Being the Topic of a Colloquium delivered
‘Sayo Ajiboye MA MSW
Good Evening, my name is Oluwasayo Ajiboye.I am a prince of the Yoruba people, from Imesi Ile in Ijeshaland by birth and a pastor- priest of the Christian faith by choice. I stand before you today as a generalist – in training and in disposition. In discussing “The Global Context of Faith in Cultures and in Education of Nations: A Vision for African Christian Leadership Education,” I speak as a passionately concerned and involved African generalist, not as a specialist.
There was a time in
ROOT OF EXCELLENCE
I note that every leader of that season was a product of Christian philosophy in education.
- Kwame Nkrumah of
Ghanawent to School under Rev Fraser and Rev Aggrey and later attended a Roman Catholic Seminary and graduated from with Bachelors in sacred Theology. Pennsylvania University
- Leopold Senghor of
was trained by the Spiritan Fathers from the Age of  He actually entered Seminary and was told that he was not suited to Christian ministry! Senegal
- Seretse Khama of
Botswanawas a product of South African Christian Boarding Schooland Fort Hare Collegethe first College opened to Blacks in Apartheid South Africa. was founded as a result of the activities of James Stewart of the Glasgow Missionary Society Church of Scotland, Fort are
- Julius Nyerere defied the odds and bested it all at once. He was the only one of the first generation leaders who was educated completely at a public school but he was also the only one who was the most devout of them. He never missed daily mass throughout his public life, he was known to fast often. In fact in the year 2005, the Catholic Diocese of Musoma in
opened a cause for the beatification of Nyerere. Tanzania
- Patrice Lumumba of
Zairewas educated at a Protestant Schooland a . He was raised in a devout Catholic family. Catholic Secondary Mission School
- Dr. Nanamdi Azikwe, the first President of Nigeria was trained at the
Wesleyan Boys High Schoolin Lagosbefore moving to Howard Universityhere in the  USA
- Obafemi Awolowo, the first Regional Premier of South Western Nigeria was trained at the
Methodist Mission Schoolin his home town Ikenne and later at Wesley Collegefor Teachers in . member of the ) . Ibadan
- I can go on and on and create an endless list. General Gowon of
Nigeriawas the son of a minister, Thomas Sankara of was raised in a Christian home etc etc. Burkina Faso
Of all of these Awolowo or Awo as he was popularly called was and still is a mythical figure among my own people, the Yorubas of South Western Nigeria. He began leading a region of about 20 million people when he was in his late thirties, He worked under the oversight and intense opposition of colonialist; in spite of these he succeeded in leading an effective team of thinkers to set up structures of change. Within 5 years of becoming the premier of the Western Region of Nigeria, he introduced:
- Free primary education for every child in the region
- Built, equipped and staffed functioning General Hospitals in the 10 plus divisional headquarters of the region.
- Organized agricultural productivity around a unique system that empowered young people and conserved age old structures of the community and brought hitherto unbelievable levels of prosperity.
- From the financial result of Agricultural prosperity, he embarked on a process of modernization by
- Building the first modern stadium in all of Africa, Liberty Stadium Complex Ibadan
- Installed industrial capacity that utilized agricultural raw materials and propelled the Western region far ahead of its contemporaries.
- Laid the foundation for the first indigenously conceived modern University in Sub Saharan Africa
- Constructed the first
in Sub Saharan Africa – appropriately named Cocoa House Ibadan High Rise Building
- Installed the first Public Television system in
- Created a networks of roads that is still essentially the backbone of South Western Nigeria
- Demonstrated passionate commitment to the plight of the poor and the helpless
Himself and his team did all of these in an atmosphere of multiparty politics, ethnically motivated opposition, strong financial scrutiny by the colonial overlords. Much later, during the Nigerian Civil War of 1967 - 1970, he was invited to manage the national economy. He did this so well that to date
The question then is this what accounts for the success of these man and his generation where subsequent generations with richer resources have failed miserably? I hang the answer on three anchors:
i. Their Preparation and the Form of education that they received
ii. Their Personal styles and the form of leadership that they espoused
iii. Their Philosophy of the Community and the vision of the nation as they saw it.
Preparation and Value Driven Education
I know a little about the kind of education that they received because I was born and I lived with one of Awolowo’s contemporaries. My father was a year Awo’s junior at the
They were formed by a commitment to a value driven education that demands a commitment to a clear set of standards. I read in a scholarly paper how the present educational system of my country seeks to achieve the following goals:
i) produce manpower
ii) ii) conduct research and
iii) iii) serve the community.
The educational philosophy that produced these men turned those values on their head; these men were trained to invert that order. For them, education was not about a job, or about a career; it was about service. It was about living in the community; they joined the ancient sages in asking, “how then shall we live?”
In his book “Common Fire: Living Lives of Commitment in a complex World,” Educational Psychologist Laurent Daloz asserted that success among healers of communities in the
The old African Commons was defined by ancestry and close affinity; the New African Commons will be defined by technology, globalization, diversity and complex radicality. It is a sad commentary that the Old Guard was better prepared to engage with the new global reality than the new players! I am nearly convinced that if there had been continuity of leadership of the old,
People speak about African tribalism. The Old Guards were vigorously confronted with the equality of man at the mission schools.
Rengagement with Development
I am always intrigued when I read about the African Old Guard and their very personalized kind of leadership. Their styles of leadership created effective disciples, it sets hearts on fire. So you hear about Nkrumanism in
Ladies and gentlemen, I look forward and sincerely desire a New Lutheran Reformation, I desire a Wesleyan impact on national and global sanity, I yearn for a Calvinistic reintegration of order and form; I desire an Anabaptist rediscovery of ancient roots and mores. I believe that a new generation must arise that will engage with ideas and redefine concepts. This generation will have the capacity to make disciples they will draw unto themselves willing men and women. I strain at the leash as I consider this thought I pray passionately; “do it again in our days Oh Lord!”
There is nowhere on the face of the earth where this idealistic, responsive charismatic leadership is necessary like
I now return to the thought on the leadership of the Old Guard and its communal face. I daresay that the essentials of charisma xariðzomai, is attraction. Charisma draws it holds; and it enfolds. Every contact with Charisma commands the contacted to reflect, to think; charisma cannot be ignored; it always demands action: it spawns creativity. Charisma challenges the weak to rediscover the innateness of strength; it creates unbreakable connectional bridges. Charisma makes individualism a mythical and ultimately, quite irrelevant (Daloz again!). The charismatic will always evolve into follower ship: whether it is St Francis of
I believe that the only force on earth capable of using Charisma without pollution and abuse is Christianity.
Only true Christians are capable of being altruistic, with no strings attached. This is because we are commanded to give something for nothing.
Only Christians are truly progressive we aim at the enlightenment of that which is most hidden in the Universe – the Spirit of man.
Only Christians are truly practical, we reject a flight into nothingness (maya – or - illusion of Hinduism), demand a leap of faith (Kierkegaard) and insist that it must be based on the platform of reason (Paul, Lonergan).
Only the Christian faith is truly diverse in its assertion that all of you are brethren, in His personal acceptance of the service and ministry of Women (Luke 8:1-3),
Only Christians have the internal capacity to live in the world and not be of the world. We can be in the Company of fornicators without descending into morass of immorality.
It is only Christian Education that can bring the change needed to
Permit me to close my thoughts by reminding you of a dear friend of mine, some of you have probably met him where I met him – within the four walls of the library: his name is William Carey. Nearly 200 years since this man’s ministry ended, the most crowning deed that he undertook - with his team - was to facilitate transformational education for
When we look back over a 200 years span, we will see the conditions in Africa that are very challenging today have probably changed, we will see a social peeking order that was committed to maintaining the privilege of the rich has probably been dismantled, we will see, post– date, a continental context that right now demands critical attention but all of which attention has been addressed. One thing that will however make all of the rest pale into insignificance: what is important then will be what we choose to do or not to do today, what our children are talking and writing about; what was considered important actions in an era of pain.
Nkrumah is dead, Zik is gone, Nyerere has passed away, Senghor is gone, Khama, Sankara, Sadaruna, Awo… all of them are gone; soon, we also will be history, we will be gone. What will be written concerning us? I therefore stand before you today as visionary seeking partnership, maybe we can affect a countless generations.
We are in the process of setting up an Institution of Higher learning, our aim is to provide a value laden, service driven visionary education for our young people. We desire a place of excellence in extremis, we desire a place of ethos that models our Lord the Master Servant; we desire a transcontinental College a place where young thinkers can resort and be formed. We seek a contextualized application of technology, a center that refuses to mimic Europe/America but strongly encourages a spirit of contextual inquiry. We desire a place where technological questions are posed in manners that address the needs on the streets of
 The Life of James Stewart retrieved
 It was James Stewart who said “It is better to Christianize the Africans than to crush them. It is better to educate than to exterminate them. And the day is coming, whether we live to see it or not, when even the
Dr. Stewart in 1878.
 Nigerian Past Leaders: Sir. Nnanmdi Azikwe https://www.nigerianembassy.ie/dublin/content/en/pl-mx-01.htm