Memorable Quotes from Adebayo Lamikanra’s “Wake Me Up in the Year 2000”


WAKE ME UP IN THE YEAR 2000, published in 1994, is a collection of forty-two articles which cover a wide variety of subjects and topics of local and international sensibilities.

The collection touches on themes such as inept leadership, underdevelopment, centennial slavery, colonialism, academic decadence, global crises, death, football, hegemony, and detrimental consumerism.

Some of these articles had been originally published in the op-ed page of The Guardian newspaper.


Adebayo Lamikanra, at the time of the publication of this collection a Professor of Pharmaceutical Microbiology and Dean of the Faculty of Pharmacy, Obafemi Awolowo University, wrote the articles, which are laced with several historical references and analogies, as social commentaries on issues of national and global importance. The writer retired from active lecturing in 2019 as one of the longest serving lecturers in Obafemi Awolowo University.

The memorable quotes culled from the collection are apt reflections of the writer’s thoughts and concerns, and the seriousness of the issues addressed in the book.

Memorable Quotes from WAKE ME UP IN THE YEAR 2000

“The European experience has shown very clearly that travelling is far more than a physical phenomenon. Its liberating effect on the mind is incalculable and it is not coincidental that a people on the move is a people that cannot be brow beaten or cowed by their leaders or enemies.”

(Page 2)

“We are forever dreaming of a rosy future without facing up to the fact that the rose must be planted, fertilised, watered and carefully nurtured before harvesting the sweet smelling flowers. And even at this point, the harvest must be carried out with skill and care if the thorns on the rose bush are not to make this operation a bloody and tearful one.”

(Page 7)

“Our dreams can only come true if we stopped dreaming and got on with the back-breaking toil required for their fulfilment.”

(Page 9)

“The tail it seems has become large enough to wag the dog whenever and however it pleases!”

(Page 17)

“Victory does not always go to the strongest, or the swiftest, or even the most deserving.”

(Page 27)

“The great tragedy about freedom is not that people die seeking it. It is that people want freedom for themselves as much as they wish to deny freedom for others.”

(Page 36)

“Policies which are harebrained in their conception and criminal in their execution are praised to the skies and the emperor who would not know a common man if he stumbled over one is made to believe that all his subjects, every man, woman and child of them, went about their tasks with songs of thanksgiving on their grateful lips.”

(Page 44)

“Memories of rich men fade very quickly after their death but heroes are never really forgotten.”

(Page 75)

“Mankind has an astonishing capacity for forgetting pain but the memories of an indignity are almost indelible.”

(Page 76)

“Poverty of means always leads to the poverty of spirit.”

(Page 77)

“Miracles will only happen to those who are prepared to work hard to bring them about.”

(Page 115)

“We have been shivering through a long, dark winter of frank discontent and the likelihood of a glorious summer is virtually non-existent.”

(Page 118)

“What is the cause of our discomfiture? For some, we are simply reaping the rewards of our sinfulness and a ‘return’ to God is all that is needed for prosperity to break out like a rash of boils. From time to time, such people have prescribed days of prayer, abstinence and fasting, forgetting that for a goodly number of Nigerians, fasting is already factor of their daily life.”

(Page 118)

“A country in which the inhabitants of its most sophisticated city go around in fear of losing their penises and breasts to unmentionable mysterious forces is a country which is never likely to be anything but technologically backward and insignificant.”

(Page 124)

“We must be prepared to climb the trees and not wait for their fruits to drop into our laps – they never will.”

(Page 178)

“Leadership in any sense is a responsibility between the leader and the led in which both sides have well defined functions which when taken together result in harmony and progress.”

(Page 180)

“Sacrifices are meaningful only when it is seen that everyone is getting a fair share of the privations which such sacrifices demand.”

(Page 180)

Adebayo Lamikanra, the author. Image credit: Adebayo Lamikanra

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