Weeks to the commencement of the 2019 general elections, Africa’s foremost Historian, writer and scholar, Prof Toyin Falola has advised Nigerian youths to take advantage of their huge population to vote in credible politicians in this year’s general elections.
He also warned the youths against being induced by money but to vote according to their conscience in the interest of their future.
The African culture enthusiast spoke on Wednesday at a one-day conference where he made a public presentation of his new book entitled, “In Praise of Greatness: The Poetics of African Adulation” which held at the Conference Centre of Lead City University, Ibadan.
The conference was organized by Pan-African University Press in collaboration with Lead City University, Ibadan and Faculty of Arts of the University of Ibadan.
The conference chaired by Professor Femi Osofisan was attended by literary giants and scholars including Pro-Chancellor, Lead City University, Prof Jide Owoeye, Executive Chairman, Ibadan School of Government and Public Policy (ISGPP), Prof Tunji Olaopa, Prof Adeyemo Aderemi, Prof Demola Da’Silva and Prof Michael Oladejo Afolayan who delivered the keynote address.
Professor Falola said, “Our youths should not see politicians as their role models but they should stop them from looting the country. Do not imitate them. Do not collect money from them. Poverty does not mean the absence of dignity and that dignity as I said people must cherish, sustain, maintain and reproduce.”
Falola, the Jacob and Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair in Humanities at the University of Texas, Austin, United States of America blamed politicians for jettisoning African value system and corrupting the youths, saying politicians have failed to be role models because of their uncontrolled appetite for acquisition of wealth and the manner they allegedly retain themselves in power.
He noted that it is saddened that there are no ideological based political parties among the two major contending national parties in Nigeria, describing both the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the same.
“Unfortunately, the two parties are not emphasizing ideas, because they are not ideological parties. APC is populated by people who belonged to the PDP and vice versa. So these are not parties of ideas. They are just parties of calculations, ethnic calculations; their interest is to have access to federal resources.
“And a new disturbing pattern has emerged, an outgoing governor wants his friend or crony to replace him, and he would go to Senate and continue to claim relevance. They are planting their children in various political places, they are making their children the managers of stolen money, they are even stealing for the next generation and this stealing has become so legendary. They don’t mind stealing the whole resources of the entire country”, the Don lamented.
Speaking on what informed the writing of the 1,056 paged and 17 chapters book, the renowned international scholar said, “the central idea of the book is to take on a number of scholars to look at the bigger issues on the concept of praise, adulation and greatness. And the target is not actually the people I have written about but the younger people coming behind. I want to use the book to motivate the younger generation of Nigerians to rethink the concept of greatness and heroism.
“They should not be worshipping fake gods and they should be careful with the people they try to imitate. Don’t follow people because there is money for you but let us rethink the people you follow, the intellectuals, the great thinkers, great scholars, this is not about money. You have to respect men of ideas. One of the things this book has done is to stop them as using them as heroes.”
In his remarks, Osofisan described Falola as a man of “prodigious productivity” who has used his energy and resources to encourage the youth, saying “Prof Falola is not the only scholar we have in the Diaspora but he is the only one bringing his energy back to encourage the youth.”
While calling on Nigerians to cultivate the habit of celebrating living heroes, the literary critic lamented that the culture of Nigerians is to celebrate people only when they are dead.
He said, “Our people do not celebrate heroes while they are alive. When Chief Obafemi Awolowo was alive, many people did not support him. But after his death, people began to sing his praises. You can hardly say two sentences today without mentioning Awolowo.”
About Article Author