Sunday, July 23, 2017

Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - Re: Lagos State University in Photos, no. 1

Oga Fakinlede:


Thank you very much for sending many of us to real memory lane. As a trained  Journalist and Historian, I did appreciate your analysis below because it did also remind me of my own past Peace Corps experiences (as a student back in Ghana in the 1960s), and also including my personal positive encounters with the late Lawyer Franklin H. Williams (as the then President of The Phelps Stokes Fund of New York), who was the first Assistant Director of the Peace Corps. Due to his Lincoln University (PA) connections with Ghana's late President Kwame Nkrumah, a Lincoln alumnus (and as former U.S. Ambassador to Ghana), the Williams-Nkrumah connections helped in making  Ghana the first African country to receive Peace Corps Volunteers! Ambassador Williams, who died in 1990 aged 72 years, has been honored today with the establishment of the Franklin H. Williams Award, which honors ethnically diverse returned Peace Corps Volunteers, who are seen "to exemplify a commitment to community service and Peace Corps' third goal of promoting a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans."


However, Oga Fakinlede, I reached the portion of your useful analysis that reminded me of my "ancient" Yoruba Mentor (Baba Ijebu of Palm Grove Estates, near Yaba & Surulere). He often said that Nigerian problems keep on multiplying daily because of book long on the part of the country's intellectuals; your own book long was seen in this part of your analysis: "Another attribute is our penchant for overdramatizing our ignorance through incessant paralysing analysis whose objective is to make others see us as smart." Smart? Well, when Mr. Trump was accused by Mrs. Clinton for not paying enough or for not releasing his taxes during one of their presidential debates, the future Businessman-cum-President of America said: "It's because I'm smart!" Is that the type of smartness, Oga Fakinlede, that you refer to in your "book long" sentence?


Of course, it is good for us, sometimes, to experience comic relief, and I certainly enjoy some of it in perusing several USA Africa Dialogue postings, including yours below! Hopefully, our Maker will let SIR Toyin live on, until he passes the 100+ years old mark, so that, as we all age together, the USA Africa Dialogue will continue to enrich us for many, many more years!


A.B. Assensoh. 


From: <> on behalf of Kayode J. Fakinlede <>
Sent: Saturday, July 22, 2017 9:32 PM
To: USA Africa Dialogue Series
Subject: USA Africa Dialogue Series - Re: Lagos State University in Photos, no. 1

I doubt if Prof. Falola is comparing LASU with OAU where he graduated or UT where he is a professor.

I accuse Prof. Falola of two things though. He is always quick to offer praise for what he perceives as genuine effort. I guess he thinks that by doing so, the person to whom praise is given will try to do more.

Another is that the Prof. seems to ask himself always what he can personally DO to solve a defined problem or how he can contribute positively to other people's lives. And he starts to do them.

I first found these attributes among some American Peace Corps Volunteers when I was in secondary school. In those days, most of us students would get terrifically bad grades from our African teachers. Then came the Peace Corps Volunteers. And all of a sudden we started scoring 80's and 90's in our tests. We, schoolchildren were tremendously proud of ourselves. Of course, we cannot doubt the sincerity of the volunteers, many of them men and women in their twenties, who left the cozy life in America to come and live among African school boys in far away 'jungles'. And let us remember, there was no electricity in those days, neither were there good roads. Many of them did not even have bicycles.

Most of us Africans have now graduated from giving bad grades to offering terrific criticisms of things we know very little about.  In the mean time we will not define a problem to solve lest we be responsible for solving it. Another attribute is our penchant for overdramatizing our ignorance through incessant paralysing analysis whose objective is to make others see us as smart. The question, 'what can I do to help' never crosses our consciousness.

If you should perceive that there is a problem with our universities, please define it in such a way that you can be of help.

God help us.

On Saturday, July 22, 2017 at 12:52:45 PM UTC+1, Toyin Falola wrote:
In over 300 photos, I will bring to you the impressive campus of Lagos State University, Nigeria. The Departments are all well staffed, and the students are incredibly talented and energetic. The millions of African young men and women represent our future, and their abilities at imaginations and inventions are so extraordinary that we may not even know that we are witnessing a revolutionary moment. To those who speak ill of these young men and women, they should check their thinking processes.

Toyin Falola
Department of History
The University of Texas at Austin
104 Inner Campus Drive
Austin, TX 78712-0220
512 475 7224
512 475 7222 (fax)

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