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Technology, Technical Education, Culture, And Society



Dele Jegede In Conversation With Prince Yemisi Shyllon


Toyin Falola

The cultural orientation and conviction of a set of people define the core of their existence. It is the window through which society and its members could be understood. The renowned anthropologist Edward Tylor, in his badly titled book, Primitive Culture, explains culture as “that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, law, morals, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society.” Such a complex whole comprises individuals’ primary belief system and explains why it defines their core. As a result, it is easy to understand why technological innovations and their applications could create a subconscious conflict and, in the worst case, a conscious conflict between what people had accepted to be the right way of doing things and what the new approach is trying to enact. Viewing technology from the angle of what Jennifer D. Slack and J. Macgregor Wise refer to as “received view” in Culture + Technology: A Primer is progress, causality, convenience, and other concepts that put it at a polar position to culture. While this may not be entirely untrue, technology is not a necessary alternative to culture but could be culture itself.

Technology, Technical Education, Culture, And Society

Referring to and relating culture to technology is hinged on the idea that technology is the application of science. In essence, science has existed as long as humans have been able to comprehend and analyze things, and the application of science is the basic definition of technology. This emphasizes that technology is also as old as humans, and they adopt and use the different inventions and discoveries of the human species. If then culture comprises the continuous uses, enduring systems and artefacts, knowledge, law, and every other thing captured by Edward Tylor, it is safe to say that today’s culture is yesterday’s new technological breakthrough. This brings us to the logical conclusion that technology can be old or new, that older technology is today’s culture, and that culture and technology can be the same. As a result of this and concerning Africa, technology is not a new concept or idea; it could be said to be as old as the culture of the people themselves.

READ ALSO: Dr. Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi And The Institutionalization Of Feminist Power

Unlike some ethnocentric scholars who posited that Africa was in a long period of developmental darkness until the discovery and contact with the Europeans, Africa’s civilization and technology, like what Hegel proposed in his Lectures on the Philosophy of World History, has been a centre of different technological breakthroughs and have been recorded and discovered to be a centre of various technological civilizations and inventions earlier than some other societies. For instance, different studies like those of Posnansky (1981: 542-47), Harlan et al. (1976), Shaw (1981), Schmidt (1978: 292-96), Shinnie (1971: 93-94), among others, have put the introduction and practice of metallurgy and agriculture in Africa earlier than it was seen in Europe and the Middle East. More specifically, the Egyptian calendar of 4231 BC, although adjusted in 3200 BC and 2773 BC, has evidence of old discoveries of Africa. Other notable examples include the use and designs of terracotta in the Nok culture as early as 1500 BC, the Proto-Saharan writing, Mathematical developments, arts, architecture, and medicines, have shown that technology cannot be said to be new to African society.

Over the years, these technological discoveries and practices developed and formed a belief system and concept that we refer to as culture today. Hence, the current conversation on the latest technology should relate to what is now considered modern technology; otherwise, it would undermine the historical breakthroughs in Africa. The introduction of modern technology, especially after the contacts with the Europeans, has clashed with the culture of the people. The first problem is that there had to be a radical adjustment to new ways of doing things that many people are yet to embrace. These technological advancements have not considered the people’s cultural convictions to allow gradual adoption.

Kabiru Kinyanjui in Culture, Technology and Sustainable Development in Africa posits that the influx of modern technological advancements, combined with colonialism, suppressed cultural confidence, creating heavy reliance on them and disregard for indigenous cultural advancement. This was faced with hostile reactions from the indigenous groups, and when they had no choice but to accept them, they found it quite difficult to handle. However, with the development of institutions to promote science and technology, the bridges between them were created, allowing for adaptation and adoption. To bolster this, the National Council for Science and Technology (NCST) was established to advance the study of science and technology, with emphasis on research, allowing modern technology to thrive in Nigeria. Also, Africans have tried to resist many western developments because they believe technology can consume valuable cultural values that are still beneficial to society. When considering the cultural history of the people, social decadence and an increase in social vices are considered possible results of the adoption of new developments and technology without sieving out the parts that are not favourable.

READ ALSO: Prof. Toyin Falola: A Tribute

The enthronement of technological advancement over African culture could be considered a subtle kind of neo-colonialism. It creates a measure of control when access to these developments is either not directly available in Africa or requires certain commitments. Economic and capitalist interest in introducing technological innovations to replace cultural approaches and materials have also been arguments favouring subconscious neo-colonialism. Another source of concern for Africans about the radical importation of technological advancement without independence is the tendency to unconsciously allow over-reliance on and the preference for modern technology kill the cultures that made it African and break the sociological threads of African society.

However, technology is not necessarily a contradiction of culture, and with understanding, the seeming conflicts might be needless. It is a way of developing the current cultural approaches to things and their distribution and diffusion to other parts of the world. The advancement of technology has been responsible for the spread of European culture. Although using the same for Africa may seem late, it might also spread African culture. As observed by Stephen A. Akintoye in A History of the Yoruba People, the culture of Yoruba and Benin had spread all over the world, with evidential practices in Brazil, the United Kingdom, United States, Argentina, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, among others, as a result of heavy immigration from Africa to these places. Presently, there is a reasonable use of African fashion senses and styles worldwide, and the current globalization and technology drive has taken African cultures across the world.

BOOK: Toyin Falola’s Decolonizing African Studies: Knowledge Production, Agency, And Voice

In Africa, some of these technological developments and practices have evolved into specific professions with a long line of history attributed to them. The makers of Adire, Aso Oke, Aso Ofi in the textile industry, the Agbede blacksmiths’ profession, among others, especially in the Yoruba regions of Nigeria, required an application of specific techniques, which could also be regarded as technological innovations. These professions developed their education systems, and the trade culture is always passed through them. This brings us to the realization of how technical education has operated throughout Nigeria’s history. Africa’s most common teaching method is the apprenticeship system, which is connected with social responsibility and confers social status to those learning and the teachers.

As observed by W. Ahadzie (2009), children are often taken to learn several skills at an early age. Many of these professionals were family professionals, so children are easily incorporated into it. The apprentice is controlled gravely by the interests of the master, and the master is responsible for the apprentice. Among other things, these systems made the facilitation of technical education easier. Given the relative success of the cultural process of technical education before colonialism and contact with Europe, it is clear that some of these processes can be adapted to improve technical education in the current dispensation. Although there is evidence of the use of apprenticeship in the modern technical educational system, particularly with different internship programs made compulsory for students in technology disciplines in the form of Industrial Trainings and SIWES and those taking professional courses, there is still a need for more emphasis and constructive structures for the system.

More time should be set aside for students to interact with practising experts in their fields to visualize what they are learning. Also, as observed by Kwesi Kwaa Prah in The Intellectualisation of African Languages for Higher Education, the continuous development in the intellectualization of African languages is a way of closing the gap between culture and technology. The level of understanding of modern technology will be increased if technical courses or processes are developed and taught so that African languages have ready representations, explanations, and terms for them. Such endeavour would also embrace the illiterate generation of the population that does not have the opportunity to acquire formal education. This is because technological products are beneficial to everyone, not only to the youth, literate, or the new generation.

READ ALSO: BOOK REVIEW: Pathways To Nigeria’s Future: A Review Of Toyin Falola’s Understanding Modern Nigeria

In conclusion, the co-existence of modern technology and culture in Nigerian society might be the developmental breakthrough that the country has been waiting for. This is because there will be a high tendency for technological innovations to originate from the country. Moreover, this would foster the technical know-how in many sectors of the economy and guarantee national development. There would also exist a comprehensive methodological approach to issues challenging the nation’s progress.

.Part of a public lecture presented at the Federal College of Education (Technical), Akoka, Lagos, on March 2nd, 2022.

Falola is a Nigerian historian and professor of African Studies. He is currently the Jacob and Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities at the University of Texas at Austin.


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Abiodun Seeks US Partnership In Developing Critical Sectors



Ogun State Governor Dapo Abiodun

The Ogun State government has solicited for partnership with the United States of America in developing the critical sectors of the State’s economy.

The State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun who stated this when he received the American Consul General to Nigeria, Mr. Will Stevens, who led a 5-man delegation on a courtesy call in his office at Oke-Mosan Abeokuta on Wednesday, noted that the State considers the United States as a progressive partner in the areas of economy, good governance, security, climate change and human capital development around the world.

Governor Abiodun posited that the State apart from the sophistication of its people and their cognitive political culture, is unanimously and popularly adjudged as the New Jersey of Nigeria and the leading industrial hub in the West Africa Sub-region, hence the need to tap from the American experience to further its developmental stride.

The governor said his administration at inception in 2019, assembled a team made up of highly resourceful technocrats and cerebral policy architects and conceptualized a transformational philosophy coined ISEYA, which is an acronym for Infrastructural Development, Social Welfare and Well-being, Education and Human Capital Development, Youth Empowerment and lastly, Agriculture and Food Security.

He said: “Through this concept, we have strategically transformed the state with modern infrastructure, deliberate policy steps to attract businesses and moving the economy from being federal allocation-focused to becoming the state with the third largest Internally Generated Revenue in the country.

“The State’s strategic location as the primary gateway to Lagos State – the largest market with the busiest ports in Nigeria has contributed to its status as the Industrial Hub of Nigeria.

“Our State is home to one of the largest industrial zones in Sub-Saharan Africa, which includes the 8,000 hectares OPIC-owned Agbara Industrial Estate, which accommodates the Federal Ogun-Guangdong Free Trade Zone (OGFTZ), with forty-four (44) operational companies, factory tenants from across the world, with over 6,000 Nigerian employees and an estimated 100,000 metric tons of freight moving in and out daily.”

Prince Abiodun noted that in its quest to make Ogun State the first destination for investors in Nigeria, his administration is currently constructing an Agro Cargo International Airport at Iperu-Ilishan road in Ikenne Local Government Area of the State, adding that the project is strategically designed to create the needed infrastructure to boost the exportation of agricultural and non-agricultural goods.

“By its structure and business plan, the Cargo Airport remains a game-changer in our import and export promotion efforts, as it was specifically constructed to be an aerotropolis (Airport City) equipped with components such as a special agro-processing zone to process raw agricultural materials for exports, an international testing centre to certify that agro-produce complies with international standards before it is exported, and facility for passenger operations as well as facilities to receive parcels coming into Nigeria that are to be redistributed to other parts of the country.

“In addition to that, it is an important component of Ogun State’s transportation master plan expected not only to connect rail, road and water transportation but also to decongest the Lagos Airport,” the governor added.

Governor Abiodun appreciated the American government for her firm stance on democratic governance, specifically on the sanctity of the electoral process as well as supporting different reforms in the electoral process and taking an uncompromising position on electoral offenders.

In an interview after a closed-door meeting with the governor, the Consul General said their discussions centred on security and health.

He noted that health remains the number one investment in Nigeria as the US government is in the health sector to help Nigeria to reach the 95 95 95 goals of ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the country.

“It is my job to promote US trade and investment here in certain parts of Nigeria. I had a great conversation with the governor about the incredible investment the US companies are already making in the state as well as opportunities for more increased US trade and investment.

“We also talked about the tax sector, I think there are incredible opportunities right now to find jobs and opportunities for Nigerian youths to participate in the tax sector.

“We’ve seen the explosion of growth and investment in that sector throughout Nigeria, particularly in the South West,” the Consul General added.

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Toyin Falola And The October Harvest



Prof. Ezekiel Oladele Adeoti .Photo by ‘Gbile Oshadipe (2023) ©

By Ezekiel Oladele Adeoti

In the annals of academic and societal change, few luminaries shine as brightly as Professor Toyin Falola. As autumn leaves drifted in October, the literary world was astir from the changing seasons and the relentless enthusiasm of a septuagenarian scholar making waves across lecture halls and public platforms. In many cultures and traditions, October is a month of harvest – a time to reap the fruits of labour sown in prior months. Fittingly, for Professor Falola, this October truly lived up to that essence, bearing witness to an intellectual harvest that few could parallel.

Prof. Toyin Falola at the second  Distinguished Lecture Series of the Department of History & International Studies, Lagos State University, Ojo-Lagos, Nigeria on August 10, 2022. Photo by “Gbile Oshadipe (2022) ©

In many ways, the achievements of this month were a microcosm of Falola’s broader career: a testament to the confluence of hard work, passion, and a deep-seated commitment to societal advancement.

Within 31 days, Falola graced the podium for 3 public lectures, imparted wisdom in 2 university lectures, and was the beacon of 3 convocation lectures. Each of these engagements wasn’t just about sharing knowledge; they were conduits for sparking change, challenging established norms, and inspiring the next generation. However, to truly grasp the magnitude of Falola’s October endeavours, one must delve deeper into the essence of the man himself. At an age when many of his peers are retreating into the tranquillity of retirement, Falola’s spirit remains undiminished, if not encouraged. It’s not just the number of lectures or the honorary doctorates he received – which, in and of itself, is a remarkable feat – but the zeal with which he approaches each endeavour. His lectures, for instance, are not mere recitations of historical facts or academic theories. They are vibrant tapestries woven with threads of history, contemporary societal issues, and a vision for a brighter future. They challenge, they provoke, and most importantly, they inspire. But what drives a man of over 70 years to such relentless pursuit? To find the answer, one need not look further than his past works and the themes that permeate them. For Falola, academia isn’t a secluded ivory tower but a platform to engage with the real world. His research, extensive and varied as it is, always circles back to the core of societal problems. From the intricacies of Yoruba history to the broader strokes of African colonial and post-colonial narratives, Falola’s work sheds light on the issues that matter. These are issues that, in many ways, continue to shape societies today.

In this context, October wasn’t just another month in the calendar but a manifestation of Falola’s lifelong commitment to societal change. A promise that has seen him transcend the traditional confines of academia to engage with the broader public. His public lectures resonate with many audiences, often interspersed with anecdotes, real-life examples, and a touch of humour. From the eager university student to the curious layman, Falola’s words strike a chord, reminding everyone of the transformative power of knowledge and its role in sculpting a better future. In delving deeper into the man behind the October Harvest, one quickly realizes that Professor Falola’s achievements are not a product of overnight success but the culmination of decades of unwavering dedication. It’s a journey that’s seen him navigate the tumultuous waters of academia, societal challenges, and personal hurdles, emerging each time with a renewed sense of purpose. More than anything, this tenacity has been the cornerstone of his October endeavours and his broader career. One might wonder, what is the essence of these lectures and engagements? Why do they matter? The answer lies in the content and context of each meeting. Take, for instance, one of his public lectures from October. While the topic might have revolved around historical narratives, Falola deftly intertwined it with contemporary issues, drawing parallels and highlighting lessons. His ability to bridge the past with the present, to draw lessons from history and apply them to current challenges, is what sets him apart. In doing so, he educates and empowers his audience to view issues through a multifaceted lens, promoting critical thinking and proactive engagement.

Moreover, the venues of these lectures—from universities to public platforms—underscore his commitment to inclusive education. Universities, the traditional bastions of knowledge, are just one part of the equation for Falola. By stepping out and engaging with the broader public, he’s democratizing knowledge, making it accessible to all, irrespective of their academic or socio-economic backgrounds. It’s a move that challenges the status quo, emphasizing that learning shouldn’t be confined to ivory towers but should permeate every stratum of society. However, it’s not just the lectures that stood out in October. The two honorary doctorates he received are symbolic of his contributions to academia and society at large. Such accolades, while celebratory, are also reflective. They compel us to examine the body of work that merits such recognition. For Falola, it’s a vast tapestry of research, publications, mentorship, and public engagement. Each strand, be it a book, an article, or a lecture, is imbued with a purpose: to enlighten, challenge, and change. Yet, amidst all the accolades and achievements, what’s truly remarkable is Falola’s humility. Interact with him, and you’re not met with the airs of a celebrated academician but the warmth of a mentor, the curiosity of a lifelong learner, and the passion of a societal changemaker. This unique blend of excellence and humility makes his October Harvest not just an academic feat but a life lesson for many. It serves as a poignant reminder that success isn’t just about personal milestones but about the impact one leaves on society and the legacy one creates for future generations.

Reflecting on the October Harvest and the man at its epicentre, we must contextualize Professor Falola’s achievements within a broader societal framework. At a time when the world grapples with myriad challenges – from socio-political upheavals to environmental crises – the role of intellectuals and academicians becomes ever more crucial. And Falola, with his October engagements and lifelong commitment, epitomizes the potential of scholarly intervention in driving societal change. But why is this important? In an era dominated by bite-sized information and fleeting trends, the depth and breadth of academic research provide a counterbalance. Falola’s lectures, rich in historical context and analytical depth, offer a respite from the cacophony of superficial narratives. They remind us of the importance of understanding the past to navigate the present and shape the future. Every lecture and engagement is a clarion call for introspection, urging society to delve deeper, question more, and strive for a holistic understanding. This is not to say that academia is the sole bastion of truth or the only path to societal change. But scholars like Falola, who bridge the gap between the academic and public spheres, play a pivotal role in grounding discussions in research, evidence, and historical context. They serve as beacons, illuminating the path forward with the torch of knowledge.

Furthermore, Falola’s October engagements underscore the timeless essence of commitment and passion. His journey is a testament to perseverance, dedication, and lifelong learning in a world that often prioritizes instant gratification. It’s a narrative that resonates beyond the confines of academia, inspiring professionals, creatives, and changemakers across various fields. The underlying message? Age is but a number; passion and commitment are timeless. As we draw the curtains on the October Harvest, carrying forward the lessons it offers is essential. It’s a month that celebrates Professor Falola’s achievements, the ethos of scholarly engagement, and its potential impact on society. It’s a call to action for scholars, students, and the general public to engage, question, learn, and drive change.

In conclusion, Professor Toyin Falola’s October Harvest is more than a chronicle of a month’s achievements. It’s a celebration of a lifetime of dedication, a tribute to the transformative power of knowledge, and a reminder of the potential each one of us holds. As the leaves of October give way to the chill of November, the echoes of Falola’s lectures, the wisdom of his words, and the passion of his commitment continue to inspire, urging us all to sow the seeds of change, knowledge, and progress. For in every seed lies the promise of a harvest, and in every effort, the potential for impact.

Prof. Adeoti wrote from  the Department of History & International Studies at the Faculty of Arts, Lagos State University, Ojo-Lagos, Nigeria.


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Keep Witchcraft Accusations Out Of Politics In Sychelles



Witch Burning, Impunity And Abuses Linked to Witchcraft Beliefs In Benue State
Dr. Leo Igwe

By Leo Igwe

The Advocacy for Alleged Witches urges the government of Sychelles to keep charges linked to witchcraft beliefs out of politics in the country because they make no legal and political sense. This call became necessary following a report that the country’s main opposition leader, Peter Herminie has been charged with witchcraft. Charged with witchcraft in this 21st century? He was accused along with seven other persons including a Tanzanian. According to the report, Herminie and other persons have been charged with “possessing items intended for use in witchcraft, conspiracy to perform witchcraft and procuring services related to witchcraft”. It was stated that the name of this key politician was allegedly mentioned in a whatsapp message between a local and the person from Tanzania, who was arrested at the main international airport on September 21, 2023. The report says that “Items related to witchcraft, including stones, black wooden artefacts, small bottles of brownish liquid, a collection of powders, and documents with strange language and “demonic and satanic” symbols” were found in the possession of this Tanzanian.

State prosecutors are of the notion that the documents might be some vandalised materials from the local churches. Mr. Herminie has denied the charges, and dismissed the allegation that items linked to witchcraft including bones, body parts, and objects associated with Christianity” were found in his office or in his possession.

The Advocacy for Alleged Witches is asking the government of Sychelles to drop these charges, because they are absurd and constitute a show of shame and embarrassment. The prosecution of Herminie and other co-accused is witch hunting in both literal and political sense. And witch hunting should has no place in 21st century politics in Sychelles.

Otherwise, how does the government define witchcraft or witchcraft items? How does the government distinguish witchcraft items, whatever that means, from traditional religious objects? How did the prosecutors know that the said items were intended for use in witchcraft? Are stones, black wooden artefacts, and small bottles of brownish liquid witchcraft materials? I mean how will state prosecutors establish that some symbols are demonic and satanic?

Has the government the facility or expertise to prove beyond reasonable doubt what is witchcraft and what is not witchcraft, what is demonic or satanic and what is not? How will the government prosecute this case without flagrantly violating the right of its citizens to freedom of religion or belief? At a time of growing cases of witch persecution in many parts of Africa, the government of Sychelles should discontinue this unfortunate and unwarranted instance of witch hunting.


Dr.Igwe directs the Advocacy for Alleged Witches.

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