I am pleased to be asked to give this inaugural Diaspora Lecture titled “The Role of Africans in Diaspora
in the Transformation of a University of Technology”. I very much suspect that you are seeking ways to
transform the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA) with the significant quest of Africans in
the Diaspora’s input, of which the Nigerian Diaspora is a major subset. I commend your uniquely titled
International Strategy Office currently directed by my cousin, Prof. Thomas I. Ofuya.
By Africans in Diaspora here, I take it to mean all of those not just transitory, but who for whatever
reason permanently reside outside the continent of Africa – in Europe, Asia, North and South America,
Australasia and even Antarctica, but have a biological relationship, or feel an organic, almost spiritual
relationship to Africa, and constantly seek to give back in whatever way, shape or form, and seek to be
given too. They are not necessarily Black by the way, as evidenced personally by me in Rio de Janeiro in
2004 when a White-as-Wool driver picked me up from the airport, and enthused widely that I was
Yoruba when he learnt that fact, and confided that his mother was a Sango worshipper!
The X-axis of African Diaspora contributions or role – nay any Diaspora to their mother country – is
largely composed of four elements: political, socio-cultural (in which I embed education), financial
(remittances and investments) and technology transfers. For the context of this talk, it is the last three
that are most relevant.
The Y-axis of Transformation of a Technological University is a little more complex, because a university,
like any other educational institution, consists of at least eleven indices: students, staff (both academic
and non-academic, curriculums of study, learning and living facilities, research, funding, governance,
accreditation, community relations, and post-graduation opportunities, and finally alumni relations. It Is
is the character and quality of each of these indices that separate different levels of education – pre-K,
primary, secondary and tertiary – and that also even separate one university from another in terms of
national and international rankings and reputation, and that also determine whether one university is a
Comprehensive university, or a specialized one such as a Medical, Agricultural, Technology,
Military/Police, Marine or even Transportation University in the offing as we currently have in Nigeria.
We currently have 43 Federal Universities, 52 State Universities and 79 Private Universities – that is a
total of 174 Universities – of which there are 3 Medical (2 State, 1 Private), 4 Agricultural (3 Federal and
1 State), 15 Technological (5 Federal, 8 State, 2 Private), 1 Maritime, and 3 Military. Parenthetically, for
a nation our size, that is not enough universities number-wise, but the ones that we currently have are
uneven in population and funding, and certainly not adequately staffed, nor is there a coherent national
academic staff development policy.
In brief, my discussion centers on how the African Diaspora’s socio-cultural, financial and technologytransfer inputs can impact on the several indices that I outlined above. I prefer to summarize it in matrix
form, and elaborate. There are issues that are common to all universities, and a few of particular
interest to a University of Technology.
Matrix of interactions for transformation
University Areas of
Socio-Cultural Financial Technology Transfer
1 Students x x
2 Academic Staff x x x
3 Non-Academic Staff x
4 Curriculum x x
5 Living and Learning Facilities x x
6 Research x x x
7 Funding x x
8 Governance x x
9 Accreditation x
11 Post-Graduation Opportunities x x
12 Alumni Relations x x x
I thank you for listening.
September 12, 2019