Archive for the ‘BLACK EDUCATION’ Category


September 14, 2018


April 18, 2013

Thursday 18 April, 2013


Cultural lessons from North America

2013-04-17 01:18:33

Monilola Tenabe has lived in the US for about 30 years. But her manner of speaking shows that Yoruba culture still flows in her blood. She has, understandably, gained a distinct measure of American accent and does not need to stammer between English words whenever she is speaking.

Listening to her as she speaks Yoruba, however, you would think you are listening to a woman who has lived in a ‘traditional’ town like Ibadan, Osogbo or Abeokuta. She cannot speak the language for two minutes without throwing a strong proverb into it.

She was at such her cultural best on Thursday when she spoke in Lagos on the mission of her and some other members of the National Association of Yoruba Descendants in North America. Established some 22 years ago, the group otherwise called Egbe Omo Yoruba is the umbrella body of all Yoruba groups in the Diaspora.

According to Tenabe, they are in Nigeria to explore ways in which they can contribute to the development of the South West.

“We are on this trip to see what we can do with government and other stakeholders to move the Yoruba nation forward,” she says. “We want to continue the progressive ideas championed by the sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo. We have carried on with the legacy he left and we want to do all we can to move the Yoruba nation forward.”

Also on the trip are Dr. Ayo Famuyide and Mrs. Modupe Adeyanju. They have been visiting governments of the states in the region, with Tenabe, a university administrator, saying they are offering themselves for service in whatever areas they are called to intervene. But part of their crusade is also that whenever government is asking for foreign investment, it should not focus on foreigners alone.

Says Famuyide, who is the group’s public affairs secretary, “We have enough talent to turn this country around if government will give us the same concessions it gives foreign investors.”

On how Tenabe and her colleagues have been preserving their Yoruba legacies abroad, she notes that they regularly organise programmes where they discuss home and design projects that keep them in tune. During holidays and the association’s conventions, they organise Yoruba lessons for their children, while they invite experts to lecture people on the region’s heritage. Adeyanju, a teacher, is often in charge of grooming the kids culturally.

“I also speak Yoruba to my children,” Tenabe adds. “We must take our culture seriously. And this is one of the messages we have brought home.”


February 24, 2013

JAMES Randall-A Righteous BLACK BROTHER Fights For OUR BLACK Rights!

February 18, 2013 


James Randall, Stead Family Professor of English
B.S., North Carolina Agricultural and Technical University
M.A., Carnegie Mellon University

Professor Randall’s offerings include courses in African-American and African literature; he also teaches African-American history. He has been a participant in the project of establishing the African American Historical Museum and Cultural Center of Iowa (opening in Cedar Rapids in September 2003)
ames Randall

Interviewed by Living Waters History Makers
Region: Central Iowa
Category: Civil Rights

The store people also didn’t want us there sitting in either, and they would try to do things to force us away like pretend that they were spraying for flies and insects and spray on us on that occasion. Some of the rowdy people in the crowd would threaten us, threaten to fight us in some ways, too. But, we had gone through some training before we actually did that. And so it was overall a very useful experience. — James Randall


James (Samm) Randall, Professor of English and African American Studies at Coe College, taught at Coe from 1969 to 2010. He grew up in Bolton, North Carolina, working in the fields and attending segregated schools. He has studied at North Carolina A&T State University, Carnegie-Mellon University, Indiana University, Washington State University, and he has participated in summer-study programs at other universities over the years. He holds a Master’s degree from Carnegie-Mellon and is a published author. He has also taught African American literature courses at the University of Iowa. His teaching areas include African American Literature, African Literature, American Literature, English Literature, Caribbean Literature, and African American History.


Shawndell: Hello my name is Shawndell Young and it is May 4th, 2009. And today I will be interviewing Professor Randall. So let’s get it started. So where were you born?

James Randall: I was born in North Carolina, a little town called Bolton, which is in the southeastern corner of the state of North Carolina. It’s about twenty miles up from the South Carolina border and about twenty-three miles in from the Atlantic Ocean, in an area that is known as the Green Swamp of North Carolina.

Shawndell: Where is home now?

James Randall: Home is here in Cedar Rapids.

Shawndell: How long have you lived in Cedar Rapids?

James Randall: I’ve lived in Cedar Rapids for forty years. I came here in 1969 to teach at Coe College. And I’ve been here for most of that time, although, I did take a leave at one point. I lived for a few years in Marion and now back in Cedar Rapids. Some years ago, I took a leave for three years and went out to the state of Washington, at Washington State, where I was doing some work at Washington State University.

Shawndell: So what brought you here?

James Randall: I came here to teach literature at Coe. My initial plan was to teach here for one year. So I came up here in 1969, I was going to be here for one year and it turned out that I was here just for one year on that first occasion. Then I went out and spent a year at University of Colorado working out there. And then following year I was invited to come back here to teach at Coe. So I’ve been here since that time.

Shawndell: Moving! So where did you go for school?

James Randall: Well, my school experiences have been varied. My, course my elementary school experience was in Bolton, North Carolina, which was at a sort of an ancient wooden school that had no running water and had outdoor toilets and had no central heating. But something began to happen, I am sure you and people of your generation have studied about the Brown Vs Board of Education school case which of course was finished in 1954. And around that time suddenly North Carolina began refurbishing schools for African Americans-it was a segregated system- because the idea, as I felt at the time and also felt later, was they, what they wanted to try to show that we did have separate but equal facilities. So we suddenly got a new school with central heating, with running water, built out of bricks, most of the, even a cafeteria, most of the amenities that were needed at that time. So I finished that school and then I went to high school, sort of a consolidated high school, also a segregated school for the black students. And I went to high school there and eventually I went to college at North Carolina A & E State University, which at that time was an all black school, too. All the teachers black, all the students black, all the administrators black, and I graduated from that, from that college. This was the college where the modern sit-in movement started. They started there a year before I became a student there. But when I went there, activity was still taking place.

Shawndell: So what did you do for entertainment back then?

James Randall: Well when I was very small. We did, I guess you would call it inexpensive games. We played a lot of stickball. We played softball. We played, when someone got a bicycle; we would ride the bicycle to death. In the winter we would make bows and arrows, and which we called ourselves hunting. And now it might not be considered not the nicest thing to do but our target would be birds which we would hunt and sometimes get and sometimes dress and have them prepared for eating. But, we did other kinds of things, too. One of the things that happened in that area was, we began to work at a very young age and so even small children had certain kinds of farm related jobs to do: hoeing crops, harvesting crops, chores that were assigned to us in a number of ways. So a lot of the summer activity and often after school activity was associated with work. When I was very small even attending my first grades, cotton was still grown in that area and after school we would sometimes pick cotton and turn it in and weigh it and get paid a certain amount, a certain, few cents per pound and so that took a good deal of the activity as well.

Shawndell: How was the Civil Rights Movement helped you and affected you?

James Randall: Well the Civil Rights Movement affected me a great deal. I say sometimes that people of my generation and a little bit after me, we were sort of born in the Civil Rights Movement, born in a civil rights situation. You have to remember that this was strict segregation at that time. And North Carolina was also a strict segregationist state which meant that African Americans did not have equal rights, which also meant that most of the politicians were against democracy for African Americans. So there was a lot of work to be done in order to get some things changed. Civil Rights Movement meant that I went to not equal schools, that our parents didn’t have equal job opportunities, that the state conspired to keep us poor and conspired to keep us not as well educated. We couldn’t attend University of North Carolina, nor Duke University, nor Wake Forrest University, nor North Carolina State for which our tax money supported in a lot of ways. So we were really being done in a very bad way by the authorities at the time. So the Civil Rights Movement meant a lot to me. When we began to get wind of how things were changing and needed to be changed. I mentioned the Brown versus Board of Education case. I remember when the public buses were integrated in North Carolina for the first time, for example. I remember, when of course, I remember, people my age remember, too, the presidential election of 1960, between President Kennedy and the challenger, and the other candidate for the Republicans, Richard Nixon and in the introduction of Civil Rights support becomes more common in the political sphere of things. So it meant a great deal. It meant a lot.

Shawndell: Can you explain what was segregation for the African American person back then?

James Randall: Well, the situation was really based on a Supreme Court case that took place much earlier, in 1896, the so-called Plessy vs Ferguson case, which the Supreme Court ruled that segregation was OK as long as there were equal facilities for African Americans-the so-called separate but equal doctrine. And we saw very quickly that things were separate, but they never were equal. Equal facilities were not really provided for and it meant that by law, African Americans got a raw deal from the state government and also from the national government because the national government supported the state governments in their discrimination against us in many ways. And again, education-didn’t have equal education opportunity, for jobs- couldn’t have equal jobs opportunity. In my home county, I couldn’t even go to the county library because it was only for whites. Blacks could not go the county library. And so that’s a blatant example of this discrimination in that way as well, which meant that we couldn’t get certain kinds of jobs, even state jobs we could not get. There were some more menial jobs that were designated for African Americans, but top flight jobs were out of the question at that time. And it meant that therefore, more people were waiting for these changes to occur and we were increasingly aware of them, and that made us more determined to become active, too. And for example the students, the college students who lead and who began the sit-in movement, they were also fed up with a good deal of this activity and they were motivated to do something about it and other students in other places and an increasing number of adults also began to participate directly as well.

Shawndell: So can you describe the role of the African American church back in your day?

James Randell: When I was small, I was involved in church activity especially. My parents were active in the church, especially my father, who was a very active churchman in the AME Church, the African Methodist Episcopal Church, in my hometown. My hometown was very small, about 600 people. But as I think about it there were a lot of churches in that town a lot of African American Churches, maybe seven or eight African American Churches in a very small town. So I participated in Sunday School. When I was very young I became Sunday School secretary, state Sunday School secretary, I guess until I finished high school and went away to college. I remember attending Sunday School conventions that took place yearly. One of my cousins was the pianist. She had a talent for playing piano. And she became the director of the junior choir. So naturally I was a member of junior choir for a number of years as well. There were some other activities that took place, too, some special holiday activities that occurred in the church as well. I remember also some Vacation Bible School experiences began and it was a new idea at the time for our area of the country. But nevertheless, that took place as well.

Shawndell: Have you been involved in any Civil Rights organizations or any like of the NAACP stuff or anything like that?

James Randall: Yes again, because of the area of the country where I lived, practically it couldn’t be avoided just out of natural behavior. But when the sit-in movements began, I was still in high school. And so we decided that, some people in my town decided, that we should participate directly in some of these activates. Well, maybe I was a junior in high school at that time. Our town was so small, that we didn’t have any real facilities to integrate because we just had a little regular General Store. But we did most of our shopping in a town about twenty-five miles away, the town of Wilmington, North Carolina. Most of our big shopping occurred there. So we decided to organize and to join the demonstrations that were taking place in Wilmington. So we organized and we decided that we needed a formal organization. So it was formal organized and I was elected president of the group. So before dinner time each Saturday we would go to Wilmington and we would join in the sit-ins that were taking place in Wilmington. We had some varied experiences there, some not so nice experiences, of course some people in the crowd didn’t want us there. The store people also didn’t want us there sitting in either and they would try to do things to force us away like pretend that they were spraying for flies and insects and spray on us on that occasion. Some of the rowdy people in the crowd would threaten us, threaten to fight us in some ways, too. But, we had gone through some training before we actually did that. And so it was overall a very useful experience. Later in college, I also participated in some civil rights demonstrations. And even after I finished my undergraduate work at North Carolina A&T, I moved to Pittsburgh to attend a college there. And activity was taking place in that city. Even in that northern industrial city, some things needed to be changed there as well. And James King had even later, for example when I went to another university, ____University, and later to Washington State University, one organization that I became involved with was the organization concerned with liberation in South Africa, so in effect, civil rights for South Africa on more of a global scale. And so I think that part of that interest and activity generated in my case early from participating in the sit-ins back in North Carolina.

Shawndell: What would you say is one of your best…like your best accomplishments?

James Randall: Well I think working in education for forty years. I think that, to endure that and still fill enthused about it. And I’ve had some good students who have come through the process. And so I think very, very, very positively on that. Sometimes I hear from former students and they are doing progressive things. And so I count that as one of the best things.

Shawndell: What has been one of your happiest time, memories?

James Randall: Happiest memories. I guess there are some standard ones, such as some of my memories with my wife, with my family, with my North Carolina relatives, with visiting some other places. Living in Colorado was nice for a year. Visiting the West Indies was also good. Taking a trip to Africa was good. And so those are fond memories.

Shawndell: What would you change about the outcome of your life right now?

James Randall: That’s a big question. I’m not sure what I would change about the outcome of my life. I think that in so many ways, of course, life is still being engaged. And so we go through it, and try to do positive things that we can. But sometimes in finagling with the past a little bit it would change so many other things as well. In some ways, I think I would, I would have liked to have been more productive, more steadily at some times. I think I have been relatively productive over time. But maybe if I had gotten, maybe even started earlier, maybe if I had been able to, I don’t know, get though college a couple of years earlier then so much more might have been done. But this is, you know, fantasy. I would like to have traveled in more places than I have. I‘ve done a lot of travel across the states. I would like to have done more world travel.

Shawndell: I also have one more question. You’ve talked about one of your happiest times. Which would be one of your worst times of your life?

James Randall: A very painful time would have been the year 1972. In that year my father died in February; my grandmother died in May; my mother died in September. So within a relatively short period of time, these are the people who have sort of molded me, and that was naturally a painful time not just for me, but for my brothers and sisters as well. So that stands out.

Shawndell: So do you have any questions that you think I have not answered that you think we should know?

James Randall: I suppose we could ramble a long time about a lot of different things. I think that over my years, I’ve seen a lot of positive changes occur in society in general. And now which gives me some, more than just hope, but some belief that things are likely to continue to improve in some positive ways. As a world and as a society we have dirtied our hands with a lot of things. I’m glad to see now that we seem to be more determined to clean up behind ourselves more than we have done in the past, more accountably, than we have done the past. So, I hope that that trend will continue.

Shawndell: Alright, well, thank you for letting me interview you.

James Randall: Alright, thank you.


October 19, 2010


Old play, new language
Edozie Udeze 17/10/2010 00:00:00

Who is Afraid of Solarin? a play by Professor Femi Osofisan, has always been a symbolic one. It is so because it is a comic treatise on what makes Nigeria and Nigerians unique. In the play, Osofisan uses plenty of comic scenes and statements to portray the story of a society where things work upside down. The name Solarin is used symbolically because of his role in trying to give a better direction to Nigerians and to the Nigerian state. The play chronicles Nigeria’s many socio-political problems in such a way that the audience are made to feel the impact while the play is on stage. You can’t help but laugh and hiss and then wonder the sort of society Nigeria is and why the people are what they are.

This was why it was selected as the independence play this year by the trio of Mufu Onifade, Tunde Kelani and the Lagos State government. However, the play which was translated into the Yoruba language by Dotun Ogundeji as Yeepa! Solaarin Nbo!!, is meant to send home the message to the larger Yoruba theatre audience.

In this new experiment, the message is supposed to sink deeper, so that people who love to see the lighter side of Nigerian myriad of problems dramatized on stage, would have a better view of it. The few days the play was on stage in Lagos last week proved that a lot of people were really eager to laugh away the problems of the society. Not only that the artistes led by Ropo Ewenla were on top of their game on stage, the large turnout of theatre lovers showed that the choice of the play was apt and appropriate.

To make the play appeal more to the audience, the producers introduced an opening glee. This marriage of convenience between opening glee and full-length drama presentation was Mainframe and National Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners (NANTAP) Lagos chapter’s synergetic way of joining the Lagos State government in celebrating the 50th independence anniversary of Nigeria. This way, there was no moment of boredom. The artistes were able to appeal to the audience to wake up to the realities of the moment; to make Nigeria great.

Is this Nigeria of our dreams in 1960? That seemed to be the question raised on stage by the actors. Ewenla, the lead character was able to convince the audience that we need to do more; we need to work harder and be more honest to make Nigeria a better place for all and sundry.
Yeepa! Is an exclamation that something hilarious or ominous is about to happen and that people should sit up to welcome it. This situation calls for an acclaim, calling the Nigerian people that there are more than meet the eye. Solarin was an enigma of some sort when he was alive. Although the name is hyperbolic in a way, it goes to portray a visionary leader who saw long before now what the Nigerian society portended. Now the play in his name says it all.

Anywhere this play goes on stage, the euphoric appeal it gives leaves much to be desired. The Yoruba version of it also did much more; the message seeped deeper into the fabric of the audience whose laughter and hisses tore deep into the night. And so, it is kudos to Onifade for his sense of humour and wisdom. The play truly helped to embellish the mood of the moment and bring Nigerians back to that moment of reflection.

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April 19, 2010

Written by furtune Education Mar 30, 2010

Soyinka, Fafunwa, others head Yoruba Academy
By Gbenga Adeniji, Published: Tuesday, 30 Mar 2010

Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka; former Minister of Education, Prof. Babatunde Fafunwa; Prof. Bolanle Awe; lecturer and playwright, Prof. Akinwunmi Isola, and many other distinguished indigenes of Yoruba land are to serve as members, Board of Trustees of The Yoruba Academy, whose governing organs will be inaugurated in Ibadan, Oyo State, on Wednesday.

The centre was conceived at the Yoruba Retreat held at the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture, Ibadan in October, 2007.

According to a statement issued on Tuesday by the National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere Renewal Group, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, the organs to be inaugurated are; the Board of Trustees and Governing Council.

Also, the event is expected to attract distinguished sons and daughters of Yoruba land both at home and in the Diaspora.

Other members of the Board of Trustees are Mrs. Francesca Emmanuel; Prof. Wale Omole; Gen. Alani Akinrinade (rtd); Justice Bolarinwa Babalakin; Prof. Olabiyi Yayi; Mrs. Jumoke Anifowose; Mr. Wale Oshun; and the Democratic Peoples Alliance governorship candidate in Lagos State in 2007, Mr. Jimi Agbaje. The Chairman of the Board is Fafunwa.

Besides, the statement added that members of the Governing Council include Prof. Wale Omole, who is the chairman; Dr. Tunde Adegbola; Chief Adebayo Faleti; Dr. Charles Akinola; Prof. Mobolaji Aluko, Mr. Kayode Samuel, Dr.Wale Adebanwi, Mr. Tola Mobolurin, Miss Yetunde Sekoni, Mr. Dipo Famakinwa, Prince Oye Oyewumi, Dr. Iyabo Bassir, Dr. Sola Olorunyomi; Mr. Tunde Kelani, Mr. Francis Ojo; Prof. Kunle Lawal; and Dr. Tunji Olowolafe.


Monday, March 29, 2010
News Release: Yoruba Academy for inauguration
[Yoruba Art]

The Yoruba Academy, which was conceived at the Yoruba Retreat, held at the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan in 2008 becomes real with the inauguration of the Governance organs in Ibadan on Wednesday, March 31, 2010.

Billed for the Academy’s House at 25, Dejo Oyelese Street, Old Bodija Estate, Ibadan at 11.00am prompt, the event attracts who-is-who in the Yoruba nation-homeland and Diaspora.

The two organs for inauguration are the Board of Trustees and Governing Council make up as follows:

Members of the Board of Trustees:
1. Professor Babatunde Aliyu Fafunwa – Chairman
2. Professor (Mrs.) Bolanle Awe
3. Professor Wole Soyinka
4. Mrs. Francesca Emmanuel
5. Professor Akinwunmi Isola
6. Professor Wale Omole
7. General Alani Akinrinade
8.Justice Bolarinwa Babalakin
9. Professor Olabiyi Yayi
10. Mrs. Jumoke Anifowose
11. Hon. Wale Oshun
12. Mr. Jimi Agbaje

Members of the Governing Council:
1. Professor Wale Omole – Chairman
2. Dr. Tunde Adegbola
3. Alagba Adebayo Faleti
4. Dr. Charles “Diji Akinola
5. Mr. Tola Mobolurin
6. Miss Yetunde Sekoni
7. Mr. Dipo Famakinwa
8. Prince Oye Oyewumi
9. Dr. Iyabo Bassir
10. Dr. Sola Olorunyomi
11. Mr. Tunde Kelani
12. Engr. Francis Ojo
13. Dr. Tunji Olowolafe
14. Professor Kunle Lawal
15. Mr. Kayode Samuel
16. Dr. Wale Adebanwi
17. Professor Bolaji Aluko

‘Yinka Odumakin
For: The Yoruba Academy
Posted by Public Information Project Management(PIPROM) at 9:02 AM



Yoruba Academy to the rescue PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 05 April 2010 02:57


On Wednesday, March 31, a very unique event that signified very sincere and pragmatic steps towards protection and preservation of Yoruba race and heritage took place in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital. The event was the inauguration of the Board of Trustees and Governing Council for the Yoruba Academy. Emeritus Professor Olu Akinkugbe was the chairman at the occasion witnessed by notable personalities in the Yorubaland including Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Dimeji Bankole, former Governor of Osun State, Chief Bisi Akande and Speaker, Oyo State House of Assembly, Hon. Moroof Atilola, among others.
The Yoruba Academy is an independent, non-profit governmental organization created as a multi-disciplinary institution, charged with the task of bringing together everyone committed to the best traditions of the promotion of modern democratic life and ensure the preservation of Yoruba language, culture, social practices, values and institutions. The Academy is also committed to engaging in, encouraging and funding research and systematic reflections on the history, culture, position and future of the Yoruba in the context of Nigeria and in a globalizing world, towards helping to create and sustain freedom for all and life more abundant.
The Yoruba Academy is borne out of concern that the race is being relegated in virtually all spheres of life especially in such areas as education, commerce and business. A retreat was subsequently organized in 2007 by a group of Yoruba professionals and activists. The retreat which took place in Ibadan was attended by Yoruba political leaders, business men and women with the aim of charting a way forward for the Yoruba. One of the outcomes of the retreat was a declaration that a Yoruba Academy is needed to ensure renaissance of Yoruba culture, capture the soul of its youth and re-establish the pride of the Yoruba race and increase its capacity to contribute to the international community. The Yoruba Academy subsequently opened office in Ibadan in August 2008.
Activities of the Academy focus on such programmes as children and youth, resource repository/database, Research into such indicative focus areas including Yoruba culture, Yoruba religion and divinity, Yoruba language and linguistics, science and technology in Yoruba, Yoruba jurisprudence, as well in Yoruba strategic development studies, among others.
Expectedly, the event attracted comments and suggestions. Speaker Bankole urged the Academy to look into the areas the Yoruba are lagging which they used to play leading roles before, especially in education, banking and information management. His words: “The race before the Academy is not a one hundred metres race. It is indeed a long distance race and I believe the Academy needs to pursue it with vigour and zeal so that our future generation will be proud of our race. In the last 10 years, it seems the Yoruba have been relegated from the leading role they used to play in the areas of education, business and commerce and even in information management. These are the things the Yoruba Academy has to face so that we may have a better future.”
Speaking on the importance of the Academy, Professor Akinkugbe said: “The idea of the Yoruba Academy has become very critical, to further the need for the promotion of self-confidence, a strong Yoruba identity to develop our intellectual capacity and colour, to propel our minds, body and spirit, to identify with the urgent need to preserve and continue to nurture who we are, as well as being able to assert our Yorubaness without reservations about our history not living merely on our past glory.”
Fafunwa also noted that: “Yoruba is a complete race and the Academy is out to promote all aspects of the Yoruba including our culture, our enterprises, our uniqueness and so on. Yoruba as a language, ranks sixth among the world spoken languages after English language, French, Arab, Spanish and Portuguese. Yoruba should not be relegated to the background for whatever reasons. Is it the complete gentlemanness of the Yoruba or the Yoruba flair for fair hearing before deciding on any issue? Is it the beauty of Yoruba language or its versatility? We should bequeath a worthy legacy that our future generation will be very proud of.”
In his contribution, the chairman of the Governing Council, Prof. Omole, said: “The Yoruba Academy is not partisan. Rather the Academy is to protect the interests of all Yoruba irrespective of their political leanings, religious persuasions and business interests. All that the Academy is out for is to ensure that Yoruba either now or in the future, continue to enjoy the pride of place while our culture, our heritage which makes us unique, are protected and preserved for the sake of the present and future generations. Yoruba are a proud people and the Academy will strive to make us discover that pride again.”
The 12-member Board of Trustees(BOT) for the Academy former Education Minister, Professor Aliyu Babatunde Fafunwa as chairman. Other trustees are General Alani Akinrinade, Mrs Jumoke Anifowose, Professor Bolanle Awe, Justice Bolarinwa Babalaki, Mr. Jimi Agbaje, Mrs Francesca Emmanuel, Professor Akinwunmi Isola, Professor Wale Omole, Hon. Wale Osun, Professor Wole Soyinka and Professor Olabiyi Yayi. The BOT is a team of eminent Yoruba persons from diverse professions, representing the Yoruba in Nigeria and in the Diaspora. The Board is expected to provide strategic direction and set the agenda for the Academy. It also ensures that the activities of the Academy remain mandate-focused while it also safe-guards independence of the Academy.
Former Vice Chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Professor Wale Omole, is the chairman of the Academy’s 17-member Governing Council. Other council members include Dr. Wale Adebanwi, Dr. Tunde Adegbola, Dr. Charles ‘Diji Akinola, Professor Bolaji Aluko,Dr. Iyabo Basir, Alagba Adebayo Faleti, Mr. Dipo Famakinwa, Mr. Tunde Kelani, Professor Kunle Lawal, Mr. Tola Mobolurin , Engineer Francis Ojo, Dr. Sola Olorunyomi, Dr. Tunji Olowolafe, Prince Oye Oyewunmi, Mr. Kayode Samuel and Ms Yetunde Sekoni.
Just like BOT, members of the Governing Council are drawn from professionals with significant relevant skills and experience to guide the management of the Academy. The Council is responsible for the overall governance of the Academy while it sets up, empowers and mandates committees of the Academy as required. The Council is also responsible for the maintenance of programme integrity while it equally provides strategic direction for the management and operations of team of the Academy. The Council also provides support and external linkages while at the same time, provides ‘custodian, stewardship and accountability’ roles in the Academy.
No doubt, the younger generation of Yoruba looks up to the sustenance of an enviable legacy of a race that the future generation will equally be proud of.


Yoruba Academy: Fighting the cause of the Yoruba people

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Written by Segun Taiwo

Recently, members of the Board of Trustees and Governing Council of the Yoruba Academy were inaugurated in Ibadan. Segun Taiwo, who was at the event, reports on the resolve of the body to advance the understanding and appreciation of Yoruba history, language, culture and civilisation.

[From right, Justice Bolarinwa Babalakin; Chief Bisi Akande and Professor Bolanle Awe, during the inauguration of members of the Board of Trustees and Governing Council of the Yoruba Academy in Ibadan last week. Photo: Tunde Babajide.]

From right, Justice Bolarinwa Babalakin; Chief Bisi Akande and Professor Bolanle Awe, during the inauguration of members of the Board of Trustees and Governing Council of the Yoruba Academy in Ibadan last week. Photo: Tunde Babajide.
In a bid to promote the Yoruba language, social practices, norms, values and institutions, Yoruba leaders have come together to form the Yoruba Academy, with the recent inauguration of the body’s Board of Trustees and Governing Council members in Ibadan.

Concerned about the rate at which Yoruba values and institutions are being relegated to the background, the body will ensure the preservation of the Yoruba language, social practices, norms and values, through research and systematic reflections on the history, culture, position and future of the Yoruba in the context of Nigeria and in a globalising world.

Also, in a bid to meet its objectives, the Academy will welcome individuals and organisations interested in the development of the Yoruba as a distinct ethnic entity.

In his opening address at the inauguration, the chairman of the event, Professor Oladipo Akinkugbe, expressed confidence that the Academy would restored the glory and pride of the Yoruba people.

Prof. Akinkugbe, who lamented the present state of the Yoruba nation, then called on all Yoruba people, irrespective of political, social or educational differences, to come together and salvage the situation.

While also speaking, the highest ranking Yoruba man in the current political dispensation, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Dimeji Bankole, lamented that Yorubas were no longer in the scheme of things in the country.

Citing the area of education and communications as example, Hon. Bankole said it was unfortunate the woeful performance of students from the South West in their final school certificate examinations, while saying the race has also lost its grip on the electronic and print media in the country.

“It is, therefore, a good development that the Yoruba Academy is being inaugurated to put the race in its rightful position in the country,” the Speaker said.

Other eminent Yoruba personalities at the event, also spoke on the need for the Yoruba people to retake its place in the scheme of things in the country, and in the world at large.

A former Osun State governor and chairman of the Action Congress (AC), Chief Bisi Akande, said Yoruba people should set aside their differences and work for the progress of the race.

Members of the Board of Trustees comprising Prof. Babatunde Fafunwa, who is chairman; Mr. Jimi Agbaje, General Alani Akinrinade, Mrs. Jumoke Anifowose, Prof. Bolanle Awe, Justice Bolarinwa Babalakin, Mrs. Francesca Emmanuel, Prof. Akinwumi Isola, Prof. Wale Omole, Hon. Wale Oshun, Prof. Wole Soyinka and Prof. Olabiyi Yai, were then presented and inaugurated, while members of the governing council, comprising Prof. Wale Omole (chairman), Dr. Wale Adebanwi, Dr. Tunde Adegbola, Dr. Charles ‘Diji Akinola, Prof. Bolaji Aluko, Dr. Iyabo Bassir, Pa. Adebayo Faleti, Mr. Dipo Famakinwa, Mr. Tunde Kelani, Prof. Kunle Lawal, Mr. Tola Mobolurin, Engr. Francis Ojo, Dr. Sola Olorunyomi, Dr. Tunji Olowolafe, Prince Oye Oyewumi, Mr. Kayode Samuel and Ms. Yetunde Sekoni, were also installed.


February 15, 2010



Daily Independent (Lagos)

Nigeria: Enforcing Indigenous Languages in Homes
Yemi Adebisi
14 February 2010

Lagos — The National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), a parastatal of the Federal Ministry of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation appears to be set to encourage the use of indigenous languages in Nigerian homes.

The institute also frowns at the mode of dressing of most Nigerian children, which it described as ‘near nudity,’ blaming this on the nonchalant attitude of Nigerian parents and the lack of respect for Nigerian culture. It has therefore assured that it would use its medium to address the total emancipation of Nigerian cultural details and encourage its proliferation. This would, according to the institute, help to market the value of Nigerian culture, home and abroad, when the essence and awareness of the culture is encouraged.

Apparently, the recent visit of the executive secretary/chief executive officer of NICO, Dr. Barclays F. Ayakoroma to Lagos office was primarily designed by the institute to gear up arrangement to start off the new academic session of its cultural institute. It was during the visit that Ayakoroma, in his chat with the media, unveiled plans to take Nigeria culture to all the nooks and crannies of the country and to ensure that it yields positive results than ever. NICO was established by Decree 93 of 1993.

The Institute has the primary responsibility of harnessing Nigeria’s cultural resources to meet the challenges of social integration, peace, unity and national development. It also serves as vital force for promoting Nigeria’s programme of Cultural Diplomacy and energising the various cultural establishments in the new direction advocated by Nigeria’s Cultural Policy and the World Decade for Cultural Development (1988-1997) declared by the United Nations.

NICO has a vision to be the apex and leading Cultural Training Institute in Nigeria and Nigeria’s contribution to world progress and civilisation through research and documentation, cultural assets and services, both tangible and intangible.

NICO is also committed to train cultural development officers, motivators and communicators who would be grounded in Nigerian cultural realities, philosophy and practices that are essential for national integration, peace, unity and development in a multi-ethnic nation.

It would be recalled that the institute has presented for graduation, the first set of students in the Certificate, Graduate and Diploma in Cultural Studies. By November 2009, registration processes started for the second set. Ayakoroma visited Lagos to ensure the successful take off of the new academic session. According to him, he was satisfied with the current academic programme and expressed hope that sooner, the training school will be in its rightful place in the culture sector. The vision of NICO is to run a school that will produce graduands that will occupy strategic position in various cultural institutions.

“Just like the Federal Training School trains clerical officers all over the country, ASCON trains administrative officers, and NIPS trains top government officers in the civil service and the military, we are positioning ourselves to train cultural workers at the middle and top level of cultural administration,” he said.

The secretary observed that NICO would only gain its relevance in the scheme of things when it comes out with some programmes that will impact the lives of the generality of the people. At the national level, according to him, there are programmes lined up, but specifically, the indigenous language programme appears to be a strategic option. With the notion that many Nigerians are not intact, language wise and that most of Nigerian children find it difficult speaking indigenous language, because of inter-tribal marriages and so on, NICO has developed a programme that will encourage the speaking of the indigenous languages.

“If these children are given the opportunity to learn indigenous languages, they approach them with every sense of commitment. This programme has gained ground to some extent. In the last long vacation of Nigerian primary and secondary schools, the programme took place in the six zonal offices of NICO.”

The institute has set up an agenda to introduce a programme entitled ‘Language in the Barracks’ to support its vision to immortalize indigenous languages. This is with the intention of taking indigenous language training scheme to police and military barracks. It was discovered, however, that among some military or police families, the wives might be Yoruba while the husbands, Igbo. It boils down on the challenge of the particular language that the children will be disposed to speak. NICO therefore believes that with this programme, parents as well as children will have the opportunity to learn those languages. The institute has also concluded plans, according to the executive secretary, to start a television programme called ‘WAZOBIA Quiz’. They are looking at a scenario whereby the parents and their children come for a quiz programme based on culture such as ‘Nigerian People and Places’. Such segment will be in the three Nigeria major languages.

“If the father is speaking Yoruba and Hausa for example, and the wife is Igbo, we expect that one of the children that will appear with you for the programme will also speak one of the languages. We believe it will be an interesting programme and it will enhance or energise the study or interest of Nigerian languages,” he said. This, to an extent, might help improve the readiness of Nigerian families to cherish the more the indigenous languages. NICO declared its intention to encourage the speaking of indigenous languages at homes and offices in Nigeria and not having English as lingua franca in respected homes. Other roundtable programme of the institute include annual roundtable conference, workshop on ‘Repositioning Cultural Workers for Improved Productivity’, World Culture Day celebration in May among others. The secretary also intimidated the media about the plan of the institute to start cultural club in secondary schools. This will be taking to secondary schools to catch the young ones culturally, like the debating and literary societies. The intention of the institute is for the children to appreciate every area of Nigerian culture, be it music or dressing.

He expressed his disappointment on how Nigerian parents are showing lackadaisical attitude to the dressing mode of most Nigerian children. According to him, some of these children go on the street almost in nudity. “It is very worrisome. The jeans, T-shirts, and the type of short sketches that our children wear in the name of fashion are really worrisome. That is why we are also looking at organising a programme called ‘Nigeria’s Dress Culture’. We want to look at aspect of dress culture.”

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Some Nigerian universities have been observed to institutionalised dress codes. Ayakoroma therefore appealed that such institutions should be encouraged, because if the students are allowed to dress the way they want, “very soon we will begin to see nude boys and girls on our streets in the name of fashion.”

NICO has vowed to step up actions on the creation of awareness on the essence and importance of culture in Nigeria. Culture, according to him, is what makes a man. He therefore warned that with the level of richness of Nigerian culture, it would be very unfortunate if Nigerian parents failed to carry their children along and sell them to the western world in the name of civilisation.

He also significantly pointed out that for Nigeria to move forward, there is a need for Nigerians to cooperate with the institute to appraise the level of corruption in Nigeria from cultural point of view.


February 1, 2010



Behold Nigerian virgin!

* By Taiwo Abiodun

Virgins during the testing programme

Girls proud to be virgins confidently offered themselves for tests at Ekemode Memorial Hospital and Women’s Infirmary, Surulere, Lagos as the Nigeria virgins celebration organised by Princess Adunni Adediran marked its third anniversary. The virginity tests were done by Dr Ade Ekemode, an experienced gynaecologist and involved 45 young women from across the country.

Three years ago, Adediran launched her campaign to help Nigerian girls keep their virginity and avoid unwanted pregnancies, diseases such as HIV/AIDS, syphilis, barrenness and broken homes. Above all, she wanted them to be chaste, protect their virginity for their husbands, to honour and give them respect.”

According to her: “Women and innocent girls are always on the receiving end.The girls are lured into prostitution, put in the family way and made barren as a result of infection or induced dangerous abortion that could affect their future; while during the burial of the men or the so called husband the wife would be surprised when the children her husband had out of wedlock come to attend the burial service. We have seen many.”

Giving reasons why young girls should keep their virginity, the princess said “charity begins at home, my daughter who is now a practising lawyer is still a virgin. I have to practise what I preach and I am proud that our girls are beginning to understand what we are saying ‘’.

Dr Ekemode praised the girls for keeping their virginity, and advised them to keep it till their wedding day. “In Nigeria now we are proud to still have some of our young girls who believe in chastity. Pre spent 41years in the profession and I am proud that we still have some of our children that are decent.”

Love David (22), from Okokomaiko, Lagos, said she came to do the test to prove to the world that she is clean and would not have sex until her wedding day. “I will keep my virginity until I meet the man who is ready to pay my bride price,’’ she asserted.

Augusta Aishen from Delta state said she is a student of River State University where she is studying computer science. She heard the news of the virginity test over the radio. “My mother is a cosmetologist and my father is an engineer, they trained me not to destroy or spoil my life because of any boy or man. I am happy that my parents trust me and they even paid my fare to come to Lagos for the test,” she told The Nation.

Akada Ikada (22), a mass communication student, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ogun State, described the medical test as the best way to prove virginity “I will keep my virginity until I am ripe enough to marry,” she said, adding that she wasn’t ashamed of being a virgin.

Awawu Ismail, a devout Muslim who was dressed in a hijab, said, Islam respects chastity. “Islam respects virginity and we have to keep ourselves until the day we are going to get married. I am proud to say that I am a virgin.

Others who came for the test include; Olawumi Opelola from Oyo state,Ajayi Oluwabukola, Oluwatoyin Vincent, Suliat Suberu, Islamyat Yisa,Mukoro Juliet, Ibirogba Ololade, Blessing Paul, , Mariam Bello.

Hajiya Basirat Yusuf said the virginity test was not painful. “They will only ask you to remove your undies and the doctor would check to confirm one’s virginity and that is all’’ she said.

Some mothers who came to witness the occasion were happy to see their daughters participating in the programme. Madam Muyidat Bello, (mother of Mariam) said it was a great programme the government at the local, and state levels should contribute to. Madam Bello said when she heard over the radio that there would be a virginity test, her daughter, Muyidat beat her chest that she is a virgin and she came with her to ascertain the truth. “When the doctor confirmed her virginity, I was happy and I love my daughter the more. She is brilliant and it is because there is no money for her university education that she has not gone to school; yet she did not go into prostitution because of our poverty level.”

Adediran who started the programme said, “They called me many names, some said I wanted to use the girls’ virginity for ritual to make money while some said I wanted to be a trafficker. I received nasty, abusive text messages but in the end most of the parents appreciated what I am doing.”

Now that her programme is gaining credibility, she wants support from government. “I want the state and local government to be involved and assist my programme for it is the first time such thing would be organised,” she said. “I am using my own money to finance the programme as many of the girls who wanted to participate had no money and I paid their transportation fare this year. I want private organizations to support us. I have been ejected from the office I was using before and I need an office’’ the woman stated.

Virgins during the testing programme



October 24, 2009


The Quiet Revolution
October 22, 2009
A few weeks ago, “Saturday Night Live” teased President Obama for delivering great speeches but not actually bringing change. There’s at least one area where that jibe is unfair: education.

When Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan came to office, they created a $4.3 billion Race to the Top fund. The idea was to use money to leverage change. The administration would put a pile of federal money on the table and award it to a few states that most aggressively embraced reform.

Their ideas were good, and their speeches were beautiful. But that was never the problem. The real challenge was going to be standing up to the teachers’ unions and the other groups that have undermined nearly every other reform effort.

The real questions were these: Would the administration water down their reform criteria in the face of political pressure? Would the Race to the Top money end up getting doled out like any other federal spending program, and thus end up subsidizing the status quo? Would the administration hold the line and demand real reform in exchange for the money?

There were many reasons to be skeptical. At the behest of the teachers’ unions, the Democrats had just shut down a successful District of Columbia voucher program. Moreover, state legislatures around the country were moving backward. They were passing laws prohibiting schools from using student performance as a criterion in setting teacher pay.

But, so far, those fears are unjustified. The news is good. In fact, it’s very good. Over the past few days I’ve spoken to people ranging from Bill Gates to Jeb Bush and various education reformers. They are all impressed by how gritty and effective the Obama administration has been in holding the line and inciting real education reform.

Over the summer, the Department of Education indicated that most states would not qualify for Race to the Top money. Now states across the country are changing their laws: California, Illinois, Ohio, Wisconsin and Tennessee, among others.

It’s not only the promise of money that is motivating change. There seems to be some sort of status contest as states compete to prove they, too, can meet the criteria. Governors who have been bragging about how great their schools are don’t want to be left off the list.

These changes mean that states are raising their caps on the number of charter schools. When charters got going, there was a “let a thousand flowers bloom” mentality that sometimes led to bad schools. Now reformers know more about how to build charters and the research is showing solid results. Caroline Hoxby of Stanford University recently concluded a rigorous study of New York’s charter schools and found that they substantially narrowed the achievement gap between suburban and inner-city students.

The changes also will mean student performance will increasingly be a factor in how much teachers get paid and whether they keep their jobs. There is no consensus on exactly how to do this, but there is clear evidence that good teachers produce consistently better student test scores, and that teachers who do not need to be identified and counseled. Cracking the barrier that has been erected between student outcomes and teacher pay would be a huge gain.

Duncan even seems to have made some progress in persuading the unions that they can’t just stonewall, they have to get involved in the reform process. The American Federation of Teachers recently announced innovation grants for performance pay ideas. The New Haven school district has just completed a new teacher contract, with union support, that includes many of the best reform ideas.

There are still many places, like Washington, where the unions are dogmatically trying to keep bad teachers in the classrooms. But if implemented well, the New Haven contract could be a sign of perestroika even within the education establishment.

“I’ve been deeply disturbed by a lot that’s going on in Washington,” Jeb Bush said on Thursday, “but this is not one of them. President Obama has been supporting a reform secretary, and this is deserving of Republican support.” Bush’s sentiment is echoed across the spectrum, from Newt Gingrich to Al Sharpton.

Over the next months, there will be more efforts to water down reform. Some groups are offering to get behind health care reform in exchange for gutting education reform. Politicians from both parties are going to lobby fiercely to ensure that their state gets money, regardless of the merits. So will governors who figure they’re going to lose out in the award process.

But President Obama understood from the start that this would only work if the awards remain fiercely competitive. He has not wavered. We’re not close to reaching the educational Promised Land, but we may be at the start of what Rahm Emanuel calls The Quiet Revolution.


October 14, 2009


OCTOBER 3,2009

Using Art To Preserve Native Language

AS visual art is largely an elitist medium, TAJUDEEN SOWOLE writes that brand-man, Hakeem Adenekan is on an unfamiliar terrain in his brand of art.

THE energy and enthusiasm with which Hakeem Adenekan releases his words speak volume of his passion for art promotion, particularly, using same to rescue the decline in the strength of native languages.

The managing director of a marketing communication agency, Commstrat Associates is also unhappy that visual artists are grossly under enumerated. This, he says is due to the fact that artists are poorly packaged. As a brand man, he is familiar with artists enough to know their potentials: about four artists – painters and graphic artists – are in the Commstrat team.

And if he actually needed to update himself on the art gallery scene to feel the pulse of full time studio artists, a visit to one of the leading art galleries in Victoria Island, he discloses, confirmed his position that artists were not getting their shares of the robust art scene. He insists that the works in the gallery can compete with any best work in the world. But to his dismay, “I learnt that the galleries in this country get as much as 30 to 40 percent, some 50 per cent of the transaction between them and the artists.” This, he argues, is wrong and wonders: “what is then left for the artist who does the job?” This enthusiastic ad-man may not be saying anything new about what has been said, severally, on artists not being good managers of their skills. But Adenekan seemed to have another idea how to go about representing the artists in better ways. There is a better future for the artists, he assures, “we have plans to introduce the marketing communication approach to sell artists’ works to corporate and individual clients. What matters here is the presentation.”

Meanwhile, Adenekan and a team of culture experts, are currently embarking on a mission to use visual art as a medium to promote mother tongues. The project known as Evagrin Koncepts, he explains, “is an attempt to rescue Nigeria’s native languages from being lost.”

So much have been muted about preserving the nation’s cultural value, particularly the vanishing mother tongue; quite a number of individuals and groups are working to achieve the ultimate goal of promoting African culture. So, what is really knew about Evagrin Koncepts?

Arts, he declares, are the most reliable outlets to use in this mission: “we are starting with visual art now, and hope to bring in music, movies and others later.”

Mounted on the walls inside the Surulere, Lagos office of Commstrat, were paintings that communicate in different ways from the regular work one comes across at the galleries. Although the artists of these works were unknown – no signatures or any other information provided – the contents, indeed confirmed that Adenekan who is the Group Project Coordinator of Evagrin and his team really meant business. Each work of folkloric content from a particular region of the country comes with an inscription in the native language of a chosen tribe.

Such texts as the headlines “Orin orileede Naijiria”, a Yoruba version of the national anthem printed on a talking drum image; Karatu madaci, karshenta da dadi, Hausa text on the image of a boy writing; Oji Onye wetere oji wetere ndu, Igbo texts on a plate containing kola nuts; these paintings reproduced in giclee prints bring a tutorial approach to promotion of mother tongue. Some of the “over 300 of similar works,” Adenekan assures, are expected to be on exhibition for the maiden outing of Evagrin this October.

Painting for exhibition packaged this way is apparently strange to the art gallery scene, raising the question of the targeted audience for the planned shows. “It is for everybody,” he says, and argues that the images of the works would not convey the message without the text. And who knows, the brand-man might just hit a double with his unfamiliar art: sell text-illustrated art on canvas and indigenous language.

Armed with such background as grew up in Mushin, the heart of Lagos where core Yoruba language meets the corrupted Lagos version; a passion for music that makes him the lead vocal of a loss genre; worked in about four advertising agencies, Adenekan believes he has an idea to share with like minds “hence the birth of Evagrin, which actually started 10 years ago.”

Today, he has a team to work with. Selected across the three major tribes of Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa, the group, which comprises of experts in Nigerian languages, he explains, is working on mostly oral literary materials that are either not widely published in the past or not even documented at all.

Some members of the team are: ace producer/director, Tunde Kelani, Advisory; Micheal Williams, Project Director, Arts; Jamiu Osoba, Project Director, Operations; Ifeoluwa Oduniyi, Manager, Business. Disappearing mother tongue is a worrisome development of which Adenekan challenges the elite. He notes that this so-called enlightened class of the society finds it more comfortable making English the “official” medium of communication with their families at homes.

He is bold to say that, his is not a ‘prophet’ who says ‘do as I say, not as I do’: “At home, I ensure that the language of communication is Yoruba. I think this is alright by me; let’s leave the school to take care of teaching the children how to speak good English, while parents and guardian should communicate with their wards in native language.”

Reminded that it is a policy that a child must take, at least, one native language in school. He cuts in “it is not enough to have the policy, is it working?” Most schools, he argues don’t care about implementing it, and yet the government is doing little to enforce it. Home support for mother tongue, he stresses, is the option.

And there is a strange angle to Adenekan’s commitment to this whole passion of mother tongue: despite his corporate image, he is a member of a lost music genre, Sakara; a Yoruba country music made popular in the 1950s through 1970s by late legend, Yusuf Olatunji and his rival, S. Aka whose studio works still enjoy wide air play on radio and at most homes. Apart from Oseni Ejire’s band and some obscure bands still playing that genre of music, hardly is there any group of younger men interested in the music. But Adenekan, a man in his 40s, discloses that he has a four-piece sakara music band comprising a 62 years old drummer, two OND holders and himself as the lead vocalist. Sakara band, didn’t we lose that with the dinosaur? He notices the surprise looks of his guests. “Yes, a Sakara band,” he repeats.

An alumnus of Cranfield University, UK; IESE Business School, University of Navarra, Spain, Adenekan had earlier got his HND, Mass Communication at the Ogun State Polytechnic, Abeokuta, Ogun State.

He had worked at CentreSpreadFCB; Campaign Palace Advertising; LTC J. Walter Thompson Ltd and was the Associate producer of the Yoruba movie, Arugba.

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