It was all joy as the Department of English Language and Literature held its first Annual conference at the University Auditorium recently. The theme of the conference was “Emerging Trends in English Language and Literary Studies.
The Chairman of the occasion, Rt. Hon. Ikem Uzoezie (Ike Oha) in his opening remark said it was an honour and privilege to Chair the event, which he called an “intellectual exercise.” He congratulated the Department for organizing its first annual conference, expressing hope for it to be made an annual event. Hon. Uzoezie noted that conferences are avenues for the exchange of knowledge, which always have positive impact on lecturers and students. Finally, he urged students to be innovative so as to be job creators in the future.
The Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Joseph E. Ahaneku (FAS) who was represented by the Dean, School of Postgraduate Studies, Prof. Harris Odumegwu, welcomed all to the epoch making annual conference of the Department of English language and Literature studies. He congratulated the HOD, the Staff and Students of the Department. With this maiden annual lecture, he said, the Department of English language and Literature has been admitted into the elite club of Faculties and Departments who are involved in such satisfying academic exercise. Furthermore, he said that UNIZIK has firmly established a tradition through its various faculties and Departments; organizing academic discourses- conferences, workshops, public lectures, seminars, symposia that aim at broadening and deepening the frontiers of knowledge, and interrogating issues of national and international concern, with a view to proffering solutions.
The Dean, Faculty of Arts, Rev. Fr. Prof. B.A.C Obiefuna said that the Department of English has made a landmark achievement with the annual nature of the event which makes them feel highly elated and first in the Faculty. He thanked the HOD, the LOC and members of the Department. He appealed to other departments in the Faculty to follow the lead. He also expressed immense gratitude to the VC, Prof. J.E. Ahaneku, FAS for his unflinching support and encouragement, which has remained the reason for the numerous academic harvest witnessed in the University.
In his address, the Head of the Department, Dr. Ndubuisi Osuagwu said that the Department is immensely pleased because its dream of establishing an annual Conference in its core discipline has been realized. The Theme of the conference “The Emerging Trends in English the Language and Literary Studies” he said was informed by the observable, diverse but novel ideals that are currently evolving in the areas of the English language and literature that is written or translated into it. He opined that they believe that there is need to track and critically interrogate the emerging trends.
Dr. Osuagwu thanked immensely the Vice-Chancellor for his wonderful encouragement and invaluable support, at a time when fund management has become the greatest test for the most astute of University administrators. He also expressed appreciation to the Chairman of the occasion and all who contributed to the success of the conference.
In his speech, the keynote speaker, Prof. Chimalum Nwankwo dwelling on the Topic “African Literature: Dealing with the agon with the West” started by asking, what trends emerge in Africa’s epistemological reformations, or formations that are not as important as cultural revivifications and ontological reclamations. What Africa has to gain with a modernist rupture which harbors certain abrogations and repudiations? He said that African Literature in general should cultivate its own inwards looking posture, and intensify any modus, which makes its productions worthy interventions in not just improving the quality of African arts and cultures, but in ameliorating the various strains or stress of the human condition in Africa.
Prof. Nwankwo concluded by urging Africans not to just search for emerging trends, questing in apocalyptic anxiety, hurrying for some magico-religious intervention, when our Christian eschatological declaration assures us that as in the beginning, so is now, and ever shall be, world without end. He opined that all should be mindful of the ontological rehabilitation and the development of pragmatic epistemologies for a more stable African future. Finally, he stated that we can affect more positively what we have become through the grave experience of colonialism or neo-colonialism and their hazardous regimes, backed by various tools of cultural imperialism in the African world, insidious and subtle or covert and overt.
In her vote of thanks, a member of the Local Organizing Committee, Mrs. Ifeoma Odinye, thanked all who contributed to the success of the conference and prayed for God’s blessing on them all.