19th NAL Convocation Lecture: Layiwola dissects the ‘patriot’ and the ‘nationalist’

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive
 

The 19th Convocation and Investiture of new fellows of the Nigerian Academy of Letters (NAL) held on the 10th of August, 2017 at the J.F. Ade-Ajayi Auditorium, University of Lagos. The theme of the Convocation was ‘Patriotism’, and Prof Dele Layiwola, immediate past IAS Director, delivered the Convocation Lecture on the topic ‘The Patriot and the Nationalist in an Emergent Democracy’.

Prof Layiwola plumbed the depths of history, sociology, philosophy, political science and literature in order to come to grips with what he described as the ‘mercurial concepts’ of nationalism and patriotism. He focused particularly on the predicament of individual choice and social life in relation to the conflicting demands of a civic moral order, on the one hand, and a primordial public, on the other, as witnessed in many African societies today. He explored the different dimensions of the problem of a citizenry torn between a ‘conflict of loyalties’ to these two publics, and unpacked the role of patriots often characterized as conservative protectors of traditional polities as against the activities of nationalists who often are typified as ‘tend[ing] to seek a new order and a new nation’. In his analysis of the problem, Layiwola brought both concepts, and the practices they underwrite, into a critical space where he was able to equally highlight their differences and similarities.

In recommending an approach for patriotic citizenship in the emergent democracies of Africa, Prof Layiwola referred the audience to the Yoruba ideal of ‘Omoluabi’, the ‘quintessential person’ in a ‘society and a cultural commonwealth’, as well as the Bantu concept of Ubuntu/Umuntu, which he described as representing the ‘oneness of being and sociation in human society’. The concept, he argued, ‘recognizes the reconciliation of virtually opposing patterns and the basic interconnectedness of the mutually exclusive’ in social coexistence.

Both the theme of the NAL Convocation and the topic of the Convocation Lecture are indeed timely interventions in view of current agitations for a restructuring of the Nigerian polity.

Prof Layiwola has also recently been appointed a Justice of the Peace.

Prof Gbemisola Adeoti (Deans of Arts, OAU), Prof O.A. Oyeshile (Philosophy, Ibadan), Prof Dele Layiwola (IAS, Ibadan), Prof M.I. Umar-Buratai (Dean of Arts, ABU)
Prof Gbemisola Adeoti (Deans of Arts, OAU), Prof O.A. Oyeshile (Philosophy, Ibadan), Prof Dele Layiwola (IAS, Ibadan), Prof M.I. Umar-Buratai (Dean of Arts, ABU)
Prof Layiwola, 19th NAL Convocation Lecture
Prof Layiwola, 19th NAL Convocation Lecture
 
The Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, at the19th NAL Convocation Lecture
The Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, at the19th NAL Convocation Lecture