NATIONAL HISTORIOGRAPHY OF AFRICAN GLORIES

"Every nation builds in future on its past; so the African must not only instinctively have faith in his own inheritance, but must also satisfy himself by scientific inquiry that it exists… For young and emergent nations there is no study as important as that of history; the reasons are clear enough. Our past is very much a part of our present, and as we comprehend that past so will the problems of the present be illuminated. Most great and far-reaching movements have begun with a romance appeal to the past…. Because of the myth that the African has no culture and no history, colonial policies –political, social, economic – are all directed to the transformation of the African into an inferior white man. " - K.O. Dike, 1953.
No discipline is well able to illustrate the African academy than history. Even before the emergence of academic institutions, the African intelligentsia devoted generous space to history. Nationalists and politicians gave history a prominence role in their thinking and writing. When academics joined in writing about Africa, historians occupied the forefront in presenting the past as a valuable tool to build nationalism and create a strong nation-state. All the errors and misconceptions about Africa by European became points of attack for African historians. Historians also struggled to decolonize the curricula, turning Africa into the center of study in schools, from the elementary school to the university. The combination of everything they did can be described as “nationalist historiography”, that is, the use of history in the service of the nation – a way of writing that makes history valuable in defining the nation and shaping its future.

Nationalist historiography is the representation of elite interests in the nation, as the elite uses its knowledge to define its leadership role. It is a counter-discourse used for attacking European representations of Africa it is a deliberate attempt to provide credible evidence for the achievements of Africa and the glories of the past in order to indicate possibilities for the future and combat racist views that Africans are incapable of managing themselves. It is a recognition of the fact that the agenda of development should not preclude an interest in liberal arts, and that a discipline such as history can be integrated into the developmentalist agenda itself. Those who achieved success in the past have been used as models for contemporary leaders to emulate. And the heroes of the past may inspire the youth to seek greater success in the future. The recent history of anti-colonial struggles, shows the worth of resistance, and the way resistance ideologies and committed fighters can provide yet another model for civil society and radical leaders.
Nationalist historiography is about power: the ability of an intelligentsia to assert itself, to generate knowledge about is own people and continent, to show where others are either wrong or right in what they say of its people and continent, to attack views and people who are perceived as hostile or racist, to defend people who are patriotic in their representation of Africa, to justify or explain all aspects of African history and institutions that outsiders condemn, and to create a response to the consequences of European domination of the continent. Nationalist historiography can be passionate, combative and revisionist, as in all the works of Cheikh Anta Diop, who demonstrated the black origins of Egyptian civilization2.
Nationalist historiography created a counter-discourse, a rejoinder to what is commonly called the “Eurocentric perception of Africa. “This perception predated the modern era and survived in the first half of the twentieth century with the creation of a “colonial library” on Africa in Eurocentric thinking, not much was good about Africa, a “place of complete and anarchical savagery” before European colonial rule3. African history was presented as static – the primeval African man was assumed to have only a limited capacity to transform his society and environment, and there was little or nothing to show for his creative talents until the European appeared on the horizon. Racist notions constitute Africans as inferiors and used the idea of European superiority to justify domination and colonial policies designed to general changes. In many Western institutions, the study of Africa was considered to be unimportant, and historians there were interested in the continent primarily as part of the understanding of European imperial expansion. Certainly, the trans-Atlantic slave trade was one of the causes of negative Western stereotypes about Africa. imperialism was an additional factor, as many European writers regarded the partition  of Africa as a small price for a “barbaric people” to pay for receiving “civilization”. An influential opinion in the recycling of negative ideas about Africa was expressed by a British administrator in central Africa. Sir Harry Hamilton Johnston who wrote a widely cited book that justified imperial control5. For him, Africans were like retarded children, and would require crossbreeding with another race before they could progress. Other variants of the colonial philosophy of trusteeship were developed, including that of the “dual mandate”, detailed by Lord Lugard6, which stated that European rule was for the benefit both of Europe and Africa – Europe would take resources and Africa would receive “civilization”.
African had little or no place in the Western academy until after the Second World War. Academics expressed views similar to those of non-academics. Although now quoted to the point of saturation, the view of David Hame in the eighteenth century, George Hegel in the nineteenth century, and Hugh Trevor-Roper in the twentieth century may be taken as representative of Western perceptions of Africa over a three-hundred-year period. Let us start with Hume, who wrote during the slave trade, when notions of racism had developed in a way that presented Africans as no better than animals:
I am apt to suspect the Negroes to be naturally inferior to the whites. There never was a civilized nation of any other complexion than white, nor even any individual eminent in action or speculation. No ingenious manufactures amongst them, no arts, no science7.
Hegel, even more famous than Hume, also wrote at a time when many Europeans believed that Africans were inferior:
    It is manifest that want of self-control distinguishes the character of the Negroes. This condition is capable of no development or culture, and as we have seen them at this day, such have they always been. At this point we leave Africa not even to mention it again. For it is no historical part of the world: it has no movement or development to exhibit8.
My last example, by Hugh Trevor-Roper, is the most frequently quoted in the literature for two reasons: first, it came when newly independent African nations were confident and optimistic about themselves and when a number of Africanist scholars had began to assert themselves in the academy, second, Trevor-Roper was a scholar of considerable repute. To a demand made by student of the University of Oxford for course on African in the early 1960s, Trevor-Roper responded:
Perhaps, in the future, there will be some African history to teach. But at present, there is none, there is only the history of the Europeans in Africa. The test is darkness… and darkness is not a subject of history9.
Trevor-Roper moved the Eurocentric characterization of Africa from prejudice, ignorance, and racism to an exaggerated assessment of the impact of European expansion. Also, he betrayed the very weakness of the discipline of history as it was then constituted in leading European academic establishments. The assumption was that “civilization” needed the stamp of Europeanization to define and characterize it. Thus, to Trevor-Roper, the age of darkness began to recede in African in the fifteenth century when European contact began. What followed was not about Africans but about Europeans who “discovered” and conquered the various “jungles”. Where the “dark continent” offered inspiring evidence of creativity (such as the widely known artistic works of Ile-Ife and Benin or the development of various kingdoms), it was attributed to external influences, usually fictitious. This cultural arrogance is itself a variant of racism. Hume and Trevor-Roper were united in the characterization of Africans as primitive people – “barbarous tribes in picturesque but irrelevant corners of the globe”. Hume and Trevor-Roper knew that Africa was filled by people, but these people, to them, were not intelligent enough to create institutions that would allow them to progress. They believed that but for agents such as the Berbers, the “Harnites”, the Arabs, and the Europeans, Africans would have had no progress to record. Colonial domination was useful, so goes the Eurocentric thinking, as the most powerful agency of change.
There were academic historians who believed that historical reconstruction was possible only with written evidence. A.P. Newton’s assertion that “history begins when men begin to write” was easily connected with Trevor-Roper’s view that African history began with European contact. There was also the suggestion that Africans had no sense of historical consciousness because they had no writing. The value of oral traditions became one of the issues that pioneer Africanists had to raise, in addition to the creative use of established European documents and hitherto ignored Arabic accounts. Of course, they also had to respond to all the negative comments made about Africa, in a historiography that can appropriately be described as both nationalist and defensive. As African countries freed themselves of European rule, new knowledge had to recenter the discourse to reflect the shift in power relations. The European factor cannot be edited out of African history, but the focus can change to the African response to European penetration, to the achievements of Africans before and during European contact, and to the brilliance of Africans in adapting to changes. The image of an independent country must be celebrated by its scholars in a confident manner, even in the topics they choose to write about, and in recognition of the agencies of nationalists and Pan-Africanism.
The concerns that drove nationalist historiography were similar to those that inspired Edward Blyden and his successors to write: race pride and the defense of Africa all in a nationalistic spirit. In the words of K.O. Dike, the pioneer historian discussed below, “African Studies will be the means to the achievement for the African of greater self-respect, the means to the creation of a surer African Personality in the face of the modern world”10. History must define a country’s “national identity”, declared Dike. Thus, in a sense, the motivation for academic writing was not so much different from the nonacademic. But the mode and the site were different. The academic mode was based in universities, operated by a tiny elite with the power to speak to students and to a larger broadly defined academic audience. The mode itself was an “objective” production of history, within the framework of the Western academy’s definition of research and university education.
I want to illuminate the development of nationalist historiography by focusing on two major schools (Ibadan and Dar-es-Salaam) and the teaching of history in African universities generally, all attempts to control the production of knowledge and to create a discourse that would combat Western domination. Nigeria had the privilege of producing the largest number of academic historians in sub-Saharan Africa. Nigeria also produced pioneer Africanism who played a prominent role in the early development of nationalist historiography. Dar-es-Salaam became famous as another example to a successful approach, with the addition of a Marxist philosophy. My approach here is to dwell on specifics in order to illustrate the general. In so doing, a large number of important scholars such as J. Ki-Zerbo of Mali, B.A. Ogot of Kenya, and Adu Boahen of Ghana are neglected, but they essentially belong to the tradition of the Ibadan School analyzed below.
The Ibadan School
In the 1960s, the University of Ibadan was able to center its history department as the new frontier in the advocacy of the “African perspective of history” and the “African factor” in the unfolding of African history. Not that the orientation of the Ibadan historians differed substantially from that of their colleagues elsewhere, but a pioneer status and the publication by Longman of the Ibadan History Series brought an important, even if temporary, international recognition. The label, the “Ibadan School of History”, was originally introduced by outsiders who wanted a descriptive category for the presentation of nationalist historiography.
Many have credited Kenneth Onwuka Dike for pioneering the emergence of the Ibadan School, a successful example of nationalist historiograhy11. In 1954, Dike became the first Nigerian to head the history department. He had to combat negative Eurocentric opinions of Africa. the University itself was created by the British in 1948, with the Department of history one of the pioneer academic departments. As to be expected, recruiting teachers was a problem. C.J. Potter, a foundation head of department, had a first degree in history but interests in theology and administration. Potter did not regard himself as a researcher or an author, and his contribution was limited to administration12. There was also the problem of limited resources for teaching, especially the lack of a good library.
The addition of K.O. Dike to the Ibadan department in 1950 was a breath of fresh air. He received his training in the United Kingdom where he developed his vision of an African perspective of history. His first degree was from Durham University, and his master’s was from Aberdeen University in Scotland. He completed his Ph.D. in 1950 at King’s College, London, with a thesis on Trade and Politics in the Niger Delta, 1830-1885, later published in 195613. While the thesis was not primarily based on oral traditions as many have assumed, but largely on archival materials, the topic itself could be described as revolutionary, for rejecting the logic of imperial history and emphasizing instead the African side of the interactions with Europeans during the nineteenth century. In his preface, Dike informed his readers that he would present an alternative history, not dealing with the external factor of the British interaction with his people, but only dealing with the British as their presence helped to explain events. “In West African history”, Dike concluded, “the concentration of students on external factors… has tended to submerge the history of the indigenous peoples and to bestow undue importance to the activities of the invaders”14. If colonial officers and missionaries had told Africans that they were in Africa for humanitarian reasons. Dike would argue that their motive was primarily economic, in the process of which they undermined the activities of indigenous chiefs and middlemen.
Centered on the Niger Delta, Dike’s book has been followed by a string of successors that extend its time period, confirm its evidence and argument, and, as would be expected, modify its conclusions15.Trade and Politics is now widely regarded as a canon of African history, and its author is described as “the father of modern African historiography”16. Other encomiums have been offered to Dike, in honour of his talents as a historian and university administrator; he has been praised for defining the meaning and place of African history, for being the first to use oral tradition to write a doctorate thesis, and for pioneering a new field17. A.E. Afigbo, a famous historian of Eastern Nigeria, sums up the perception of Dike in the following words:
His personal success and towering figure helped to add to the statures of African history and its practitioners. It was in recognition of his achievements as historian of Africa that he became the first president of the International Congress of Africanists, the first African Chairman of the International African Institute, London, the first African to be elected Honorary Members of the Historical Association of Great Britain, and then received fifteen honourary doctorates18…...
Dike’s impact on Ibadan and African historiography was, however, not immediate or without struggles. Between 1950 and 1952, he was a lone fighter in the call for change. Other teachers were being recruited at the same time, including Jean Copeland (later Jean Mellamby) with an interest in European and American history, and Evelyn C. Martin, a specialist in imperial history. Much power resided in the head of department, and the pioneer expatriate heads and the faculty members they recruited were not oriented towards the development of African history. They had no training in African history, and they were probably not too keen on its development. Still under the guidance of the University of London, Ibadan could only sponsor what London would accept, at a time when many believed that African history was not a proper academic subject. In a colonial setting, the new university college could not be encouraged to become the seat of opposition to British authorities. Western education was intended to be an appendage of colonialism, with college students showing an appreciation for colonial changes, elitism, and British values, and their teachers emphasizing the relevance of imperial history. The goal was for the students to understand not the history of African but the history of Europe and the Commonwealth. There was only one course devoted to Africa, title “History of European Activities in Africa from the Middle of the Fourteenth Century to the Present Day. “This was largely about the history of European expansion in Africa, a reinforcement to the myth that there was little or no African history before European contacts. Some monographs and popular textbooks for use by general readers and students also privileged the role of Europe19 or the role of European heroes in the development of Africa20. As Europeans were themselves divided by nationality, Africans had to be treated as subjects of different encounters, reflecting who their masters were. Thus, no common African history could emerge, but only fractured histories, reflecting the various contacts with the Portuguese, British, French, Italians, and Germans. The assumption was that the period before the fifteenth century belonged to the domain of archaeology, linguistics and related disciplines. Controlled by British faculty, the orientation imitated the University of London, with courses on political ideas and outline courses on European and English history.
From the point of view of the expatriate teachers, the overriding aim of the university was to supply a pool of manpower, and they did not see how courses on Africa would led to the production of better administrators and school teachers. The history department was also expected to play a role in the training of students in the humanities and social sciences. When the syllabus of such other course as literature and classics are examined in relation to that of history, the intention to emphasize the importance of Europe is clear21. A few Nigerian contemporaries believed that the grip of the University of London prevented any radicalization of the curricula since they were unable to inject as large a dose of Africa as they would have wanted.
Dike’s major impact began in 1952 when he relocated to the West African Institute for social and Economic Research (WAISER), a research agency attached to the University of Ibadan. With greater access to resources an freedom to maneuver, he began to make some of the changes that would outlive him. He began the process that led to the creation of the National Achieves of Nigeria, serving as its first director until 1964. he conducted a survey of available records in government and missionary hands, and wrote a report that formed the basis of the request for the creation of the archives.
In 1954, he returned to the history department as its head, now with more power to direct changes. Dike’s fortunes improved as he moved from one office to the other, eventually becoming the first indigenous vice-chancellor of the university. He used this power to reshape the practice of the profession and to connect history as a discipline with the task of nation-building and nationalism. In the mid-1950s, the British had fully accepted the need for Nigerianization – the transfer of power to Nigerians and the recruitment of competent Nigerians to new positions and to those being vacated by expatriates. New lecturers were recruited into the department, mainly with interest in African history and with an orientation that promoted nationalist historiography. Notable additions included H.F.E. Smith (later Abdullahi Smith) who worked on northern Nigeria; J.C. Anene on modern Nigeria; R.E. Bradbury on Benin; J.D. Omer-Cooper on the Mfecane in South Africa; A.F.C. Ryder on Benin; and C.W. Newbury and V.W. Treadwell on aspects of European expansion in Africa. all later made their mark on different aspects of African history. In that same decade, five Nigerians obtained their higher degrees. In 1953, Saburi Biobaku, with a Ph.D. thesis on the Egba-Yoruba group obtained from the United Kingdom, joined the University College of Ibadan as the first indigenous registrar and could be counted upon as an ally in the development of African studies22. J.C. Anene wrote his Ph.D. thesis on the early years of British rule and the stages in the conquest of Nigeria, A.B. Aderibigbe wrote on the British in Lagos during the nineteenth century23. C.C. Ifemesis on “British Enterprise on the River Nigeria, 1830-1869”, and J.F. Ade Ajayi on Christian missions.
The pioneer research and publications by Dike, Biobaku, and the others that followed in the 1950s and 1960s are not to be judged solely on their academic merit but also for their symbolic significance. Indeed, one an argue that what the books represented is far more important than their content. Africans could now do original research and write books and essays about their own people, a major achievement in the making of an elite and the development of historiography. Africans used the language of the academy, and their works were intended to be consumed by their colleagues all over the world, an indication of a growing respect for the new elite and its ideas. With varying degree of success, they stressed the relevance of oral sources. In their prefaces and emphases, they offered an “African perspective” of the past: Africans no longer appeared as docile and passive in their own history, as many Europeans had presented them, but the real agents, the heroes and architects of their own fortunes. The historians defended their ancestors as people with a proud heritage, respect worthy cultures and customs, and creative institutions in politics and economy that were well suited to African environments. At last, they were able to show that African history, as a discipline, was not only possible but viable. Their works, as well as those of their contemporaries in Europe and the United States, contributed to the acceptance of African history in the academy.
A new generation of students benefited from the changes. Nationalist historiography changed the teaching curricula in orientation, courses, and content. Colonial education was accused of failure to adapt to Africa’s needs, stressing European history, making European expansion in Africa the core of historical knowledge, and turning European explorers and administrators into the theories of African history. With Dike and others came a new way of presenting material. If the Europeans had presented Taubman Goldie as “the maker of Nigeria, “Dike would present him as the “maker” only of the Royal Niger Company, the company that he formed, and not of Nigeria. If European had presented Jaja of Opobo as a Nigerian chief who stood in the way of free trade, Dike and others would present him as a resistance here, a patriot who did not want the British to cheat him in trade and deny him power. A new orthodoxy in teaching was about to replace an older orthodoxy.
Changes had not be made to the course offerings and to the content of a number of courses. There were limitations in the early years, even when Dike and his colleagues wanted rapid changes. The books to teach the courses they had in mind did not exist, a situation which encouraged the use of these published and unpublished, as textbooks. Until the university freed itself from the control of London, the degree requirements did not allow the students to take more than one course in African history. For an honours students, this was only one out of ten courses. To surmount the obstacles, the pioneer scholars had to publish, organize seminars, and create an autonomous university. Within a decade, they had become very successful.
Their doctoral theses formed the basis of the first major publications. Many of these were printed with only minimal revisions, but they were widely received as part of the new historical literature on Africa. The scholars also paid attention to local sources, notably oral traditions and the writings of amateur scholars. Before the emergence of the modern university, writings in Arabic, local languages and English had become established24. the scholars used the available materials as when Bradbury made use of Jacob Eghareba’s works on Benin and Abdullahi Smith fell on Arabic sources for northern Nigeria. They also encouraged the production of new local writings.
Although his own research and writing were to suffer25, Dike had to join the other pioneers to establish the infrastructure of intellectual production. An academic society was organized in 1955, the Historical Society of Nigeria, one of the oldest in the continent, with Dike as its first president from 1955 to 196926. In addition to its annual conferences, regular seminars were held to exchange ideas with graduate students, especially in the 1960s and beyond. The society attempted to involve school teachers and members of the public in its activities, but it was not very successful at building such alliances. In 1956, the Historical Society of Nigeria established its major journal, the Journal of the Historical Society of Nigeria, edited by Omer-Cooper. The journal acquired an instant international reputation for disseminating original scholarship and new ideas. In the mid-1960s, another journal, Tarikh, was added to present general materials to students and school lteachers. In 1980, the society attained its peak with the publication of the Groundwork of Nigerian History27, a tentative synthesis of the history of Nigeria.
In a nationalistic spirit, Dike and the other pioneer scholars attempted to rescue mission to recover the African past through the establishment of what were called Historical Research Schemes. Conceived as a collaborative effort to involve major disciplines and scholars, Nigeria was broken into regions each to be covered by one of the schemes with possible funding from the Nigerian federal and regional governments and international organizations. All available data would be gathered, and the scholars were expected to write definite accounts of the past of the region, fill existing gaps in knowledge, and contribute to the development of historical and national consciousness. An administrative groundwork was established, many scholars were recruited, and the regional governments were approached for funding. Within the university, a separate center was established for research and documentation, this Institute of African Studies became the hub of cultural activities, especially the promotion of local artists and writers.
In the Western Region, the Yoruba Historical Research Scheme received support in 1955, with a five-year grant for “cultural research”. Under the leadership of S.O. Biobaku, it was expected to bring together archaeologists, anthropologists, historians, and others to explore the origins of the Yoruba. A small team embarked upon the collection of Yoruba oral sources. Another small group began pioneer archaeological excavation in Ile-Ife, the ancient city of the Yoruba28. Both oral sources and archaeology demonstrated the antiquity of Yoruba kingdoms, their great civilizations, and their artistic talents. A number of the participants in the Yoruba Historical Scheme were later to distinguish themselves in their fields29.
The Department of History was directly in charge of the three remaining historical schemes – those on Benin, Arochukwu, and Northern Nigeria – with financial support from the Federal Government of Nigeria and grants from the Colonial Development and Welfare Fund and the Carnegie Trust of America30. As with the Yoruba Scheme, the aim was to pool the resources of historians, anthropologists, and archaeologists to write a comprehensive account of the past. The efforts on Benin yielded results published by A.D.E.C. Ryder, a historian, and R.E. Bradbury, an anthropologist, and ;the archeological work on Benin walls and art31. In the north, G.E. Connah carried out archaeological work in the Kanem-Borno area. A historian, Murray Last, used Arabic sources to write an account of the Sokoto Caliphate. The immense amount of the data in the north and further financial support from the regional government led to the establishment of Arewa House, a center for historical documentation, and the Sokoto History Bureau.
Duke initiated the Arochukwu project, with the aim of investigating the power and impact of the Aro, a trading network that profited from the manipulation of an oracle in Eastern Nigeria to control commerce. Owing to Dike’s administrative appointments and the civil war from 1967 to 1970, the project suffered considerable delay, and its major result was published much later32. Archaeologists worked there as well, and Thurstan Shaw distinguished himself with his work on Igbo-Ukwu, which reveals the antiquity of the Igbo and their extensive trade connections with their neighbours33.
Although the majority of the scholars in all these interdisciplinary projects saw themselves primarily as academics, there was a sense in which the leaders of the projects were connecting with the earlier views of cultural nationalists in obtaining government support. Grant applications and public defense of the project affirmed the concept of Negritude, the intention to show how historical research would enhance the identity of the nation or group, and also to show that scholars were interested in the protection of the “tribe” within the modern country. Thus Dike focused on the Igbo people and Biobaku on the Yoruba, both motivated to show the great accomplishments of their ethnic groups. Indeed, Biobaku wanted to seek academic validation of the long-standing version of the Yoruba myth that traces the origin of this people to the Middle East and the Nile Valley, both regarded by earlier cultural nationalists as centers of civilization and prestige. In 1971, when the Rivers State Research Scheme was established, part of the motivation was to present data to show that the peoples of the Niger Delta were different from their Igbo neighbours, who had attempted from 1967 to 1970 to incorporate them into the failed Republic of Biafra. In the north, Abdullahi Smith spearheaded the use of history to serve regional interests. History bureaus were later created in some northern states to collect documents and present local histories.
Historians also attempted to make a decisive impact on methodology. The regional research schemes were to be grounded in a multidisciplinary approach34. The idea of multi-disciplinarity also touched upon the use of diverse sources, as well as training in the core knowledge of many disciplines. Not much was achieved in collaborative enterprises, either by way of joint publications or essays on how to conduct joint projects or merge theories. As the majority of scholars worked on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, not many great works were produced on the earlier pre-colonial period that nationalist historiography emphasized. Many scholars stayed close to periods with accessible documentation, produced by the very Europeans that they criticized. An obsession with rapid career mobility and power does not lead itself to the more time-consuming approach of collecting oral data in scattered locations, while resources for fieldwork cannot even be assured.
However, the most enduring legacy of the multidisciplinary approach is the recognition of oral traditions as crucial sources for reconstructing African history35. The use of oral traditions by African scholars became an article of faith and ever a weapon of rebellion against the Western academic establishment. From an initially defensive position, the attitude changed to one of confidence, as nationalist historiography asserted that oral tradition can produce an objective, balanced, and scholarly historical work. When Ibadan launched its monograph series, the editor’s justification by Dike focused more on the validity of the use of oral sources than on what the books set out to accomplish. Because I regard his statement as the quintessential definition of nationalist historiography by its leading pioneer, I want to draw extensively from it. To start with, Dike saw the need for new publications on the basis of a methodological shift:
In the years before the Second World War, the study of African history was retarded, and to some extent vitiated, by the assumption of many scholars that lack of written records in some areas of Africa meant also the absence of history. Documentary evidence had become so overwhelmingly important for the European scholar that he tended to equate written documents with history, and to take the absence of documents to mean the absence of events worthy of historical study. As a result in the nineteenth century, when Europe occupied Africa, her scholars did not attempt to understand or to build on the historical traditions in existence there; they sought instead to challenge and to supplant them. The history of European traders, missionaries, explorers, conquerors and rulers constituted, in their view, the sum total of African history36.
Next, he believed that a previous tradition of historical consciousness and of pro-Africans writings can feed the academic:
Fortunately for the historian of today, African historical consciousness remained alive throughout the period of colonial rule; that tradition was too much a part of (the) African way of life to succumb to the attacks of the European scholar. Even in the heyday of white supremacy some educated Africans of the period were sufficiently dominated by their past to feel impelled to commit to writing the laws, customs, proverbs, sayings and historical traditions of their own communities. Notable among these may be mentioned James Africanus Horton of Sierra Leone, Reindorf and Sarbah of Ghana, Ozumba Payne and Samuel Johnson of Nigeria, Apolo Kagwa of Uganda, to name but a few. The published works they left behind have become important sources of African history today; but they were swimming against the current of their time and made little impression on contemporaries. Historians continued to write as if Africans were not active participants in the great events that shaped their continent37.
One implication of making connections between a previous historical tradition and the new academic historiography is that Dike is affirming continuity in historical writing in Africa. A consciousness of history had already given birth to indigenous “oral historiography”. In 1953, he had actually called oral histories a “fairly accurate” genre38. Nevertheless, first-generation academic elite created a revolution, by joining nationalists in the appraisal of African history, demanding the creation of schools and insisting on the use of new sources:
By the late 1940’s, however, African research students were insisting that African history must be the history of Africans, not of Europeans per se in Africa; that local records and historical traditions must be used to supplement European metropolitan archives; in short, that Oral Tradition must be accepted as valid material for historical reconstruction. No doubt the validity of non-written sources for historical research had been pointed out before, but it was new for African Oral Tradition. Even then not everyone was happy about it.
Anthropologists replied cautiously that Oral Tradition, even when seemingly factual, was not history and could on be interpreted in terms of its functions in society and within the particular culture. But this did not destroy its validity as material for history; it only argued for a return to the link between history and sociology advocated in the fourteenth century by the famous Tunisian historian, Ibn Khaldun.
Even in studies of European impact on African societies and cultures, where European archival material still remains our major sources, this source should be checked and supplemented by Oral Tradition, material artifacts and other sources of history in Africa39.
The use of oral sources would aid in the “rediscovery of Africa’s past”, in a way that written evidence would never be able to accomplish. By invoking Ibn Khaldun, Dike might be trying to validate the integrity of an ancient African giant who argued for a holistic understanding of society. Dike’s statement cited above has been repeated in different words by many of his contemporaries and successors, but only a few, notably E.J. Alagoa40, remain committed to the collection and use of oral sources at any impressive level.
The Department of History also played a leading role in the academic revolution at the secondary school level. Not only did it produce the schoolteachers, it influenced the school curricula and produced books for them. The West African Examinations Council introduced new syllabi in African history. Workshops were conducted for schoolteachers in West Africa with the financial support of the Carnegie Foundation. The papers presented at these workshops became the first set of two textbooks in African history in the region: A Thousand Years of West African History41, and African in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries42. Later, other historians wrote a two-volume textbook, The Making of Modern Africa43, to cover the entire continent. The textbooks reflect the orientation of nationalist historiography – the stress on the achievements of Africans and their ability to understand their environments and initiate important changes. Rather than present Africans as members of “isolated tribes” as a number of Europeans did, the texts discussed various issues in a regional framework, using trade, war, and culture to link many African groups. In the 1970s, advanced texts and comprehensive works of synthesis also appeared, most notably the two volume History of West Africa44. UNESCO also planned an ambitious set of eight volumes, all now published, which Ade Ajayi has represented as the ultimate victory of nationalist historiography45.
The control of graduate education passed to Dike and the other pioneer scholars. This was another revolution, as the first generation was able to reproduce itself rather quickly. The undergraduates of the 1950s became the graduate students and academics of the 1960s and beyond. In the early years of the university, the award of a general degree (rather than honours in single subjects) took priority, since the primary aim was to produce manpower for the civil service46. Beginning in 1952, an honours program enabled a student to focus on one discipline, while studying others as subsidiaries. This allowed brilliant students with at least a Second Class (Upper Division) degree to develop their ambition to pursue graduate studies, with the encouragement of the university and the regional and federal governments. Among those who benefited from this in the 1950s were C.C. Ifemesia, who specialized in Eastern Nigeria, and T.N. Tamuno, a historian of colonial administration and the future vice-chancellor of the University of Ibadan.
There was, however, pressure and politics to train graduate students locally. Dike and others believed that they themselves could provide the best training in the new orientation they were developing. In other words, to avoid the contamination of African students by Eurocentric opinions and Imperialist historians, it was better for them to stay at home. Locally generated research would also boost the image of the school. There was also the added pressure for manpower as new universities were created in the early 1960s47. They would require academics to function, and Ibadan could produce them cheaper and faster than universities overseas. At Ibadan itself, by the time Dike’s term as vice-chancellor ended in 1967, twenty alumni had held teaching appointments in the department48.
The graduate students of Ibadan continued with the theme of the “African factor”, or the agency of Africans in the process of change. They were expected to collect oral materials and written sources and fill major gaps in the literature, especially of Nigeria. Murray Last and Adiele Afigbo were the pioneers who obtained their Ph.Ds in 1964. Murray Last completed his thesis on the Sokoto Caliphate, the largest state in West Africa during the nineteenth century49. The caliphate was used to inspire modern day nation builders as evidence of how Africans in the past had used Islam to create change and stable polity. A.E. Afigbo, another pioneer student, studied the “The Warrant Chief System in Eastern Nigeria 1900 – 1929”50, showing the need to understand  indigenous institutions before administrative changes could be made. A year later, Obaro Ikime graduated with a Ph.D. on intergroup relations in southern Nigeria, and began his career in his alma mater51. A configuration of themes emerged on Christianity, Islam, British rule, trade, and politics, all designed to reflect the genius of Nigerians.
A successful graduate program enabled Ibadan to create a diaspora of scholars from the 1960s onward. The four new universities created in the early 1960s onward. The four new universities created in the early 1960s had to be staffed, and they drew from existing faculty in Ibadan or recruited Ibadan’s graduate students. H.F.C. Smith relocated to Zaria, and A.B. Aderibigbe moved to Lagos. The crisis that led to the civil war in 1967 saw the migration to the East of J.C. Anene, the historian of boundaries52,  A. Afigbo, and C.C. Ifemesia, with the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, as the new base for most of them. Dike himself left, subsequently securing a position at Harvard University. Two expatriates left in the 1960s – Omer-Cooper for the University of Zambia as the first chair of its history department, and Bertin Webster for Makerere University in Uganda also as chair. There were more movements within Nigeria itself. While a number of courses offered at Ibadan were duplicated elsewhere, attempts were also made to create new innovative courses, especially at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. As many researchers focused on societies close to their own universities, the dispersal boosted the development of local historiographies and ethnic histories.
In influencing the world of scholarship beyond its shores, the Ibadan History Series became an effective agency. The idea of a series originated in the 1950s53, and the books began to appear in the 1960s. The purposes of the Ibadan Series and related essays and books are to show that Africans had a history, to identify and praise great civilizations (for example, the empires of Ghana, Mali, Songhai, and Zimbabwe), and to show that Africa’s greatness predated European contact. The Eurocentric opinion that Africa was “without writing and so without history”, came under vigorous attack as African historians demonstrated that there was indeed evidence, in written forms (as in the case of Arabic writings) but even more in oral traditions. While all academic history may be said to have similar objectives and methods, a few scholars even suggested that writings about Africa could be different, if scholars would draw from the way the people themselves interpret history, especially in their comprehensive philosophy of life, which does not partition knowledge as academics do54. The argument of nationalist historiography is that colonial rule and European contact distorted the African past as well as its history. This is a great challenge to the “colonial library” on Africa.
In nationalist historiography, pre-colonial history was glorious and successful. The arguments and the data demonstrate that most areas were already well developed before European contacts. The slave trade is blamed for initiating a long period of disaster in Africa55. The services of archaeologists came in handy, as they revealed successful, established civilizations at Nok, Ile-Ife, Benin and Igbo-Ukwu, all in Nigeria56. Understanding the past cannot be only for its own sake, a mere academic exercise, but also for the sake of Africa’s present and its future. Without history, asserted Dike, it would be difficult to construct the nation57. The past offers models to develop the present, concluded a number of scholars who write as if the knowledge of history is essential if Africa is to progress. To cite Ade Ajayi on what sounds like the inevitability of history:
Perhaps one reason why there is so much violence, aggression and instability in our day-to-day life is that we have so little consciousness of a time perspective.
To this, G.O. Olusanya, a historian of modern Nigeria, added that there would be no development or technological change unless Africans took a serious interest in their past:
It is only when people fully believe in themselves and in their race; it is only when they are spiritually satisfied, and this can only be achieved by inspiration from the past, that they can make the much desired contributions to technology and scientific development59.
Nationalist historiography challenged the notion of the “colonial library” that the primary determinant of African history was the European presence. This view was challenged in two ways. The first was to present the history of Africa without the European impact – in histories dealing with the period before the fifteenth century, in the explanation of the causes and nature of great changes in Africa (such as the Islamic revolutions of the nineteenth century). The other approach was to say that the European presence was just an interlude in African history, a short phase in a long history. Even under colonial rule, Africans were said to have responded to changes through a creative process of adaptation rather than of imitation.
Nationalist historiography added the African dimension to a historical or cultural episode, without necessarily presenting it as a counter-discourse. Thus, there are studies showing that Africans think differently on such issues as colonialism60, or that things are different in their own environment and societies61. or that only Africans can actually dominate certain areas of knowledge, as in the case of indigenous literatures and languages62.
Nationalist historiography wanted to demonstrate the African capability for nation building and leadership. Some European writers had expressed the opinion that Africans would mismanage their freedom and that their indigenous political systems were inferior to those of Europe. The historians had to rescue the African kings, queens, merchant princes and princesses, and warriors if only to show that there were great men and women in Africa with leadership abilities. Most of the nationalist historiographical work affirms that pre-colonial institutions were well suited to the needs of the people before colonialism began to destroy them and that pre-colonial states were stable “with all the paraphernalia of a ‘modern’ state”63. Omer-Cooper claimed directly that leaders such as Shaka the Zulu offer examples for modern leaders of how to transform their people: “the task of instilling a sense of political unity into people of different languages and cultures in a limited time, the task which faces every political leader in the newly independent countries, is not so difficult as pessimists tend to maintain”64. In a similar vein, recent histories of anti-colonial struggles are used to provide yet more evidence of the creative and leadership qualities of Africans.
Nationalist historiography searched for, invented, and celebrated African heroes. There was a deliberate effort to deflate the importance of the major European actors in post-fifteenth-century African history, including Lord Lugard, Mungo Park, Mary Slessor, Richard Lander, H.M. Stanley and David Livingstone. Thus, on the one hand, they were praising the African genius for the creation of excellent institutions and celebrating the heroes that made this possible. On the other hand, they were minimizing the role of outsiders in their historical narratives. The heroes cold be legendary figures like Oduduwa, the progenitor of the Yoruba; warriors such as Sodeke among the Egba; or Islamic leaders such as Usman dan Fodio, who was praised for creating a large-scale polity whose people had a loyalty to Islam rather than to so-called “parochial loyalties”65 or African pioneers of missionary enterprise such as Bishop Ajayi Crowther. Also to be counted as heroes were those who resisted European conquest or successfully negotiated treaties or commercial dealings with Europeans, men such as Jaja Opobo of the Niger Delta66. A few biographies were published67, and leading historians called for more biographical works “to demonstrate that we have our own heroes, our own leaders of thought and movement who, even in the century in which European activity in our country became triumphant, demonstrated a vision, courage, competence and commitment to their independence of which we can be justly proud”68. Some African scholars who questioned the attention to heroes who exploited their own people or took part in the slave trade were met with vigorous response. Ikime accused the “anti-hero” scholar of wanting to be a “progressive” who seeks fame in identifying and condemning the evils of society, forgetting that the hero that Europeans worship could also be a “thief and pirate” like Sir Francis Drake. To quote Ikime’s response in detail:
Can we truly think of many real great names in history who achieved the heights they did without a misappropriation or some other form of exploitation of their fellowmen? How many nations of the world to which we belong have sought, or are seeking, to preserve the almost sacred memory in which such men and women are held: Yet here in Nigeria, in some mistaken concept of academic excellence, the call goes forth for the dishonouring of our national heroes. Our historians of the first generation, in setting before us some of these heroes, were properly performing their duty in the context of their age. Given our different circumstances, the historian of today may want to take another look at these heroes. By all means. Let us, however, ensure that our re-examination is not based on a false premise; let us beware lest we respond unconsciously to the new academic imperialism which seeks to use Africans to belittle African achievements69.
Ikime goes too far in his defense, which can be appropriated by such notorious African leaders as Idi Amin of Uganda and General Sani Abacha of Nigeria to justify authoritarianism or by corrupt businessmen to justify the illegal accumulation of wealth.
Only a few of the Ibadan studies can be used here as further illustrations, to add flesh to the skeleton presented above. As a collective, the books and essays offer a reasonable outline of Nigerian history from antiquity to the present. The monographs examine specific aspects of Nigerian history. Dike dwells on trade relations between the Niger Delta people and the Europeans, with emphasis on alliances and their consequences. African rulers and traders are presented as assure and as victims of European treachery. Biobaku praises the ingenuity of the Egba in liberating themselves from Oyo imperialism and relocating to their home at Abeokuta where they created a successful political confidency. The Egba were also able to exploit contact with missionaries to their own advantage. Aderibigbe looks at the British incursion into southern Nigeria especially the control of Lagos. Ajayi and Ayandele examine the spread of Christianity and its impact on Nigeria70. The circumstances in which the Christian religion was adopted, the rivalry among European missions the role of African agents, and the beginning of Western education, are some of the issues they explore.
Murray Last’s thesis relates the Islamic revolution of the nineteenth century to preceding history, with details of the conditions that necessitated a revolution. Last saw the new Islamic leaders in positive ways. In what appears to be a follow-up study, R.A. Adeleye examines the jihad and the administration that grew out of it, and the way the British conquered the caliphate and imposed colonial rule, cleverly adapting the caliphate structure to the system of indirect rule71. Other studies of the northern area include those by P.K. Tibendarana72, C.N. Ubah73 and S. Abubakar74.
In the south, among the Yoruba where the University of Ibadan is located, studies of the nineteenth-century wars and colonial rule have been most prominent. Ade Ajayi and Robert Smith collaborated to write a small book on the Ijaye war and the general features of Yoruba military affairs and warfare75. S.A. Akintoye wrote an excellent account of the last and longest Yoruba war, the Kiriji, from 1876 to 188376, and Kola Folayan studied the groups to the south and west77. The aims of these and other writings are similar to show that the wars were not primitive or barbaric as European writers and missionaries had portrayed them but that they were motivated by genuine political reasons; that the wars were not instigated by the slave trade but by efforts at state formation; and that the wars had a revolutionary impact on demography and politics. In the studies of Islam and the jihad, the Yoruba wars, and South Africa (on the Zulu by Omer-Cooper), the message is clear: Africans could initiate their own changes, and leaders did emerge at appropriate periods in history to produce the necessary changes. Dan Fodio and Shaka Zulu are examples of great leaders. If the former used Islam, the latter drew on African customs and a warrior culture to create far-reaching innovations in the military system and society. Wars, migrations, trade, and even encounters with outsiders are used as evidence of change, to attack the notion that pre-colonial Africa was static.
The study of indirect rule dominated works on the south, with A.E. Afigbo writing on the Igbo, J.A. Atanda on the Yoruba, P.A. Igbafe on the Bini, O. Ikime on the Niger Delta, and A.I. Asiwaju on the Yoruba in the Republic of Benin78. The scholars concentrated on areas they themselves came from and/or those with accessible data. The studies are very much alike in their structure and arguments; they celebrate local leadership, especially the leadership of kings such as the alaafin of Oyo and the oba of Benin; they emphasize both change and continuity, to prove that colonial agency should not be exaggerated; they point to negative forces, blaming colonial rule for a number of disruptions in African life and society; and they rely on a wide range of oral and written materials.
As the universities became fully established, research emanating from them also more and more reflected regionalism and their locations. To mention a few examples, at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, studies are written on the Hausa-Fulani states and other groups. Scholars based at the University of Port-Harcourt write on the Niger Delta and the Ijo. Works on the Igbo are mainly written by professors at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. The Yoruba have become one of the best-studied ethnic groups in Africa because among them is located the University of Ibadan, and now also the universities of Lagos and Ife87.
The elaboration of pre-colonial state structures and state formation has given prominence to the history of the pre-colonial period, and it is usually positive in its description of power and institutions of society. Great kings such as Idris Alooma of Kanem-Borno, Mansa Musa of Mali, and Jaja of Opobo have become celebrated heroes of African history. The histories of big states and kingdoms were presented as monumental success stories, even if there was evidence of political absolutism or of frequent warfare, as in the building and consolidation of the empires of Oyo and Dahomey88. A merchant-prince, Jaja of Opobo, was forgiven for his lapses, which included rivalries with his neighbours and support for the British army against the Asante. Little is said of the dysfunctional elements in these systems and of the lapses in leadership, even if the methods used by rulers were authoritarian.
H.F.C. Smith, originally part of the Ibadan team before moving to Zaria in the north to join the history department of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU)89, provided an alternative vision that led to the emergence of what has been called the “Islamic legitimist”90 tradition and a vibrant Marxist orientation . the latter dimension is not much different from what is discussed below for the Dar-es-Salaam School, Among the principal achievements of the emphasis on Marxism are a re-interpretation of the causes of the nineteenth-century Islamic revolution, and a class analysis of contemporary Nigeria. Among the Islamic revolutions, the study of the Sokoto Caliphate received central atention91, with some scholars calling for Nigeria to draw models and ideals from it to improve society instead of looking to the West92. Although presented in Zaria as “new and different” from those of the Ibadan scholars, both the Islamic and the Marxist visions were definitely nationalistic in agenda: the Islamists, like the Negritudists, turned within African societies for ideas; the Marxists turned to a materialist interpretation to seek and end to Western domination93.
Challenges to the Ibadan School
As the membership of the Ibadan School grew, and as the conditions in Africa changed for the worse, it became clear that a narrow definition of nationalist historiography could not be sustained. Some even began to express doubt as to whether it was the right way to write history. Criticisms and responses have been varied, while an alternative model is yet to take root in most African departments of history.
The first and perhaps the most sustained modification has been to develop new themes in addition to the fields originally examined in the doctorate degrees. In broadening research interests and agendas, the motivation was to create a shift to more contemporary periods, so that historians could be useful to the nation that they could demonstrate the worth of their knowledge for the management of the nation. This is a variant of nationalist historiography, with stress on the relevance of history to contemporary realities. For instance, in a polemical article, Afigbo criticizes the Ibadan School for lack of paradigms and ideologies94, and he asks nationalist historiography to produce scholarship that will unite the nation95.
Second, there were those who called for a shift away from political history to development studies and related themes. Political history was and is the dominant theme, ran this argument, and more study of social and economic history is needed. Thus, E.A. Ayandele criticized the emphasis on political history that enabled kings and elites to dominate historical reconstruction at the expense of others96. IN a similar vein, Christopher Wrigley attributed the obsession with political history to the belief that state-formation was the most important theme, just to demonstrate that Africans have a capacity to govern themselves97. Thus, members of the Ibadan School began to pay attention to social, labour, and economic history, but not in any sustained manner. In the 1980s, new works were encouraged on modern Nigeria and international relations. In spite of the shifts, concerns were still dominated by the search for appropriate sources, in particular the worth of oral data, and the importance of Africa in world affairs.
Third, many were concerned about the issue of relevance, the extent to which a work of history should help to explain or solve a contemporary problem. Why should historians be preoccupied with the past if their present societies have so many problems? Why should they not use the past to explain the problems of the present? These and related questions were posed in the 1970s as a critique of the Ibadan school. Historians, like many others in the elite, were jolted by the Nigerian civil war (1967-70) and the country’s political and economic failures. Why was Tafawa Balewa, the country’s first prime minister, unable to govern as wisely as Usman dan Fodio whom historians had praised? If traditional societies were well managed, why is the contemporary one in crisis? These and other questions compelled many scholars to review historical scholarship and advocate some new orientations. Indeed, the most important criticism made by the Ibadan School of itself is that its works should be more relevant to the needs of contemporary Africa. This awareness resulted in part from the failure of politics, the rise of military regimes, and the civil war, which showed the fragility of the new independent state and the limitation of nationalist historiography in promoting the idea of the nation-state. Thus Ajayi had to admit that “of all the branches of African Studies, African history is the most useless of all disciplines. Its failure to relate research to the practical problems of Africa is phenomenal”98. Yet another issue is the extent to which the African people identify themselves with the various essays and books written on their behalf, an issue that raises the need to evaluate the type of history being written, the language of communication, and even the accessibility to the African audience. There was a call for works of synthesis instead of specialized monographs. National histories, many argued, are more relevant than local histories, if only to build a national awareness and foster national integration99. Some even called for a continental or Pan Africanist orientation, to move beyond local and national histories and write on thematic issues that will unit all Africans and all black people. Whether national or continental, scholars wanted history to serve a purpose; to unite Africans, to give them a sense of direction, and to prepare them for the task of nation-building. According to G.O. Olusanya, Africans should not subscribe to the idea of an “objective history” without feelings on sentiments; history has to be used to forge unity and inspire people to greater achievements; and historians must be both scholars and patriots at the same time100. As the historians searched for areas where they could be most useful, a few chose to focus on the historical explanation of ethnicity, developing new courses on intergroup relations and writing national histories so that their people could be united in a modern nation-state.
The view of Obaro Ikime, a leading member of the Ibadan School, are representative. His most important remarks appear in his inaugural lecture, given in 1979101. He calls for a linkage between historical studies and current issues and in particular, the elaboration of how some current problems have their origins in either colonial or pre-colonial eras. Ikime defines relevance as the use of history in the service of the nation-state, a variant of nationalist historiography. In his opinion, history is to be used to integrate the country, presenting a Nigerian perspective that will treat the various groups as an integrated whole and promote those things that unite them, even at the expense of local istories102.
Ikime evaluates the quality of a book by the connection it makes to a contemporary problem, in the way the past sheds light on the issue or provides an answer to the problem. Ikime praises authors who show how historical figures acquired new knowledge and ideas to prepare their society for the future. He criticizes works solely on the basis of their inability to aid the understanding of present problems. Thus, Ikime sees in Adeleye’s work a failure to point out that the success of the jihad meant the imposition of Arab imperialism, which set the region apart from southern Nigeria, thereby laying the foundation of future political crises. With respect to other studies, especially those on colonial Nigeria, he thinks that the historians have “failed in their callings” to use their works to contribute to nation-building.
For Ikime historians writing is useful only to the extent that it contributes to the task of nation building. Ikime agrees with Ayandele that one of the purposes of study of pre-colonial history is to demonstrate that there was a Nigeria before the British, and that themes that reveal intergroup relations are worthy of special attention. Historians should also enlighten all groups about one another so that they can interact better in the modern world, and they should also identify the mistakes of the past so that current leaders can learn from them. Ikime is of the opinion that history should be functional – “the kinds of subjects we select for study must be subjects which relate to our national needs and problems”. African scholars are advised to disregard the concern to satisfy the so-called international community of scholars when this violates the national interest. He concludes that
History must have a purpose. Our country is seeking to forge a true nation, that demands the instinctive loyalty of its citizenry. This is a worthy goal after which all nations of the world have striven. In the achievement of that goal, every nation has used history as one instrument. All that has varied is the way and the degree to which history has been used. The Nigerian historian need not be ashamed of playing a role that historians all over the world have played and continue to play. It is my view that a historian can play this role by the kind of history he writes, his choice of words, his turn of phrase…. Increasingly, our researchers must take into consideration national problems of political and social relations, of government and governmental systems and the ends which society seeks to attain. Only in this way can we ensure that the Nigerian history that we write will not be history for history’s sake, but history which makes some definite contributions to the national effort in its varying ramifications103.
A fourth issue with regard to nationalist historiography is that most of its products display an ambivalent attitude toward change. On the one hand, external contacts, notably Islam and colonialism, are presented as agencies of change, and the outcome can be described as revolutionary. Yet on the other hand, nationalist historians see great damage arising from external contacts. Islam corrupted indigenous traditions, concluded a number of scholars, while at the same time they noted its pervasiveness and entrenchment in culture and society. Christianity and Western education created ruptures in society, concluded Ayandele104, but Ikime lamented the fact that neither spread evenly, thus leaving certain parts of the country lagging behind in development. New elites were created by the missionaries and Western education, but Ayandele proceeds to minimize their contributions105. Many others think that the educated elite was not big enough, or that the rivalry among the competing ethnic elites helped lead to the Nigerian civil war. Boundaries are artificial, and they partitioned the Yoruba and Hausa (just to give two examples), Asiwaju lamented106. But for Anene, there is logic in colonial boundaries, which pose few problems according to him107. The north, where education spread slowly, is either praised for maintaining its traditions or condemned for not allowing Western education early enough. British role can be presented as important, but it is criticized for not doing enough, as all the studies of indirect rule agree. The colonial era was a major period, but historians do not want it to be a dividing line in African history. Dike complained that the African factor has been ignored, but he opened his most important book, Trade and Politics, with the claim that “(t)he history of modern West Africa is largely the history of five centuries of trade with European nations”. While rejecting Europe on the hand, many writers wanted Africa to aspire to the models of Europe. The main messages were that Africa can be like Europe if given time, or that Africans had shown their ability to invent and run systems that were either superior to or equal to those of Europe. Historians wanted progress, in the acquisition of new ideas, institutions, and technology. Yet, they also glorified the past. Powerful kings had sat on powerful thrones, and many controlled great wealth, including gold. But progress called for a search for viable democracies, rather than the adaptation of kingship. The modern elite who glorified kings does not want a political system that will exclude elite members from power. Thus, in a sense, there is a disconnection between the praise of the past and of traditions, the condemnation of changes in the colonial era, and the call for progress.
There are a number of more devastating criticisms of the Ibadan School, arising from the studies published by it and also from a critique of nationalist historiography in general. A common criticism from the Left and from radical scholars in general is that the school is basically conservative, looking at society from the perspective of elite privileges and failing to use scholarship to create the conditions for change. The school is also accused of empiricism, that is, merely collecting data about the past without challenging the ideological frameworks for studying them, or at least, providing a paradigm to make the data more meaningful. The works lack theoretical perspectives, many are fond of concluding, a view supported by such members of the school as E.J. Alagoa108 and the always combative E.A. Ayandele, who castigates many of them in comparison with studies by social anthropologists109.
To start with, the claim of being a “school” is dismissed as too misleading a label for a group of scholars with no coherent philosophy, ideology, or paradigm. However, I think it can be described as a school, primarily in terms of its elaboration of an African perspective of history and its use of multiple sources. It is not autonomous as a school, which is to say that it did not publish anything entirely unique unto itself. Neither does it have a “philosopher-king” whose ideas shape the orientation of all its texts. Apart from their own studies, the leading members of the school did not say anything different from others in the advocacy of an African perspective of history or the use of history for the task of nation-building.
On the charge of conservatism, the Ibadan School’s discussion of colonialism is regarded as too generous to Europeans and too weak in capturing the great changes caused by imperialism. Peter Ekeh accuses the school of demonstrating only a limited understanding of colonial social formations and theoretical premises explaining colonialism. Working with an inadequate paradigm, Ekeh argues, the school can neither grow nor expand110. Even Omer-Cooper, a member of the school, agrees with some of these comments, and calls for “new interpretations and analyses” to transcend what he regards as views that are “conservative and out of date”111.
Allied with the charge of conservatism is the charge of elitism. What comes across, concludes E.A. Ayandele, is an aristocratic view of history112. by focusing on the nobles and the rich, historians are accused of representing the ruling class of the past. Where are the poor of history, the powerless, the exploited? Ayandele attributes elitism to the use of documentary sources113, a point echoed by Thomas Hodgkin, who adds that political history occupies attention because of the “desire to explode the colonial sterotype”114. But John Peel, a sociologist, thinks that it is less a matter of sources and more of interests:
Ibadan history has tended to assume the inevitability of the educated elite’s place as the guiding element of Nigerian society, closely related to, though not identical with, its political class. At times critical of the political class, members of the intelligentsia have also been ready to assume the responsibilities of political and bureaucratic office, and, while there has been criticism of how the educated elite has played its role in Nigerian society, the criticism has not extended to any conception of a different kind of elite in sociological terms. The history they have written has tended towards a sort of Whig history, an account of how the fittest representatives of the African people – mediators and modernizers – have risen within the bounds of the colonial society. Typically the modern educated elite itself is not much in the picture – it, after all, is holding the camera – but the central theme is none the less the elite’s social ancestry, where contradictions of continuing relevance require to be resolved115.
Finally, the crisis of the African academy has also impacted the growth and regeneration of rationalist historiography. Economic decline has devastated the production of new knowledge, as there is no money to fund new research or rehabilitate existing infrastructures116. The aforementioned critique constitutes a challenge to nationalist historiography as a new generation writes about Africa. If nationalist historiography started with the premise of anti-colonial nationalism and the patriotic desire to defend Africa, it has to be transcended by the need to confront independent Africa and the obstacles to its development.
The Dar-es-Salaam School
The Department of History, University of Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania, is my second example of nationalist historiography. Established in 1964, it was born when African history was still in its infancy but already recognized as a field in its own right. In its early years, its orientation was not Much different from that of Ibadan, Makerere or Legon, but it later became essentially a Marxist school for more coherent in its ideology of historical presentation than the Ibadan School. Its concern theme was political economy. Although radical in focus, it was still al contribution to nationalist historiography in the sense that it showed a commitment to the elaboration of the greatness of the African past, to the use of oral sources as historical evidence, to interdisciplinary studies, and to the liberation of African history from “imperial domination”. The Dar-es-Salaam School believed it the rigorous collection of oral materials from as many local communities as possible. In using these data, the emphases were, in the early years of the department (from 1964 to about 1970), on political history and resistance to colonial rule. After 1970, when the school acquired its Marxist distinction, some of its leading members began to see the collection and interpretation of historical evidence as “a political question”. As Henry Slater, a Dar-es-Salaam historian, explained in the 1980s, knowledge and politics are interwoven – historical knowledge is both a product and reflection of social reality117.
The Dar-es-Salaam school denounced the Europeans far more than all the books in the Ibadan History Series combined. Indeed, one of the singular achievements of the school, Walter Rodney’s book, How Europe Underdeveloped  Africa.
Unlike the Ibadan School, Dar-es-Salaam witnessed changes in orientation between its publication in 1964 and the 1980s. In the early years, its orientation was similar to that of Ibadan, but criticisms and changes came rather quickly. Four years after its inception, a member of the school, I.N. Kimambo, complained that political history was being pursued at the expense of economic history119. Kimambo also joined A.J. Temu, another prominent member of the school in complaining that the emphasis on the colonial period was limited to understanding Africans rather than the colonial structure120.
A shift occurred in the late 1960s and particularly in the 1970s, with emphasis on religious and intellectual histories. The celebration of this change was both anticipated and captured in the 1969 inaugural lecture of Terrence Ranger. “The Recovery of African Initiative in Tanzania”, which announced that the Dar-es-Salaam school, with its focus on “African initiative”, was creating a people-oriented historiography. A year later, a course on the economic history of Tanzania was introduced, dominated by class analysis. Ranger and his colleagues also called for a more relevant history. Noting that there was a crisis in African studies in the mid-1970s, Ranger said that African students were not contented with an African history that is primarily driven by cultural nationalism; a new, “usable” history is called for, one that will study poverty, underdevelopment, social decay, and other contemporary issues121.
The Dar-es-Salaam school has been criticized on many grounds. To non-Marcists, the stress on class analysis is a misreading of African history. Some scholars would even contend that Africa had no classes of the type identified by Marx. Perhaps the most notable comments are from former members of the school, A.J. Temu and B. Swai who argue that it was not Marxist enough; that like the Ibadan School, it revealed the bankruptcy of academic African intellectuals who still seek approval from their Western colleagues; and that unlike the case of Ibadan, the writing o feast African history was dominated by non-Africans. They are critical of all the works produced by nationalist historiography:

Conceptually, African history, to a very large degree, remains a province of bourgeois history. Its practitioners have mainly aimed to show that it has various terrains of facts – political, economic, religious, intellectual – rather than to come to grips with the content of such facts. They have been largely descriptive rather than analytical. The debate has thus been shifted to pedestrian topics such as whether nationalist historians can produce works of history whose nationalist content is greater than that of metropolitan historians or whether the underdog can be produced at all since there are not many documents which were left behind by these people…. The urge to discover new terrains of facts became more important than the need to pay more attention on “method” in its broader sense. Indeed if it was discussed at all, method became synonymous with the process of handling fact with care and establishing their authenticity122.
Temu and Swai called for a people-oriented history, giving more attention to political economy and underdevelopment theories123. Others have made similar demands, believing that the more Marxist the historiography becomes, the better it is for Africa124. Temu and Swai forcefully maintained that:
    (T)here is a need to understand the exploitation of the Third World and its internality if it is to be abolished. The Marxist method seems to be the best method if not the only one, which is well equipped for his task. The search for indigenous methods, etc., is only intended to mystify the role of capital in the underdeveloped countries. History, if well conceived, can give us the time perspective through which the process of subjugating the Third World to the accumulation needs of capital has passed. History should not be restricted to the process of accumulating facts. Its practitioners must struggle against the dominant ideas125.
These critics regard the adoption of history writing from the West as bourgeois imitation, but they do not see Marxism as borrowing. Some also reject the search for a unique African historiography as an exercise in elite reproduction, but they do not accept that Marxist discourse is also a manifestation of power by a tiny elite.
Yet another attack has come from the “mainstream” which labels the writings of the Dar-es-Salaam school as mainly “political” and “polemical”, rather than “historical”. To Donald Denoon and Adam Kuper, the members of the school are not even searching for the truth but offering political half-truths to validate a few selected themes and narrow interpretations based primarily on a political philosophy of African nationalism; “the world context, the wider African context, the imperial context, the district context, have all been subordinated to the national context”126.
Nationalism and Teaching
The most widely held opinion in African universities was that the needs of Africa – rather than the concern for the so-called universals exhibited during the colonial era – must influence the teaching of history. Even when writing on the same subject and theme, the assumption was that the way Africans presented materials must differ from the ways their colleagues elsewhere presented theirs. A decade after independence in most countries, governments began to think that history was not a particularly relevant discipline, since its practitioners could not contribute to the development of science and technology, which was regarded as the highest priority. Historians were increasingly called upon to justify their discipline and teaching. Thus, the “development” imperatives of nation-building were added to those of the craft. Historians argued that they were essential in creating an elite with knowledge about the past, which would be better, able to understand the country and its people and offer solutions to current problems. The assumption was that without building a strong nation, there could be no opportunity to develop science and technology. In the 1950s and 1960s, concerns for the nation led historians to teach African history in a way that would make students proud of the past of their people, at a time when Africans were struggling to become free of European rule. Students were told that their ancestors lived well-ordered lives, built strong and stable polities, managed their societies very well, and produced great heroes. The weaknesses and limitations of the past were ignored, in order to present a sanitized image of the African past. It was a revolution in teaching, meant to correct the pro-European history that students had learnt in primary and secondary schools during the colonial era.
From the mid-1960s, when African countries began to experience problems of governance and military coups began to occur, the nationalist orientation in teaching was increasingly challenged by students. Many students and teachers were persuaded by class analysis; many were un-impressed by the performance of Africans in government and even refused to accept the excessive adulation of past history. As countries witnessed divisions widening, historians became useful in seeking means to prevent fragmentation and to overcome ethnicity and divisive ethnic nationalism. Historians were called upon to explain the causes of disunity and the means of overcoming them. The problems caused by the colonial era had to be addressed, again, in order that the future generation of African leaders would have the knowledge to inform their actions.
Thus, irrespective of the shift in orientation, the teaching of history reflected both the interrogation of evidence and the formation of value judgements. Defining the role of history primarily as a contribution to nation building meant that historians were nationalists in the service of the nation. Many projected the values and aspirations of the present generation into the study of the past. The context of the past could be presented as if it were the context of the present. A few even presented history as if they were moralists, praising and condemning people and events. The Left even disavowed any commitment to so-called objective history, saying that history must be relevant and seek an activist role in the liberation of the poor.
At the “Workshop on the Teaching of African History in African Universities” held in Lagos, Nigeria, in 1977, the participants concluded that all African universities must teach African history as the central unit of the history curriculum, and that African history should cover all of Africa, with courses on many of the regions outside those in which individual universities were located. Graduate students must be trained within Africa in order to attain “a basically African perception and the achievement of complete ‘mental decolonisation’”127, and the number of non-African history teachers should be considerably reduced. The suspicion was always there that Western institutions and their journals were tools of domination, and that Africans must create alternatives. The workshop presented the consensus of the African professors in attendance on the objectives of teaching history:
[The] teaching of history in Africa is justifiable if only because history is the science of the evolution of our societies and that without knowledge of this fact it is difficult to transform these societies in a direction favourable to the masses. All of modern Africa is faced with direct or indirect foreign domination and, domestically, by domination of one social group by another. History, in the hands of Africans, must therefore be a weapon for effective struggle:
i. To inculcate into Africans a sense of pride in their own past.
ii. Against foreign domination and for real social justice on the domestic front.
The scholars agreed that a common syllabus was not possible for all universities, but went ahead to provide four important guidelines:
i.    That African history be made the core of all history teaching programmes.
ii.    That African history, national, regional and continental be compulsorily taught.
iii.    That in order not to isolate Africa from the rest of the world, the history of Europe, Asia and the Americas be taught in such a manner as to enable the student better understanding African problems.
iv.    That Economic History, the history of science, technology, industrialization, scientific and philosophical thought, as well as African intellectual history be taught to enable the student better understand and cope with the complexities of the modern world129.
The workshop expressed a preference for thematic and comparative courses, notably on the following subjects: the general of capitalism and imperialism and their impact on world history, decolonization, resistance movements and internal revolts, revolutionary movements inside and outside Africa, and African migrations, cultures, and civilizations.
All these themes except the last, as well as the objectives of teaching, reflect the nationalist radical orientations o the 1970s, a time of anti-apartheid, anti-multi-national, and anti-imperialist movements. Radical scholars blamed Africa’s woes on imperialism and its local collaborators. The hope was that the students exposed to the knowledge of exploitation would become the members and leaders of anti-imperialist movements and would use their positions and privileges to fight Western domination.
The syllabi in the majority of African universities exemplify the concerns expressed above130. All schools attained decolonization, by making Africa or regional history the core of their curriculum. There were (and still are) such continental courses as “Africa before 1800”, Africa in the Nineteenth Century”, Modern Africa”, and “Africa in the Twentieth Century”. Thematic courses were numerous, on different aspects of African history, including intellectual, social, and economic themes. Popular ones included “African Historiography”, “African Political Ideas”, “History of Islam”, and “History of Christianity”. In continental and thematic courses, the idea was to present Africa as a unified whole, to do away with the idea that the Sahara is a divide in African history and geography that separates North Africa from the rest of the continent and to refute the notion that South African history is different or exceptional. These courses are also presented as “general”, to present the essential outlines of African history and enable students to teach history courses at the secondary level.
Although departments reflect the need for sensitivity to the continent, globalization, and interdisciplinarity, there is nevertheless a bias for the nation or region in many universities. The history of the particular country is integrated into the syllabus; for instance, “History of Ghana” in the case of Legon University or “History of Nigeria”, in most Nigerian universities. Some schools betray a tendency toward nationalism, by teaching several courses on their own countries, as is the case in all North African countries, Kenya, Malawi, and Zambia. All universities teach regional courses, such at “The History of Northern Africa” and “The History of West Africa, 1000-1500”. The focus is on the region where the university is situated, and one or two courses are offered on other African regions, perhaps reflecting the availability of staff. Where regional courses are taught, the goal is to preach integration, to present many groups as having interacted with one another for many years. Then there are the “ethnic histories”, reflecting the local area were the university is established. Thus most departments in southwestern Nigeria offer courses on the Yoruba, the primary ethnic group in the area where the universities are located. In North Africa, courses on Islam double as local and national histories.
For the honours program, in many departments, students produce dissertations or “long essays”, based on fieldwork and/or the use of primary sources. They are also expected to choose electives in related disciplines such as sociology, anthropology, and economics, to promote interdisciplinarity. In almost al departments, there are “specialized” courses, which require either detailed knowledge or the use of primary documents. Such courses include “The Black Diaspora”, “Art and Technology in Africa”, “Imperialism”, “Philosophy of History”, and “Historical Methods”.
Other courses reinforce the knowledge of Africa. All programs teach the history of Europe, if only to enable students to understand the forces of imperialism and the way in which Africa became part of the European-dominated world system. Many reflect the quest for modernity, as in courses on “Science and Technology” and “Technology and Society”. The search for knowledge to improve Africa justifies the various courses on the histories of Europe, the Soviet Union, the United States, China, and Japan. In some departments, countries are treated individually (for example, “The History of China” or “The History of the United States”). In others, they are treated as material for comparative histories, as in “The History of Russia and the United States”, or “The History of Japan and China”. During the Cold War, the approach was to present capitalism and socialism as two alternative options, although professors did show their preference for one or the other. In Marxist-oriented schools, the approach was to emphasize the histories of China, Cuba, and the Soviet Union as worthy models for Africa.
In North Africa, the integration of Islam into the curriculum merits a special mention. Against the background of European domination and fear of cultural domination, North Africa has resorted to Islam to recreate old traditions and fortify itself. Islam has been regarded as the most powerful agency to fight the spread of Western values and even political domination, while Islam and Arabic culture have given the region its sources of cultural unity. Such political labels as Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa, and North Africa, many scholars in North Africa argue, are an attempt to divide. Islam can unite or reunite divided people, and an Islamic world is regarded as a source of identity and a guarantor of peace. Islam can also contribute to the restoration of national identity, while the exposition of its past history highlights past glories. The decolonization of history means an emphasis on the contribution of Islam to African civilization, to resistance against European incursion and attempts at cultural domination, to the creation of a national heritage based on history, and the building of cohesion in the modern state. To maximally exploit the relevance of Islam, many courses are constructed around it – as Pan-Arabism, as a civilization, as cultural history, and as a source of national identity131. In a number of universities, the preference for Islam and Pan-Arabism, means that relatively few courses are taught on Africa south of the Sahara. In Libya, limited attention is accorded to European history.
Irrespective of how courses are defined, the goal has been to make Africans the subjects of historical events and to explain their interaction with their environments over the centuries, their responses to external influences, the initiatives they have embarked upon, the challenges they continue to face, and the ways they can learn from the histories and experiences of other people, especially in developed economies. African scholars have created a revolution in the teaching of history in many ways. First, they have made a profound shift from a focus on Europe to a focus on Africa. Both the context and content of history teaching have been Africanized. Most departments actually state that their concern is primarily to expose students to African history and only secondarily to the history of other parts of the world.
Second, they have linked the study of history with the imperatives of nation building. In other words, history as a discipline has a relevance to Africa and its people. The common theme is the “African experience” and its usefulness in shaping the present and future. Students learn about Africa, not to be entertained by it but to relate the past to contemporary problems and issues. The country is the compulsory unit of study. In Zaire under Mobutu and in many other countries, there was a naïve belief that the more students knew about the country, the more committed they would become to it. There have problems with this line of thinking. Where national history is elite history, teaching becomes a source of elite reproduction. There are also cases where national history becomes nothing more than an attempt to indoctrinate students into a prevailing national ideology or ethos. For instance, when the monarchy of Haile Selassie was overthrown in the 1970s, the Department of History at Addis Ababa responded to the new socialist regime by turning socialism into “national history”. Three key courses were introduced: “Practical Exegesis of Marxian Thought”, “Socialist Philosophy”, and “Introduction to the Socialist Movements of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries”. This response shows the extent to which national histories can be manipulated by elite forces or current concerns.
Third, a radical elite group continues to demand that history should serve social movements and revolutions. Historians, they argue, belong to the petty bourgeoisie or nationalist bourgeoisie, with a class interest different from those of the peasantry and working class. “What right have we”, asked Atieno Odhiambo, a historian of Kenya, in the mid-1970s, “to propagate petty-bourgeois history and petty-bourgeois ideas to the sons and daughters of the peasants and workers?”132. Scholars were asked to commit class suicide, teach the history of the poor, the peasantry and the oppressed, the evil of capitalism, the incorporation of the Third World into this “evil”, the struggles in China, Vietnam, and Cuba as an alternative to capitalism, a class-oriented philosophy of history, revolutions, and social movements, and the “history of progressive ideas”.


REFERENCE NOTE
1.    Kwesi Kwaa prah, Beyond the Color Line: Pan-Africanist Disputations, Selected Sketches, Letters, Papers and Reviews (Trenton: African World Press, 1998), p. 1.
2.    Abiola Irele, “The African Scholar: Is Black Africa Entering the Dark Ages of Scholarship?” Transition, 51, 1991, p. 59.
3.    Irele, “African Scholar,” p. 64.
4.    Ibid., p. 64
5.    Lord Hailey, An African Survey (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1938, revised 1957); and Jomo Kenyatta, Facing Mount Kenya: The Tribal Life of he Gikuyu (London, 1938; repr,. New York: Vintage Books, 1965).
6.    For a comprehensive list, see I? Duignan and L.H. Gann, Colonialism in Africa, 1870-1960, vol. 5 A Bibliographical Guide to Colonialism in Sub-Saharan Africa (Cambeidge: C.U.P. 1973), passim.
7.    See, for instance, Thomas Hodgkin, Nationalism in Colonial Africa (New York: New York University Press, 1967); and Basil Davidson, let Freedom Come: Africa in Modern History (Boson: The Atlantic Monthly Press, 1978).
8.    Walter Rodney, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa (London: Bogle-l’Ouverture Publications, 1972).
9.    Some of the achievements of this period are captured in Ayo Bamgbose, Linguistics in a Developing Country,Inaugural Lecture (Ibadan: University of Ibadan Press, 1972); T.A. Awoniyi, Yoruba Language in Education (Ibadan: Oxford University Press, 1978); D. E. Baldwin and C.M. Baldwin, The Yoruba of Southwestern Nigeria: An Indexed Bibliography (Boston: G.K. Hall, 1976); Bruce King and Kolawole Ogungbesan, ed., A Celebration of Black and African Writing (Zaria and Ibadan: Ahmadu Bello University Press and Oxford University Press Nigeria, 1975); Kit W. Wesler, ed., Historical Archaeology in Nigeria (Trenton, N.J.: Africa World Press, 1998).
10.    See for instance the essays presented at the Colloquium of the Second World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture, Lagos, 1977, Colloquium Proceedings (Lagos: Federal Ministry Government of Nigeria, 1977).
11.    See, for instance, Adeboye Babalola, Not Vernaculars, But Languages! (Lagos: Inaugural Lecture, University of Lagos, 1974); J.O. Obemeata, Language and the Intelligene of the Black Man (Ibadan: Inaugural Lecture, University of Ibadan, 1992).
12.    Christopher Fyfe, ed., African Studies since 1945 A Tribute to basil Davidson (London: Longman, 1976), p. 10.
13.    Jan Vansina, Oral Tradition as History (Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press, 1985).
14.    See, for instance, E.J. Keller, “Towards a New Africa Order? Presidential Address to the 1992 Annual Meeting of the African Studies Association,” African Studies Review, 36, 2, 1993, pp. 1-10.
15.    W. Acworth, “African Delegates,” Africa News, 28 September – 11 October, 1992.
16.    Ali A. Mazrui, “From Slave Ship to Space Ship: Africa Between Marginalization and Globalization”, “African Studies quarterly, 2, 4, 1999.
17.    Toyin Falola, “African Studies in the 1990s; Confronting Technology and Westernization”, Keynote address delivered at the 1992 Meeting fo the Canadian African Studies Association, Montreal, Quebec, Canaca
18.    See, for instance, A. Cabral, L. Njinya-Mujinya, and P. Habomugisha, “Published or Rejected? African Intellectuals’ Scripts and Foreign Journals, Publishers and Editors” Nordic Journal of African Studies, 7, 2, 1998, pp. 83-94.
19.    Michael Crowder, “Us and Them’: The International African Institute and the Current Crisis of Identity in African Studies”, Africa, 57, 1, 1987, pp. 109-22.
20.    See, for instance Martin Klein, “Back to Democracy: Presidential Address to the 1991 Annual Meeting of the African Studies Association”, African Studies Review, 35, 3, 1992, p. 1.
21.    See for instance, D.W. Sunal and C.C. Sunal, “Professional and Personal Effects of the American Fulbright Experience in African,” African Studies Review, 34, 2, 1991, pp. 97-123
22.    L. Trager and LaRay Denzer, “American Students and Researchers in Nigeria: Relationships with Host Institutions, Academics and Communities,” ASA NEWA, Vol. 26. 2, April/June. 1993. Pp. 7-8.
23.    Thandika Mkandawire, “Three Generations of African Academics; A Note, CODESRIA Bulletin, No. 3, 1995. P. 9.
24.    See for instance A.J. Temu and B. Swai, Historians and Africanist History: A Critique (London: Zed, 1981).
25.    Toyin Falola, ed., African Historiography: Essays in Honour of J.E. Ade Ajayi (London: Longman, 1993).
26.    See, for instance, Nigerian National Merit Award Lectures, Vols. 1 and 2 (Ibadan: Spectrum Books, 1989).
27.    This is not intended as a bibliographical essay; no listing of current major works is attempted.  See, for instance, B. Coran, A. Gboyega, and E. Osaghae, eds., Democratic Transition in Africa (Ibadan: Credu, Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan, 1992); and Peter Lewis, Africa: Dilemmas of Development and Change (Boulder, Colo: Wesview, 1998).