USA Africa Dialogue Series - an-encounter-with-toyin-falola-between-celebration-and-canonization-of-intellectuals/

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ugwuanyi Lawrence

Nov 29, 2022, 7:03:33 AM11/29/22
to USA African Dialogue Series

Thanks for this piece. It once more raises the question of the extent to which reason (knowledge) can survive and grow in our environment. Recall that during the ASUU strike, a former VC, in a comment, published here, suggested that knowledge might not be a serious project as intellectuals see it, in this part of the world. Clearly religion appears to be taken more seriously, perhaps at the expense of reason in modern Africa. Just imagine if it were reported that a bank is owing a Bishop or an Imam in Nigeria and that the religious leader is sick or died because of this. Pay attention to the reaction that might follow, and compare it to the case of academics living without salary for months, some of whom could be having terrible health challenges and living on drugs!


Now to some comments on some aspects of the enlightening piece, I highlight some citations from it with my comment following!



“Heroes, according to him, are the embodiment of what a country values. And this is precisely where, according to him, the paradox of the Nigeria state resides: “The country yearns for heroes, acknowledges none and it devalues and derails those who could be. Nigeria has no standards and no heroes.”


My Comment: Caught and trapped in the web of  what is now held post-modernist value and primordial native outlook, there is clear crisis of values in Nigeria with the inhuman vices struggling to overrun virtues. Assuming that a study is carried out on 30 most important valued Nigerians – who or what profession or career would produce such personalities and why? The farther knowledge goes, the faster values that are backed by ignorance and prejudice emerges stronger and healthier to shape the way for a people!




“No one will doubt the extent of the sociocultural anomie that has engulfed the country. There is a global perception of Nigeria as a country of scammers, and criminality has become the order of the day”.

My Comment: Those who believe that they need lies to secure a country will do everything to deny this! They may even be paid to do that! Make no mistake about it—Nigeria as it is a heaven to some people. With a hairy imagination and what amount to mental zombie psychology – they are incapacitated from perceiving the true state of things! Their view is like this—“You complain because you are poor”. If you are rich you will see the country differently!

“And when placed side by side with the critical relationship between the humanities and the health of the nation, we immediately see the relevance of scholarship for expanding the field of possibilities that could strengthen the social bond between the government and its citizens”.

My Comment:I think that one tragedies of the African state at the moment is the simplification of the humanities and the human idea in modern Africa! In the universities, nobody has discovered that it is more demanding to publish one good piece in the humanities than in the sciences. The result is that some universities have funnily trapped their scholarship in the imperialism of western science. A university I know have compulsorily imposed Thomson Reuters measure of standard on their scholars forgetting that the humanities, while it needs the excellence of Thomson Reuters measure of standard, demand a different content and context to be relevant. They forget that journals that favour African humanities in Thompson Reuter’s journals are almost absent or marginal.

The harm is even heavier when one considers how this has arguably favoured sciences in the headship of some  universities  in Nigeria at the expense of the humanities . You read thousands of publications from the natural science scholars that favour these targets at the expense of humanities scholarships! Now the university basically functions as a community of reason –which implies that reason should define the direction of  university ethics and life and which questions this claim . But with in a  society with a predominant culture of belief than reason it may well be doubtful how the culture of reason at the moment can and do define the university! It will be interesting to carry out a research on how and where this has obtained to debate this hypothesis and how probably right or wrong it might be! If Africa adopts STEM just because other parts of the world are doing same –the question arises -did these countries adopt STEM when the university idea was just about 60 years old in their countries? Now-the easiest thing to do is to probably simplify the human phenomenon and to imagine that as 2+2=4, it is the same with human beings. This, I submit is –a growing African tragedy and probably what the African state does when it puts the humanities at the background in an environment where the human idea is grossly in trouble!

Lawrence Ogbo  Ugwuanyi
Professor of Philosophy



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