Thursday, July 6, 2017


Yes, yes. 
Well said Ayo. 
This is the thrust of the message that needs multiple reinforcement. In a broad range of issues we all know by rote. 

The trick remains to get mainstream Meedja and institutions to pick up and carry em forward. It can be done; and there is the momentum of modern technology and an increasingly knowledgeable and intellectually muscular Nigerian Youth firmly in support and available to govts that seriously take up the challenge. 

So, yes. The indigenous talent/ the thrust/ the knowledge/ indeed the capacity and experience is available in increasingly generous measure. Only by politicians/ public and private institutions and all sectors of the Meedja taking it all on board; only in this way can the Civil path be opened. 

Continued failure of the above elements to move things forward along these well-recognised lines can lead only to one cataclysmic result. We all know this; Nigeria's ever more jumpy and security-conscious oligarchs included. It comes ever-closer. No sensible person wants this ending. But the tide can only be held back so long. The fate of Nigeria rests squarely with our oligarchs; and the extent to which they are prepared to accommodate, or not. 

You, Ayo; through your cool assessments and wise guidance/ advocacy remain a principal vehicle through which the Nigeria we all so ardently yearn for, may become a peaceful transitional reality. 

I sit here at a bench on the deck of the ARUNVIEW Inn, reaching out over the River Arun, at Littlehampton, on the South Coast. Now approaching midnite, a cooling wind has eased the heat of an unseasonably hot English day. And there go the fishing boats, with sea engines at a heavy throb as they pass down river at the slow speeds required; only their running lights showing in the darkness. They are off to their varied coastal fishing grounds where ancestors have taken bountiful harvests over the centuries--and who shortly/ post-BREXIT will be able to fish territorial Brit waters free of Euro interference. 

At the foot of the River Arun, are sizeable fortifications. On both sides of the river. They were state of the art. Twas the early 1800s. Napoleon and his forces were expected any time. All was in preparedness. Just as similar preparations had been made at many points on the South coast. ...Had Napolean and his Republicans succeeded in his planned and expected invasion; the result? My oh my. French had little time for Brits or their Royals. ...But in fact, the invasion never came. ...The next serious threat came in 1940--and at that time Twas Hitler and Goerring who knocked on the door. ...But again, invasion and all that Himmler and his Trained Specialists had in mind for all including George VI and family, never happened. 

All is very quiet now. The publican has killed the lights. Only the light of my iPad. I can hear only the slight sound of the rip-ripple, as tide is now close to high. 

And so?  Just as things have gone on here at Littlehampton over the centuries with only ructions local and national that have done little to disturb the rhythm and flow of indigenous life; so we fervently pray may life in all the major centres of Nigeria life--and the innumerable smaller centres like Littlehampton here--ease forward in those ways that humans do evolve in their communities and lives under pressure of change, into those systems of life with beats and rhythms that are comforting re things past, but charged with new energies and optimism with much new thrust of Life Principles and Life Values to the fore, that are increasingly part of the operation of change through time, worldwide. 

Good night. 

Baba m

Sent from my iPad

On 6 Jul 2017, at 18:26, wrote:

Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone.
From: Ayo Olukotun <>
Sent: Thursday, 6 July 2017 14:31
Reply To:
Subject: Fw: PROF'S COLUMN

On Thu, Jul 6, 2017 at 1:24 PM, Ayo Olukotun

Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone.
From: Ayo Olukotun <>
Sent: Thursday, 6 July 2017 14:31
Subject: Fw: PROF'S COLUMN

On Thu, Jul 6, 2017 at 1:24 PM, Ayo Olukotun

"Can a Nigerian stand as candidate for the Election into the British Parliament? No. Can a Nigerian footballer play for England? No. So, how can some Nigerians be seen as players in these two fields? They are British and they achieved what they achieved in Britain in an environment that made it possible for them to do so".   Shehu Dikko, 30 June 2017.
"There is excellence at home and excellence abroad, and they can be experienced in equal measure. In every sector in Nigeria, astute individuals can be found honing their crafts and performing at an international level. Some professionals have built transnational careers, grounded as much at home as abroad". Prof. Richard Joseph, July 2, 2017.
A debate, heated, but ultimately edifying broke out last week, shortly after the publication, by The Punch of my piece entitled 'Disorder at Home, Excellence Abroad? (The Punch, Friday, June 30, 2017).
The conversation included several dimensions and side attractions, but for convenience, I have isolated the contrasting views of Shehu Dikko, a social critic and activist, quoted above, and prof. Richard Joseph, Distinguished Political Science Professor at North Western University in the United States. One of the main reasons for revisiting the discourse is the recent international award bestowed on a former Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, last week. Adesina, who is currently the president of African Development Bank was presented with the prestigious 2017 World Food Price, a laurel that is reserved for someone who has contributed to boosting "the quality, quantity or availability of food in the whole world". Adesina's achievement, which included innovations and renovations in Nigeria's agricultural sector, were not earned in Britain or the United States, but right here on Nigerian soil.
 There is a fashion among social critics to write off that which is worthy or notable about Nigeria and Nigerians, in order to strengthen their advocacy for good governance at home. Philosophically, as a nation we are losing grip of the complexity of social existence and events, by viewing life as a contest between good and evil, between right and wrong. We tend to think in polar opposites, forgetting that real life is often more complicated than one sided views suggests. Consider, to give an example, that Adesina's unique policy interventions were made under former President Goodluck Jonathan's monumentally corrupt government, which demonologists of that government would have us believe, was bereft of noble governance departures.
In the same connection, several intellectuals prefer advocacy to rigorous analysis. You are no longer allowed to examine the merits and demerits of particular positions and policies before arriving at a conclusion. One respondent, Dr. Noel Ihebuzor, an international development expert, took me to task over last week's essay, for writing in an "on the one hand and on the other hand fashion" without maintaining a firm stand point. My reading of Karl Popper and other philosophers of science is that you must leave your postulations open for the purpose of empirical testing, in order to confirm, modify or refute them. Empirical testing in this case refers to alternative arguments, conceptualisations and narratives. As Popper saw it, the failure to test arguments by opposing narratives is what breeds dogma. To be sure, Dikko is entirely correct when he asserts that many Nigerians, who are celebrated abroad, are citizens of the countries in which they reside, and became renowned in the context of working in a clime that facilitates achievement, and where the state is more emancipatory than predatory. Granting that point, however, takes nothing away from the thousands of Nigerians who are doing very well at home, in spite of the inclemency, and are becoming transnational actors, as Joseph informs. Before advancing the discourse, this writer craves the readers' indulgence to enter a short take.
Philosophers Karl Max, famously wrote, have interpreted "the world, the point is to change it". Someone who has taken that lesson to heart is the Orangun of Oke-ila, Oba Dokun Abolarin, who at this year's Toyin Falola Annual Conference, held at Adeyemi College of Education, Ondo, demonstrated how he is employing educational philanthropy to fight poverty. The conference itself, as narrated by Prof. Ademola Dasylva, chairman of TOFAC Board, is the 7th in an unbroken row of Pan-African parleys around the continent. Expectedly, we were treated to highly cerebral academic discourses by the likes of Prof. Jermaine Abidogun of Missouri State University, United States, prof. Fallou Ngom of Boston University, also in the United States, as well as Prof. C.O.O. Kolawole, former Dean of Education at the University of Ibadan. Enter Oba Dokun Abolarin, who presented in a moving ceremony 12 students, cutting across gender, of his emergent Abolarin College, Oke-ila, Orangun. The students, all from very poor backgrounds, several of them had lost their parents, treated the audience to recitations and displays of a quality comparable to the best schools around the country.
What is truly novel about the college, is that the students are all on scholarships, clean their environment, grow their own food on the school farm, and are trained as budding entrepreneurs. This is a far cry from the business model of private education, which has become a familiar feature of our educational landscape; indeed, it is a retrieval from our national archive of the model followed famously by Mr. Tai Solarin, the proprietor of Mayflower Secondary School Ikenne. Abolarin, a lawyer and public orator sounded like one with a vision and a mandate to alleviate, if not eradicate poverty through this educational experiment[I1] [I2] [I3] . He held the audience spellbound by a treatise on training future leaders through a model of compassion led service, targeted at the poorest section of society. If the vision succeeds, it will stand out as a show piece of intelligent social experimentation, riding on a pro-poor approach to restructuring education.
To return to our initial topic, there can be no doubt that the Nigerian State, for all sorts of reasons, is not, as currently configured, an enabler of achievement. Almost 6 decades after independence, successive governments generate electricity that is much lower than the quantum of electricity generated by Spain, a European backwater. The computer revolution in Nigeria is incomplete, patchy, and largely dependent on erratic service providers. As a result of poor social services and rising levels of insecurity, life is often nasty, brutish, and frequently rudely terminated. The dark exploits of the Badoo gang in parts of Lagos have joined the long list of threats to existence posed by Boko Haram insurgents, kidnappers such as the notorious Evans, Cult wars, road accidents, among others.
Government after government have promised to make life better, but have left office lamenting their failures and being mourned for their incapacity. There is no gainsaying all of that, but those citizens who are making waves took a decision not to spend their lives airing the woes, but to count for something by making changes in their neck of the wood.
If governments at federal, state and local levels will simply fulfil their electoral mandates, there will be many more Nigerians rising to eminence at home and abroad. The human resource profile is vast, but it is waiting to be harnessed by purposeful governance.

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