OAU Presents 360th Inaugural Lecture: The Odyssey of a Historian of the Police 

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OAU Presents 360th Inaugural Lecture: The Odyssey of a Historian of the Police 


Lecture Title: The Odyssey of a Historian of the Police

Date: Tuesday, April 12, 2022

1. This lecture, being largely a reflective essay, has few references and those few have been integrated into the text.

2. I took all of my formal degrees from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife between 1980 and 1990. I was an undergraduate from 1976-80 in the Faculty of Education, with History and English as my teaching subjects. I graduated with a Second Class (Upper) Degree. I obtained the M.A. in History in 1984; and PhD in History, 1990.

3. I joined the services of the university on 1 April 1982 as a Graduate Assistant in the Department of History. The incumbent Head of Department was Dr Abel Olorunfemi Anjorin who encouraged me to apply for the job on the basis of my undergraduate records in History, even though I was a student in Education. At his passing in 1986, I promised myself to continue to justify the confidence he reposed in me.

4. My mentors in the department were Drs Segun Osoba and Toyin Falola. Dr Osoba gave me two pieces of advice that have guided my conduct ever since. One, “if as a Graduate Assistant, you cannot stand up to be counted, even when you may have become a Professor, you still won’t be courageous enough to speak up”. Two, “young man, never hanker after anything; that way, nobody can hold you to ransom”.

5. Toyin Falola taught me to aspire to academic excellence; and much else besides! He supervised my Master’s thesis; and actually supervised my doctoral thesis but he wasn’t the official supervisor. The official supervisor, Dr SO Arifalo was liberal enough to allow me give free rein to my ideas.

6. Late Emeritus Professor Ijalaye believed in me and my commitment to scholarship and did his best to encourage me; extremely accommodating of my eccentricities. His late wife too was a huge pillar of support, even if she was unsparing in chastising my “father”, David, (her doting husband) for his condoning my social excesses!

7. Professor Dipo Adamolekun was a key Member of my Sounding Board of Ideas with generous material support. Other notable members in that league are: Professors Wale Omole; JK Olupona; Akanmu Adebayo; Femi Taiwo; Sola Akinrinade; Femi Ajibola; Femi Odesanmi; Tony Adegbulugbe; Sanya Adejuyigbe; Ebun Adejuyigbe; Funmi Togonu-Bickersteth; Roger Makanjuola; Ogungbenro E. Ogunbodede; Niyi Olusile (Late); Tony Akintomide; Ayo Olukoju; Sunmbo Abiose; AO Arigbabu; Charles Ukeje; Wale Adebanwi; Akin Akinade; Lola Irinoye; Fola Faponle; Simeon Ilesanmi; Niyi and Simi Afonja; Friday Okonofua; Akin Mabogunje; Oyewale Tomori; Julius Omozuanvbo Ihonvbere, MHR; and Eniola Akingbohungbe. A special place is reserved for my look-alike kid brother and renowned pathologist, Professor Olorunda Rotimi; an unsparing but educated/civilised critic.

8. Whereas my colleagues are in History, my friends are in Pharmacy: Professors Francis Omosehin Ogungbamila (Late); Jimi Adesanya; Oguntuga Ogundaini; Seye Bolaji; Tiwa Olugbade; Grace Onawumi; Gbolahan Olayiwola; Adio Ogunbona

9. The many staff of archives worldwide; oral informants; hosts in far-flung places and academics/wellwishers in uniform, especially the NPF (notably Sir Mike Okiro and Dr Solomon Arase); colonial police officers that I have interacted with between 2010 and now; and civil society activists, especially Innocent Chukwuma (Late) and Kemi Okenyodo have been huge pillars of support.

10. Apart from the incumbent Governor of Lagos, all of the three others in this Fourth Republic have advanced my work through generous grants. I am eternally beholden to Governors Bola Ahmed Tinubu; Babatunde Raji Fashola and Akin Ambode and the government officials in their various administrations who facilitated the processing of grants for my work. It’s amazing that whereas I am from Ondo State, none of these Governors ever requested to see me for an interview before obliging me my requests!

11. Mr Tafa Balogun, was incumbent IGP when the first print of my book, The Police in a Federal State: The Nigerian Experience was published in 2001. At the instance of Late Justice Olajide Olatawura, then member of the Police Service Commission, IG Balogun, bought 1000 (One Thousand) copies of the book for the Force. That patronage provided the seed money that I used in making more copies subsequently. I am forever grateful to Baba Olatawura and Mr Balogun.

12. That patronage by the police high command under IG Balogun was the first manifestation of the efficacy of the prayer said by Pa SO Oladimeji, (the late Lomofe of Ile-Oluji kingdom) who was the FIRST recipient of an autographed copy of the book. He prophesied that the book would bring me fame and prosperity. And he has since been proven right. May his noble soul continue to rest in perfect peace; peace, perfect peace.

13. When in 2018 I took the bold step to organise an interactive forum in five Nigerian cities on “Approaches to the Policing of a Perplexed Society”, I took a 3 (Three) million Naira loan from a campus cooperative society. But I did come by help along the way from appreciative admirers of my scholastic endeavours. Apart from the Lagos State Government under Mr Akin Ambode which sponsored the fifth forum held in Lagos, a remarkable contribution came from Distinguished Senator Daisy Danjuma which enabled me to host the second forum in Abuja. The Senator and her husband, General TY Danjuma have been veteran financial contributors to my research endeavours. May their fortunes grow bigger.

14. The Sponsors of this Inaugural lecture are too many to list. To willing givers, I say “Thank You”. To those who made it compelling for me to deploy my pleasant extortionate skills, I also say a big thanks!

15. My four children, all successful girls, have been critical allies. Their mother should find solace in the fact that I eventually made the mark as an academic of note, pace/speed notwithstanding. A rinrin gbere ni yi o m’oye dele.