Scholars drawn from institutions across Africa have given reasons why African scholars must be at the front of policy implementation.
A Professor of Theology from South Africa, Muhammed Haron, and Prof. Felix Enegho, of the Faculty of Arts, Kogi State University, spoke at the Faculty of Arts Biennial Conference of the University of Ibadan (UI), Oyo State.
Haron who is from University of Shellsbosch, South Africa, said African scholars should become game changers and not allow local standards to dictate for them.
He said: “We need to interact among ourselves, on behalf of Nigerian scholars. We should engage with one another and as such, with other African countries, hoping that something great would emerge. We cannot wait for some people to lead, we need to be as active as possible, to be at the centre of policy implementation.”
The academic also urged his colleagues not to give up in the fight to revive the essentials of humanities, charging them to convince policymakers on the key roles humanities play in policy formulation and execution.
“While many academic had announced the slow demise of humanities, the fight should not be easily given up. We should proactively use opportunities to counter policymakers and others, who subscribe to the neo-liberal agenda; they should be convinced of the pivotal role that humanities play in all sectors of the society,” he said.
Haron emphasised the importance of studying history, saying: “We can’t afford not to have history; it is a critical subject because we need to have a sense of the past, we need to know what has happened in the past so that we can use the present to come up with the future. In fact, sciences will be affected if humanitiesdisappear, so, the study of history cannot be ignored, it is critical and vital for all generations.”
Speaking on the sub-theme: “Reimagining utopia, dystopia, and heterotopia,” Enegho said the first step was a change of mindset and for Africans to be intentional about educating themselves on the imbalance that has eroded their economy.
He said: “There is an urgent need for a total overhaul of some of our thoughts on how things should be properly conceived, executed in Africa and the global community. It is high time we started bringing out positive kind of change in our society. A situation where we believe only a particular nation holds the key to the existence of the world must stop. There is a need for Africans to look inwards and educate themselves on the global inequalities that have characterised the economic capitalist global system.”
The professor, while stressing the need for academics in the humanities to have a change of mindset, noted that it was the responsibility of all Nigerians, and not only leaders, to build the country.
He, however, blamed borrowing from international bodies and countries as one of the obstructions compounding the nation’s developmental problems.
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