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Call for Africa-centred documentation timely

By Abiodun Olusoga Fanoro
20 January 2023   |   3:10 am
From time immemorial, Africa, particularly Blacks have been conspiratorially labelled inferior by the Western world and Western democracies, who for instance see no good in our political culture and history and continue to propagate that they parade the best and superior form of governance to which we are subservient and must therefore subscribe to.  They have…

From time immemorial, Africa, particularly Blacks have been conspiratorially labelled inferior by the Western world and Western democracies, who for instance see no good in our political culture and history and continue to propagate that they parade the best and superior form of governance to which we are subservient and must therefore subscribe to. 

They have succeeded in this mischievous enterprise because they have been able to deploy successfully, the most potent weapon of “mass destruction” with its multiple missiles of mis-information, dis-information, under-reporting and mis-reporting and documentation of events in Africa and the Diaspora. Some scholars have also described this as instrument of mass distortion.
   
It is however heart-warming that several decades ago Pan-Africanists among who were late J. K. Aggrey and Walter Rodney had long realised this conspiracy and had spoken and written to debunk it, to put the record straight. Rodney did much on this in his famous book, “How Europe Under-developed Africa”. So also Aggrey in his famous “Black and White Piano Key-board Theory”, where he convincingly proved that it is only when the black and white buttons on a piano are played together that the best and a harmonious rhyme could be obtained.
   
Apart from Rodney and Aggrey, numerous contemporary African scholars and historians have successfully debunked the inferiority gospel of the Western world and claim that Africans have no tangible development worthy of celebrating. Some of these scholars have made references to the then very prosperous Oyo Empire and the then very flourishing Benin Empire which respectively, paraded one of the best form of governance, including effective institutions of checks and balances and succession without hitches.

   
One of such contemporary African scholars is Prof. Kayode Adebowale, Vice Chancellor of Nigeria’s premier university, University of Ibadan, who further opined that the fault of being labelled inferior, with no development worthy of celebrating, is not in our star, but in ourselves because of our failure to document our events and write our own history ourselves reflective of our culture, environment, peculiarity, aspirations and value-system. His view that failure to celebrate our achievements and success-stories gives room to distortion and inaccurate compilation of our history by foreigners, truly captured why and how Africans find themselves in this tragedy
   
Prof. Adebowale while delivering a lecture during the inauguration of Foundation Day of Federal University Oye Ekiti (FUOYE), recalled and trumpeted late Fela Anikulapo Kuti’s poser debunking the ridiculous claim that Mungo Park discovered River Niger, to back his view on the tragedy of Africans not writing their own history.
   
The Vice Chancellor of FUOYE, Prof. Sunday Abayomi Fasina, had earlier proclaimed and set aside February 11 every year as the university’s Foundation Day, the anniversary of when the institution took off in 2011. Thereby elevating the university to the Class of “big boys”, like the University of Lagos, University of Ibadan, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and a few others where foundation/founder’s day has been instituted as a yearly ritual for the purpose of reflecting on their individual journey, with the agenda to gather new strength to navigate the future.
   
Prof. Adebowale while delightedly welcoming FUOYE into the Class of the “big boys”, threw more light on the importance of commemorating special events and days. According to him, “…remembrance or commemorations are more than mere ceremonies. They have the power of bringing the past into vivid imagination in a dialogue with present. They remind us of the labour of heroes past and ginger us to a determination not to allow the labour to be in vain. In fact, we cannot fully appreciate our success or failure, unless we place them side-by-side with the past”. The erudite scholar further noted that anyone who intends to control the future if a people must accord their past recognition and have its full understanding.
   
The Institution of February 11, is no doubt without its accompanying fundamental goals and objectives to further advancing the fortunes of the university and expanding  frontier of opportunities for students, scholars and the university at large.
 
The absence of Foundation Day was no doubt a major missing link in the social organogram of FUOYE, because it pre-dated all socio-academic rites or rituals annually marked by the university, it was their fore-bearer; the Foundation Day gave birth to other important days in the life of the institution, as it is for every human-being, poor or rich, there are two days he/she could not be denied; day of birth and day of exit. 
   
By the proclamation of FUOYE Foundation Day, the Vice Chancellor while celebrating his own achievements, must have identified the importance of recognizing and celebrating the contributions of past leaders and staff of the university and must have again seen this as another tool to motivating his staff. And no other day is probably more suitable to celebrate the labour of our heroes/heroins’ past than the Foundation Day. The unity, added-strength, fortunes, opportunities and values this kind of celebration is capable of drawing to the university , are better imagined.
   
The FUOYE boss while conceiving the institution of the Day, must have had in mind the need to set aside a day to review the journey of the university so far, its general performances and achievements across all the various administrations, juxtaposing them with the founding vision and mission of the institution.
   
Above all and borrowing a leaf from the Foundation Lecturer’s clarion call, the Day aptly offers a very rare opportunity to chronicle by ourselves, in our own language, in our own style and in our own tradition, without any fear of distortion, for celebration, for posterity and for history, the various successes and achievements of the  Prof. Fasina’s administration, and that of his successors.
   
The Vice Chancellor has played his own role, he has deified or canonised the Foundation Day; he has helped FUOYE to metaphorically located its guiding spirit and where its placenta was buried, which the Foundation Day symbolized, now all stakeholders are left with the challenges of helping the university fulfill its destiny.

Fanoro a journalist, is also a Senior Information Officer at FUOYE.

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