A Symposium: “The Blackman’s challenges and the way out” – A University College Hospital Ibadan Discussion Group

April 26, 2014

Society/Living, The Diaspora

“The Blackman’s challenges and the way out” a Symposium by five University Professors held at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, Nigeria on April 4, 2014.



“Falade’s Symposium” by Tola Adenle

I was lucky to have attended a symposium at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan on the first Friday of this month (April 4, 2014). I walked into the Professor T.A. Ogunlesi Hall located at the UCH Extension which is opposite the main campus at exactly 4.05 p.m. and even though I was five minutes late due to my trying to locate where the building was on the main campus, Professor Adegoke Falade who was supposed to start was already delivering his paper!

I knew something special was going on because it was un-Nigerian to have a first speaker for a 4.00 p.m. event already speaking at 4.05. I am not familiar with Nigeria’s medical academic community but generally, I would meet a nearly-empty hall at the time I arrived but the side hall where the symposium took place was almost full by the time I arrived.

Professor Falade is an active participant in online discussions but the close contact on discussion groups still did not prepare me for the in-depth, though seemingly cursory touching of his aspects of what holds the blackman back, his challenges and possible solutions to these challenges.
With no disrespect meant, I first thought he was a University of Ibadan Sociology or Psychology professor but after I learnt he was at the UCH, I always thought he was a professor in the Department of Community Health but how wrong was I because I just discovered he is a Pediatrician! How could he know so much about society as a baby-doctor? I was to be surprised more as the symposium progressed.

How could Professor Michael Asuzu of the Department of Community Health, a seeming natural-born comedian, whose presentation dealt with culture and religion – a strain in all the presentation – know so much Anthropology, history, government and a whole lot more, peppered with dashes of humor here and there brought many of the blackman’s challenges really home. I seemed to be the only odd-man – person – out as the hall was apparently filled with his fans, staff and students alike.

And there was Professor Malomo, a professor of Neurosurgeon but now a man of the cloth whose submission – The Root Causes and Cures of blackman’s Challenges – bring home so simply yet so deeply the challenges facing the black man and the way forward, a submission that drew a lot of applause. While one would expect the Venerable of the Anglican Church to present a submission filled with spiritual takes, the his contribution was community-based touching those apparent facts that hold blacks back. He notes how similar blacks and other races may be in intelligence, etcetera, but what we have made of acquired knowledge comes short when compared to others:  our climate, paternalism by those on higher rungs of the social ladder, etcetera.

Professor Lawoyin’s take on the Roles of Culture and Religion in Black Underdevelopment brings our problems home as one of the world’s people born and raised on primal religions and with the examples he gives of the Yorubas of Africa, the Aztecs of South America and Mexico, the Aborigines of Australia and the Plain Indians of North America, it becomes apparent that culture and religion hold these people back.

Professor Olusegun Baiyewu’s “Blackman’s Dilemma” – by the way the same title for a 1970s book by Areoye Oyebola on the same problems – looks back at the artistic achievements of the Ife, Nok Culture, Igbokwe, Benin and wonders at the inability of their descendants to keep pace with other races.

Professor Akute’s What it was, What it is and What it can be submission compares what the colonists first saw when they entered in Africa which many describe – especially about big urban centers like Benin City and what became of the Continent, especially after the slave trade which he believes wiped out Africans’ confidence:

“The mass uprooting of able bodied men and women, social dislocation and dehumanization of the black race and loss of dignity, self esteem and appreciation created a vicious cycle of a people without soul and a 2nd class race.”

Professor Falade’s submission may perhaps surprise readers as it draws a lot from the spiritual realm although this should not surprise me as in online discussions, he tends to be the one to always go the spiritual route more than others.

As the organizer of the symposium, Falade deserves accolade for bringing together five men, including himself to take another look at a subject that has continued to baffle many.

In all his submissions in online discussions with which I’ve been a lucky participant, Falade never strays from his stated belief that “Man is basically a spirit and hence must be intuitive all the time. Even though his intellect is extremely useful to him while on earth, the tail (intellect) must not wag the dog (spirit)!
He is “concerned with spiritual activities due to one singular reason: The purpose of human existence is to mature spiritually on earth so that he can go home peacefully. Hence, our chosen professions on earth are means to an end, and not end in themselves.” 

Now bring in the next baby for Prof., … and wait to read his opinions on The Origin of Man …, the opinions of the Psychiatrist, the Community Health Specialist, the Neurosurgeon/Man of God and others on their takes on the challenges that continue to dog the blackman, and possible way forward.

I recommend that blog visitors read beyond the shallow introduction here, and should not do a ho-hum-here-they-come-again at a title like Falade’s “The Origin of Man and the Human Races” or any of the others. Academicians are not trained in the art of crafting titles that attract, pardon me!
Look at it this way: a pediatrician discussing the origin of man & the human races as a window into the challenges that face the black race in his presentation that lasted under 30 minutes? I’d like to hear what he has to say as I’d like to know what a Neurosurgeon-Man of God sees this huge problem and what he thinks the way forward is.  Let’s hear Professors Olawoyin and Akute and, of course, readers must be pining for Professor Asuzu’s takes on this major problem that confronts Africa.  Meanwhile, thereafter, he can comfortably switch to a second profession as a serious comic if those two words are not at odds with each other!




There were five discussants, all professors, including a moderator.

a) A. G. Falade;
b) J. O. Lawoyin;
c) A . O. Malomo;
d) M. C. Asuzu; and
e) O. O. Akute.

It was moderated by Professor O. Baiyewu, a Psychiatrist, who presented
a few slides to kick off the symposium.


FALADE The Origin Man Races -31March2014

Black man’s challenges

Experience Symposium from prof. Malomo

Ecological Causes – Prof. Asuzu

Black Man’s Dilemma

Culture and Religion Professor Lawoyin

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