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COMMUNIQUE OF THE COMBINED 22ND AND 23RD NIGERIAN ACADEMY OF LETTERS (NAL) CONVOCATION AND INVESTITURE OF NEW FELLOWS, AND SCIENTIFIC SESSION HELD AT THE J.F. ADE.AJAYI AUDITORIUM, UNIVERSITY OF LAGOS, ON THURSDAY, 12TH AUGUST, 2021

COMMUNIQUE OF THE COMBINED 22ND AND 23RD NIGERIAN ACADEMY OF LETTERS (NAL) CONVOCATION AND INVESTITURE OF NEW FELLOWS, AND SCIENTIFIC SESSION HELD AT THE J.F. ADE.AJAYI AUDITORIUM, UNIVERSITY OF LAGOS, ON THURSDAY, 12TH AUGUST, 2021

PREAMBLE

The Nigerian Academy of Letters (NAL), an autonomous, non-political body of scholars in the humanities, held its 22nd and 23rd Combined Convocation and Investiture of New Fellows, and Scientific Session on Thursday, 12th August, 2021, at the J.F. Ade. Ajayi Auditorium, University of Lagos. The theme of the Convocation was “What is it to be Human?

In attendance were 101 professors from different Nigerian and overseas universities. The President of the Nigerian Academy of Letters (NAL), Professor Francis Egbokhare, FNAL, presided over the Convocation and Investiture of New Fellows and the Vice President, Professor Duro Oni, FNAL, presided over the Scientific Session. Twenty-six (26) new members were inducted; thirteen new Regular Fellows (Professors Abayomi O. Akinyeye, Andrew Haruna, Imelda Icheji Lawrence Udoh, Olusegun Adesina Adekoya, Mabel Itohanosa Erioyumvwen Evwierhoma, David Roger Jowitt, Ahmed Parker Yerima, Adebola Babatunde Ekanola, Frank Madubuchi Dukor, Olayemi Durotimi Akinwumi, Lateef Babatunde Ayeleru, Isidore Okeawolam Diala, Tanure Ojaide) and one Honorary Fellow (Most Reverend, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah) were admitted to the College of Fellows of the Academy. Other key dignitaries and vice chancellors in attendance included Professor Oluwatoyin T. Ogundipe, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lagos; Prof. Olayemi Akinwumi, the Vice Chancellor of the Federal University, Lokoja and Professor Adebola Ekanola, the Acting Vice Chancellor of University of Ibadan.

The Convocation Lecture titled “Descent from Humanism: Music, Literature and the Media” was delivered by Professor Olu Obafemi, FNAL, NNOM. Three well-researched papers on the Convocation theme were also presented at the Scientific Session by Professor Lai Oso of the School of Communication, Lagos State University; Professor Jim Unah, FNAL, Department of Philosophy, University of Lagos, and Professor Alex Asigbo of the Department of Theatre and Film Studies, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka. In the course of these presentations, pertinent issues that need the attention of government and the general public were discussed. These formed the basis of the following observations and recommendations.

OBSERVATIONS

At the end of the engaging Convocation Lecture and the stimulating Scientific Session, the following were observed:

  1. The Nigerian society seems to have lost its humanity with increasing violence and human indignities.
  1. Media reportage and representations of images and narratives about events, places and people seem to shape our perceptions about people, events and our society.
  1. Religion and science have been abused and misused, and consequently people resort to diverse forms of harmful escape to find relief from alienation and harsh conditions of life.
  1. Benign arts that have the capacity to influence behaviour positively lack patronage, while malignant arts that offer instant gratification but bastardise values and hasten degeneration are promoted by money-mongering companies.
  1. Bad examples set by the malfeasant elite and the corrupt leadership encourage perfidy and excessive materialism that are deleterious to the moral health of the society.
  1. Educational institutions alone cannot salvage the decadent and fallen Nigerian society whose values have been perverted by prolonged military rule and denial of human rights.
  1. Rebellion of youths stems from deep frustration and has a negative impact on popular culture that tends to celebrate vice.

RECOMMENDATIONS

In view of the above observations, the following recommendations were made:

  1. There is an urgent need for a humanising education that would restore humanity to the path of peace and moral rearmament at the family and societal levels.
  1. Media reports should take into consideration historical contexts in the presentations of events in society.
  1. The positive aspects of religion and science/technology should be harnessed to bridge the gap between utopia and reality.
  1. There is the need for the continuous exploration of the various disciplines in the arts for the benefit of humanity in Nigeria.
  1. The family as an institution should be empowered to regain its stability in order to discharge its moral and teaching responsibilities to children effectively.
  1. The school system should partner with government and parents in training the individual for the common good of the country.
  1. Government should be more responsive to the plight of the citizens, especially the youth by making policies that are youth-centred and beneficial to all.

Professor Duro Oni, FNAL
President, Nigerian Academy of Letters (NAL)

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