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The Celebration Story of FESTAC ’77

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The Second World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture, popularly known as FESTAC ’77, was a boisterous cultural celebration which took place in Lagos, Nigeria, from January 15 1977 to February 12 1977.

FESTAC ’77 celebrated the cultures and traditions of Africa and as well presented African artworks, literature, religion and music to the world. The history of FESTAC is traced back to the 1940s when certain ideas were developed on Pan-Africanism and Negritude by Senegalese president Leopold Sedar Senghor, Aime Cesaire and others.

FESTAC ’77 was the largest pan-African gathering as at the period it was held. Nigeria was called upon to host the second Festac festival after the end of the first one which was held in Dakar, Senegal from 1st to 24th of April, 1966. The festival was to take place in 1970, but due to the Nigerian civil war (1967-1970), it was postponed to 1977.

FESTAC ’77 was attended by about 17,000 people from 56 nations. The festival paved way for the construction of Festac Town and the National Theatre in Lagos. The Nigerian government built Festac Town to accommodate the 17,000 and above participants. The main reason Festac Town was built was to cut the accommodation problem and pressure Lagos was likely to face during the festival.

The festival commenced at 9 a.m on the 15th of January, 1977. The opening ceremony took place inside the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos, where many participants held a parade to welcome visiting dignitaries and the Nigerian Head of State, Olusegun Obasanjo.

FESTAC ’77 has the royal Benin ivory mask of Queen Idia as its emblem. A Sango priest entertained the crowd by setting the festival bowl aflame and a thousand Pigeons were released to signify the liberation and oneness of the Black nations.

Several dramas and musical shows were staged at the Tafawa Balewa Square in the afternoons and evenings. Musicians like South African Miriam Makeba, Stevie Wonder, Louis Moholo, Sun Ra Arkestra and many more rocked musical concerts and sent their fans dancing wild.

Attending countries exhibited their artworks at the National Theatre, at the Nigerian National Museum and some other places around the Tafawa Balewa Square.

“At the Square, each country represented at the festival was given a booth to exhibit their paintings, musical instruments, woven cloths, books and art objects. Some other notable exhibitions that took place were Africa and the Origin of Man, which was held at the National Theatre, and Ekpo Eyo’s 2000 Years of Nigerian Art, which included Nok terracottas, Benin court art, Igbo Ukwu, Ife and Tsoede bronzes and art objects“.

Another exhilarating event at the festival was the boat regatta held at the Queen’s Drive Foreshore in Ikoyi, Lagos, which lasted for three days. The participants of the boat regatta were mainly from Nigeria. More than 250 boats carrying acrobats, masquerades and singers displayed at the occasion.

FESTAC ’77 participants also attended the Dubar festival in Kaduna which lasted for three days. There was a gallant display of horse riding, masquerading, Kakaki trumpeting and many more.

List of countries that attended FESTAC ’77

Kenya, Zaire, Congo, Benin, Cameroon, Gabon, Mauritius, Niger, Somalia, Equatorial Guinea, Egypt, Malagasy, Mauritania, Botswana, Lesotho, Chad, Central Africa, Upper Volta, Morocco, Angola, Senegal, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Ghana, Libya, Zambia, Togo, Guinea-Bissau, Sudan, Algeria, Mali, Sierra Leone, Tunisia, Liberia, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, Tanzania, Uganda and Gambia. Some South American countries were also present at the festival, e.g Guyana, Cuba, Haiti, Brazil. Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and so on represented the Caribbean. The United States of America also sent their representatives from different countries.

An anthem was written for FESTAC ’77 by Margaret Walker from Alabama, USA, while the music was produced by Akin Euba from Nigeria. Below is the lyrics of the anthem titled, For My People.

FESTAC ’77 Anthem

  1. Let a new earth arise
    Let another world be born
    Let a bloody peace
    Be written in the sky.
    Refrain: Festac 77 is here
  2. Let a second generation
    Full of courage issue forth
    Let a people loving freedom
    Come to growth
    Refrain: Festac 77 is here
  3. Let a beauty full of healing
    And strength of final clenching
    be the pulsing in our spirits
    And our blood
    Refrain: Festac 77 is here
  4. Let the martial songs be written
    Let the dirges disappear
    Let the race of men now rise
    And take control
    Refrain: Festac 77 is here

FESTAC ’77 will forever remain a remarkable celebration in the history of Nigeria.

Source :- Oldnaija

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HISTORY OF THE NIGERIA UNION OF TEACHERS (N.U.T):CONTEMPOARY APPRAISAL

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Nigeria Union of Teachers is the largest body of organized professional teachers in Nigeria in present day Nigeria.

There were amounts of reasons for its creation in Nigeria educational settings during the era of the colonial masters, due to different educational code of conduct laid down for governance ranging from funding to administration. Many of the Schools were Missionary owned, while few belong to the government. Hence, who was to be responsible for the upkeep of this schools?

The colonial government involvement in the establishment and administration of schools in Nigeria up to 1929 was very poor and discouraging. For instance between 1859 and 1929 there were 26 schools in southern Nigeria (none in the northern Nigeria). There was no single secondary school except primaries in the whole of Northern Nigeria up to 1929. Whereas, in the Southern protectorate then there were 27 secondary schools with the first, been established in 1859 C.M.S. Grammar school, Lagos. The North and the Southern protectorate enjoyed separate education department not until 1929.

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This would further provide us with an understanding of the later reason amidst many why the Northern Teachers were not part of N.U.T (Nigeria Union of Teachers) at its commencement. Thus, it is therefore imperative to note that the kind of education that existed in Lagos and Southern Nigeria is not what was in paly in Northern Nigeria, the religion in these areas shaped their education.

Lawrence (2005) opines that Job insecurity, ill paid salaries, denied/delayed or deduction of salaries and delayed promotions are just a few amidst the illness that plaque the teaching profession in Nigeria during the period of “Great Depression”. The inflation affected the world economy negatively. Thus, the necessity to seek a common front to channel justice and to have an aligned goal, the Nigeria Union of teacher was birthed.

Read About INDIRECT RULE IN NORTHERN NIGERIA

Prior to the founding of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (N.U.T), Rev. Canbo J.O. Lucass formed in 1925 Lagos State Union of teachers (LUT), while Rev. I.O. Ransome Kuti, the husband of Funmilayo Ransome Kuti and the father of fela Anikulapo Kuti had also formed in 1926 the Association of Headmasters In Ijebu Schools (AHIS). The various associations established realized that harmonizing the objectives of the various groups to bring about a united front will create a powerful vocal union for the interest of teachers. This soon led to the amalgamation of the various associations.

Nigeria Union of Teachers (N.U.T) was formally inaugurated on 8th July, 1931 inaugural meeting of the two groups held at CMS Grammar School Lagos, a constitution was drafted and ratified and the Nigeria Union of Teachers (N.U.T) was officially launched after accommodating some other Teachers Associations from Agege, Ibadan and Abeokuta, Calabar with the exemption of the Northern Educational teachers.

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However, after sometime the Northern State Teachers Union was created by Aminu Kano and few other teachers in 1948, and operated independently not until May 27, 1972 when they incorporated with the Nigeria Union of Teachers (N.U.T)

The first president and vice elected were the founder of the initial two main association formed namely Rev Oludotun ransome Kuti and Arch. Deacon J.O. Lucas respectively. The Organization since then had served as a unifying body for Nigeria teachers to air out their plights to both the Nigeria government and international bodies, it also had served as a correspondent representative of the SDG goals and UNESCO to better Nigeria Education.

REFERENCES

  1. Lawrence Achimugu, (2005),The Agonies of Nigerian Teachers, Heineman Educational Books (Nigeria) Plc page 39-44
  2. EDU 104 Lecture Note, National Open University of Nigeria
  3. Akinola S.A (2018), The role of Motivation, and Teachers performance in the teaching and learning of history (UNPUBLISHED PROJECT WORK)

Contributed by:-AKINOLA SEGUN AUGUSTINE (B.A.Ed. HISTORY, ACICRM, HRP)

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The Real Story Behind Kiriji War

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Kiriji as a term is not native to the Yoruba speaking people, from the perspective of its epistemology . It was said to have been derived from the onomatopoeic booming of the cannons echoed by the rocky terrain of the war field; the cannons which were acquired by the Ekiti Saro merchants in Lagos through their trading with the Europeans.

The Kiriji war was researched to be the first civil war among the Yorubas to herald the usage of weapons of precision, such as the cannons. It’s been a war of bow and poisoned arrows; cutlasses and swords with knives and black power in the previous battles.

It is generally believed that a war is staged to solve issues, or display superiority over another entity; issues being power, people or economy. It had sometimes been wife or gods that had caused the issue of war in some cases. But oft times, otherwise is the case, as it brews more intractable problems than it intended solving.

According to E. A. Ayandele, “the Kiriji war can not be analyzed in isolation, seeing that the Ijaye war (1860-1865) broke out partly because the Owu war (1820-1827) had settled nothing but brewed more problems, just as the first world war. The following problems remained unresolved after the wars before the Kiriji war: The Egbas had strengthened there war fort through contact with the Europeans; There was no edifice to replace the traditional Old Oyo Empire; The Egbas were partly dismembered and dislodged from their original homes; The emergence of Ijaye and Ibadan from the defunct Oyo empire changed the political map of the Yorubaland. The Kiriji war in turn acquired the problems not settled by its predecessors. There were a number of other fresh problems created in sequel to the previous wars. The principal of which was: the Irredentist movement among the educated Egbas and Ijebus to free their fatherland from the imperial yoke of Ibadan. What can be said to be the major cause of the war: the Kiriji war which many historians refered to as the longest civil war ever fought by an ethnic group in the world was a major dispute between the Ibadans and the Egbas. This made the formal declare a war that would stop subsequent civil wars in the Yorubaland.

Following the account of Johnson; the Oyo historian in his popular book titled History of the Yorubas It can be deduced that the Owu and the Ijaye wars were preludes to the Kiriji war. Many historians hold the fact that the Kiriji war was a war of revenge by the enslaved-librated Egbas and Ekiti people. Quoting an online source, the writer upholds that “The Kiriji war was a decisive war that prevented the Ijeshas and the Ekitis from being subjugated by Ibadan bullies” the source claimed that excesses of the Ajele (District Officer) from Ibadan in Ijesha/Ekiti territory was too much to bear. This led to the fierce killing of the Ajeles and the establishment of an alliance called Ekiti Parapo (confederate of Ekiti), to challenge the suzerainty and hegemonistic stance of Ibadan.

A reliable source by Johnson and Ayandele (in 1978) gave the straight cause for the war: “the Ibadans who were denied unrestricted access to Lagos by the Egbas were importing ammunitions from Porto Nono. Then, the Egbas that had denied trading ammunitions with them interfere with her convoy. In 1877, the Ibadans exercised patience until a convoy carrying a large number of ammunitions had arrived successfully in Ibadan. The latter then attacked the Egbas settlements. Both states began to waylay each other in farms and highways.” In concise, Johnson’s account relates the cause to The Are Onakakanfo (the Imperial commander). He was the stir behind the war. He ordered the war on these three casus belli:

• That they (the loyal neighbors) only performed an act of loyalty to the king by sending to Porto Novo to bring home ammunitions the king had bought there, when the Egbas refused to sell to them.

• They never trespassed on Egbas’ territory, nor gave any cause of offense to any, yet the Egbas resented their action by closing their roads against the Oyos forbidden all trade and intercourse with them.

• Hundreds of our people who went to Abeokuta for trading had been kidnapped and sold into slavery which alone gave us the right to demand redress.

Upon the declaration of this, an ambassador called Leasu was sent by the Egbas. He rather aggravated the problem my disrespecting the Aare Ona kakanfo.

Upon the declaration of this, an ambassador called Leasu was sent by the Egbas, rather aggravating the problem by disrespecting the Are Onakakanfo.

In order not to analyze this war out of focus, it is pertinent we communicate that it was not the entire Yoruba land that participated in these wars. Taking note of the three major was: the Owu war of 1820 – 1827; the Ijaye war of 1860 – 1865 and the Kiriji war of 1877 – 1893 everything making a total of 28years. The Ondos and the Mahins did not participate in the wars. The Ekitis and the Ijesas did not involve themselves in the first two wars, while the Oke Oguns and the Egbados were passive spectators in the wars.

On the personality of the warlords: Ogedengbe – Agbogungboro – Adikakaka L’ojuogun, the Seriki Meyaki of Ijesalasnd and the Generalissimo of the Ekiti parapo (Ekiti Confederate), it’s the same person that is being referred to be different titles. His skill and bravery at war earned him this, though his full name being Saraibi Ogedengbe. He was a man of valour who saved his people from the suzerainty of Ibadanland. He was said to have been sold as a slave to Ibadan, where he got his military training. Eventually, he came back home to be the hero of his fatherland.

Latoosa was the Are Ona Kakanfo of the then Ibadan. He was the warrior who declared the war on the Egbas on what he termed “the war that will halt every other war” in the Yorubaland. It was believed that he usurp the “Kakanfo” title by might over right.

The Kiriji war was fought in different fronts simultaneously, Ibadan faced the Ekiti Parapo in the east. In the south it faced the Egbas and the Ijebus. The Ilorins joined the Fulanis in the north while Ife joined the war in 1882

The war lasted 16 years, from 1877-1893. An armistice was signed by all the Yoruba kings on September 23rd 1886. It is believed to be the end of epic wars in the Yoruba land.

This war did not only bring desolations and disorderliness on the Yoruba land, there were some positive development brought by the war: there was increase in commercial activities with the Europeans; it brought about the making of path across the coasts by foreign observers; the appetite of the Yorubas for European products in return for theirs increased; improvement and development of rivers and roads to increase commercial activities. It equally makes us understand the complexity of the Yoruba political power; the diplomatic skill of the leaders; the unbound ambition of individuals and dedication to community freedom; with the sanctity of immemorial customs and traditions to the Yoruba people.

Source:- TheLifCaf

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Ògèdèngbé Agbógungbórò – Ogedengbe The Itinerant Warrior

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Ògèdèngbé is one of the most important men in the history of the Yorùbá. Ògèdèngbé was the Ìjẹ̀ṣà warrior who was the Commander-in-Chief of the Èkìtì-Parapọ̀ Army. His name at birth was Ọ̀rìṣàráyíbí Ògúnmọ́lá. He was born at Ijọka but taken to Atorin, near Iléṣà in Osun State in 1822 after he was named. He earned the name Ògèdèngbé for his dexterity in wrestling and fearlessness. Agbógungbórò was added when his war credentials soared. Growing up, Ògèdèngbé exemplifed valor, courage and industry. He was tall, intimidating, with piercing eyes. He grew up at a time of great unrest between Yoruba sub-ethnicities. In his youth, he was reckless, commanding and charismatic. Ògèdèngbé was involved in several campaigns against the Ìbàdàn who often attacked the Ìjẹ̀ṣà. In one of such during Ìgbájọ war in 1867 Ògèdèngbé was captured. It was said that, at Ìgbájọ, a young Ìbàdàn soldier severed his head, Ògèdèngbé staggered back and picked up his head, fixed it back. This terrified the Ibadan. Baṣọ̀run Ògúnmọ́lá captured him and took him to Ìbàdàn, where he fought for Ìbàdàn army and rose to the position of senior military commander. To make the ridicule complete he was given Ìbàdàn tribal marks. The Ìbàdàn thought someone might take him for an Ìbàdàn man and kill him in battle.

After the fall of Ọ̀̀yọ́, Ìbàdàn, a new city founded in the 1820s began its quest to rule and dominate the rest of Yoruba sub-ethnicities. The struggle for power, influence and survival led to a sixteen year internecine war among the Yoruba. That war was named Kírìjì – an onomatopoeic play on the thunderous sound of cannons fired by the Èkìtì and Ìjẹ̀sà, under the command of Ogedengbe. Kírìjì war was fought between the Western Yoruba (Ibadan, Modakeke Oyo and Ọfà forces ) and Eastern Yoruba (Ìjẹ̀sà, Èkìtì, Ifè, Àkókò, Ìgbómìnà, Kàbbà, Egbé and Lọ́kọ́ja). During the Kírìjì war, Ìbàdàn was fighting on five fronts.

The first battle in Kírìjì war between the Western and Eastern forces called Ogun Jálumi (battle of waterloo) fought at Ìkìrun on 1st of November, 1878 ended in ignominious for the Ekiti. This defeat led the Èkìtì to Ògèdèngbé, who had been reluctant to lead the Ekiti-Parapo against Ìbàdàn under whom he obtained his infantry training. Ògèdèngbé led the Ekiti Parapo front, assisted by the Ẹ̀gbá, Ìjẹ̀bú and Èkó (Lagos) against Ibadan imperialism. Ìlárá-Mọ̀kín served as the military and reconnaissance headquarters where Ekiti War generals reviewed and perfected war strategies. The Èkìtì and Ìjẹ̀sà purchased cannons in abundance and that gave them advantage over Ibadan. During the Kiriji war, it was said that Ògèdèngbé would shoot arrows from his room to the battlefield. He was also known for making himself invisible. Ògèdèngbé trusted no one but his dog who is rumored to be more of a wild canine beast. People ran at the sight of the beast. Ògèdèngbé tied cowries on his dog on market days and the dog would walk into the Ìyálọ́jà stall. She would load supplies on the dog and the dog would return home.

After the armistice was signed to end Kírìjì war, Ògèdèngbé returned to a hero’s welcome in Iléṣà. He was honoured with the highest chieftaincy title of Ọbańlá of Ìjẹ̀ṣà, second to the Ọwá-Obòkun of Ìjẹ̀sà in 1898. After Kiriji war, Chief Ògèdèngbé lived peacefully until he died on the 29th July, 1910. Mysteriously, Ògèdèngbé’s dog disappeared immediately he died. Other notable war heroes of the 19th century Yorùbá were Baṣọ̀run Olúyọ̀lé, Ìbíkúnlé and Ògúnmọ́lá of Ibadan, Ọ̀náfọwọ́kàn of Ìjẹ̀bú, Ṣódẹkẹ́ of Ẹ̀gbá and Fábùnmi of Òkè-Ìmẹ̀sí.

It is hard to write about Ògèdèngbé without delving much into Kírìjì war. It was Kírìjì that cemented his legacy as a fearless warrior with remarkable skills in war strategy and weaponry. This defining Yoruba civil war will be discussed on Òbíríkítí some day soon

Narrated By Bamidele Ademola-Olateju

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