Thursday, May 25, 2017 6:05 pm
Ambassador Oladapo Fafowora has listed five major ways to immortalise the late nationalist, Herbert Macaulay(HM). He said these when he delivered the Inaugural Gold Lecture, entitled, “Herbert Heelas Macaulay and his Relevance to the Excellence of Lagos, at the Lagos Country Club Ikeja, Lagos on Thursday May 25, 2017.
“What have we done to honour his memory?” Fafowora asked, saying “I am aware that HM has a major street named after him in Lagos and Abuja. He also has two public statues erected in his memory in Lagos. But for posterity and in recognition of his immense contribution to the political development of Lagos and Nigeria, there is a need for Lagos to do more to honour him. What more can we do to honour and immortalize the memory of this outstanding nationalist and patriot?”
First, Fafowora advised that the Lagos state government should urgently set up a Herbert Macaulay Foundation, with the active and generous support of the private sector, to keep his memory and political ideals alive. He added: “There is as yet no full length and comprehensive biography or scholarly work or study on HM. In preparing this lecture I had to rely on late Professor Tamuno’s excellent but brief study, Herbert Macaulay: Nigerian Patriot, first published in 1976, as my main source of material for this lecture. It should be the first duty of the proposed Herbert Macaulay Foundation to commission the writing of a full and comprehensive biography of Herbert Macaulay.
Second, the retired ambassador said this lecture should be made an annual event to mark the anniversary of the death of Herbert Macaulay.
Third, a major public educational institution in Lagos, preferably a higher institution should, according to him, be named after him, as an alternative, a Herbert Macaulay School of Politics and Government should be established in one of our leading Universities in his honour. The Lagos State University should be considered for this honour.
Fourth, in the context of the compulsory teaching of Nigerian history in our secondary schools, particularly in Lagos State, a course on Herbert Macaulay should, as Fafowora argued, be introduced and made compulsory in our secondary schools.
Fifth, the Glover Memorial Hall on Customs Street, Lagos, adjacent to the Union Bank headquarters is, according to him, a sad reminder of our colonial past. Fafowora argued: “It was named after Sir John Hawley Glover, the British naval officer who led the naval bombardment of Lagos in 1851 and who was subsequently rewarded by being made then first colonial governor of Lagos in 1861, after its forceful annexation. It should with then permission of its Trustees be renamed Herbert Macaulay Memorial Hall.”
Sir John Glover, Fafowora argued, already has Glover Road in Ikoyi named after him. Other Colonial Governors such as Lord Lugard, Lord Milverton, Sir Hugh Clifford and Sir John Macpherson already have streets named after them in Lagos, Victoria Island was named after HM Queen Victoria, Port Harcourt was named after Lord Harcourt, the colonial secretary who appointed Lord Luggard the first Governor General of colonial Nigeria. “If we can so generously honour these colonial governors, then I think that Herbert Macaulay and our other national heroes deserve such more,” Fafowora submitted.
Fafowora also spoke on welfare of the citizens. He said that when Macaulay died in 1946, the population of Lagos was probably not more than 300,000. Today the population, according to him, could be as high as 20 million, adding that it is now a mega city, a huge cultural melting port embracing practically all the diverse ethnic groups in our country.
Fafowora added: “The expectations of the people from their governments are a lot higher today than ever before. And these expectations for good government will continue to increase. It is important in a place so large and so complex politically, economically, and culturally as Lagos, that its government should continue to be guided by the welfare of all its peoples. Their interests should always be paramount. Of course, security is important to Lagos as a major economic and cultural mix. It is the commercial hub of Nigeria. But its security can only be achieved if there is social justice and a sense of fair play in the state.
He went further: “This is what Herbert Macaulay advocated consistently in his long and difficult political struggles. Lagos must remain tolerant and continue to welcome all immigrants. They have contributed immensely to the spectacular growth and development of the city. But it is also incumbent on all those who come to Lagos to seek a better life for themselves to respect the customs and traditions of the indigenous people of Lagos. I remain optimistic that Lagos will continue to show the progressive way for others to follow in Nigeria and beyond. Comparatively, it has been blessed with good governors.”
From 1973 to 1975, Fafowora was, according to sladedesign.com, the Acting Nigerian High Commissioner in Uganda; and between 1981 and 1984, he became the Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative of Nigeria at the United Nations. At the same time he served as Chairman, United Nations Development Committee as well as the Chairman of Africa Group at the United Nations. Ambassador Fafowora was also a former Director-General and Chief Executive of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria.