“Our ancestors are not happy in their graves”– UI Professor Ogundele

By Ojo Waheed and Khadijah Kolapo

Professor S.O Ogundele, a professor of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Ibadan, has said that our ancestors are not happy in their graves.

According to him, the reason for this is  the inability of the Nigerian-modernists to reconnect with the ancestors which he said were scientists before the advent of colonialism. 

Ogundele made this statement while delivering the 490th Inaugural Lecture titled “Understanding the Power of the Past for Nigerian development” on Thursday, 29 April at Trenchard Hall, University of Ibadan. 

He said Nigeria has forsaken the discipline of Archaeology, which is the critical link between the past and the present. He added that as long as this persists, Nigeria will continue to be a puppet with the strings in the hands of the Westerners.

The professor, who also noted that archaeological record counters the colonial claim that Nigeria and indeed, Africa was uncivilised before the advent of colonialism, harping that archaeological records are unbiased. He, therefore, suggested that Trenchard Hall in the University of Ibadan, named after the colonialist, Hugh Trenchard, be given another name because of his involvement in the colonial history of Nigeria. 

He added that Nigerians have been brainwashed and subjugated mentally to appreciate the Western culture more than theirs as evidenced by the way they prefer foreign goods to Nigeria-made ones and how others prevent their children from speaking indigenous languages. 

According to him, culture is beyond just dancing and singing to entertaining dignitaries, it embraces science, arts and technology. He proposed that Archaeology be employed to dispel ignorance and enable Nigerians view their socio-cultural values through the lenses of material remains left from the time of our ancestors.

Suggesting solutions to the raging problems in Nigeria, at the event which had in attendance the Acting Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, Professor Babatunde Adebola Ekanola, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University, Professor Kayode Oyebode Adebowale as well as other dignitaries from the University and beyond, Ogundele urged Nigeria not to rubbish its heritage in its quest to take from western thoughts.

He advised the government to invest in archeological research which recognises the power of human imagination to synthesise material and non-material solutions for sustainable development.

He said: “Nigerians must learn to use what they have to get what they need. That was what the Nigerian ancestors did to create a niche for themselves in the corridors of science, philosophy and technology long before their contact with outsiders. The moderns have a lot of things to learn from the ancients.”

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