|Panelists: Professor Gloria Chuku, Univ. of Maryland (c), Greg Mbajiorgu, Univ. of Nigeria (r)||.||Photo: Chika Okeke-Agulu|
|Professor Femi Osofisan (r), and his friend during evening performance. Photo: Chika Okeke-Agulu|
|Performance group during the closing evening. Photo: Chika Okeke-Agulu|
Having said that, there were a number of hiccups with regards to the actual organization of the conference. Most of it has to do with Nigeria--my impossible home country where things everyone takes for granted elsewhere, such as power supply which was epileptic and decent, proper accommodation that was scandalously expensive (note: the University of Ibadan Hotels). But also, many of the presenters in the printed conference program strangely did not show up, even especially participants from other Nigerian universities who could not claim to have been denied visas or discouraged by embassy travel advisories (in the wake of the Bokom Haram bombings in the north!). This made the panel schedules so confusing, because the organizers had to compound several panels. But also organizers also displayed a lot of generousity, such as when they allowed late arriving presenters to join later panels. My hope though is that future hosts of the conference--it is designed to be peripathetic: next year the Center for Black African Arts and Culture and the University of Lagos will host, and it might go to South Africa after, and so on--will be more discerning in terms of paper selections, as there was quite a few really poor quality presentations for a conference in honor of such an esteemed scholar and academic.
|"Eyo" masquerade performance. Photo: Chika Okeke-Agulu|
|Falola (c) with performance group. Photo: Chika Okeke-Agulu|
Still, I thank Dasylva and his Ibadan Cultural Studies Group for making this conference happen in Ibadan. It is for people like them that one hopes that some day soon, the academic culture that was decimated during the dictatorships of the previous decades will rebound. Some day soon.