence, which cost millions of lives and destabilized entire regions. However, it is not enough to accuse our benevolent friends in the West of hypocrisy without providing compelling proof of double-dealing in delivering their duties as democratic crusaders. After all, in a democratic setting, all are innocent until proven guilty.
As a philosophy of government, democracy has existed since the Greco-Roman times. However, its foray into Africa can be traced to the eve of independence when Britain and France introduced forms of local representation as concessions to indigenous demands for independence. Thus, from 1959, parliamentary elections and other democratic institutions started to become commonplace on the continent. But, as it would turn out, this democratic experiment, which formed part of the third (global) wave of democracy, was to be short-lived—derailed as it was by fluctuating Western interests on the continent.
Guiding Western interest in Africa from the 1950s was the ideological war between the West (mainly the USA) and the Soviet Union. The “Cold War,” as it came to be known, was the first incident to unmask the real intentions of the West for post-colonial Africa. In their quest to emerge as the world’s sole superpower, the US and the Soviet Union, who actively strove to undermine each other’s influence by, among other things, advancing their political ideologies around the world, turned to Africa as another important frontier of conquest. While the Soviet Union armed African revolutionary movements against their Western colonial overlords and provided support to openly communist governments, Washington concluded that, to effectively check the spread of Soviet influence on the continent, it was more expedient to enthrone biddable leaders in African states than it was to woo them with any ideological arguments or economic incentives.
Anxious to ensure power was handed over to reliable politicians, Britain and France became eager participants in the US policy in Africa. Together, the US and its allies targeted venal local strongmen, preferably with military backgrounds and authoritarian tendencies, who, in collaboration with its intelligence agencies, ousted legitimate/democratic governments. Notable victims and beneficiaries of this plot included (in the former category) Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, Patrice Lumumba of Congo DRC, Sylvio Olympio of Togo and (in the latter category) Idi Amin of Uganda, Mobutu Sese Seko of Congo DRC and Gnassingbé Eyadema of Togo, to mention a few. Consequently, thirty-three African countries that achieved independence between 1956-1970 became authoritarian immediately or not long after.
Another demonstration of the complete disregard that the West has for democracy, peace/stability and human rights in Africa is its willingness to engulf the entire region in conflict so that it can achieve its “strategic interests.” Once again, we begin from the Cold War era where, having recently come out of a highly destructive war in Europe (in 1945) and being cautious of engaging in another, the West and the Eastern Bloc turned Africa into the site of their proxy wars. In southern Africa, where the US considered both Angola and Mozambique as areas of “strategic interests,” Washington armed the 200,000 Portuguese conscripts, who went on to fight a protracted war against local nationalist revolutionaries, with imported weapons, which included defoliants and napalm. In Angola, the US, in cooperation with Apartheid South Africa, backed the National Union for Total Independence (UNITA) against the country’s (Soviet-backed) leading national liberation front, the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA). There were also similar cases in northern Africa where Sudan was funded and armed by the US against Egypt and Ethiopia, who had also pitched their tents with Moscow. These conflicts and the resultant proliferation of arms saw the loss of millions of African lives from war and famine and a general destabilization of the region.
While the West cannot be said to have been directly involved in all the occasions of transition from democratic to authoritarian rule, in more than a few instances, the leaders of newly independent democratic/multi-party African states seized the opportunity of Western patronage to quickly switch to one-party/despotic rule. In other cases, it was the corruption, resource mismanagement, “tribalism,” patrimonialism, clientelism and imperialism perpetrated by a Western-backed ruling political class which formed the basis of military takeovers (coups). Nevertheless, in this atmosphere of quasi-democratic rule, full-fledged despotism, military rule and Apartheid—where national resources were siphoned by kleptocratic regimes and millions of Africans either became refugees or died as a result of civil wars, hunger, and human rights abuses—our western “friends” were content to look the other way if the government in place proved itself an ally of Washington.
Perhaps the most glaring example of the West’s democratic hypocrisy in Africa was its age-long support for the highly racist and politically repressive Apartheid regime in South Africa. Like the French, who were able to cajole Washington into believing that they were fighting communist-backed insurgents in Algeria, the South African Apartheid regime, for forty years, posed as the last bastion against communists in Africa—an attitude that was able to secure a steady flow of western arms. This, alongside the West’s tacit approval, allowed for one of Africa’s most despicable shows of human debasement, carried out in the name of imperialism and racial superiority. After all, as President Ronald Regan remarked in 1981, South Africa was “essential to the free world in its production of minerals we all must have.”
The end of the Cold War changed Western attitudes towards Africa. Without the Soviet threat, the West leaned more towards development diplomacy and foreign aid regimes as the main thrust of its foreign policy in Africa. Foreign aid to Africa, however, turned out to be a Trojan horse. Already saddled with the task of building vibrant economies whilst also harmonizing the aspirations of the different ethnic nationalities which characterized them, African countries, especially in Francophone Africa, also had to grapple with the undermining economic and political agreements they had been coerced into signing with their erstwhile colonial overlord as a condition for independence and continued patronage. To make matters worse, some African countries were, at the end of the Cold War, either fighting or had just come out of civil war. This, combined with the widespread corruption and mismanagement of national resources which characterized Africa’s tyrannical governments, put many Af5rican countries at the mercy of international monetary agencies (the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank) and their financiers whose aid they were now heavily dependent on.
At first, these Bretton Woods institutions were content to grant loans/aid, at debilitating interest rates no less, to authoritarian leaders who used them to perpetuate themselves in power and, in return, provided the former with mineral and other economic concessions. However, without the Cold War pressures, more emphasis was placed on the liberalization and capitalist/free-market aspects of US foreign policy to guarantee return on investments. Soon enough, Structural Adjustments Programmes (SAPs) were introduced as a precondition for further loans/aid. Said adjustments, which demanded limited government intervention in the public sector, i.e., removing government subsidies in energy (fuel/gas), education and health care, brought untold hardships to already suffering populations. And as research has shown, poverty and non-tax revenue make for the ideal democratic environment. In other words, “when the government is not beholden to citizens for its funding, there is less accountability and less reason to democratize” (Tilly 1990). Instead, leaders simply use the “free” funding from natural resources (oil) and foreign loans/aid to buy enough support to remain in power.
Judging from the various expressions of Western interests in Africa over decades, it goes without saying that the West simply pays lip service to ideologies when convenient. Although many Africans might not object to the cynical pragmatism that has always guided Western foreign policy in Africa, I dare say they will not stand for the continued lies and hypocrisy that have characterized Western reactions to African developments. Even if the above-described instances of Western hypocrisy in Africa were to be argued to be in the past, it is a living past for Africa.
Africa, today, still has authoritarian governments in place whose political repression and human rights abuses go on unchecked by our democracy and rule of law-loving friends in the West. After being siphoned by kleptocratic governments, our commonwealth still finds its way to Western banks, where it sits and improves the local economy. Western interests continue to impoverish Africans and destabilize their regions. So, Africans are today saying to the West, its diplomats, presidents, and the other agents of its propaganda: “Your gambit in Africa is up. Our people are awakened!”
The West has sold you a fake product called democracy. Africans, your vote is not a sign of democracy. It is no more than a deception. There is no democracy without accountability. You are just voting thieves to power. There is no democracy without transparency. You are just using your votes in support of crooks and thugs. There is no democracy without good governance. Your vote is facilitating theft. Maybe you are waiting for your turn to steal. There is no democracy without development. Your vote is moving you back to the Stone Age. Even early humans knew when to replace stones with iron during the Stone Age. Africa, you don’t have a democracy. Anyone you have not appointed cannot disappoint you! Citizens are being deceived, and they are deceiving themselves. Organize yourselves at various levels and think of alternatives to democracy or, at the minimum, how accountability and transparency will form the core of your democratic practices. Your lifetime president is not a Democrat. He is an authoritarian kleptocrat far worse than the combination of Doris Payne, Stephane Breitwieser, Simon Leviev, Veerappan, Derek Smalls, Vincenzo Peruggia, Bonnie and Clyde, Natwarlal, Carl Gugasian, Frank Abagnale, Anna Sorokin, Albert Spaggiari, Jesse James, Anthony Strangis, and Bill Mason. Do you know these names?
Informaction: Theory Of Change And Witch Persecution In Africa
By Leo Igwe
A theory of change explains how activities, measures, and steps undertaken to address a problem could facilitate or help realize certain changes or outcomes. It articulates how an impact would be achieved and some progress made. In this case, the expected outcome is an end to witch-hunting in Africa. Unlike in Western countries, the persecution of supposed witches persists in the region. Witch bloodletting takes place in many parts of Africa. The persecution of people accused of witchcraft leads to horrific abuses and death. Alleged witches are attacked, tortured, lynched, imprisoned, or banished. They are subjected to jungle justice, trial by ordeal, forced disappearance, and internal displacement. Simply put, those who are accused of perpetrating occult harm are treated without mercy or compassion. Incidentally, the impression is that nothing could be done to combat or neutralize this dark and destructive phenomenon, that witch hunting is cultural to Africans. The impression is that seeking to eradicate witch-hunting in African societies is a futile effort. This notion is gravely mistaken and needs to be corrected. The Advocacy for Alleged Witches was launched in 2020 to correct these misconceptions and facilitate effective actions. It works to fill the missing link in the activism against witch persecution in the region. The AfAW is a protest initiative, and exists to challenge and dispel allegations of witchcraft.
The main goal is to end witch-hunting in Africa by 2030. This objective sounds like an ambitious goal or some pipe dream, but it can be achieved. And AfAW aims to end witch hunting based on an informactional theory of change. This theory rests on two pillars: information and action because witch hunting persists in the region due to lack of information, or misinformation, and due to lack of action, inaction, or infraction. The Advocacy for Alleged Witches uses this two-pronged approach to combat witch-hunting in Africa.
At the global level, there is a lack of information about witch-hunting in Africa. Although a lot has been written and published on witchcraft in African societies, many people in Europe and America claim do not know about raging witch hunts in the region. Part of the problem is that these publications are filled with misinformation and misinterpretation of witchcraft accusations and witch persecution in the region. Scholars have presented witchcraft accusations as benign and useful to African societies. Meanwhile these accusations are not in any way gentle or pleasant. Studies have portrayed witchcraft allegations as stabilizing and harmonizing mechanisms. They have overlooked the critical and skeptical perspective of witchcraft beliefs. Scholars have largely ignored the accused side of the story, the harmful and destructive consequences of witchcraft imputations. At the Advocacy for Alleged Witches, we work to correct the misrepresentation of witchcraft accusations in Africa. We campaign to draw attention to this imbalance in the perception of the phenomenon. But correct information is not enough. Balanced interpretation does not suffice. To combat witch persecution, information needs to be turned into action, into effective policies and interventions.
On the action side, the Advocacy for Alleged Witches takes measures to address the problem because lack of adequate information has occasioned inaction or infractions. Wrong information has resulted in apathy and indifference towards witch hunting in Africa. Many international agencies are reluctant to act; they have refused to take action or to treat the issue with the urgency it deserves. With adequate and balanced information, international organizations would take appropriate actions.
At the local level, the Advocacy for Alleged Witches works to fill the information and action gaps. Many people accuse and engage in witch hunts due to a lack of information or misinformation. Accusers act based on a lack of information about the cause of illnesses, deaths, and other misfortune. Many people persecute witches because they have incorrect information about who or what is responsible for their problems, because they are not informed about what to do and where to go, who or what to blame for their misfortunes. Many people do not know what constitutes sufficient reason and causal explanations for their problems. As part of the efforts to end witch-hunting, the AfAW highlights misinformation and disinformation about causes of misfortune, illness, death, accidents, poverty, and infertility, including the misinformation that charlatans and con artists, god men and women such as traditional priests, pastors, mallam and marabouts use to exploit poor ignorant folks. The AfAW provides evidence-based knowledge, explanation, and interpretation of misfortunes. It informs the public about the law and other existing mechanisms to address allegations of witchcraft. The AfAW sensitizes the public and public institutions, including schools, colleges, and universities. It sponsors media programs, issues press releases, makes social media posts, and publishes articles and blogs on witch-hunting in the region.
A – Z Of Ibadan Achievements
By Toyin Falola
I am glad to accept the invitation of the Ibadan Descendant Union, the Dallas Branch, celebrating its 25th anniversary on September 23rd, 2023. As the Keynote Speaker, my topic was not imposed on me. In the spirit of the occasion and speaking to city fellows, I know I must be in haste before the amala becomes cold. Approaching 71, my words keep coming, far more than at 41. As the words continue to pour, let me employ them to praise the greatness of Ibadan, which I once eulogized in a piece, “Ibadan: My City of Fame”.
A story of political cunning, martial strength, and intellectual passion unfolds in Ibadan’s rich and fertile fields, like the brilliant hues of a tapestry stitched with strands of heritage, bravery, and ingenuity. As we travel through the history of Ibadan, a city that stands as a beacon of human resilience and ingenuity, we discover stories of remarkable individuals who have risen to great heights through courage and community solidarity, shaping a society that not only honoured its past but eagerly looks forward to a bright future.
We begin this voyage by traversing Ibadan’s dynamic political and chieftaincy terrain, where the pursuit for honour paints the backdrop of a society steeped in martial culture. This is a city that pulsates with the heartbeat of its people, continuously growing and remaking itself via a kaleidoscope of power dynamics and civic turmoil. Individuals ascending to chieftaincy titles in this dynamic metropolis are more than just leaders; they manifest a tradition steeped in heroism, endurance, and community cooperation. When we delve further, we discover that the quest for honour is more than just a race for prestige. It is a vibrant celebration of the rich and diverse traditions that constitute the foundation of Ibadan’s distinct identity. Civil disturbances are considered possibilities for societal reform in this setting, fostering governance that shapes a robust and adaptive civic identity. As we search through Ibadan’s historical documents, we discover a city that stands as a tribute to its citizens’ tenacious energy and inventiveness, constantly weaving its past and values into the intricate fabric of its distinct character.
The vivid tapestry of Ibadan’s tale continues into the arena of military power, where victory echoes reverberate through time, influencing the communal rituals and martial practices that have defined the city’s vast past. The revered streets of Ibadan echo the attitude of solidarity and fearlessness that characterized ancient warriors. A closer examination reveals leaders who inspired and galvanized armies with weapons and words that moved the soul, cultivating a cultural milieu in which military achievement symbolized civic pride and camaraderie. Leaders like Balogun Ogboriefon evolved to personify the deeply ingrained belief system centred on togetherness and fearlessness. These charismatic figures led their societies through transforming experiences that defined civic values and fostered a collective sense of cohesion and direction. As a result, civil unrest in Ibadan should be viewed as a potent catalyst for political development and advancement, forming a dynamic and resilient civic identity that matches the lively traits of urban cultures seen in ancient city-states.
As the story progresses, it becomes clear that military conflicts that once echoed through the city’s streets have now become an integral component of a fascinating narrative that acts as both an educational tool and a source of inspiration for its residents. The merging of past and present delivers a colourful portrayal of historical information through this lens, feeding civic culture with a potent blend of inspiration and advice. Continuing from the complex tapestry that underpins Ibadan’s historical landscape, we now focus on the intellectual areas that distinguish this magnificent city. The hum of intellectual debate, the vigorous interchange of ideas that has been a trademark of this urban sanctuary for generations, can be heard throughout Ibadan’s bustling streets and peaceful corners. The scholarly pursuit, profoundly embedded in the city’s mentality, acts as a beacon, attracting minds from all backgrounds and promoting a culture of intellectual energy and innovation.
The intellectual enthusiasm is not limited to the sacred halls of learning; it permeates every aspect of Ibadan culture. Streets are transformed into open forums, where wisdom and insight are traded with the same zeal as goods in a bustling market. Every person, it appears, contributes to a swirling vortex of information and creativity, from the little child reciting folklore learnt at a grandparent’s knee to the seasoned academic scribbling theories in scholarly publications. This ongoing engagement with learning with intellectual inquiry imbues the city with an enlightening atmosphere that permeates every nook and cranny. This intellectual curiosity, however, is not a new feature; rather, it is deeply established in Ibadan’s history. The city has long been a study centre, where traditions and customs have been recorded, preserved, and studied. A location where the quest for knowledge, for unravelling the complexities of human existence, has been a constant force driving people to seek wisdom in the teachings of the past and the discoveries of the present.
And, as if responding to the ancients’ pleas, Ibadan’s modern academic institutions stand as mighty strongholds of knowledge, where the quest for understanding crosses borders and cultural barriers. The University of Ibadan, a towering educational institution, is a light of scholarship, attracting minds worldwide. A new generation takes up the mantle of scholarly endeavour here, amid the halls resonating with the echoes of intellectual giants, ready to carve out their place in the unending narrative of human discovery and understanding. This old institution’s convoluted passageways are a combination of tradition and modernity. A synthesis of many fields of study, where rich lore from the past meets innovative findings from the present, generating an environment that fosters critical thinking and innovation. The intellectual traditions that have characterised the city’s history are given new life by introducing new views and cutting-edge research approaches. This harmonic fusion of old and modern, tradition and innovation, creates a fertile foundation for ideas to take root and develop, contributing to a lively intellectual ecosystem constantly reshaping Ibadan’s societal landscape. The spread of knowledge extends beyond academic circles and into the streets, producing a culture that values intellectual involvement and scholarly discourse.
In the green gardens and lively courtyards of Ibadan’s educational institutions, ideas that have the potential to revolutionize society, question the existing status quo and drive growth are born. Here, in the heart of Ibadan, a new generation emerges, armed with the instruments of knowledge and the spirit of inquiry, ready to face the difficulties of the modern world to contribute to a story that transcends millennia, a story that is constantly being written with each passing instant. There blossoms a dazzling tale of expansion and renaissance within the heartbeat of booming urbanity, an anthology that knits past and present into a vivid tapestry of innovation and cultural engagement. The bustling city of Ibadan awakens to embrace a future stitched with golden threads of aspiration and drive as the sun rises, filling the sky with the hues of a new day.
As we continue our examination of this extraordinary city, we cannot ignore the significance of cultural collaboration in forming its modern landscape. Ibadan’s rhythmic pulse is an outstanding symphony, synthesizing diverse cultures and traditions that have found a home within its warm embrace. These intertwined storylines have generated a rich and diverse cultural tapestry and a dynamic and resilient community united in its pursuit of growth and innovation.
A live testament to the city’s global nature can be found in the bustling markets, where an orchestra of dialects fills the air. Trade and commerce transcend transactional boundaries here, morphing into a dynamic cultural exchange dance. An ever-changing ballet in which things, tales, and traditions weave a rich narrative that vibrates with the harmonious melodies of cooperation and mutual respect. As one travels through the city’s busy streets, it is clear that the feeling of community flourishes here. The streets, bustling with the energy of a people unified in purpose and vision, represent Ibadan’s unwavering spirit. This is a city where neighbourliness and a profound feeling of belonging form relationships that transcend generational boundaries, where the wisdom of the elders feeds the seeds of the future, nurturing a society ready to play a crucial role in the world arena.
Again, the story does not finish here; rather, the narrative is ever-changing, sculpted by the hands that construct, nurture, and invent. The pulse of progress is tangible, sparking a rebirth that sees the city reach previously unimaginable heights. Ibadan is on the verge of a new era, ready to seize chances that promise progress and wealth. The city’s edifices, testaments to human ingenuity and resilience, rise to the sky, representing the lofty goals of a people eager to carve their place in history. The developments we see now are a testament to the numerous hands who have worked tirelessly to mould Ibadan’s trajectory, a path distinguished by tenacity, ingenuity, and a relentless quest for greatness. This booming innovation cluster is where the past meets the future, where tradition and modernity dance in unison, giving rise to a beacon of hope and progress on the African continent. The brilliance of human collaboration illuminates Ibadan’s path, a tribute to the potential within a society united in purpose and vision.
As the sun sets and the sky turns gold and scarlet, Ibadan retreats into a tranquil embrace, a sanctuary where dreams are nurtured and visions are born. Ibadan whispers tales of a great past and alludes to a future filled with limitless potential under the twinkling canopy of stars. A future in which the city takes its rightful place in the international arena, a beacon of growth and creativity, a tribute to the perseverance of human endeavour.
As we stand on the verge of a new day, the lively city of Ibadan asks us to join it on its journey, distinguished by growth, expansion, and a firm confidence in the limitless potential of human ingenuity and cultural engagement. A voyage that invites us to see the unfolding story of a city that epitomizes the throbbing rhythm of progress, a story that promises to resound with the harmonic melodies of growth and prosperity for future generations. As the story progresses, Ibadan becomes a living witness to the powerful ability of human ingenuity and cultural exchange, a vibrant tableau of a city on the move, eager to embrace a future full of promise and opportunity. As this piece on our exploration of this vibrant urban tapestry concludes, we are left with a vision of a city reborn, a city ready to forge its path into a future that gleams with the promise of progress, prosperity, and limitless possibilities, ever-ready to assume its rightful place on the global stage. Finally, with its rich history, intellectual prowess, and dynamic cultural mosaic, Ibadan invites us all to be a part of its ongoing tale, a story that promises to captivate, inspire, and serve as a beacon of hope and progress in our ever-changing world.
Let us all witness Ibadan’s developing story, a city poised to stun the globe with its brightness, resilience, and unshakable spirit of innovation and progress. IDU, congratulations!
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