VP Osinbajo Calls For Return Of African Artifacts

Nigeria’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo has called on the International Centre for Yoruba Arts and Culture in Ibadan, Oyo State, to join the global movement to champion the return of artifacts that were plundered, looted or illegally taken away from Africa.


Professor Osinbajo made the call on Tuesday at the presentation and launching of the Yoruba World Centre held at the John Paul II Hall of the University of Ibadan.


“Indeed, the Centre could serve as a home for such returned items where the immediate provenance or circumstances in which the items were taken is not clear or not known,” Vice President Osinbajo said at the event, which had the Aalafin of Oyo, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi; three deputy governors, religious leaders and academics in attendance.


Base for nation building


Osinbajo said that the work of the Centre should “offer a base from which and sanctuary in which to reflect on how Yoruba culture can contribute to the tools of nation building—the building of a more inclusive, fairer and more just society; the bringing together as one people an ethnically, and religiously diverse nation.”


According to him, one of the tasks of scholars, enthusiasts and citizens interested in understanding the Yoruba heritage is to use culture as a tool for helping the people to discern their place in the world and to rekindle their visionary capabilities.


“This intent is inherent in the design and work of this Centre. It bears repeating that culture, is not just about antiquity.


“It is about the contemporary age and the age to come. This World Centre will therefore serve not just as a place of memory but as a place that inspires us and fires our collective imagination, even within the dynamic contexts of advances in technology, ideas and thought.”


The Vice President said that the Centre has the duty to make the rest of Nigerians learn, as President Buhari has observed, from the way Yorubas manage within their families to accommodate diverse faiths and beliefs.


Omoluabi concept


Osinbajo challenged the Centre to take up the challenge of formalising the teaching of the present and future generations of Nigerians, the Yoruba concept of Omoluabi to redress the loss of moral values.


“And in a nation dogged by the abdication of high values especially in leadership, perhaps the Centre might take on the task of formalizing the pedagogy on the concept of Omoluabi for teaching in our schools.


“Omoluabi, the true moral quintessence of the Yoruba race – the virtuous man; the man or woman of character.




“Perhaps scholars here will distill the heart of the Omoluwabi ethos , and reveal the attributes of trustworthiness, reliability, honesty and forthrightness for coming generations of Nigerians.




“Perhaps the world needs to know that the Omoluabi is one whose word to brother and stranger alike is reliable , who believes in the equality of all men regardless of race or belief, and that all deserve to be treated with dignity and fairness; one who believes that the commonwealth is not to be stolen or personalized but it is for the good of all.”


Emerging creative economy


Osinbajo expressed hope that the Centre would locate itself in the emergent creative economy and light fresh fires of imagination.


“So it might also be of use to formalise knowledge on how, for example, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti used an admixture of the rhythms of the heartland to create a new genre of music – Afrobeat – that has since become a global phenomenon.


“Today, young Nigerian artistes are using local sounds to create a global popular culture. Is there something to be learned here?


“Additionally the Centre should offer a destination for missions of discovery by the very many Africans in Diaspora who trace their origins to the Yoruba people and promote closer links between the Yoruba people in the homeland and their kin in the diaspora but more importantly provide a crucial pillar in the global attempt to build social and economic bridges between peoples of African descent everywhere in our world.


Commending the vision of the initiator of the Centre, Alao Adedayo, for the boldness of his ambition, Professor Osinbajo enjoined others to join the civic endeavour.


In her remarks, the Deputy Governor of Ogun State, Mrs. Noimot Salako-Oyedele said that the Centre would provide a veritable vehicle for Nigerians at home and abroad to be attached to their roots.


Goodwill messages also came from the governments of Oyo and Ondo states.


Source: Voice of Nigeria