The Vice-Chancellor, Federal University Lokoja (FUL), Professor Olayemi Akinwum, has been conferred with an Award of Excellence in recognition of his passion for education and contributions to the development of FUL, particularly, for establishing the Department of Linguistics and African Languages for the University.
Professor Akinwumi bagged the merit award at the ongoing 34th Conference of the Linguistic Association of Nigeria (FULCLAN 2023) tagged "Nigerian Languages and the Challenges of Pandemic" which is being hosted by the Department of Linguistics and African Languages, Federal University Lokoja.
While presenting the award, the Chairman, Local Organizing Committee (LOC) and pioneer Head of the Department, Professor Harrison Adeniyi, thanked the Vice-Chancellor for his foresight and unwavering support for the fledgling Department which was established immediately after he assumed office in 2021 as the 3rd Vice-Chancellor of the twelve-year-old Institution.
In his address during the auspicious event which he declared open, the Vice-Chancellor expressed great joy for the opportunity granted to the University to host the reputable Association at its 34th national conference which is coinciding with the 6th and 7th Convocation Ceremony of the FUL. He welcomed the participants to the Confluence State that connects the South and the North in Nigeria, and to Lokoja, the Kogi State capital, where Nigeria was named by a British journalist Flora Shaw, who later married Baron Frederick Lugard, a British colonial administrator in the late 19th century.
The Vice-Chancellor stated that the theme of the conference was apt and timely considering the enormous challenges posed by the pandemic in recent times while thanking members of the organizing committee for ensuring the success of the event.
Continuing, he said: "The world has been thrown into a state of confusion in recent times due to the ravaging pandemic dealing with it. Different measures have been hitherto proposed and experimented. Unfortunately, little or none of these measures have yielded positive results. Arguably, this is a result of not considering the solution of making use of indigenous languages to explain causes, effects, and how to prevent the pandemic across the globe.
"Part of the mandate I have given to the Department of Linguistics and African Languages, Federal University Lokoja, at the establishment, is to ensure the promotion and documentation of the cultures and indigenous languages in Kogi State such as Ebira, Igala, Okun, Bassa, Oworo, Oko, Osayin, etc. We are poised to doing this in order to save our cultures and languages from the threat of endangerment and extinction."
Earlier in his opening remarks, the acting Head of the Department and host, Dr. Tosin Samson Olagunju, also expressed appreciation to the Vice-Chancellor and his management team for accepting to host this year's event. He equally thanked the staff and students of the Department for working assiduously towards ensuring the success of the conference.
There were goodwill messages and speeches delivered by LAN President and Association Host, Professor Imelda Udoh; the Provost, College of Postgraduate Studies and Convener, Professor Gbenga Ibileye; Dean, Faculty of Arts, Professor Ayodele Bamidele; and the Olu Lagedu iv, the Olu Apata of Apata-Oworo, Oba Frederick Durojaiye Mayo Balogun, ND, JP; amongst other eminent personalities who graced the opening ceremony and received various awards.
The Keynote Lecture of the conference was presented by the immediate past Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Professor Abubakar Rasheed, ably represented by the former Vice-Chancellor, Federal University, Gashua, (FUGA), Yobe State, Professor Andrew Haruna. See more pictures here