By Awe AyoOluwa
It was glitz and glamour at the Faculty of Arts as the department of Religious Studies held her conference. The conference, tagged “Religion, Politics and Power in Africa” began today the 16th of May, 2023.
The opening ceremony of the conference saw the presence of several dignitaries and church leaders such as the Vice Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, Prof. K. O. Adebowale (represented by the Dean of the Faculty of Arts Prof A. O. Oyeshile), His eminence Dr. OliverAli Aba (represented by RT. Rev. S. O. Onaleke), Most Rev. Michael Kehinde Stephen, Most Rev. Dr. Cyril O. Odutemu (represented by Ven Dr. V. I. Oladele), Most Rev. Dr. Simeon Oluwole Borokini (represented by his brother, Engineer M. A. Borokini) .e.t.c.
The conference was held in honour of His Eminence Dr. Sunday Coffie Mbang who was the fourth indigenous and longest serving head of Methodist Church Nigeria, the last Patriarch and the first Prelate of the Methodist Church Nigeria. He has served in various capacity in the Methodist Church. His academic career was brief.
However, during this brief spell as a lecturer, he impacted and taught many students who have come to be Professors and Church leaders today.
One notable act of his that is very much celebrated is his unforgettable role in the reconciliation process that reunited the Methodist church Nigeria after fourteen (14) years of crisis.
According to the chairman of the Conference’s planning Committee, his Eminence Dr. Sunday Mbang should join the conference in subsequent days but for the sake of the opening ceremony, he was represented by Most Rev. Michael Kehinde Stephen.
In the address of the Vice Chancellor who was represented by the Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Prof A. O. Oyeshile, the department was applauded for always being active in the organization of conferences to discuss, enlighten and expose sensitive issues relating to religion. He also added that the University on its part is doing and will do what they can do to support this cause.
The Dean of Arts also mentioned that as a show of support to the department, provision for Cocktail was made for the participants of the event as well as accommodation to some participants.. He ended on the note that the university wants to do more and will work towards that.
Revd. Prof. George Latunji Lasebikan, one of the many people impacted by His Eminence Dr. Sunday Mbang, served as the keynote speaker for the conference.
He acknowledged the impact of Dr. Sunday Mbang in the academic world and the church in Nigeria. He further added that they are following in his steps.
After the lecture delivered by the keynote speaker, various awards were given to individuals in recognition of their contributions to the church and the department of Religious Studies, University of Ibadan. The awardees were His eminence Dr. Oliver Ali Aba (represented by RT. Rev. S. O. Onaleke), Most Rev. Michael Kehinde Stephen, Most Rev. Dr. Cyril O. Odutemu (represented by Ven Dr. V. I. Oladele) and Most Rev. Dr. Simeon Oluwole Borokini (represented by his brother Engineer M. A. Borokini).
Thereafter, Most Rev. Michael Kehinde Stephen, on behalf of the awardees, expressed gratitude to the department for the awards. He appreciated the also promised that every of the awardees would in one way or the other provide their support to the department.
The Opening ceremony came to an end with a closing prayer by Right Rev. Prof. O. O. Obijole after which the presentation of the lead papers began. The lead paper presenters were Professor Ibrahim Olatunde Uthman from the department of Arabic and Islamic Studies, University of Ibadan and Prof. Olubukola S. Adesina from the department of Political Science, University of Ibadan.
The week-long event continues tomorrow by 9am at the department of Music’s concert hall.