The need for Africa and Africans to rediscover themselves, look inwards and adopt home-grown solutions to their problems was central to the various interventions by speakers at the opening of the 2016 Toyin Falola International Conference (TOFAC) on Africa and African Diaspora, hosted by the Redeemer’s University, Ede, Osun State on Monday.
Governor Aregbesola who was a guest speaker at the event in his address, entitled ‘Africa Must Look inwards’, said it was regrettable that Africa “is more a mystery to Africans than non-Africans.
“Continental Africans are hardly conscious of their ‘Africanness, and therefore take their identity as Africans for granted.
“it is this ignorance of ourselves that fuels the discrimination and negativity” that Africans consistently suffer on the world stage.”
The governor praised the choice of the theme of the conference, ‘Africanity’, as appropriate—which he said is about the distinct African identity and Africa’s contribution to humanity in the face of increasing marginalization of the continent in global events.
Aregbesola recalled, with pains, that Africa, some centuries ago, was at par with the best Europe had to offer in science and metallurgy; yet today, not only has the continent regressed; but has become a consumer rather happily consuming what other continents produce.
However, the governor is confident the continent can retrace its steps.
“Our mineral resources should be developed to feed our industries, instead of feeding Europe and American industries. Our education should be reviewed. Our educational institutions should be made to produce graduates equipped with life-sustaining skills and ready to stand on their own, instead of looking for jobs.”
Aregbesola, therefore emphasised more than anything else, the need to reconsider the language of instruction in Nigerian schools as he said the country should take example from from the Japanese and the Chinese, who teach in their native languages and are making phenomenal progress in science and technology.