(Last Updated On: March 14, 2017)


By James, Michael Igiri

The JP Clark Centre, Faculty of Arts, University of Lagos recently hosted the

formal presentation of two books- ‘A calendar of Traditional Nigerian Festivals’; and ‘Between God and Man:

Meaning and Essence in Traditional Nigerian Festivals’- written by renown historian Frank Aig-


Speaking, Chairman of the event Prof. Rahamon Bello, ably represented by the immediate past Deputy Vice-Chancellor Management Services, University of Lagos Prof. Duro Oni noted that it was a unique opportunity to have

one of the finest historians, make an attempt to present, “a more historically balanced account of the

Nigerian history from the traditional to the ever changing conventional times.”

The first review of the day- which was on the book, A calendar of Traditional Nigerian Festivals- was

done by an associate Prof. of Creative Arts; Dr. Peju Layiwola, who observed that the 417 page book

whiuch was, “devoid of high sounding words and phrases”, is an attempt to demystify the complexities

associated with linguistic mappings by relying on archeological evidences in order to make for a more

historically accurate presentation. She revealed that historical evidences have been drawn from a strudy of

some popular festivals in states like Adamawa; Akwa Ibom; Abuja; Abia; Anambra; Calabar; Delta; as

well as Edo.

“Aspects of social changes must be captured, and reflected in these festivals; therefore the social contexts

in which these events take place must be reflected- as is the case with the Osun-Oshogbo festivals.” She


Dr. Layiwola finally called on Nigerian historiographers as well as cultural photographers like Andrew

Ihiegbor, and Frank Oshodi to key into the consciousness and champion the course toward social

reconstruction of the nation’s traditional history within the prevailing social contexts in which such events

now take place.”

In his review, Asst. Prof. of Philosophy Chidozie Okoro remarked that the second book- titled Between

God and Man: Meaning and Essence in Traditional Nigeria Festivals- has been carefully crafted to reflect

a deliberate interplay between culture and history.

“Pictures of the Niger and Benue rivers confluence and those of the basins invoke in us a demonstration

of our cultural affinity, and this is necessary for the renaissance of the Nigerian culture and nation.” He


Drawing from established historical examples such as the 16 th century invasion and Christianization of Ife

which consequently led to the movement of the old Ife to its present location; the Portuguese occupation

of Lagos; and the Daura Bayanshiki experience(s), the author warned about the superficiality that western

approaches to African tourism can inflict on our culture.

“Today, Africa is plagued by a disturbing system of ‘Inductionism’, ‘Impositionism’, and ‘manism’,

which is a direct reflection of western culture on the culture of our own people.

The only limitation of this narrative as presented by the author is that examples drawn in that respect are

unwittingly skewed towards eastern and northern experiences without an effort to include the southern

Nigerian narratives.” He concluded

In his remark, the author of the two books Pa Frank Aig- Imoukhuede explained that the books- which

were written over a period of 53yrs- serve to correct some of, “the historical reconstructions in

ethnographic deficiencies in the core subject areas covered in the books.”

He concluded by thanking The JP Clark Centre, for their effort and praised the Ford Foundations for

funding the project through the years.

Unveiling of the books was done by Matriarch Mabel Segun, who encouraged those present to buy, and

read the books, “because of the new insights they offer in re-educating Nigerians about their rich cultural

and historical heritage.”

The launching was anchored by Editor-In- Chief, News Magazine Mr. Kunle Ajibade, who praised the

author for, “producing a compendium of outstanding qualities and historical accuracy.”

The event had in attendance Royal Fathers such as The Sultan of Sokoto; Obi of Onitcha; Ooni of Ife;

Oba of Lagos; Emir of Kano; and the Oba of Benin. Other distinguished participants include; Honorable

Minister of Information, Mr. Lai Mohammed represented by Mr. Nkanta Ufot; Engr. Solomon Uwaifo;

Mr. Jibola Oduba (SAN); Mr. Stephen Imoukhuede; renowned artist P. Oshinowo; representative of the

Artistic- Director National Troup of Nigeria, Akin Adejuwon; and other eminent Nigerians as well as

friends of the family.