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Educating a transnational postcolonial elite

United States university scholarships for Nigerian students (1961-1975)
Former une élite postcoloniale et transnationale : les bourses des universités américaines pour les étudiants nigérians (1961-1975)
Ngozi Edeagu
p. 79-94

Résumés

Les étudiants nigérians postcoloniaux ont pleinement participé aux migrations internationales en direction des États-Unis. Cet article s’intéresse aux structures d’exclusion qui, à travers l’African Scholarship Program of American Universities (ASPAU), ont favorisé l’émergence d’une nouvelle classe d’élite nigériane postcoloniale et transnationale dans les années 1960 et 1970. En examinant les antécédents des participants aux bourses d’études, recueillis à partir de sources fragmentaires et transnationales, cet article montre que le programme a participé au renforcement des dichotomies existantes au Nigeria.

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  • 1 This work was supported by generous comments by Joël Glasman, Dmitri van den Bersselaar, Constanti (...)
  • 2 “Chris Ohiri”, The Boston Globe, 10 November 1966, p. 30.
  • 3 Laura G. Mirviss, “Harvard Recruits Nigerian Students”, The Harvard Crimson, 27 May 2010, accessed (...)

1In 1983, Harvard University renamed the soccer and lacrosse field near Harvard Business School the Chris Ohiri Field to memorialize Christian Ludwig Ohiri who died in 19661. Ohiri, a Nigerian, came to the United States (US) in 1960 as an undergraduate student on bi-national scholarship based on his academic ability and enviable soccer skills. While Ohiri graduated magna cum laude (with highest honour) and began a master’s degree at Harvard under a Corning fellowship2, he is best known as “the most decorated track and field athlete in Harvard history3”.

  • 4 See Liping Bu, Making the World Like US: Education, Cultural Expansion, and the American Century, (...)
  • 5 Constantin Katsakioris, “Creating a Socialist intelligentsia. Soviet educational aid and its impac (...)
  • 6 N. T. Chideya, “American scholarship programmes for African students, 1959-1975”, Zambezia, 9, 198 (...)
  • 7 Inderjeet Parmar, Foundations…, op. cit. p. 29.
  • 8 See J. F. Ade Ajayi and al., The African Experience with Higher Education, Athens, Ohio University (...)
  • 9 N. T. Chideya, “American scholarship programmes”, art. cit., p. 139.
  • 10 For a summary of the programme, see “The experiment in international living”, Die Unterrichtspraxi (...)

2The scholarly narrative on post-Second World War student migration to the US such as Ohiri’s has privileged key aspects of this mobility, namely soft power4, Cold War rivalry5, and scholarship aid6. Indeed, when Ohiri arrived in the US in the midst of decolonization, higher education had become a key battlefield between the Cold War powers for political and economic influence over the rest of the world’s academic and intellectual leaders. Consequently, US diplomatic, educational and private actors sought to turn Britain’s most populous former colony, Nigeria, “toward a pro-American/Western approach to ‘modernization’ and ‘development’ as opposed to nationalist or pro-communist strategies7”. American philanthropic foundations were the first to enter the educational field in Nigeria by partnering with the British (and later Nigerian) government to create initiatives for the expansion of post-colonial Nigerian higher education by the late 1950s8. The interplay of Cold War politics and decolonization also ignited the US “scholarship invasion” of Nigeria in direct response to the competing initiatives launched with a head start by the Soviet Union9. To ensure very few of the future elites who came under these scholarships left US soil “anti-American”, the US Experiment in International Living and Student Homestay Program provided short homestays for arriving foreign students10.

  • 11 Institute of International Education, “All places of origin of international students, selected ye (...)
  • 12 Robert G. Myers, Education and Emigration: Study Abroad and the Migration of Human Resources, New (...)
  • 13 The few studies during this period are immersed within the context of the “brain drain”, namely Ol (...)

3Nigerians seized these scholarship opportunities, or through private funds, left in large numbers and quickly became the number one nation of African students in the US from the mid-1960s. From about 260 in 1960, Nigerian students in the US numbered more than 1,800 in 1970 to over 16,000 in 198011. Nigerian students were then an integral part of what Myers aptly describes as “high-level or ‘elite’ post-colonial migrants12”. Nevertheless, the literature on student migration from Nigeria to the US is sparse on the immediate post-independence period of the 1960s and early 1970s13.

  • 14 Eric Burton, “Introduction: Journeys of education and struggle: African mobility in times of decol (...)
  • 15 E. Jefferson Murphy, Creative Philanthropy: Carnegie Corporation and Africa, 1953-1973, New York a (...)
  • 16 African-American Institute (hereafter AAI), Final Report: African Scholarship Program of American (...)
  • 17 Chiedo Nwankwor, “Women’s protests in the struggle for independence”, in A. Carl LeVan, Patrick Uk (...)
  • 18 The concept of the elite, framed within multiple categories, has elicited disagreements over who c (...)

4In addition, the narrative on post-colonial student migration has ignored “exclusionary structures14” behind scholarship aid initiatives that promoted this movement from Nigeria. These barriers are typified in the 1961 African Scholarship Program of American Universities (ASPAU), a public-private collaboration between the US government, 32 African governments, 238 US colleges and universities, and several private US institutions15. By the end of the program in 1970, 1,594 students had participated, including 378 Nigerians, ASPAU’s most represented nationality16. This article aims to highlight that despite the best efforts of multiple interest groups to accommodate national peculiarities, the scholarship scheme reinforced “the marginalizing dichotomies” of masculine/feminine, north/south and elite/non-elite in Nigeria17. Simply put, ASPAU privileged male candidates from particular educational and ethnic backgrounds in the quest for social and consequently transnational mobility18.

  • 19 Samuel Fury Childs Daly, “Research note: Archival research in Africa”, African Affairs, 116, 2017, (...)
  • 20 Online databases used include allAfrica.com, newspapers.com and Proquest which host digitized news (...)
  • 21 Diane Bjorklund, Interpreting the Self: Two Hundred Years of American Autobiography, Chicago, Univ (...)
  • 22 Katharine S. B. Keats-Rohan, “Biography, identity and names: Understanding the pursuit of the indi (...)

5This research is based on the analysis of family and educational backgrounds as well as occupational trajectories of all Nigerian participants in ASPAU, retrieved from fragmentary sources. Indeed, as the Nigerian National Archives has trailed behind the collection of records from Nigerian government agencies (including the Ministry of Education) since the early 1960s, this research mandates investigation beyond state archives19. It thus privileged online sources, digitised transnational databases and university archives that contain Nigerian government official records, newspapers, government and private institution publications, and (auto)biographies20. The latter, despite their criticism as a historical source21, provide an analysis of the personal accounts of any select group of individuals and illuminates their external features determined by a certain commonality, the ASPAU award22. This prosopographical approach enables the creation of a collective biography of who they were, what their educational backgrounds constituted and where they went after their studies ended.

6This paper starts by historicizing Nigerian student migration to the US. The second part will examine the politicized nature of the ASPAU scheme, particularly on the sensitive issue of regional scholarship distribution. The third section will address the unequal representations evident in the program: it will first analyse the processes of exclusion related to gender and then those favouring certain educational backgrounds of ASPAU applicants. The last part will finally present the professional trajectories of ASPAU graduates that illustrate the transnational character of many post-colonial Nigerian elites.

Historicising student migration

  • 23 Committee on Educational Interchange Policy (hereafter CEIP), African Students in the United State (...)
  • 24 The “Argonauts” were: Kingsley Ozuomba Mbadiwe, George I. Mbadiwe, Etoku Okada, Nwankwo Chukwuemek (...)
  • 25 Andrew D. Roberts, “The awkward squad: Arts graduates from British Tropical Africa before 1940”, T (...)
  • 26 Yekutiel Gershomi, Africans on African-Americans: The Creation and Uses of an African-American Myt (...)
  • 27 Paul Anber, “Modernisation and political disintegration: Nigeria and the Ibos”, The Journal of Mod (...)
  • 28 Axel Harneit-Sievers, Constructions of Belonging: Igbo Communities and the Nigerian State in the T (...)

7The first Nigerian students reportedly arrived in the US around 190023. Between the 1920s and 1940s, the number of departures increased and allowed several future Nigerian leaders to be trained in American universities, such as Nnamdi Azikiwe, the future first president of Nigeria, and the so-called “8 Argonauts24”. Azikiwe was convinced that despite the attendant career hazards, the US was preferable to the UK for training future local leadership and attaining elite status25. Nigerian transatlantic mobilities such as Azikiwe’s led to a growing flow of information between the US and Nigeria that was instrumental in mythologising the former as a land of limitless opportunity where status and wealth could be more easily achieved26. This idea resonated well among the Igbo ethnic group whose society similarly emphasised competition and social mobility27. Hence, as Western education replaced traditional norms as the new path to power or elite status in Igbo society, American returnees were welcomed with fanfare in their communities28.

  • 29 Onyerisara Ukeje, J. U. Aisiku, “Education in Nigeria”, in A. Babs Fafunwa and J. U. Aisiku (eds.) (...)
  • 30 A. J. Stockwell, “Leaders, dissidents and the disappointed: Colonial students in Britain as empire (...)
  • 31 CEIP, African Students…, op. cit., p. 19.

8The suggested 1945 higher education reforms under the British colonial government-inspired Elliot and Asquith Commissions envisaged reserved higher education for the few Nigerians destined for leadership positions in the post-independence era. Unsurprisingly, the restrictive entry requirements into the nascent University College Ibadan denied many colonial students higher education opportunities locally29. Thus, with few universities existing in colonial territories, they could only either pursue higher education mainly in Britain30 or opt for the US where they could simultaneously make a political statement against the colonial government31.

  • 32 David D. Abernethy, The Political Dilemna of Popular Education: An African Case, Stanford, CA, Sta (...)
  • 33 Dmitri van den Bersselaar, “White-Collar Workers”, in Stephan Bellucci,Andreas Eckert (eds.), Gene (...)

9Migration intensified in the post-independence period with continuous Nigerian student enrolment in US institutions fuelled by a colonial legacy that linked education to the overturn of existing social structures. Indeed, from the early twentieth century, secondary education had facilitated employment in the colonial bureaucracy which immediately and simultaneously provided “high income, high security, high social status32”. However, by the 1960s, secondary school graduates soon recognised that despite their additional schooling, their certificates no longer sufficed for access to certain government or commercial jobs and attendant upward social mobility33.

  • 34 See Joyce Lewinger Moock, “Overseas training and national development objectives in Sub-Saharan Af (...)
  • 35 In 1946 Nigeria had been divided into three administrative regions – Northern, Western and Eastern (...)

10Government scholarships thus became a guaranteed means to acquire post-secondary school education particularly in light of the Nigerianisation programme. Specifically, overseas education was considered the fastest route to training local manpower to replace expatriate manpower at the highest levels34. Thus, eligible candidates competed for available regional or Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) scholarships to higher institutions overseas, including North America from the 1950s35. Candidates, however, were nominated through their provinces, and later regional governments, to a central body sitting in Lagos, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Politicizing ASPAU

Regional distribution of scholarships vs. merit-based awards

  • 36 Correspondence from Loyd V. Steere, 14 September 1960, p. 2, Special Collections and University Ar (...)
  • 37 Katharine K. Kinkead, A Reporter at Large: Something to Take Back Home, New York, The New Yorker M (...)
  • 38 United States Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, International Educational, Cultural and (...)
  • 39 E. Jefferson Murphy, Creative Philanthropy…, op. cit. p. 89; David D. Henry, “Africans look at ASP (...)
  • 40 E. Jefferson Murphy, Creative Philanthropy…, op. cit. p. 111.

11Nigerians formed “the cornerstone” of the successful pilot programme that birthed ASPAU – the 1960 Nigerian-American Scholarship Program (NASP)36. The scheme was inspired by Stephen Awokoya, principal of the Federal Emergency Science School in Lagos which offered post-secondary school science education. He soon after became the first Nigerian Chief Federal Advisor on Education37. Under a Carnegie Corporation Travel Grant, Awokoya had visited the US and Canada in 1959 to understudy public education therein38. During his visit to Harvard University, he met with David Henry, the university’s director of admissions, and asked if he could help secure scholarships for Nigerian students, especially in science and technology. David Henry not only obtained scholarships from the Harvard administration, but also from several other prestigious US universities, which eventually led to the launch of NASP. The program enabled 24 Nigerians, including Ohiri, to receive all-expense paid scholarships at leading US institutions39. Subsequent events, including the excellent academic performance of NASP participants, led to the expansion of the programme to all of Africa under ASPAU40.

  • 41 David Henry, “Continuity and change in ASPAU,” in International Educational and Cultural Exchange, (...)
  • 42 See Report of John W. Davis to the Trustees of the African-American Institute on travel to 5 West (...)

12One of the twin objectives of ASPAU was to liaise with educators in Africa to select the best applicants and ensure scholarships went to students who could not be trained adequately locally41. This objective thus illuminates the importance of understanding national contexts in the selection of ASPAU participants as discussed in this section. To accomplish this, ASPAU relied on the African American Institute (AAI), a private US organisation with offices in Africa, which was charged by the US government with administering ASPAU and organising the recruitment of candidates. In October 1960, Loyd V. Steere, vice-president of the AAI, and David Henry, travelled to Nigeria to introduce the newly christened initiative. During their discussions with high-ranking Nigerian government officials, Nnamdi Azikiwe and Aja Nwachukwu, the distribution of awards among “different sections of Nigeria” re-emerged42.

  • 43 Ogechi Anyanwu, The Politics of Access: University Education and Nation-Building in Nigeria, 1948- (...)
  • 44 Frederick Cooper, Africa since 1940: The Past in the Present, New York, Cambridge University Press (...)

13By 1960, the independent Nigerian federal government began to subordinate academic standards to “the question of unity and balanced educational development for the equitable training of personnel43”. Thus, ASPAU awards were expected to follow the same allocation pattern of FGN scholarship awards that pandered to dominant regional loyalties and inter-regional rivalry. While this formula was executed to minimise discrimination against any region or ethnic group, it also ensured that the FGN could determine perpetually who could “leave for education” through specific gatekeeping processes44.

  • 45 See correspondence from J. Newton Hill to Loyd V. Steere, 10 March 1961, HMBP, AAI (31 March 1961- (...)
  • 46 Minutes of AAI Board of Trustees meeting 61-IX, 2 October 1961, p. 12, HMBP, AAI (2 September 1961 (...)
  • 47 For more on his role on Nigeria’s higher education, see Ogechi E. Anyanwu, “Challenging the status (...)
  • 48 See draft of minutes of meeting, 27 April 1961, AAI Board of Trustees Meeting 61-IV, 3 April 1961, (...)
  • 49 David D. Henry, “The African scholarship program of American universities”, National Defense Educa (...)
  • 50 See Donald Eberly, “Overseas scholarships… –1964 Policy”, art. cit., p. 48.

14However, J. Newton Hill, director of the AAI Lagos office, maintained that regional allocations “while satisfying some Nigerian ministers, would jeopardize the impersonal objective procedure which American colleges rightly insist upon45”. During deliberations on the matter later that year, members of the ASPAU Steering Committee questioned the extent to which other factors outside academic performance such as geographical considerations should be contemplated in the selection process46. Alan Pifer, a Carnegie Corporation official, influential AAI board member and a key figure in shaping Nigerian higher education, continued to reject any form of partiality47. Pifer, against the backdrop of a weak image of American education in Nigeria, emphasised the importance of avoiding public criticism, having earlier warned that ASPAU’s image would be tarnished if they overlooked the best students48. Therefore, prioritising academic excellence as the basis of selection and keeping the final selection process out of the hands of local politicians were paramount49. Thus, while nominations would be made through the regions via select criteria including fields of study and referees’ reports, the final selection would rest on “the country or agency offering the award in co-operation with the educational institution where the award is tenable50”.

  • 51 See “Federal Government scholarship policy for 1962-63 and 1963-64”, FNOG, notice 360, 22 February (...)
  • 52 “Table 2e: Number of secondary grammar schools and pupils by controlling authority 1959 and 1960”, (...)
  • 53 Correspondence from J. Newton Hill to Loyd V. Steere, August 29, 1961, p. 3, HMBP, AAI (2 October (...)
  • 54 “Staff Newsletter”, 1, n° 6, April 1962, p. 6, HMBP, AAI (25 April 1962).

15For ASPAU’s first year (1961-62), the AAI office in Lagos received 2,208 applications as follows: West (855), East (750), North (225), Federal (400) and Special (30)51. This regional disparity is directly linked to the differences in school attendance. In particular, Christian missionaries encountered great difficulties establishing Western-style schools in Northern Nigeria and this resulted in the significant education gap between Northern and Southern Nigeria at independence. Thus by 1960, the enrolment figures for secondary pupils in grammar schools was stated as follows: East (18,263), Lagos (4,953), North (6,264) and West (25,755)52. For ASPAU’s second year, 150 applications were made even before an announcement was made53, while over 4,000 applications (including those from Liberia and Sierra Leone)54 were received ultimately at the Lagos AAI office.

  • 55 Correspondence from David D. Henry to Mr James P. Grant, Deputy Director for Program and Planning, (...)
  • 56 “A project for international cooperation”, art. cit.
  • 57 Correspondence from J. Newton Hill to Loyd V. Steere, April 21, 1961, HMBP, AAI (1 May 1961).
  • 58 “Memorandum” dated 20 September 1961, HMBP, AAI (October 2, 1961).

16The scholarship process involved several steps: submitting an application form, screening (via school credentials), an aptitude test, and, finally, a personal interview conducted by a Nigerian national scholarship board55 that was “broadly representative of the country’s cultural structure” and also included officials from AAI, US universities and the US State Department56. Initially skewed in favour of the Western Region, the Board quickly achieved fairer representation months later57. The final selections were based on “an objective system for rank-ordering candidates according to merit” and the regional criterion, initially proposed by members of the Nigerian government, no longer plays a role in the award of ASPAU scholarships. These were finally validated by the participating US universities, which distributed the successful candidates among themselves58. Ultimately, using names as identifiers, ASPAU records reveal that most Nigerian awardees are of southern Nigerian ethnicity. The Yoruba and Igbo thus seem to have received more scholarships than applicants from the North, which echoes and highlights the strong pre-existing educational disparities within the country.

Internal tensions in ASPAU

  • 59 Donald Eberly, “Overseas scholarships…”, art. cit., p. 47.
  • 60 See draft of minutes of meeting dated 27 April 1961, “African-American Institute Board of Trustees (...)
  • 61 Wole Soyinka, Ibadan: The Penkelemes Years, A Memoir, 1946-1965, reprint 2000, Ibadan, Spectrum Bo (...)
  • 62 Victor Anazonwu, “It’s futile advising President Buhari… Donald Trump reminds me of Idi Amin – Pro (...)
  • 63 See draft of minutes of meeting, 27 April 1961, op. cit., p. 9; Report of mission of Jackson-Engel (...)

17The award of ASPAU scholarships produced tensions between the competing stakeholders – the intending student, branches of the Nigerian government, donor agencies, Nigerian universities, and oversea host universities59. For instance, the rigid age limit of 23 disqualified many applicants when at the time few students could obtain the academic qualifications required by ASPAU before that age60. As novelist Wole Soyinka noted in his memoirs as a student at the Government College Ibadan: “The quest for education was often desperate. The life-and-death struggle for admittance into schools, especially Government-funded schools with their strict age limit, simply forced prospective students to lie about their age61”. Some ASPAU awardees adopted this strategy, as evidenced by the case of a 1961 awardee who had reduced his age by three years without detection62. Some disqualified ASPAU candidates also sought to overcome the rigid age cap by lowering their age in an attempt to re-apply the following year63.

  • 64 Donald Eberly, “Overseas scholarships…”, art. cit., p. 47.
  • 65 Ibid., p. 48.
  • 66 See “A project for international cooperation in undergraduate education”, art. cit.; S. U. Bakari, (...)

18Another major area of conflict emanated from the Nigerian universities who complained that they were losing students to overseas universities64. Consequently, the Federal Ministry of Education first filtered prospective candidates to keep the “best students” in Nigeria for study and send abroad only those considered “well qualified academically and good representatives of Nigeria65”. Nevertheless, academic merit remained a top priority for ASPAU, while the participating US universities retained control over the final selections till the end of the programme66.

  • 67 Uchenna Nwosu, Wrapped Soil, Autobiography of a Mission-Driven Life, Bloomington, XLibris Corporat (...)
  • 68 Biola Sobowale, “How much will be paid for university education? (1)”, Peoples Daily, 4 September (...)

19This emphasis welcomed brilliant applicants from economically deprived backgrounds. Particularly, 1961 ASPAU awardee Uchenna Nwosu who lived in poverty as a child was a self-acclaimed “ward of the state” having attended government-owned secondary institutions for his secondary and “Higher School” (or Sixth Form) education on full scholarships67. Awards made strictly on merit like ASPAU, supports the disclosure of 1964 ASPAU scholar, Biola Sobowale, that none of the year 1964 participants was the son or daughter of the existing political elite. Instead, they were “all children of relatively unknowns who just happened to have brains; nothing else68”. Yet, two key factors would uncover social mobility exclusion among ASPAU participants from Nigeria: gender and educational institutions.

Exclusionary structures

Gendered exclusions

  • 69 This number includes the two women who withdrew from the programme for academic (Ada Otue) and hea (...)
  • 70 See “Appendix III”, AAI, Final Report, op. cit., p. 1-27. The author analysed only non-Nigerian fe (...)
  • 71 See “Table 5.1: Education as the third level”, in L’éducation en Afrique depuis 1960. Étude statis (...)

20With a representation of 25, Nigeria topped 19 African countries in absolute numbers in respect to female participation on ASPAU69. This figure is almost twice the representation of females from Tanzania, its successor. Nevertheless, in absolute terms, Nigeria came 13th place at 6.61% in comparison to Swaziland, the Seychelles and Liberia whose female contingent comprised 50%, 31% and 23% respectively70. In addition, ASPAU figures for Nigerian women are much lower (7%) in comparison to female enrolment figures at Nigerian tertiary institutions (12%) from 1961 till 1965 which was the year when Nigerian women were last represented on the scheme71. Clearly, unlike their scholarship counterparts in other African countries or those at local universities, Nigerian women were poorly represented on ASPAU.

  • 72 Mary Dillard, “Examinations standards…”, art. cit., p. 413-428
  • 73 Federal Education Department, Nigeria: Digest of Statistics 1959, Lagos, Federal Information Servi (...)

21Girls faced specific socio-economic and cultural challenges attaining formal education in colonial Nigeria that produced a low- and poor-quality secondary school outputs in the post-colonial period. While post-primary school was not a given for the majority, tuition and other fees were more likely to negatively impact on female access as male education was prioritised in the midst of scarce scholarships and limited financial resources. Moreover, not all secondary schools led to what became colloquially known as the “Cambridge School Certificate”, a basic requirement for university studies and upward mobility72. By 1960, only 138 federal government-approved institutions were authorised to offer the examination for this certificate including four Lagos-based girl facilities namely: Holy Child College, Methodist Girls’ High School, Reagan Memorial Baptist Girls’ School and Queen’s College Lagos (QCL)73.

  • 74 Colonial Office Report on Nigeria for the Year 1949, London, HMSO, 1950, p. 59. See also William H (...)
  • 75 Oyinkan Ade-Ajayi, Heritage Schools Nigeria: An Illustrated History, UK, Phoenix Visions World Lim (...)
  • 76 Federal Government of Nigeria, Annual Report of the Federal Education Department for 1958, Lagos, (...)
  • 77 Stephen Awokoya, “ The structure and development”, art. cit., p. 169.

22Generally, girls faced a differentiated curriculum that did not reflect subjects such as mathematics and science – the focus of ASPAU training74. The QCL, established in 1927 by the colonial government, began as an archetypal British finishing school and so its early curriculum contained little academic content, but instead, focused “on making girls into young women who would marry well and keep a good home75”. A more academic curriculum was arranged by 1941, while science was introduced as a subject three years later but it was limited to only one subject, biology, due to the general dearth of subject teachers76. Due to this and the the paucity of facilities for the teaching of scientific and technological subjects in their own school, those interested in science had to either transfer schools or receive instruction at all boy secondary schools like Kings College Lagos (KCL)77.

  • 78 “Federal Government scholarships, 1960”, FNOG, notice 2651, 2nd publication, 17 December 1959, p.  (...)
  • 79 David D. Henry, “Africans look at ASPAU”, art. cit., p. 42; AAI, Final Report, Operation Search, o (...)
  • 80 “‘Mo’ Is Sa’aid’s Nickname at Cornell”, Newsweek, 22 April 1963, p. 59.
  • 81 AAI, Final Report, Operation Search, op. cit. p. 114-171.

23Nevertheless, the possession of the required post-secondary entry certificates did not preclude female candidates from marginalisation on ASPAU. In pursuance of its high-level manpower training needs, Nigeria’s post-independence scholarship awards were geared mainly to the fields of Engineering, the Natural Sciences and Accountancy78. Thus, ASPAU had to sustain this agenda by focusing on students in these priority areas who could not receive adequate training at home. This discrimination resulted in 52% of the awards for Nigeria received in seven engineering specialisations79. As succinctly put by Lucius Battle, the US Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs, “We can teach them poetry and philosophy later80”. Thus, women were unable to compete fairly for scholarship awards under ASPAU. Unsurprisingly, only nine female participants majored in core science-related courses namely biochemistry (1), chemical engineering (2), chemistry (1), pharmacy (1) and physics (1) and pre-medicine (3)81.

  • 82 “Federal advanced teacher’s college, Lagos”, FNOG, notice 692 (26 April 1962), p. 574. See also “F (...)
  • 83 Anton Tarradellas, “‘A Glorious Future’ for Africa: Development, higher education and the making o (...)

24Teaching appealed to Nigerian women as a culturally accepted vocation at the time and practitioners were in high demand, especially to teach in girls’ schools. Thus, in 1962, the Federal Advanced Teacher’s College, Lagos, was opened to supplement the training of teachers under other national and international schemes82. Yet, ASPAU trained few teachers despite a recognised shortage of graduate teachers83.

  • 84 Memorandum, 20 September 1961, p. 5-6, HMBP, AAI (2 October 1961).
  • 85 See, “35 Bennett students to be honoured”, The Carolinian, 21 November 1964, p. 8; “‘Search for ne (...)
  • 86 “Straight-A Africans”, Time Magazine, 21 December 1962, p. 55; “Seniors lead honor roll for past t (...)
  • 87 “Society inducts ten”, The Bennett Banner, 1 December 1963, p. 3.
  • 88 “Seniors elected to Who’s Who at Bennett College”, The Bennett Banner, 1 December 1963; “In Honor (...)

25Regrettably, the increased representation of women in general was absent from the five goals the Steering Committee set for the 1961-62 awards during their evaluation of ASPAU’s first year84. By doing so, the programme ignored huge female potential as demonstrated by the achievements of Misses Ajani, Aseme, Nwanze and Onabawo85. In particular, 1961 recipient Julianah Ajani distinguished herself as a “Straight A” student in her first semester at Bennett College86. By 1963, she was inducted into the Alpha Kappa Mu, a leading academic honour society at Bennett, and later elected into the 1963-64 edition of the Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities87. During the time, she was a member of the Bennett Science Seminar, and was adopted into Bennett’s Beta Kappa Chi science honorary society as a senior student88.

  • 89 See Hollis R. Lynch, K. O. Mbadiwe: A Nigerian Political Biography, 1915-1990, 1st edition, New Yo (...)
  • 90 See funeral tribute booklet, “H. E. (Dibueze) Chief Mrs Chinyere Asika, OFR: Tributes to an icon”, (...)
  • 91 “Meet the Surgeons”, News Stories, University of Mississippi Medical Center, 24August 2015, access (...)
  • 92 “Only one girl in 100 receives prize”, Barnard Bulletin, 22 October 1962, p. 5; Roselle Kurland, “ (...)

26Conversely, an analysis of the backgrounds of some ASPAU female recipients, such as Edith Chinyere Ejiogu, Kate Aseme, and Adaeze Otue, reveals privileged situations. Miss Ejiogu, one of five Nigerian women to win an award in 1961, was the long-awaited child of Nathan Ejiogu, a well-respected government secondary school teacher, the first African Chief Inspector of Education in Eastern Nigeria, and eventually a consultant to the Ford Foundation and UNESCO89. Miss Ejiogu completed her entire secondary school education and the Higher School on full merit-based scholarships despite her economically privileged background90. Conversely, Kate Aseme was the daughter of British-educated Anthony Ijoma Aseme, a legal practitioner (and later supreme court judge in 1977) and a retired school principal mother at the time of her award in 1963. Self-admittedly, hers was a “upper-middle class” family where study abroad for the children was common91. Similarly, Adaeze Otue the only Nigerian female ASPAU recipient for 1962, was the daughter of a medical doctor who received his medical degree from the University of Toronto, Canada, and later served as the Minister of State for the Nigerian Department of Agriculture92.

  • 93 David Abernethy, The Political Dilemna…, op. cit. p. 198.
  • 94 AAI, Final Report, Operation Search, op. cit., p. 114-171.
  • 95 See AAI, Final Report, op. cit. p. 23.

27Evidently, these profiled women were in the privileged minority and grew up in educated circles that supported their higher education goals. Yet, they also belonged to the growing category of post-colonial women who rejected early marriage, traditional occupations and desired an independent income through their formal education93. In proof, 12 participants had earned at least an academic or professional advanced degree, including Juris Doctor94. Notwithstanding, the academic excellence of these students should not make us forget that they constitute minority trajectories, and that consequently ASPAU’s quest to improve female access to the scholarship scheme failed. Indeed, despite special attempts made by the programme to prioritise female applicants through an adjustment of women’s selection criteria computations, ASPAU overlooked peculiar historical gender-based complexities in Nigeria which enabled only a handful of women to graduate from secondary school95.

The “bastions of privilege”

  • 96 Terri Ochiagha, Achebe and Friends at Umuahia: The Making of a Literary Elite, Rochester, James Cu (...)
  • 97 See response of Richard Moll, Executive Director, ASPAU, in US Government, African Students and St (...)

28Owing to staffing, curriculum, and infrastructural differences, and preferred language of instruction, the quality of education provided to secondary school students in Nigeria differed. While some schools did not teach their older students in English, others, such as government or government-assisted missionary secondary schools, enforced the “No Vernacular Rule”. While this policy originated to ease communication among their diverse linguistic student base, it also helped prepare them for advanced instruction leading to external examinations96. Instruction in English also privileged students completing the ASPAU scholastic tests, where a heavy emphasis was placed on the English aptitude section97.

  • 98 F. O. Ogunlade, “Education and politics in colonial Nigeria: The case of King’s College, Lagos (19 (...)

29Furthermore, the most celebrated missionary-run secondary schools could not financially, academically or pedagogically match their government-established counterparts. The first of these government schools, KCL, or the self-styled “Eton of Nigeria”, was established in 1909 and modelled after British elite schools to produce students for government and professional work98. Other colleges were established later at Umuahia, Ibadan, and Zaria in 1929, and at Ughelli and Afikpo in 1945 and 1952 respectively.

  • 99 See “Table 4b: Higher School Certificate of Cambridge University 1960 results: Number of candidate (...)
  • 100 Federal Education Department, Nigeria: Digest of Statistics 1959, op. cit., p. 26-28.

30Relatedly, another important differentiating factor was the length of study. Few students could proceed to the Sixth Form or the Higher School programme which led to the Higher School Certificate (HSC), an integral component of an ASPAU application. In other words, candidates were expected to possess the equivalent to the HSC or the London General Certificate of Education (GCE) with three subjects at the A level. Expectedly, in 1960, while 9,622 students sat for the West African Examinations Council (WAEC), only 388 students sat for the HSC99. This sharp discrepancy underscores the select nature of ASPAU participation as by 1959, only 20 schools offered this qualification course out of the 138 government-accredited institutions permitted to offer a WAEC qualification100.

  • 101 Terri Ochiagha, Achebe and Friends…, op. cit., p. 10.
  • 102 Uchenna Nwosu, Wrapped Soil, op. cit., p. 77; “Straight-A Africans”, Time Magazine, 21 December 19 (...)
  • 103 See correspondence dated 12 February 1963, “The African scholarship program of American universiti (...)
  • 104 “Adelekan Adetunji Johnson”, GCI Museum, accessed 3 March 2021. URL: http://www.gcimuseum.org/cont (...)
  • 105 AAI, Final Report, Operation Search, op. cit., p. 114-171.

31ASPAU scholars who came from schools leading to the HSC, these “bastions of privilege” as Terri Ochiagha calls them101, were then able to graduate from their US institutions in record time. Thus, 1961 ASPAU awardees such as Samuel Amoni, Martin Anochie, Benedict Arene, and 1962 awardee Mebenin Awipi, requested for and received sophomore standing in their respective universities, allowing them to skip the first year of study102. This advanced standing was extended to all participants with an HSC following a 1963 negotiation by the ASPAU Steering Committee with the participating institutions103. Thus, from 1961 to 1966 nineteen awardees, including 1961 recipient Adetunji Adelekan, completed their undergraduate degrees in record time. After two years at Ohio State University, Adelekan used the “extra time” to attend Dartmouth Medical School where he obtained another bachelors degree in Medical Science by 1965104. On the other hand, 59 awardees completed their studies in 3 years, 107 in 4 years, 10 in 5, and 1 in 6 (for a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine). The rest left the ASPAU programme without completing their studies105.

No place like “home”

  • 106 AAI, Final Report, op. cit., p. 5.

32As stated in the ASPAU final report, the major objective of the program was “to select grantees in terms of the most urgent needs for manpower for the balanced and integrated economic and social development of the Cooperating Countries”. Consequently, it was agreed between the different participants in the programmes that ASPAU recipients “would return to their home countries ‘promptly’ upon completion of the baccalaureate degree to fulfill their obligations to their developing countries106”. Although the post-graduation trajectories of ASPAU graduates remain difficult to trace as a whole, it is still possible to envision a general picture. And this image does indicate that Nigerian ASPAU graduates did not adhere very strictly to the requirement of rapid return to their country.

  • 107 Delores and Nurudeen Olatunji Olambiwonnu, MD, “Commitment to health, commitment to children”, Adv (...)
  • 108 AAI, Final Report, op. cit. p. 30.

33The career of Nurudeen Olambiwonnu, a chemistry graduate from New York University with an ASPAU scholarship, is quite enlightening on this point. In 1973, Olambiwonnu returned to Nigeria with his Jamaican wife to accept an appointment at the University of Ibadan. But seven years later, in 1980, he returned to the US with his wife and they settled in Pasadena where he was appointed to the medical staff of Huntington Hospital107. Profiles like this supports ASPAU’s exposition that a high number of students, having come originally for pre-professional training or study in the biological sciences eventually obtained medical or dental qualifications108. These qualifications simultaneously facilitated their prolonged stays and transnational careers.

  • 109 CEIP, The Foreign Student: Exchangee or Immigrant?, New York, CEIP, 1958, p. 4.
  • 110 “Mrak presents award to Innocent Onwueme”, The California Aggie, 21 February 1967, p. 1.
  • 111 See “African students graduate”, ASPAU Forum, April 1964, p. 2; N. T. Chideya, “American scholarsh (...)

34Before the enactment of the 1952 Immigration and Naturalization Act in 1965, US immigration laws made it near-impossible for aliens like Nurudeen to become permanent residents from within the country109. The new act thus permitted certain foreign students, like ASPAU participants, to convert to permanent residence status through prolonged settlement and professional qualifications. This was the case of 1963 awardee Innocent Onwueme, who had relocated to Nigeria in 1970, but then returned to settle in the US in late 2000 to continue his career as a professor. In 1966, following his outstanding academic performance, Onwueme had immediately started a PhD under the African Graduate Scholarship Program (AFGRAD)110. These extended stays were encouraged by African governments who supported the continued stay of students for graduate training under the AFGRAD or other scholarships programmes. In particular, from 1963, AFGRAD provided graduate and professional training under the same conditions as ASPAU and utilised most of its participating American institutions111.

  • 112 AAI, Final Report, op. cit. p. 37.
  • 113 See for instance, “Emeritus Professor Alfred Susu: An extraordinary synthesis of scholarship, styl (...)

35Thus, the Nigerian federal government chose to support all the first set of ASPAU graduates for an additional year if they had gained admission into an American graduate school but lacked alternative financial assistance112. ASPAU awardees who took advantage of this offer include 1961 awardees Isaac A. Adelemo, Lawrence C. Chiedozi and Francis O. Oluwole who all won the first AFGRAD scholarships in 1964. In addition to Alfred A. Susu, a 1963 ASPAU recipient who received an award in 1966, they all returned to work in Nigerian universities after their PhDs as obligated113.

  • 114 See “Statement of David D. Henry”, in International Migration of Talent and Skills, Washington DC, (...)

36Unlike the AFGRAD-sponsored, ASPAU participants were not obligated to return after their studies or repatriated from the US. As David Henry remarked in response to students prolonged stays: “We think it is more consistent with our national tradition for the student’s own country to urge his repatriation than it is for us to turn him out114.” Thus, many Nigerian participants exploited this measure by obtaining permanent residence, employment, graduate school offers in the US or simply disappearing.

  • 115 Robert G. Myers, Education and Emigration…, op. cit., p. 3.
  • 116 G. Lakshmana Rao, Brain Drain and Foreign Students: A Study of the Attitudes and Intentions of For (...)
  • 117 Beth A. Durodoye, Angela D. Coker, “Crossing cultures in marriage: Implications for counselling Af (...)

37While these long-term stays were not new, in the 1960s (inter)national policy-makers were already deeply concerned that greater percentages of foreign students were remaining abroad than they had previously115. By the end of the 1970s, the US was among the main beneficiaries of non-returning students with those more likely to remain being “students of science and medicine, graduate students, private students, students who stayed long in the United States, students with American wives, and students with job offers116”. In particular, the late 1960s recorded a significant number of marriages between African Americans and Africans on the ASPAU programme as a path to permanent residency117.

  • 118 “Federal Government scholarship advisory board for undergraduate studies and technical training, 1 (...)
  • 119 Oladejo O. Okediji, Francis O. Okediji, “A consideration of some factors influencing the loss of N (...)
  • 120 See AAI, Final Report, Operation Search, op. cit.; “About us: Consultant paediatrician – Professor (...)

38The fields of medicine while deemed essential by participating African governments was discouraged under the ASPAU programme. Consequently, Nigeria allocated the highest awards to medicine for its 1965 scholarship awards (54)118. Medical doctors and surgeons were also in high demand in the US where there was a shortage of physicians and other health personnel precipitating the pursuit of medical degrees often with the support of the Nigerian government. Nevertheless, incomes earned from a medical job in the US were substantially higher than those earned in Nigeria119. Unsurprisingly, out of the forty-two Nigerian ASPAU participants who acquired medical degrees/licences by 1975, only four returned permanently to practice in Nigeria: Onyechi Modebe (1961), Medrose Ogunye (1961), Edwin Okoroma (1962) and Cornelius Agori-Iwe (1964)120.

  • 121 AAI, Final Report, Appendix VII: Summary of current activities of ASPAU graduates by country, p. 2 (...)
  • 122 Marcellina Ulunm Offoha, Educated Nigerian Settlers in the United States: The Phenomenon of Brain (...)
  • 123 G. Lakshmana Rao, Brain Drain…, op. cit., p. 23; Inno Chukuma Onwueme, Like a Lily among Thorns, B (...)

39Subsequently, the ease with which many participants could obtain well-paying jobs, obtain graduate school offers, or acquire permanent residence status fostered a low return rate with only 186 Nigerians known to have returned by 1975121. As a result of the Nigeria-Biafra war between 1967 and 1970, Igbo participants were more unwilling to return to Nigeria, at first for safety reasons, and later due to post-war discrimination122. In addition, by remaining in the US, some participants from humbler socio-economic backgrounds were able to “scale up”, or in other words, raise their standard of living and those of their family back in Nigeria123.

Conclusion

40As a democratising force, education creates greater economic opportunities for minority groups, and promote equality. Knowingly or not, the ASPAU selection process became a mechanism by which socio-economic differences were masked by an assumed meritocracy. By emphasizing the academic merits of applicants, ASPAU to some extent enabled young people from low socioeconomic backgrounds to obtain a university education in the US. However, the programme has also contributed to reinforce other structures of exclusion in its making of the post-colonial Nigerian elite. The ASPAU scheme thus privileged gender, despite efforts to support female applications, and particular institutions and post-secondary qualification. Academic excellence may have been a determining factor in the ASPAU selection process, this simply favoured those who could afford or compete for entrance scholarships to institutions with the highest quality or level of education.

41The selection process also created tension and resistance among the various parties involved in the program, particularly the Nigerian academic community, which wanted to keep the best students in local institutions. ASPAU was not very successful in ensuring the systematic return of Nigerian graduates neither. Taking advantage of academic and professional opportunities and more generous immigration laws than in the past, some settled in the US after graduation and others re-entered the country after an initial return to Nigeria. In this respect, ASPAU played a particular role in the making of the post-colonial Nigerian elite: it contributed to the increasing mobility of this elite, giving it a transnational character.

42The transnational nature of ASPAU graduates also highlights their ability to leverage the programme according to their own criteria or goals. ASPAU applicants, for example, sought to circumvent the constraints and exclusionary factors that the program implied. Some succeeded, such as applicants considered too old to qualify for the scholarship who did not hesitate to change their age to reapply. Finally, female recipients were paradoxically marginalized and privileged, for though few in number, they took the opportunity that ASPAU represented to excel and even obtain qualifications usually reserved for men.

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Notes

1 This work was supported by generous comments by Joël Glasman, Dmitri van den Bersselaar, Constantin Katsakioris, members of the African History Seminar, University of Bayreuth, Germany, anonymous reviewers and the editors of this special edition. I also appreciate the Alex Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu-Alike, Nigeria, and the Nigerian Tertiary Education Fund (TETFUND) for the 2019 conference funds that supported the beginnings of this work.

2 “Chris Ohiri”, The Boston Globe, 10 November 1966, p. 30.

3 Laura G. Mirviss, “Harvard Recruits Nigerian Students”, The Harvard Crimson, 27 May 2010, accessed 15 July 2020. URL: https://www.thecrimson.com/article/2010/5/27/nigerian-students-nigeria-harvard/; Richard Andrew, “Munro unveils new soccer squad today; ‘Balance’ compensates for loss of Ohiri”, The Harvard Crimson, 30 September 1964, accessed 25 November 2019. URL: https://www.thecrimson.com/article/1964/9/30/munro-unveils-new-soccer-squad-today/.

4 See Liping Bu, Making the World Like US: Education, Cultural Expansion, and the American Century, New York, Praeger, 2003; Inderjeet Parmar, Foundations of the American Century: The Ford, Carnegie, & Rockefeller Foundations in the Rise of American Power, New York, Columbia University Press, 2012.

5 Constantin Katsakioris, “Creating a Socialist intelligentsia. Soviet educational aid and its impact on Africa (1960-1991)”, Cahiers d’Études africaines, 226, 2017, n° 2, p. 259-287; Corinna R. Unger, “The United States, decolonization, and the education of Third World countries”, in Jost Dülffer, Marc Frey (eds.), Elites and Decolonization in the Twentieth Century, New York, Palgrave, 2011, p. 246.

6 N. T. Chideya, “American scholarship programmes for African students, 1959-1975”, Zambezia, 9, 1981, n° 2, p. 137-153; Abigail Judge Kret, “‘We unite with knowledge’: The peoples’ friendship university and Soviet education for the Third World”, Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, 33, 2013, n° 2, p. 239-256.

7 Inderjeet Parmar, Foundations…, op. cit. p. 29.

8 See J. F. Ade Ajayi and al., The African Experience with Higher Education, Athens, Ohio University Press, 1996; Tim Livsey, Nigeria’s University Age, London, Palgrave Macmillan UK, 2017; Ogechi Anyanwu, “The Anglo-American-Nigerian collaboration in Nigeria’s higher education reform: The Cold War and decolonization, 1948-1960”, Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History, 11, 2010, n° 3.

9 N. T. Chideya, “American scholarship programmes”, art. cit., p. 139.

10 For a summary of the programme, see “The experiment in international living”, Die Unterrichtspraxis / Teaching German, 4, spring 1971, n° 1, p. 129-130.

11 Institute of International Education, “All places of origin of international students, selected years: 1949/50-1999/00”, Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange, accessed 24 March 2021. URL: http://www.iie.org/opendoors.

12 Robert G. Myers, Education and Emigration: Study Abroad and the Migration of Human Resources, New York, David McKay Company, Inc., 1972, p. 15.

13 The few studies during this period are immersed within the context of the “brain drain”, namely Olanipekun Laosebikan, From Student to Immigrant: The Diasporization of the African Student in the United States, PhD dissertation, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2012.

14 Eric Burton, “Introduction: Journeys of education and struggle: African mobility in times of decolonization and the Cold War”, Stichproben. Wiener Zeitschrift für kritische Afrikastudien, 18, 2018, n° 34, p. 3.

15 E. Jefferson Murphy, Creative Philanthropy: Carnegie Corporation and Africa, 1953-1973, New York and London, Teachers College Press, 1976, p. 90.

16 African-American Institute (hereafter AAI), Final Report: African Scholarship Program of American Universities (ASPAU), report period 1 April, 1961-31 December, 1975, New York, The African American Institute, 1976, p. 35-36. Fifteen participants withdrew for academic, health, personal and unspecified reasons. See “Appendix XI” in AAI, Final Report. Operation Search. African Scholarship Program of American Universities (ASPAU), New York, AAI, 1976, p. 114-171. URL: https://pdf.usaid.gov/pdf_docs/PDAAU440.pdf.

17 Chiedo Nwankwor, “Women’s protests in the struggle for independence”, in A. Carl LeVan, Patrick Ukata (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Nigerian Politics, 1st edition, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2018, p. 114.

18 The concept of the elite, framed within multiple categories, has elicited disagreements over who constitutes it or what the determinants to their social mobility are (for instance, see Emmanuel A. Ayandele, The Educated Elite in the Nigerian Society, Ibadan, Ibadan University Press, 1974). This work nevertheless describes the postcolonial Nigerian elite as mainly male participants from limited ethnic backgrounds whose post-university social and physical mobility were facilitated by the acquisition of advanced pre-varsity academic credentials. See Mary E. Dillard, “Examinations standards, educational assessments, and globalizing elites: The case of the West African examinations council”, The Journal of African American History 88, 2003, n° 4, p. 415, 422.

19 Samuel Fury Childs Daly, “Research note: Archival research in Africa”, African Affairs, 116, 2017, n° 463, p. 316; Jean Allman, “Phantoms of the archive: Kwame Nkrumah, a nazi pilot named Hanna, and the contingencies of postcolonial history-writing”, The American Historical Review, 118, 2013, n° 1, p. 104-129.

20 Online databases used include allAfrica.com, newspapers.com and Proquest which host digitized newspapers; British Archives Online and Centre for Research Libraries that contain government gazettes; and Blerf’s Who’s Who in Nigeria which host collective biographies.

21 Diane Bjorklund, Interpreting the Self: Two Hundred Years of American Autobiography, Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1998, p. 7.

22 Katharine S. B. Keats-Rohan, “Biography, identity and names: Understanding the pursuit of the individual in prosopography”, in id. (ed.), Prosopography Approaches and Applications: A Handbook, Oxford, Unit for Prosopographical Research, 2007, p. 141; Jacob Aagaard Lunding, Christoph Houman Ellersgaard, Anton Grau Larsen, “The craft of elite prosopography”, in Francois Denord, Mikael Palme, Bertrand Réau (eds.), Researching Elites and Power, Cham, Springer International Publishing, 2020, p. 57-70.

23 Committee on Educational Interchange Policy (hereafter CEIP), African Students in the United States: A Guide for Sponsors of Student Exchange Programs with Africa, New York, CEIP, 1960, p. 4.

24 The “Argonauts” were: Kingsley Ozuomba Mbadiwe, George I. Mbadiwe, Etoku Okada, Nwankwo Chukwuemeka, Nnodu Okongwu, Okechukwu Ikejiani, Mbonu Ojike and Nwafor Orizu. Michael Omolewa, “The impact of US-educated African students on educational developments in Africa, 1898-1955”, The Journal of African American History, 100, spring 2015, n° 2, p. 275; Nnamdi Azikiwe, My Odyssey. An Autobiography, New York and Washington, Praeger Publishers, 1970, chapters VI and VII.

25 Andrew D. Roberts, “The awkward squad: Arts graduates from British Tropical Africa before 1940”, The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, 44, 2016, n° 5, p. 803.

26 Yekutiel Gershomi, Africans on African-Americans: The Creation and Uses of an African-American Myth, Washington Square, New York University Press, 1997, p. 12.

27 Paul Anber, “Modernisation and political disintegration: Nigeria and the Ibos”, The Journal of Modern African Studies, 5, 1967, n° 2, p. 171.

28 Axel Harneit-Sievers, Constructions of Belonging: Igbo Communities and the Nigerian State in the Twentieth Century, Rochester, University of Rochester Press, 2006, p. 115; Raphael Chijioke Njoku, African Cultural Values: Igbo Political Leadership in Colonial Nigeria, 1900-1966, New York and London, Routledge, 2006, p. 113; “Mbonu Ojike walks into his own town triumphantly. Purse of £100 given to him”, West African Pilot, 11 February 1947, p. 1, 4; “Aro Ndizuogu gives £100 to Mbadiwe”, West African Pilot, 18 January 1949, p. 3.

29 Onyerisara Ukeje, J. U. Aisiku, “Education in Nigeria”, in A. Babs Fafunwa and J. U. Aisiku (eds.), Education in Africa: A Comparative Study, London, George Allen & Unwin, 1982, p. 218.

30 A. J. Stockwell, “Leaders, dissidents and the disappointed: Colonial students in Britain as empire ended”, The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, 36, September 2008, n° 3, p. 488.

31 CEIP, African Students…, op. cit., p. 19.

32 David D. Abernethy, The Political Dilemna of Popular Education: An African Case, Stanford, CA, Stanford University Press, 1969, p. 78.

33 Dmitri van den Bersselaar, “White-Collar Workers”, in Stephan Bellucci,Andreas Eckert (eds.), General Labour History of Africa Workers, Employers and Governments, 20th-21st Centuries, Suffolk, James Currey, Boydell & Brewer Ltd, in association with ILO, 2019, p. 400. See also Okoi Arikpo, The Development of Modern Nigeria, Baltimore, Penguin Books, 1967, p. 109-110.

34 See Joyce Lewinger Moock, “Overseas training and national development objectives in Sub-Saharan Africa”, Comparative Education Review, 28, 1984, n° 2, p. 221.

35 In 1946 Nigeria had been divided into three administrative regions – Northern, Western and Eastern, while a fourth, the Mid-West, was created in 1963. Although education became the responsibility of regional governments by 1 October, 1954, federal versus regional responsibility were complex and often fluid as the FGN continued to retain direct oversight over the award of Central (Federal) Government scholarships or bursaries on the basis of regional referrals. See also Stephen O. Awokoya, “The structure and development of Nigerian education,” in T. M. Yesufu (ed.), Manpower Problems and Economic Development in Nigeria, Ibadan, Oxford University Press, 1969, p. 162; Nigeria: Report for the Year 1955, London, HMSO, 1958, p. 83.

36 Correspondence from Loyd V. Steere, 14 September 1960, p. 2, Special Collections and University Archives (University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries), Horace Mann Bond Papers (MS 411) (hereafter HMBP), Africa-America Institute (hereafter AAI), (18 August 1961-17 October 1960).

37 Katharine K. Kinkead, A Reporter at Large: Something to Take Back Home, New York, The New Yorker Magazine, Inc., 1964.

38 United States Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, International Educational, Cultural and Related Activities for African Countries South of the Sahara, Washington DC, US Government Printing Office, 1961, p. 293.

39 E. Jefferson Murphy, Creative Philanthropy…, op. cit. p. 89; David D. Henry, “Africans look at ASPAU”, in US Government, African Students and Study Programs in the United States: Report and Hearings of the Subcommittee on Africa Committee on Foreign Affairs House of Representatives, Washington, Government Printing Office, 15 August 1965, p. 40.

40 E. Jefferson Murphy, Creative Philanthropy…, op. cit. p. 111.

41 David Henry, “Continuity and change in ASPAU,” in International Educational and Cultural Exchange, Washington DC, US Advisory Commission on International Educational and Cultural Affairs, 1965, p. 7.

42 See Report of John W. Davis to the Trustees of the African-American Institute on travel to 5 West African countries in October, 1960, p. 1-2, HMBP, AAI (5 January 1961).

43 Ogechi Anyanwu, The Politics of Access: University Education and Nation-Building in Nigeria, 1948-2000, Calgary, University of Calgary Press, 2011, p. 75.

44 Frederick Cooper, Africa since 1940: The Past in the Present, New York, Cambridge University Press, 2002, p. 5.

45 See correspondence from J. Newton Hill to Loyd V. Steere, 10 March 1961, HMBP, AAI (31 March 1961-3 April 1962).

46 Minutes of AAI Board of Trustees meeting 61-IX, 2 October 1961, p. 12, HMBP, AAI (2 September 1961-11 September 1961.

47 For more on his role on Nigeria’s higher education, see Ogechi E. Anyanwu, “Challenging the status quo: Alan Pifer and higher education reform in colonial Nigeria”, History of Education, 42, 2013, n° 1, p. 70-91.

48 See draft of minutes of meeting, 27 April 1961, AAI Board of Trustees Meeting 61-IV, 3 April 1961, p. 9, HMBP, AAI (27 April 1961-29 April 1961).

49 David D. Henry, “The African scholarship program of American universities”, National Defense Education Act, Part I, Washington DC, US Government printing Office, 1961, p. 961-970; Donald J. Eberly, “Overseas scholarships as seen from Nigeria”, US Government, African Students and Study Programs in the United States, op. cit., p. 47.

50 See Donald Eberly, “Overseas scholarships… –1964 Policy”, art. cit., p. 48.

51 See “Federal Government scholarship policy for 1962-63 and 1963-64”, FNOG, notice 360, 22 February 1962, p. 259; correspondence from J. Newton Hill to Loyd V. Steere, 10 March 1961; David Henry, “The African scholarship program…”, op. cit., p. 963; letter from J. Newton Hill to Loyd V. Steere, 31 March 1961, HMBP, AAI (1 May 1961).

52 “Table 2e: Number of secondary grammar schools and pupils by controlling authority 1959 and 1960”, Ministry of Education, Digest of Statistics 1960, Lagos, Federal Ministry of Education, n.d.

53 Correspondence from J. Newton Hill to Loyd V. Steere, August 29, 1961, p. 3, HMBP, AAI (2 October 1961).

54 “Staff Newsletter”, 1, n° 6, April 1962, p. 6, HMBP, AAI (25 April 1962).

55 Correspondence from David D. Henry to Mr James P. Grant, Deputy Director for Program and Planning, International Cooperation Administration, Washington DC, “A project for international cooperation in undergraduate education”, September 10, 1960, HMBP, AAI (18 August 1960).

56 “A project for international cooperation”, art. cit.

57 Correspondence from J. Newton Hill to Loyd V. Steere, April 21, 1961, HMBP, AAI (1 May 1961).

58 “Memorandum” dated 20 September 1961, HMBP, AAI (October 2, 1961).

59 Donald Eberly, “Overseas scholarships…”, art. cit., p. 47.

60 See draft of minutes of meeting dated 27 April 1961, “African-American Institute Board of Trustees Meeting 61-IV, 3 April 1961”, p. 9, HMBP, AAI (27 April 1961-29 April 1961).

61 Wole Soyinka, Ibadan: The Penkelemes Years, A Memoir, 1946-1965, reprint 2000, Ibadan, Spectrum Books Limited, in association with Safari Books (Export) Limited, 1994, p. 94.

62 Victor Anazonwu, “It’s futile advising President Buhari… Donald Trump reminds me of Idi Amin – Prof Okwudiba Nnoli”, The Renaissance Online Magazine, 30 January 2021. URL: https://therenaissance.com.ng/?p=32700.

63 See draft of minutes of meeting, 27 April 1961, op. cit., p. 9; Report of mission of Jackson-Engel in West Africa: Nigeria, HMBP, AAI (31 March 1961-3 April 1962).

64 Donald Eberly, “Overseas scholarships…”, art. cit., p. 47.

65 Ibid., p. 48.

66 See “A project for international cooperation in undergraduate education”, art. cit.; S. U. Bakari, “Overseas scholarships – 1969”, FNOG, notice 1370, 24 October 1968, p. 1375-1376.

67 Uchenna Nwosu, Wrapped Soil, Autobiography of a Mission-Driven Life, Bloomington, XLibris Corporation, 2010, p. 18, 21; Geoffrey Anyanwu, “At 80, I’m disappointed the way Nigeria is – Nwosu”, The Sun, 27 December 2018. URL:

http://sunnewsonline.com/at-80-im-disappointed-the-way-nigeria-is-nwosu/.

68 Biola Sobowale, “How much will be paid for university education? (1)”, Peoples Daily, 4 September 2019.

69 This number includes the two women who withdrew from the programme for academic (Ada Otue) and health (Nkembulu Mozie) reasons in 1965 and 1964 respectively.

70 See “Appendix III”, AAI, Final Report, op. cit., p. 1-27. The author analysed only non-Nigerian female participants indicated by Miss, Mrs or nee.

71 See “Table 5.1: Education as the third level”, in L’éducation en Afrique depuis 1960. Étude statistique, UNESCO. Conférence des ministres de l’Éducation des États membres d’Afrique, Lagos, 27 janvier-4 février 1976.

72 Mary Dillard, “Examinations standards…”, art. cit., p. 413-428

73 Federal Education Department, Nigeria: Digest of Statistics 1959, Lagos, Federal Information Service, n.d, p. 26-28.

74 Colonial Office Report on Nigeria for the Year 1949, London, HMSO, 1950, p. 59. See also William H. Taylor, Mission to Educate: A History of the Educational Work of the Scottish Presbyterian Mission in East Nigeria, 1846-1960, Leiden, E. J. Brill, 1996, p. 182.

75 Oyinkan Ade-Ajayi, Heritage Schools Nigeria: An Illustrated History, UK, Phoenix Visions World Limited, 2019, p. 182.

76 Federal Government of Nigeria, Annual Report of the Federal Education Department for 1958, Lagos, Federal Government Printer, 1959, p. 5.

77 Stephen Awokoya, “ The structure and development”, art. cit., p. 169.

78 “Federal Government scholarships, 1960”, FNOG, notice 2651, 2nd publication, 17 December 1959, p. 1688.

79 David D. Henry, “Africans look at ASPAU”, art. cit., p. 42; AAI, Final Report, Operation Search, op. cit. p. 114-171.

80 “‘Mo’ Is Sa’aid’s Nickname at Cornell”, Newsweek, 22 April 1963, p. 59.

81 AAI, Final Report, Operation Search, op. cit. p. 114-171.

82 “Federal advanced teacher’s college, Lagos”, FNOG, notice 692 (26 April 1962), p. 574. See also “Federal Government scholarship awards, 1961”, FOGN, notice 2488, 22 December 1960, p. 1632-1633; “Commonwealth teacher training bursary scheme: Government of India, 1962-63 awards”, FNOG, notice 693, 19 April 1962, p. 531.

83 Anton Tarradellas, “‘A Glorious Future’ for Africa: Development, higher education and the making of African elites in the United States (1961-1971)”, Paedagogica Historica, 2021, Vol. 57, Issue 3, p. 10.

84 Memorandum, 20 September 1961, p. 5-6, HMBP, AAI (2 October 1961).

85 See, “35 Bennett students to be honoured”, The Carolinian, 21 November 1964, p. 8; “‘Search for new truths’ Bennett Honorees told”, The Carolinian, 13 March 1965, p. 9.

86 “Straight-A Africans”, Time Magazine, 21 December 1962, p. 55; “Seniors lead honor roll for past term”, The Bennett Banner, 1 March 1962, p. 1.

87 “Society inducts ten”, The Bennett Banner, 1 December 1963, p. 3.

88 “Seniors elected to Who’s Who at Bennett College”, The Bennett Banner, 1 December 1963; “In Honor Society”, The Carolinian, 9 May 1964, p. 1.

89 See Hollis R. Lynch, K. O. Mbadiwe: A Nigerian Political Biography, 1915-1990, 1st edition, New York, Palgrave Macmillan, 2012, p. 15; Obi Nwakanma, “Old Umuahians convene in Atlanta”, Vanguard, 2 September 2018. URL: https://www.vanguardngr.com/2018/09/old-umuahians-convene-in-atlanta/.

90 See funeral tribute booklet, “H. E. (Dibueze) Chief Mrs Chinyere Asika, OFR: Tributes to an icon”, accessed 19 December 2020. URL: https://www.slideshare.net/EdKeazor/dibueze-chinyere-asika-ofr-funeral-tribute.

91 “Meet the Surgeons”, News Stories, University of Mississippi Medical Center, 24August 2015, accessed 19 December 2020. URL: https://www.umc.edu/news/News_Articles/2015/August/Female-surgeons-making-a-cut-on-the-bias.html; “Native of Nigeria practices healing arts in Hattiesburg”, Hattiesburg American, 17 December 1978, p. 37; “In the Supreme Court of Nigeria”, Federal Republic of Nigeria Official Gazette (hereafter FRNOG), notice 1181, 2 July 1964, p. 992, and “The Constitution of the Federation”, FRNOG, notice 82, 3 February 1977, p. 115.

92 “Only one girl in 100 receives prize”, Barnard Bulletin, 22 October 1962, p. 5; Roselle Kurland, “The African scholarship program of American universities”, Barnard Alumnae Magazine, Fall 1963, p. 9.

93 David Abernethy, The Political Dilemna…, op. cit. p. 198.

94 AAI, Final Report, Operation Search, op. cit., p. 114-171.

95 See AAI, Final Report, op. cit. p. 23.

96 Terri Ochiagha, Achebe and Friends at Umuahia: The Making of a Literary Elite, Rochester, James Currey, 2015, p. 69.

97 See response of Richard Moll, Executive Director, ASPAU, in US Government, African Students and Study Programs in the United States, op. cit., p. 60; Raymond L. Perkins, “Letters to the editor: ASPAU in French-Speaking West Africa”, International Educational and Cultural Exchange, Fall 1967, p. 2.

98 F. O. Ogunlade, “Education and politics in colonial Nigeria: The case of King’s College, Lagos (1906-1911)”, Journal of the Historical Society of Nigeria, 7, 1974, n° 2, p. 325-345.

99 See “Table 4b: Higher School Certificate of Cambridge University 1960 results: Number of candidate passes in principal subjects” and “Table 4c: West African Examination Council General Certificate of Education 1960”, Ministry of Education, Digest of Statistics 1960, Lagos, Federal Ministry of Education, n.d.

100 Federal Education Department, Nigeria: Digest of Statistics 1959, op. cit., p. 26-28.

101 Terri Ochiagha, Achebe and Friends…, op. cit., p. 10.

102 Uchenna Nwosu, Wrapped Soil, op. cit., p. 77; “Straight-A Africans”, Time Magazine, 21 December 1962, p. 55.

103 See correspondence dated 12 February 1963, “The African scholarship program of American universities, November 1959-1963: A progress report”, p. 2, HMBP, AAI, 1963.

104 “Adelekan Adetunji Johnson”, GCI Museum, accessed 3 March 2021. URL: http://www.gcimuseum.org/content/adelekan-adetunji-johnson.

105 AAI, Final Report, Operation Search, op. cit., p. 114-171.

106 AAI, Final Report, op. cit., p. 5.

107 Delores and Nurudeen Olatunji Olambiwonnu, MD, “Commitment to health, commitment to children”, Advocate, spring 2015, p. 12-15, accessed 22 January 2021. URL: https://www.huntingtonhospital.org/documents/advocatespring2015.pdf.

108 AAI, Final Report, op. cit. p. 30.

109 CEIP, The Foreign Student: Exchangee or Immigrant?, New York, CEIP, 1958, p. 4.

110 “Mrak presents award to Innocent Onwueme”, The California Aggie, 21 February 1967, p. 1.

111 See “African students graduate”, ASPAU Forum, April 1964, p. 2; N. T. Chideya, “American scholarship programmes…”, art. cit., p. 144.

112 AAI, Final Report, op. cit. p. 37.

113 See for instance, “Emeritus Professor Alfred Susu: An extraordinary synthesis of scholarship, style and sports”, The Guardian, 16 March 2013, p. 24.

114 See “Statement of David D. Henry”, in International Migration of Talent and Skills, Washington DC, Committee on the Judiciary, 1968, p. 121

115 Robert G. Myers, Education and Emigration…, op. cit., p. 3.

116 G. Lakshmana Rao, Brain Drain and Foreign Students: A Study of the Attitudes and Intentions of Foreign Students in Australia, the USA, Canada, and France, New York, St. Martin’s Press, 1979, p. 103, 107-122.

117 Beth A. Durodoye, Angela D. Coker, “Crossing cultures in marriage: Implications for counselling African American/African couples”, International Journal for the Advancement of Counselling, 30, 2008, n° 1, p. 26.

118 “Federal Government scholarship advisory board for undergraduate studies and technical training, 1965: Supplementary notice,” FOGN, notice 242, 4 February 1965, p. 181.

119 Oladejo O. Okediji, Francis O. Okediji, “A consideration of some factors influencing the loss of Nigerian medical and paramedical personnel to developed nations”, West African Journal of Education, 17, 1973, n° 1, p. 71-87.

120 See AAI, Final Report, Operation Search, op. cit.; “About us: Consultant paediatrician – Professor Edwin Okoroma”, Memfys Hospital, accessed 20 March 2021. URL: https://memfys.net/about-us/; “Dr Agori-Iwe Cornelius Ovigho”, Blerf’s Who’s Who in Nigeria (online), last updated 6 September 2016, accessed 20 March 2021. URL: https://blerf.org/index.php/biography/agori-iwe-dr-cornelius-ovigho/. Okoroma, however, left Nigeria in 1990 to practise in Saudi Arabia till 2018.

121 AAI, Final Report, Appendix VII: Summary of current activities of ASPAU graduates by country, p. 2.

122 Marcellina Ulunm Offoha, Educated Nigerian Settlers in the United States: The Phenomenon of Brain Drain, PhD dissertation, University of Michigan, 1989, p. IX-X.

123 G. Lakshmana Rao, Brain Drain…, op. cit., p. 23; Inno Chukuma Onwueme, Like a Lily among Thorns, Bloomington, AuthorHouse, 2014, p. 210.

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Ngozi Edeagu, « Educating a transnational postcolonial elite »Diasporas, 37 | 2021, 79-94.

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Ngozi Edeagu, « Educating a transnational postcolonial elite »Diasporas [En ligne], 37 | 2021, mis en ligne le 16 juin 2022, consulté le 18 juin 2024. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/diasporas/6285 ; DOI : https://doi.org/10.4000/diasporas.6285

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Ngozi Edeagu

Ngozi Edeagu est doctorante à la Bayreuth International School of African Studies de l’université de Bayreuth en Allemagne. Elle a été aussi chercheuse invitée à la School of History de la Queen Mary University de Londres en 2020-2021 et elle est affiliée depuis 2015 au département d’histoire et d’études stratégiques de l’université fédérale Alex-Ekwueme de Ndufu-Alike au Nigeria. Ses domaines de recherche portent sur les catégories de personnes peu ou pas du tout représentées dans l’historiographie et ce à travers une analyse articulant les échelles locales et globales. Elle est coéditrice du volume Negotiating Patriarchy and Gender in Africa: Discourses, Practices, and Policies (Lanham, Lexington Books, 2021). Ngozi est titulaire d’une licence en histoire de l’université du Nigeria (mention très bien) et d’une maîtrise en études africaines de l’université d’Oxford.

Ngozi Edeagu is a PhD researcher at the Bayreuth International School of African Studies, University of Bayreuth, Germany. In 2020-21, she was a visiting post-graduate researcher at the School of History, Queen Mary University of London. Since 2015, she has been affiliated to the Department of History and Strategic Studies, Alex-Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu-Alike, Nigeria. Her research interests traverse the local and global as she investigates the historically silenced in scholarly debates. She is the co-editor of the edited volume, Negotiating Patriarchy and Gender in Africa: Discourses, Practices, and Policies (Lanham, Lexington Books, 2021). Ngozi received her BA in History from the University of Nigeria (1st class honours) and her MSc in African Studies from the University of Oxford.

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