The President of the Nigerian Folklore Society, Bukar Usman, has called on the NUC (National Universities Commission) and tertiary institutions in Nigeria to give serious and urgent attention to developing curricular to produce the required professionals for Nigeria to realise its potentials in digital media presentation of its folklore.
He made this statement during the 5th Congress and 14th Conference of the NFS, which held at the Idris Abdulkadir Auditorium of the National Universities Commission (NUC) in Maitama, Abuja from April 29-30, 2019, with the theme “Resilience and Dynamism in Folklore in the 21st Century”. The confab also deliberated on a variety of sub-themes. In all, a 55 papers were presented.
Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, Director General, National Council for Arts and Culture, presented the keynote address, while Professor Afam Ebeogu of Abia State University, Uturu, presented the lead paper.
Dr. Bukar Usman’s address was focused on on the state of the NFS and how to move it forward. Professor Hamman Tukur Saad, who chaired the opening ceremony, also presided over the plenary session. In his remarks, he stressed the need for a society like the NFS to continue to make giant strides.
Otumba Runsewe, in his address, stressed the need for Nigerians to value and up-grade the cultural artifacts at the disposal of the country, noting that great nations of the world got to their present enviable stage on account of their dogged commitments to the development of arts and culture.
Prof. Afam Ebeogu in his paper, “Teaching Folklore in a Nigerian University: A Tentative Model”, impressively, narrated his personal experience locally and overseas in studying and teaching of folklore at graduate and post-graduate levels. He went on to enumerate elements of folklore studies to be included in a model for the teaching of Folklore in Nigerian universities.
Chris J. Maiyaki, Director, Office of the Executive Secretary NUC, who represented Professor Abubakar Adamu Rasheed, Executive Secretary of the NUC, articulated the various contributions of the Executive Secretary to the advancement of the Nigerian university system, as well as in widening the frontiers of scholarship by asking NFS to collaborate with the NUC in proposing a curriculum for B.A degree in Folklore Studies in Nigeria.
The various syndicate sessions were quite illuminating as various aspects of the main theme were explored in details. The papers presented revolved around proverbs; power relations and cultural diversity; folklore and the new media; aspects of material culture in folktales presentation; folklore and its transmission; folklore as a medium of cultural revival and renaissance; folklore as an instrument of education; and the need for it to be preserved in multi-media genres – films, video games, cartoon etc.
General observations on the various papers presented emphasised the need for theoretical framework as basis for discussions, the importance of contextualisation, the need to avoid generalisation and the place of deeper research in paper presentations.
The 2019 eventually Annual Conference resolved that senior academics of NFS should encourage and challenge the younger ones to aspire to greater heights and the younger and middle cadre academics should continue to explore for their career development scholarly platforms provided by the Nigerian Folklore Society under prevailing environment.
It enjoined policy makers and functionaries need to create conducive atmosphere for the promotion of folklore and culture generally, even as NFS welcomed the NUC proposal for collaboration to review and strengthen the curriculum for folklore studies in Nigerian universities.
Furthermore, the NFS recognised the need for the preservation/promotion of folklore generally and oral narratives in particular, while advising that seed money/funding should be sourced to kickstart substantial and sustainable funding in Nigeria folklore for the development of arts and culture.
It was also resolved that “investment in Nigerian folklore industry should focus on creation of video games; field work should be encouraged to complement existing data bank of Nigerian folklore; NFS should collaborate with captains of industries and media pundits in the electronic and print media in fashioning ways to cash in on the abundance of arts and culture in Nigeria.”
As the younger generation hardly relishes reading texts in hard copies nowadays, it suggested that folk narratives should be stored in electronic format to catch their attention. NFS, it said, was desirous of partnership with any organisation to produce tales and forms of folklore and oral literature using ICT compliant media.
“Such rebranding, apart from its environment and commercial potentials, will doubly ensure that the younger generation becomes more acquainted with Nigerian culture/folklore,” said the communique.