"Onwudiwe is right but we must match our optimism with some hard core
strategies and programs that would move us forward"

Professor Emeagwali's submission immediately raises the question of how
such hard core strategies and programmes could make the transition from
seminar rooms, invited lectures, academic conferences, peer reviewed
journal articles, and books into humanizing praxes for our people on the
ground? That, in my view, is a serious challenge. Here, the state, even
at its most neoconservative manifestation, allows, funds, and
facilitates such transitions. The recent strategies and programmes,
which have culminated in the global incubus currently managed by the
American state for the benefit of its people, are products of that
state's willingness to mine the strategic thought of its intellectuals:
Bernard Lewis, Samuel Huntington, Max Boot, Robert Kagan, Niall Ferguson
(parachuted in from Europe)and numerous other names in various
conservative thinktanks in Washington. The state in Africa is still
primarily allergic to strategies and programmes proferred by its
intellectuals. In Nigeria, figures like Anthony Enahoro, Wole Soyinka,
Odia Ofeimun, Gani Fawehinmi, Edwin Madunagu, and Eskor Toyo, have not
only cried themselves hoarse over the need for a reconsideration of the
terms of subscription to project nationhood but have equally taken the
pains to work on rigorous blueprints for socio-economic and political
transformation. The trouble: they have never been able to gain the
attention of the state and their programmes have therefore largely
remained cerebral exercises, to be derided by intellectually impecunious
government officials at worst or to be debated in lecture rooms in
Ibadan and Nsukka at best. Chinua Achebe recently joined the list of
victims: we were informed by a presidential megaphone that being abroad,
he has lost touch with realities back home! Achebe's ordeal mirrors the
condition of every African intellectual located abroad and exposes the
vulnerability of any desire for meaningful continental interventionism
on our part. The Nigerian state has told everyone of us, through Achebe,
that our reflections, our strategies, and programmes, are exiles to
realities on the ground. It has pronounced us guilty by virtue of
location and I am not even sure that we'll be eligible for parole at

Pius Adesanmi, Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature
The Pennsylvania State University