The 2nd International Conference of Samuel Adegboyega University, Ogwa Edo State, has ended with experts calling for more sustainable strategies to deal with disease outbreak and other natural disasters in Nigeria. The theme for this year’s conference is “Pandemic in the 21st Century: Multidimensional Approaches to Economy, Finance, Security, Governance, Technology, Communication, and Responses in Uncertain Times.
The conference which was organized by the College of Management and Social Sciences, Samuel Adegboyega University, brought together top senior government officials, industry experts, students and academics from 32 institutions of higher learning across 11 states in Nigeria. Over 150 abstracts were submitted and about 109 research papers presented in the designated syndicate sessions.
Delivering a lead paper titled, “Broadcast Media Coverage of Covid-19 Pandemic in Nigeria, the Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Professor Armstrong Aduku Idachaba, called on media houses and the government to have a more articulated approach in dealing with Covid 19 and other emerging health pandemic. According the Prof. Idachaba, “the Nigerian media were not prepared for the outbreak of the disease and this could explain why they adopted disconnected approaches in their coverage and reportage during the first wave of the Covid 19 pandemic. He added that some government agencies also lacked well-tailored approach to handle the novel disease.
The DG of NBC, therefore, called on media experts to understand the gaps in the country’s communication policy, “because there is lack of cogent contingency plans for operational effectiveness during emergency crisis in Nigeria”. He added that adequate frameworks should be developed to guide crisis and emergency situation.
In his welcome address, the Host of the Conference and the Vice Chancellor, Professor A. Babatunde Idowu, said it was the pleasure of the University to assemble experts to discuss and subsequently develop a formidable framework that will be used by policy makers to deal with the current Covid 19 and other related diseases. According to Professor Idowu, “it is the tradition of the University to assemble experts and academics yearly through our colleges to deepen research activities in Africa.
Also speaking during the conference, the 2nd Keynote Speaker and a Professor of Political Science, University of Benin, S. I. Ebohon, maintained that the major challenge during the first wave of the pandemic was the trust deficit that existed between the government and the citizens. Prof. Ebohon explained that majority of Nigerians had difficult time believing anything the government was communicating at the initial stages of the pandemic because of the chronic trust deficit that existed. He therefore, called on government to rethink her social contract with the Nigerian people.
For the Convener of the Conference and the Dean, College of Management and Social Sciences, Prof. Ezekiel S. Asemah, the conference was initiated by his College to initiate dialogue on how best to promote health and related issues through multiple approaches.
Earlier in the event, the Chairman of the Conference, Prof. J. U. Idialu praised the University for promoting research in the Country. The Chairman of the Local Organising Committee of the Conference, Dr. O.C. Ekwe said that the conference was timely and that the outcome would be shared with policy makers and research institutes in the country.