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Ceramics and the quest for sustainable development


A potter at work

For over a decade now, the Ceramics Researchers’ Association of Nigeria (CeRAN) has been engaged in research, organising conferences, workshops, symposia, exhibitions as well as training of members, who are mostly lecturers drawn from tertiary institutions in Nigeria, as well as staff of raw materials research institutes in the country. As part of the activities of CeRAN, remarkable contributions made by ceramists are recognised and rewarded.

The current executive members of the association are its President, Professor (Mrs.) Grace N. Ojie-Ogwu, Dr. Kennedy Eweka (Vice President), Dr. Daniel Nosakhare Osariyekemwen (General Secretary), Dr. Yohanna Datiri (Assistant Secretary), Mr. A.E. Omoraka (Treasurer), Dr. Pius Otimeyin (Financial Secretary), Dr. Fatuyi Olusegun (PRO) and Mr. Festus Uzzi (Auditor). Some of the founding fathers include Professor Igwilo Banjo, a retired professor at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Professor Abashiya Magaji Ahuwan of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and Professor O.K. Oyeoku of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

While narrating the reasons behind the establishment of CeRAN, the President, Prof. Ogwu stated that the creation of the association was muted with the following objectives: researching into ceramics and the raw materials for their production, the quality of ceramics, determining the challenges facing ceramists and the teaching of ceramics and pottery production among others.

The most recent of CeRAN conferences and exhibitions focused on the theme ‘African Ceramics at the Crossroads.’ This was an interdisciplinary conference to honour Michael Obrien, held at Energy Research Centre, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, in 2016. That conference privileged the role played by Michael Obrien in the development of pottery in Nigeria and the training of Nigerian Potters, including the late Dr. Ladi Kwali, the renowned Nigerian female potter.

The keynote address was delivered by Prof. Ahuwan, while the lead paper on rural women for the production of Clay Clean Stove with locally sourced material was taken by Professor P. E. Ugwoke, the Director of Energy Research Centre of the University of Nigeria. These addresses were presented after a courtesy call by the Executive members of CeRAN on the host, Professor Benjamin Ozumba, Vice Chancellor, University of Nigeria, represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academics) Professor Charles Igwe. Igwe conveyed the goodwill message of the Vice Chancellor to the Association and highlighted the values of ceramic raw materials and technological research with a view to encouraging sustainable ceramic production in the country.

In her welcome address, president of the association, Ogwu stressed that CeRAN’s annual conference and exhibition are platforms for sharing technical information, research results, creative, innovation and new possibilities in the science and art of ceramics/pottery productions. CeRAN executive members presented distinguished honours/awards to Obrien, Igwilo and Ahuwan for their enormous contributions to the development of modern ceramics in Nigeria.

The conference drew participants from several tertiary institutions and ceramic raw materials/production research institutes in Nigeria. Some of the institutions include University of Nigeria, Ahmadu Bello University, Delta State University, Abraka, Federal University of Technology Akure, and University of Benin, Benin City. Others are College of Education Agbor, Auchi Polytechnic, Auchi, Federal University, Laftia, Institute of Management Technology, Enugu, Project Development Institute (PRODA), Enugu, and Yaba College of Technology, Lagos. Goodwill messages poured in from other tertiary institutions and research bodies that were unable to make it to the conference.

Before closing, the association held its annual general meeting during which Ahmadu Bello University was chosen to host the 2017 conference. The conference is scheduled to hold from December 5 through 9, 2017 and it has as theme ‘Ceramic Material Technologies & Innovations.’ During this year’s conference, Ahuwan, who is retiring from the service of ABU and a pioneering member of the Ceramic Association of Nigeria, would be celebrated alongside paper presentation by participants, whose abstracts have already been received by the local organising committee.

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