Sandra T. Barnes, Professor
University of Pennsylvania
Friday, 29 June 2012
Honorable Chief Adebisi Akande
Representative of the Honorable Executive Governor Fashola
Representative of the Honorable Asiwaju Tinubu
Representative of Governor of Ekiti State
Vice Chanellor of Lagos State Univeristy, Prof. J.O. Obafunwa
Chief Medical Director of LASUTH, Prof. Wale Oke
Former Vice Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, Prof. Femi Bamiro (with thanks to the University of Ibadan for sponsoring me when I conducted the research for the lecture you will hear today)
Honorable Chief Y. A. Ayeni, Oba of Tarkwa and Abagbo Land (with thanks for caring for me during a later research project that I conducted in Isale Eko, Lagos)
Senator Ganiyu Olanrewaju Solomon, National Assembly, Mushin Constituency
Permanent Secretaries, Ministers, and Members of the Board of Trustees of the
Obafemi Awolowo Institute of Government and Public Policy
And all other previously recognized honorables.
Thank you Dr. Jumoke Yacob-Haliso for your kind introduction.
I particularly want to thank the Director General, Prof. Adigun Agbaje, for inviting me to speak today and Lagos State University for hosting this lecture. Prof. Agbaje could not be a more considerate and generous host. The new Obafemi Awolowo Institute of Government and Public Policy is exceedingly fortunate to have brought him to Lagos to lead this very exciting new initiative. You can be sure it will thrive under his leadership.
I am honored to be here today, and to return to Lagos once again. Since my youth I have lived in West Africa off and on for seven years. I began as a secondary school teacher in a remote village in Sierra Leone. That was more than 40 years ago. From that time onward, I lived in Lagos for several years and I visited it on numerous occasions. It is the place that is closest to my heart. Instead of the many people who criticize Lagos, I appreciate it. I love the energy, the crowds on the streets, the spirit of getting ahead. It has changed enormously over the years, so that each time I return I feel I must know it all over again. Yet each time that I learn more about Lagos, I appreciate it even more. One of the great pleasures in these 40 years is the opportunity you have given me today to talk about some of the things I have learned.