On July 25, 2018, Fr. Adodo delivered the faculty lecture at the University of Ibadan. The seminar lecture series is sponsored by the council for the Development of Social Science Research (CODESRIA). The seminar, which held at Lady Bank Anthony Hall, at the Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan, was attended by an unprecedented crowd comprising students, university professors, Researchers, government officials, Politicians, and celebrities. Chairman of the occasion, Prof. David Okpako, retired prof of Pharmacology at the University of Ibadan, set the scene by emphasising the importance of studying Africa with African eyes; that is, Africans tackling issues of culture, race, economics, and development from their own perspective and based on their own worldview. The in-coming Director of the institute, Dr. Jimoh Olaoluwa, expressed his delight at the high turn-out of participants and the interest which Transformation Studies have generated in the University.
In the lecture, which was titled: ‘Transformation Studies in Africa. Researching Africa with African Eyes’, Fr. Adodo went straight to the point. According to him: ‘The first part of African liberation story was the ‘successful’ struggle for political independence from the colonial powers. The second part was the era of independence when power ‘successfully’ shifted to the African Nationalists. This paper argues that the third part towards African emancipation is for the common people of Africa to free themselves from their leaders. African leaders, from Zimbabwe to Uganda, Cameroon, Liberia, Burundi, Togo, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Senegal to the Benin Republic, Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo, to mention a few, have obviously betrayed the trust of their people They have succeeded in amassing state wealth into their own private pockets and lacked the will, skill, and sincerity to govern and transform their countries. It is therefore evident that Africans should not expect much from their leaders and must now learn to free themselves from the greed of their leaders. Civil wars or violent protests, as we saw in the so-called Tunisian and Egyptian uprising, cannot make this happen. This paper posits that a more systematic approach, that evolves from the ground up, naturally and culturally, technologically and economically, within a functional polity, is the most efficient and sustainable way to transform Africa. The theory and practice of such an approach is the basis of the new curriculum on Transformation studies in Africa (TSA).’
Quoting an African Proverb which says that, ‘Until the Lion learns to write, every story will glorify the hunter’ and also Chinua Achebe’s words: ‘If you don’t like someone’s story, write your own’, Fr. Adodo passionately argues that Africans need to stop blaming the foreign powers for their woes, but rather, face their problems with courage and determination, and learn to tell their own story in their own words, metaphor, and Language. According to him: ‘Many African nations are yet to upgrade, renew and evolve their knowledge bases. They find a lazy and easy excuse in referring to times past, the ‘good old days,’ to ancient ways of life that are not compatible with modern realities. Others blame Colonialism, Capitalism, Civilisation or Modernity. It is true that we were once enslaved; it is true that some capitalist foreigners invaded our land and ruled over us and exploited our natural resources for selfish gains. But were we the only race that was so colonised? And how long shall we continue to blame other people for our woes? Is it not time we courageously face our problems and see them as challenges for growth? When a man in faraway Spain says something derogatory about a black man, we all rightly stand up in protest against his racist tendencies. But why wouldn’t we also wage war against the tribalist in each of us, among our own kin?’
Fr. Adodo re-emphasised the fact that for Africans, economic and social freedom are not enough. The most important freedom, according to him, is cognitive freedom. In his own word: ‘People cannot be liberated by consciousness and knowledge other than their own. It is therefore essential that Africans develop their own indigenous consciousness-raising and knowledge generation, and this requires the social power to assert this. It is not enough to engage in education, the structure of the knowledge itself has to be examined and questioned. It is not enough to study scientific truths, how science arrived at such ‘truths’ has to be challenged. Science does not exist independently of its cultural context, despite its pretence to undiluted objectivity. While education can bring liberation, it can also be a means of keeping people in bondage.’
In conclusion, Fr. Adodo said that: ‘We need the cognitive freedom to help us resist the danger of being ‘storyotyped’ (origin of the word stereotype) again, as our ancestors were. This is what Transformation studies in Africa is about: researching Africa with African eyes.’