In the dynamic world of academia, where breakthroughs and accomplishments often remain concealed within the boundaries of research papers, the recent conference held in Abuja, Nigeria, left an indelible mark on its participants, resounding with achievements that extended far beyond the typical conference experience.
The 64th Annual National Conference of The Nigerian Economic Society (NES) was held from 10th to 12th October 2023, with the theme, “Building Resilience for Transformational Recovery” in Abuja, Nigeria. Remarkably, a total of 82 well-researched papers were presented, comprising the Plenary, Policy Round Table, and Concurrent Sessions to address the critical issues around Building Resilience for Transformational Recovery. The plenary and policy roundtable sessions had 8 thought-provoking papers, while 76 papers were presented in 16 Concurrent Sessions at the Conference. The presentations and deliberations provided insights and thought-provoking issues to address several questions.
On day one, the atmosphere of the bustling city of Abuja was already charged with excitement. It was on this very first day that the unexpected occurred, transforming the event into an unforgettable journey. During the opening session, a prestigious award signified the culmination of tireless efforts from scholars across Nigeria. Astonishingly, it was revealed that one of Covenant University’s Economics Ph.D. products, Dr Oluwatosin Deborah Edafe, who is a member of the African Scholars Mentorship Network (ASMN) anchored by DePECOS Institutions and Development Research Centre (DIaDeRC), was crowned the overall best in the NES Ph.D. Thesis Award for 2022/2023. The second and third prizes went to candidates from Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) Ife and Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria, respectively. This recognition reinforced that the work we are doing at Covenant University has earned a significant place in the national spotlight. It is important to note that Prof Evans Osabuohien supervised both the Master’s Dissertation and PhD Thesis of Dr. Oluwatosin Deborah Edafe, which further gives credence to the quality of mentoring and supervision.
On the second day, as the conference progressed, Prof Evans Osabuohien had the privilege to present his paper titled “The Global Value Chain Participation of Firms in West Africa: Insights from Ghana and Nigeria.” The paper, co-authored by Dr Alhassan Karakara (University of Cape Coast, Ghana) and Dr Oluwatosin D. Edafe, which was funded by the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC), received an enthusiastic response from the audience. The involvement of three authors across generations and space highlighted the essence of collaboration and networking.
On the third day, the climax of this conference was the Annual General Meeting (AGM), with the ‘change of guard’, that occurs once every two years. This was a moment of immense significance as Prof Evans Osabuohien (coordinator of ASMN) was elected as a member of the Executive Council of NES. In his new role as an associate editor of NES, publisher of the Nigerian Journal of Economic and Social Studies (NJESS) that has existed since 1957, he hopes to work with other council members to further promote NJESS for global relevance cum visibility.
Furthermore, for the first time in his participation in NES since he joined in 2005, Prof Evans Osabuohien was entrusted with the responsibility of leading the Communique Committee This newfound role signifies the commitment to fostering effective communication within the academic community. Working alongside the dedicated team members (Dr Lionel Effiom from the University of Calabar and Dr Ekundayo Mesagan of Pan-Atlantic University), they consolidated the main findings from the numerous presentations and discussions from the conference. The significance of this role in the scientific community cannot be understated; it is indeed a profound honor to serve in this capacity.
In retrospect, this conference was not just another academic event; it was a stage for achievements and testimonials that will leave a lasting legacy. From the resounding success of his PhD product to election as a council member, the positive reception of the presentation, and his role as chairman of the Communique Committee, the conference was a transformative experience. Moreover, connecting with aspiring mentees and witnessing numerous applications to join the ASMN was a heartening experience that underlined the impact we can have within our academic community. Finally, the conference, in all its splendor, affirmed that unity, knowledge sharing, and recognition of one another’s achievements are the cornerstones of academic progress. It was not just one conference but a celebration of academic resilience and determination.