Citation, Toyin Falola


An Abridged Citation for


On the Occasion of his receiving the


"Distinguished Nigerian Award"


 Presented by the Nigerian Peoples Forum-USA

Friday, May 5, 2006

The Ritz Carlton Hotel, Washington, DC


By Ugorji O. Ugorji, Ed.D.
Executive Director
African Writers Endowment, Inc.
Lawrenceville, New Jersey


Sisters and brothers, ladies and gentlemen:

It is my pleasure and singular honor to present to some of you, and introduce to others, the Nigerian Peoples Forum-USA’s choice for the Distinguished Nigerian Award in the Arts and Humanities category for 2006.

If these were the days when African people deified men and women with extra-ordinary talents and gifts - men and women whose presence in the human community touch humanity in a profound and universal way - Professor Toyin Falola would have already been deified for research and leadership in the field of African history. A preeminent authority in African History Studies, Professor Falola is at the head of the second generation of African history scholars whose Africa-centered works have deepened, broadened and challenged the field.

Born on New Year day of 1953, in the historic city of Ibadan, Falola is the last of nine children. His academic preparation for what would be his career took place at the University of Ife (now known as the Obafemi Awolowo University), Nigeria, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree (with honors), and a doctorate degree in history, in 1976 and 1981 respectively.

Professor Toyin Falola started his college teaching career and his research efforts at his alma mater, the Obafemi Awolowo University (formerly the University of Ife). For over twelve years at the university, he published several articles and books, trained a new generation of Nigerian and foreign students, and administered academic associations. In 1991, he joined the University of Texas at Austin as a Professor of African History.

Professor Falola is currently the Francis Higginbothom Nalle Centennial Professor of History at the University of Texas at Austin. He is also Ibn Kahaldun Distinguished Research Professor, a Fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Letters, and the Nelson Mandela Professor of African Studies At Large.

Professor Falola has authored and/or co-authored over 40 books on subjects that range from the economics, politics, and transmission of knowledge to religion, culture and governance of Africans. He has edited and/or co-edited over 25 books on similar subjects. His work output has resuscitated the economic prospects of several publishing houses in Africa, America, and in Europe. The list of his books is too long for this citation and the list of chapters, forewords, and introductions he has contributed to other books is even longer, but let me mention only his books that were published in 2005.
Igbo Art and Culture and Other Essays by Simon Ottenberg (edited) (Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 2005,)  pp. xiii + 482.
Myth, History and Society: The Collected Works of Adiele Afigbo (edited) (Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 2005,)  pp. viii + 634.
The Politics of the Global Oil Industry: An Introduction (co-author) (Westport, Connecticut: Praeger, 2005), pp. xiv+ 262
Orisa: Yoruba Gods and Spiritual Identity in Africa and the Diaspora (co-edited) (Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 2005,)  pp. viii+457.
Igbo History and Society: The Essays of Adiele Afigbo (edited) (Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 2005,) pp. ix + 651.
Christianity and Social Change in Africa: Essays in Honor of J. D. Y. Peel (Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press, 2005), pp. xix + 676.
African Urban Spaces in Historical Perspective (co-edited) (Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2005), pp.  Xl+395.
The Yoruba Diaspora in the Atlantic World (co-edited) (Indiana, Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2004), pp. xii+455.
Urbanization and African Cultures (co-edited) (Durham: Carolina Academic Press, 2005), pp. xv + 464. 

Nigerian History, Politics and Affairs: The Collected Essays of Adiele Afigbo (edited) (Trenton,  NJ: Africa World Press, 2005), pp. x + 722.
Dark Webs: Perspectives on Colonialism in Africa (edited) (Durham: Carolina  Academic Press, 2003), pp. ix + 486. 
Yoruba Creativity: Fiction, Language, Life and Songs (edited) (Trenton, NJ:  Africa World Press, 2005), pp. Vi+350.
In 2004, the University of Michigan released Professor Falola’s memoir, titled A mouth sweeter than salt: An African memoir. The work has received wide acclaim from scholars and critics, and several awards, including the Cecil B. Currey Award from the Association of Third World Studies.

When Professor Juliet E. K. Walker of the History Department of University of Texas at Austin, heard about the award to be given to Professor Falola by NPF-USA, she wrote to say "Toyin should be honored also for the support he gives African Americans, as colleagues and friends. His support is immeasurable and attending this award dinner is the least that can be done to show him our appreciation."

You know a brother or sister is making remarkable impact when other scholars write books and essays in his or her honor. As uncomfortable as he may be about that development, three collections of essays in honor of Professor Falola have been published in book form. They are:
The Transformation of Nigeria: Essays in Honor of Toyin Falola (Trenton, N.J.: Africa World Press, 2002). Pp. xi+639, edited by Adebayo Oyebade.
The Foundations of Nigeria: Essays in Honor of Toyin Falola (Trenton, N.J.: Africa World Press, 2003), pp. vii: 697,. edited by Adebayo Oyebade.
Pre-colonial Nigeria: Essays in Honor of Toyin Falola (Trenton, N.J.: Africa World Press, 2005,), pp. xi+ 556, edited by Akin Ogundiran
Further, Professor Falola has been featured in several “who’s who” publications, including Tall Drums: Portraits of Nigerians who are changing America,” written by yours truly and published in 2002 by the Sungai Corporation. Married to Florence Olabisi Falola, he is a father of three children: Dolapo, Bisola, and Toyin. The family, which can been seen to be visibly involved in his annual conference on Nigeria that he hosts at the University of Texas at Austin, currently resides at Austin, Texas.

Other groups and associations have over the years recognized Professor Falola’s contributions to the body of knowledge in African history. His teaching awards include:
2000 Jean Holloway Award for Teaching Excellence
2001 Texas Excellence Teaching Award
2003 Chancellor’s Council Outstanding Teaching Award
2004 Academy of Distinguished Teachers
Today, May 5, 2006, the Nigerian Peoples Forum-USA lends its voice and imprimatur to the acknowledgement of Professor Falola’s achievements in, and contributions to research and teaching in the arts and humanities.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, our keynote speaker for this evening, and the 2006 recipient of the Nigerian Peoples Forum’s Distinguished Nigerian Award, Professor Toyin Falola.


Dr. Ugorji is a member of the Nigerian Peoples Forum (NPF) and served on the NPF national committee that organized the 7th Annual “State of the Nation” conference in Washington, DC, during which the award was presented. He nominated Professor Falola for the award.