Geographers urge more students to show interest in the subject
To boost human capital development in the field of geography, there is need to encourage young Nigerians to build up expertise in the field of urban and regional planning; environmental planning and management; geo-information sensing; surveying and mapping among others.
This was the submission of the President, Association of the Nigerian Geographers (ANG), Prof. Adeniyi Gbadegesin, during the 57th annual conference of the association, which recently held at the University of Lagos (UNILAG), with the theme, “The Geographical Perspective on National Development.”
In over 60 years of its existence, Gbadegesin hinted that ANG has continued to canvass for issues that would make geography assume the status of a reputable discipline.
He said the history of Nigeria’s development has shown over-emphasis on development with bias for economic rather than geographic dimension.
The association president, who regretted that in an attempt to understand the development problems facing the country, little or no attention was given geographical diagnosis, stressing, “Over the years, geography has been regarded as a tool, which influences the understanding of human activities in relation to the environment. Historically, those who trained in the art of, and science of geography and those who simply use geographic knowledge and tools have continued to appreciate and confirm the effectiveness of geographical knowledge and tools in development issues.
“While it is not in doubt that geographic questions are adequate in providing solutions to human concerns, geography seems not to receive as much mention in the creation of parastatals, departments, commissions, agencies by government as other related disciplines or disciplines that are supposedly birthed by geography.”
Gbadegesin urged geographers in key positions both in public and private organisations to sensitise and encourage young geographers by producing relevant geography textbooks and monographs to increase the visibility of geography.
“Another selling point of geography that we need to leverage on is the computer and information technology. The Geographic Information System (GIS) has rightly given us a leeway in this respect, but beyond this, geographers in Nigeria need to capitalise on the information technology to enhance the visibility of their research and hence geographers contribute to national development,” he said.