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Opinion: Why greatness eludes Africa [MUST READ]

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Friday Musings with Ayo Olukotun, ayo_olukotun@yahoo.com, 07055841236
“Will we ever see in our lifetime the day of robust Africanity that can unleash Africa’s greatness? When will that day come?” – Nimi Wariboko, July 4, 2016.

The foregoing quotation is taken from a seminal keynote address by Nimi Wariboko, distinguished Professor of Social Ethics at the University of Boston, United States to the sixth Toyin Falola International Conference held from Monday to Wednesday at the Redeemer’s University Ede. Characteristically, the event, an incisive intellectual parley brought together scholars from around the globe to ruminate on the theme, Africanity, defined by the organisers as “the essence of being an African and an awareness of mental decolonisation”.
The African enigma, typified by Nigeria, its most populous and perpetually promising country which never seems to make good its promise, is how a continent so wondrously endowed and which was once the pacesetter of human civilisation, today remains, shortlived renaissances notwithstanding humanity’s backwater. Put differently: Why does Africa vegetate as the graveyard of dreams, with emerging democracies morphing into one man rule, and beckoning utopias signalling new dawns, quickly dissolve into dystopia? Wariboko in a bantering and imaginative recall of the language of the flamboyant politician, Dr. Kingsley Mbadiwe, suggests that “come can become came”, by drawing on the unrealised potential of the African past; “come can become to come”; connoting the passion of hope in the face of Africa’s growing mortification, “come can become becoming” through the miracle of emergence and new beginnings; and finally “when the come comes to become, the un-become must become” underlining the potency of human agency through the power of Africans to choose that which is edifying. In order to grasp the seemingly opaque language, we must recall Mbadiwe’s famous aphorism, that “when the come comes to become, the happen will happen.”
If Mbadiwe’s entertaining pidgin English is a form of indigenous resistance to the formalised accents of the colonist, the Governor of Osun State, Rauf Aregbesola, who delivered a second keynote address, develops this theme by suggesting that Africa’s indigenous languages be employed in the search for Africa’s ascent to greatness. Revisiting the issue of the mother tongue as a vehicle of instruction, Aregbesola argues that Africans will become more innovative and rise to world stature, when like the Asians, they are able to think, and think through, in the disastrously neglected indigenous languages. He went on to insist that the way out of the woods, in which Africa is currently marking time, is to aspire towards economic self-sufficiency that will close the current disarticulation, in which Africa produces raw materials processed in the industrial centres of Europe and the United States, and exported back to Africa for consumption.
One of the highlights of the opening ceremony was the reading of the citation of the Honoree, Prof Toyin Falola, by the Chairman of TOFAC Board and Convener of the Conference, Professor Demola Dasylva. Applause, tinged with awe travelled through the expansive hall when Dasylva revealed that Falola has published over 140 books, with five of them published in 2016. This legendary achievement raises the riddle all over of why so many Africans, Nigerians especially, achieve distinction abroad, but are consigned to oblivion in the inhospitable climate of their nativity. Falola for example, is better known in the US and better celebrated than in his native country, Nigeria, where he has never been named a National Merit Award winner raising queries about our appreciation of excellence.
The heart of the conference was expectedly the presentation of scholarly papers on several aspects of Africanity as well as critiques offered to them by other scholars in the various panels. As it is impossible to cover all the papers presented by over 100 scholars, I shall give a flavour of them. A paper by Dr. Shaik Gothatso, of the University of Limpopo, South Africa, entitled, South African State Capture: A Symbiotic Affair Between Business and State Going Bad, offers the view that the relationship between the business moguls in the Gupta family and the presidency has become a form of state capture to the extent that the family exercises an undue influence on decision making. Another way of stating this, is to say, in the language of Richard Joseph that the South African state has become far more “prebendal” than it ever was. One of the merits of the paper is that it invites us to go beyond conventional analysis in our attempt to understand state capture in the African context.
A novel and refreshing perspective to Africanity, is brought to bear on a stimulating paper by Drs. Babatunde Jayeoba of the Obafemi Awolowo University and Adesina Afolayan of the University of Ibadan. Entitled, The ‘Africanisation’ of an African Diaspora Household: Toyin Falola and The Idea of Diasporic Home-Making, the paper argues that the cultural artefacts in the interior decoration of Falola’s home in Austin Texas represent a form of personalisation and cultural expression portraying a distinct African identity. Its interdisciplinary thrust sharpens its thematic focus on resistance to a uniform global culture, through an extroverted assertion of Africanity, in this case, of Yoruba culture by Africans in the Diaspora. If we connect this, to Wariboko’s proposition, about the power to reshape African identity by making inspiring choices, then, should we not ask why our television stations inundate us with so much of Western culture and identity, or why our leaders prefer to make important statements in Chatham House London, or on Cable News Network rather than on Nigerian soil and television?
Several papers take us through the glories of the African past with a view to puncturing the myth that Africa does not have a past worth studying before colonisation. One of them entitled, Manufacturing And Trading in the Igbo Traditional Society by Dr. Emeghara Elechi, documents a fairly well-developed manufacturing and commercial network that defined pre-colonial Igbo society. This offers just one example of the flourishing of African entrepreneurial genius which was distorted and rechannelled by Europeans. This signals the possibility that such economic feats can be replicated in contemporary times with the right mix of infrastructure and incentives from a developmental state.
Gender and gender marginalisation came in for mention, in a paper on social welfare administration by Ishola Abidemi, Ntiwunka Gift and Olajumoke Yacob-Haliso. The scholars explore how poor service delivery is negating the goal of government agencies to provide opportunities for disadvantaged women in South-West Nigeria. There were papers too around issues, such as the blend between Pentecostalism and Africanity, on the potential of cultural tourism, on harnessing indigenous practices for managing religious and political conflicts as well as on the deconstruction and contestation of western historiography.
It wasn’t all heavy academic stuff. There were times for social networking and relaxation, facilitated by the excellent hospitality of the Vice Chancellor of Redeemer’s University, Prof. Debo Adeyemo, and members of the local organising committee. Awards were given to deserving scholars, such as Wariboko and Prof. Jide Owoeye who have projected Africanity in their respective callings. It was a most rewarding international outing on Nigerian soil.
We can only hope that the papers will find their way into policymaking circles and not end up in the archives.

Source: punchng

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Covid-19: 6 Ways To Overcome Boredom During Stay-home Period

Due to the spread of covid-19 accross the world, most states in Nigeria are presently observing lockdown. Therefore, here are some ways to overcome boredom during stay-home period. 6 Ways Overcome Boredom Stay-home

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Considering the fact that everyone has no option than to stay at home to avoid the spread of covid-19 in our respective states or countries, boredom has been the order of the day which most people has been complaining about.

And to solve the problem of boredom you have to understand that you can’t go out, you can’t mingle neither can you gist with friends in crowded places, and you have to maintain social distancing — these are some of the measures to prevent the spread of the deadly virus.

So you ask yourself, I am being quarantined, how will I scale through boredom? You ask yourself, I am always alone, how will I prevent being bored? How will I overcome this boredom that is already drowning me?However, to be able to enjoy your stay home period, the following are ways you could actually prevent yourself from dull moments:

  1. Watch interesting movies: This is the time you have to increase your interest in film watching. You need to know the latest movies in town and make as well watch them when you’re bored.
  2. Listen to music: music is life, music bring you peace and happiness. Good music minister to the soul. This quarantine period is a time you need to listen to good music, ensure you learn their lyrics and sing them along. If you’re a type that knows how to dance, you could dance to the music alone in your room. Now te me, are you not overcoming boredom like that?
  3. Start reasonable argument with roommates or siblings: If you’re living with a friend or you’re probably in your family house, you have to start some reasonable argument with your friends or siblings in order to make the atmosphere lively. You could argue about celebrities, politics, football and also on academics line.Play interesting games: I know so many people have been doing this but they still have to keep playing games so as to prevent themselves from dull moments.
  4. Follow trends on social media: This is another way to overcome dull moments, you have follow what is trendy on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
  5. Watch comedy clips: Of course to there are lot of comedy clips out there you could watch, follow comedian on Instagram and YouTube. Watch their clips and get over boredom.
  6. Read books and interesting novels: Of course, this is the time you have to develop interest in reading. There are lots of interesting story books that could bring life to your dull moments. You could Google interesting stories or download book apps to get yourself busy and lively reading books.
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Nigeria To Unveil Her First Home-Made Ventilator,Today

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National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure has manufactured the first made in Nigeria ventilators to fight COVID – 19 pandemic in Nigeria.
This is a gesture made in order to aid COVID-19 patients in breathing.
In a notice made by NASENI spokesman , Segun Ayeoyenikan , on Monday , revealed that Minister of Science and Technology , Dr Ogbonnaya Onu , would unveil the respirators, Tuesday ( today ) .
Recall that, Nigeria government, begged for respirators from American billionaire,through the Federal Ministry of Finance before it was withdrew as it was seen as national embarrassment,not long ago.
However,with this Nigeria ,too can make used of her home-made ventilators for her COVID-19 patients.

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Is Nigeria Worth Dying For?

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I have not been privileged to travel outside the shores of the Nigerian nation and the African continent. However, friends of mine who have been opportuned to travel out for study, work and holidays often say it to my hearing of how governments of other nations treat their citizens with care. The reverse seems to be case in Nigeria. It seems there is no sanctity and dignity of the human life. No wonder, citizens of other nations treat us with contempts.

Going down the memory lane, there have been several cases of the government failing to act as the custodian of the human person. Even in legal cases involving citizens of Nigeria and other countries, both within and outside the continent, citizens of other countries seem to gain the upper hand. This is because their government provides several facilities that make the legal process smooth sailing.

I remembered in 2014, when the nation was battling with the deadly Ebola Virus. Dr. Adadevoh Ameyo who in a bid to cure the virus lost her life wasn’t given any tangible award to honour her.

Also in another dimension, when cases of casualty involving military personnel is recorded, the way they are treated is horrifying. The whole situation is as though they have only followed the dictates of their heart. The families that are left behind are not given any special treatment. This was what dissuaded me from joining the military.

Whereas, governments of other nation states organise comprehensive welfare programmes for their citizens (old, young, literate and illiterate), we are ridiculed and made to suffer in the midst of plenty “. Unemployed youths are used as political instruments of thuggery during elections, while children of the rich feed of large budgets, this making things turn from bad to worse.

Before elections, political candidates suddenly turn the friends of the poor promising Heaven on earth. After suddenly wielding the sword of power to themselves, they turn enemies making ignorant ones believe it isn’t their duty to make things better. We are forced to accept the fact that travelling abroad won’t make things better and that Nigeria has a lot opportunities. On the contrary, dying in the face of war, doesn’t call for a heroic celebration.

Dying for one’s country is the highest level of patriotism. However, with the current realities, I cannot die for Nigeria. Dear reader, my question to you is this: Can You Die For Nigeria? Do share your thoughts in the comments section.

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