Dr. Toyin Falola recipient of chair of Modern African History At-Large from Benue State University, Nigeria
On Dec. 17, 2009, Distinguished Teaching Professor Falola of the Department of History, University of Texas at Austin, was awarded a citation to mark his academic excellence as the "Mwalimu Julius Nyerere Chair of Modern African History At-Large" from Benue State University, Makurdi, Nigeria.
Posted: January 14, 2010
Toyin Falola; Benue State Univeristy, Makurdi, Nigeria (background)
Governor of the State, His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Gabriel Torwua Suswam chaired the occasion. In attendance were the vice-chancellor and his deputies, the registrar, the provost of the medical college, deans and directors, principal officers of the university, and members of the Benue State House of Assembly. Others included heads of the departments of history or their representatives from universities in the Central Nigerian area and students from institutions of higher learning across Nigeria.
The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Akaase Paul Sorkaa conferred the award on Falola. The award ceremony was preceded by a lecture given by Falola entitled "Citizens At Home, Citizens Abroad: The Globalization of Knowledge" to a mammoth crowd that included academicians, intellectuals, students, bureaucrats, politicians and members of the general public. Many travelled from different parts of the country to witness the event.
In the citation about Falola, read by Professor Armstrong M. Adejo, formerly head of the Department of History, the contributions of this eminent scholar were highlighted. It was eloquently stated that Falola is:
"The most published writer in African studies, and has been described as a phenomenon by his peers and colleagues, the preeminent scholar. His publications have redefined various themes and created profound historiographical shifts in our understanding of Africa in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
A master of varied approaches to subject matters he has deepened our understanding of African institutions and modernity far more than anyone else in the last fifty years. Many of his books are required reading for those interested in a broad sweep of African history, as well as the history of modernization and reforms during the twentieth century.
He knows how to craft beautiful essays, presenting very complex ideas and relationships among concepts of place, the political choices that individuals and nations make, and the construction of identity."
The justification for the choice of Falola for the award was unequivocally explained as follows:
"By conferring on Professor Toyin Falola, the "Mwalimu Julius Nyerere Chair of Modern African History At-Large," our dear university, the Benue State University, gives a deserving recognition to a profoundly original thinker, an intellectual, a leader, a great teacher, an institution builder, a front-line scholar who has put Africa into the classrooms of institutions of higher learning all over the world, an advocate of change and empowerment for youth, a man full of boundless energies, a man of ideas, and a world figure. He has created spaces for dialogue to improve human relations and global understanding.
We recognize his selflessness to scholarship and research, his passion for the transformation of the continent, his Pan-Africanist spirit, and a future that will produce more original works. We, as a university, represent a center of academic excellence, merit, diligence and productivity, the very creeds that he preaches and defends. He is an exemplary and worthy model for committed scholarship, service to humanity, and the defense of social justice."
The year 2009 marks the publication of Falola's 100th book, a feat that no other historian in the world has accomplished. An award-winning teacher, a committed researcher, a dedicated mentor, and distinguished editor of journals and monographs series, Falola has been celebrated in three books:
- Adebayo Oyebade, ed., The Transformation of Nigeria: Essays in Honor of Toyin Falola (Trenton, N.J.: Africa World Press, 2002), pp. 639;
- Adebayo Oyebade, ed., The Foundations of Nigeria: Essays in Honor of Toyin Falola (Trenton, N.J.: Africa World Press, 2003), pp. 697; and
- Akin Ogundiran, ed., Precolonial Nigeria: Essays in Honor of Toyin Falola (Trenton, N.J.: Africa World Press, 2005), pp. 556.
And as if to already begin his work as the "Mwalimu Julius Nyerere Chair," Falola examined the works of six Ph.D. students in the Department of History, read and suggested revisions on three full-length manuscripts written by scholars in the Faculty of Arts, and negotiated contracts to publish four books.
Benue State University is indeed honored to count Professor Toyin Falola as one of its own.
For more info, contact:
Okpeh O. Okpeh, Jr., Ph.D.
Postgraduate Programs, Department of History
And Deputy Director, Centre for Gender Studies
Benue State University, Makurdi-NIGERIA
Prof. Toyin Falola