The Vice-Chancellor of Bowen, University, Professor Joshua Ogunwole has reiterated the devotion of the university to explore and implement decisions and policies that will make the institution one of the foremost citadels of learning in Africa.

Professor Ogunwole who was represented by Professor John Ayoade (Chairman, Committee of Provosts and Deans, and Dean, Faculty of Social and Management Sciences, Bowen University) stated this at the second national workshop cum conference on pragmatics research and Workshop of the Nigerian Pragmatics Association in partnership with the department of English of Bowen University.

He added that strategic use of language, being the cardinal subject at the gathering, occupies a place of pride in the ongoing efforts of the university in the process of repositioning and rebranding.

Professor John Ayoade (Chairman, Committee of Provosts and Deans and Dean, Faculty of Social and Management Sciences, Bowen University)

He challenged lead speakers at the workshop, to explore ways in which the roles of language will have more impact and be channeled towards successful executions of all aspects of the efforts, and thanked the association for choosing Bowen University as the host.

The national president of the Nigerian Pragmatics Association (NPrA), Professor Akin Odebunmi said, “with the birth of the Nigerian Pragmatics Association, the study of language use is no longer an inner-room business of a reclusive underdog in Nigeria, but a Nigeria-networked discipline with standards consistent with the current-minute standards in the global spread.”

He added that one of the main goals of the association is to build members’ capacity and groom young people in the core skill of pragmatics.

“The whole essence of the academia is the generation and dispensation of knowledge, the very pilot not only of our pedagogy, but also our professional being; the very bedrock of our relevance and distinctive identity which inspires originality and societal growth,” he said.

Professor Akin Odebunmi (President, Nigerian Pragmatics Association)

He also noted that the NPrA is equally and centrally involved in the conception of the African Pragmatics Association, which is currently led by Professor Nana Aba Appiah Anfo of Legon University, Ghana.

The keynote speaker, Professor Adewale Adegbite of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, said pragmatic methods are needed if there must be a fuller, deeper and generally more reasonable account of human language behaviour, adding “outside pragmatics, there can be no understanding of utterances.”

Similarly, the Vice-Chancellor of Yusuf Maitama Sule University, Kano, Professor Mustapha Ahmad Isa, who gave the plenary lecture on the topic ‘Pragmatics: the Expanding Frontiers’ charged the NPrA to be an association the supports scholarly research in both theoretical and applied pragmatics in general, but with specific focus on the various sub-fields that have emerged over time, including the cognitive, historical, social, inter-language, linguistic and inter-cultural paradigms of pragmatics.

Professor Mustapha Ahmad Isa (Vice-Chancellor, Yusuf Maitama Sule University, Kano)

Delegates from Obafemi Awolowo University,Ile-Ife; University of Ilorin, University of Ibadan, Redeemer’s University, Ede; Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu; University of Nigeria, Nsukka; as well as from across African countries like Cameroon and Ghana, numbering over 200 were in attendance at the conference. At the breakout sessions, undergraduates from participating universities were given the opportunity to write a test for competitive sponsorship programmes. According to Prof. Odebunmi, the NPrA president, the test would enable them apply for support in future events and give them opportunities to win grants.

A cross section of participants

Of the 51 student-participants from the universities in attendance, 5 emerged with the best performances, with Bowen students dominating the pack. Precious Akanbi of Bowen University emerged as the overall best, with Justinah Ekechukwu of University of Nigeria, Dorcas Olojede of Bowen University, Verena Odebunmi of Bowen University and Chinenye Okolo of Bowen University claiming the second, third, fourth and fifth positions, respectively.

The association also awarded a posthumous distinguished pragmatician award to the late Professor Emmanuel Efurrosibina Adegbija, for his outstanding contributions to the study of pragmatics.

Mrs Adegbija, wife of late Professor Emmanuel Efurrosibina Adegbija, who was awarded a posthumous award at the conference.

The conference, which held from April 28 – May 1, 2019, had the theme: CONTEXT, DISCOURSE AND KNOWLEDGE CONSTRUCTION and was graced by several dignitaries and distinguished scholars.