Geographers all over the country under the aegis of Association of Nigerian Geographers converged in Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile Ife from August 1st to 5th, 2021. The meeting was the 61st Annual National Conference of the Association with the theme, “Geography and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The venue was the African Centre of Excellence, ICT-driven Knowledge Park (ACE OAK-PARK).
The Opening Ceremony of the Conference was well attended as Geographers came from far and near for 5 days of deliberation.
In attendance were the representative of the Executive Governor of Osun State, Mr Gboyega Oyetola; Director-General/CEO, Nigeria Meteorology Agency (NiMet), Prof. Mansur Bako Matazu; Director General, National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) ably represented; Executives of the Association led by the President, Professor A. I. Tanko from Bayero University, Kano; Vice-Chancellor, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile Ife, represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Prof. M. O. Babalola; Executive Director, African Regional Institute for Geospatial Information and technology (AFRIGIST), OAU Campus ably represented, Executive Director, African Regional Centre for Space Science and Technology Education-English (ARCSSTEE), OAU Campus, Dr G. I. Agbaje amongst others.
In his keynote address titled’ “Where there is no Geography…”, the President, ANG National Council identified challenges facing the study of Geography including its eclectic nature and scope, insufficient funding, emphasis on literacy and the sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), general misunderstanding of the subject etc.
The Speaker highlighted the strengths of the discipline and effort made to ensure significant increase in the enrolment for Geography at all academic levels. He added that Geographers have developed the specialty as source of knowledge and wisdom to other disciplines ranging from farming, urban planning, medicine, engineering, social analysis and policy. He reiterated the fact that Geography determines the direction of development to the world and plans plans all actions for proper utilization or world resources.
Prof. Tanko stated that Geographers are heads of several government agencies in Nigeria and doing exploits all over the country. He specially remarked on NASRDA’s immediate past and present DGs who are both Geographers. He also informed the audience about the new draft Geography curriculum which is aimed at capturing the attention of young Nigerians to the subject.
In a goodwill message, the Executive Director of ARCSSTEE, Dr Ganiy Agbaje recapped the road map that led to the emergence of the of the SDGs. He highlighted that the SDGs sort to create a world where decisions and actions are informed by coordinated, comprehensive and sustained Earth observations. He emphasized that Geography as a discipline is central to achieving this.
Dr Agbaje added that Geography as part of Space Science and Technology has remained a critical resource for sustainable development for the past 50 years. He further thanked the organizers for the opportunity of being part of the conference as he believed that it would be beneficial to the society in its quest to achieving the SDGs. The highlight of the opening ceremony was the presentation of awards of recognition to distinguished Geographers.
Participants at the conference presented papers during different thematic sessions while there were exhibitions by various agencies and institutions.