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Society advocates folklore and folk life in digital media

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Nigerian Folklore Society recently held its 13th annual conference from Monday April 30 through May 2, 2018 at Musa Abdullahi Auditorium, University of Kano.

It was in collaboration with Centre for Research in Nigerian Languages, Translation and Folklore, Bayero University, Kano, which also hosts the secretariat of the society.

The occasion had in attendance the chief host and Vice Chancellor of the university, Professor Muhammad Yahuza Bello, national president of Nigerian Folklore Society, Dr. Bukar Usman (OON), Deputy Vice Chancellor, Administration, Professor Adamu Idris Tanko, chairman of the occasion, Dr. Wale Okediran, while the Emir of Kano was represented by Professor Isa Hashim, Jarman Kano.

Professor Abdu Yahya Bichi, Professor Angela Miri, Professor Aliyu Muhammad Bunza, Professor Saidu Babura Ahmad and Professor Nkem Okoh were the five lead paper presenters.

On the second day of the conference, three concurrent sessions were held in the morning and afternoon, and over 90 papers were presented and discussed.

The papers covered different sub-themes of the conference. After thorough deliberations, the following observations and recommendations were drawn.

It was observed that after several years of academic studies even in English and Literature departments, the field of oral literature is still fettered and plagued by many myths and ‘superstitions,’ that there is the need to revive Nigerian folklores to help equip children to absorb the shocks of globalization and incursions of the digital media, and that the way media technology has helped in the flourishing of the Nigerian film industry can be extended to folklore for the purpose of disseminating the diverse rich values of Nigerian customs and traditions.

Other were that there is dearth of storytelling as there are few storytellers, leading to fewer stories, or even none in some communities, that as a discipline of oral literature, folklore plays an important role in education, culture and the formation of social ideologies of the society and it greatly helps in character development of children, that the perspectives of folklore should be broadened to include material culture, music, verbal arts, beliefs and foods, and that the use of proverbs in communication makes it less prone to misunderstanding, suspicion and violence.

The conference further recommended that parents should be encouraged to speak indigenous languages to their children and also engage them in discourse embellished with proverbs, that the craze for English content in programmes on TV and radio, and mode of dressing should be de-emphasized, that Nigerians need to know their native languages (mother tongues) so that they can communicate internationally in a way that the whole world can recognise us through our linguistic identity, and that institutions of learning should be encouraged to organise storytelling competitions.

Among the proposals, the society should propose to institute a grant for the development of local content in digital media that represents the different forms of folklore and folk life. To this end, members were enjoined to come up with suggestions on how to create animations/cartoons based on Nigerian folktales.

The Local Organizing Committee, chaired by Professor Abdu Yahya Bichi extended its appreciation to the chief host, Yahuza, for his generous moral and financial support, the president of the society, Usman, the five lead paper presenters, the chairmen of the sessions and all others who either presented papers or officiated during the conference.

Due to time constraint and the number of papers presented at the conference, the congress of the society could not hold. Therefore, it was agreed that the congress would hold at next year’s national conference in Abuja.

Meanwhile, national president, Nigerian Folklore Society, Usman, has been appointed as Chairman, Advisory Committee for the Centre for Research in Nigerian Languages, Translation and Folklore. The Registrar of the institution made this known in a letter dated April 24, 2018.

The position is for a two-year tenure. Among other things, Usman will advise the Vice Chancellor on policy formulation for the centre, vet the centre’s annual budget proposal, advise the centre on its academic projects and programmes, monitor and evaluate the activities of the centre,, assist and advise the centre on generating funds for its activities, and report periodically to the Vice Chancellor and the Senate on the activities of the centre.


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