Participants at a three-day international conference held recently at the Adeyemi College of Education (ACE), Ondo have called on the three tiers of government in Nigeria to urgently embark on the production of development agenda for coastal communities in the country.
Similarly, Multi-national and indigenous companies prospecting for oil, gas and other natural resourcesin the communities, were also prevailed upon to fulfill their social responsibility to the people of the areas, by embarking on projects that would have meaningful impact and add values to their lives.
The conference with the theme: ‘‘Community, Trade and Religion in Coastal Yoruba Land’’, which held from the 6th-8th December 2016, was attended by scholars from various tertiary institutions in Nigeria and overseas.
Resource persons who presented papers on various topics during the conference were drawn from fields of endeavours which include Sociology and Anthropology, Humanities, Arts and Science.
Harmonizing the positions of various speakers in a communiqué read at the end of the conference, a Professor of Humanities from the University of Texas at Austin, United State of America (USA), Toyin Falola decried what the participants observed as low level of socio/economic development of Yoruba coastal communities, in spite of its abundant natural resources, when compared with other parts of the country.
While attributing the development to long years of neglect, the University don stated that the participants noted that for the situation to be improved, there was need for government at Federal, State and Local Government levels, to place more attention on the provision of education, job creation and basic amenities such as good road, potable water and health facilities for the people of the communities.
Similarly, the communiqué also stressed the need for the government to take notice of aquatic nature and marine life of the people of the communities by embarking on programmes and policies that would suit their purpose and have direct impact on their lives.
Other statements contained in the communiqué include the need for government and other stakeholders to give adequate attention to environmental protection and degradation through massive investment in coastline development, enactment of legislation that would boost capacity of local fishermen, development of tourism, introduction of conflict resolution strategy, embarkingon accurate mapping of towns and settlements located in coastal communities as well as developmentof economic blueprint that would help in accelerating rapid transformation of the region by state government, where they are located.
Meanwhile, in a keynote address presented at the commencement of the conference, a University don, Prof. Toyin Falola lauded the initiative of the organizers and described the hosting of the conference as timely against the background of increased agitation and cry of marginalization coming from people living in coastal communities in various part of the country.
While commending the Management of Adeyemi College of Education (ACE) Ondo for blazing the trail in organizing the conference, Prof. Falola said the move would go a long way in advancing the frontier of knowledge and put an end to what he observed as neglect of Yoruba coastal community by Archaeologists as well as putting the history of Yoruba race in the right perspective.
The University don urged other tertiary institutions to emulate the step taken by ACE, adding that the move would help in promoting academic development, innovation and production of scholars that would make meaningful contributions to advancement of knowledge in the country.
In his remarks, the Provost of ACE, Prof. Olukoya Ogen, stated the conference was organized as part of effort by his administration to promote intellectual development and enhance human capacity in the institution.
He acknowledged support received from eminent personalities such as Prof. Toyin Falola, Dr. Insa Nolte from the University of Birmingham and other scholars from various tertiary institutions, who took partin the conference and assured that his administration would continue to organize programmes that would enrich academic development, and add values to lives of teaching and non-teaching staff and students in the college.
The three-day programme organizedby the College in collaboration with the University of Birmingham, European Research Council (ERC) and Osun State University, Oshogbo which took place at the New Centre for Educational Technology (CET) auditorium featured cultural display and presentationof papers by scholars from various institutions which include the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife; University of Lagos; Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye; Osun State University, Oshogbo and the University of Ibadan.
Other institutions include University of Oxford; Lagos State University, Ojo; Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso and Adeyemi College of Education, Ondo.
Resource persons who presented papers at the conference include former Vice-Chancellor Wesley University of Science and Technology (WUSTO), Prof. Tola Badejo; Dr. Binta Julia, Oxford University, Prof. Ayodeji Olukoju; Prof.Oladipo Olusola Olubomehin; Dr. Adeyemi–Suenu Adebowale and messrs Balogun Adeyemi and Omotayo Charles respectively.
Others who also made presentations were Messrs Mudasiru Moruff and Adewusi Adebayo; Dr. Olupayimo Dolapo Zaccheus, Dr. Gbade Ikuejube and O.A Funmilayo as well as Onipede Kayode Joseph, Ajishola Omojeje and Raliat Olusola Adu-Peters.
Also among the list of paper presenters include Rasheed Oluwafunminiyi and Mike Famiyesin as well as Igboin Benson Ohihon.