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Mathew James
, Nigeria.
The Adeyemi College of Education, Ondo State, is set to hold an international conference on the lives and activities of people living in the coastal part of Yorubaland.

According to the Provost of the college, Prof. Olukoya Ogen, the conference, which is in partnership with Insa Nolte of the University of Birmingham, United Kingdom, will begin today at the college.

In a statement on Monday, Ogen, a Professor of History, said the conference with the theme, ‘Community, Trade and Religion in Coastal Yorubaland’, would beam a searchlight “on one of the most neglected but strategic part of Yorubaland.”

Speaking on the scope of the conference, Nolte, who is the President of the African Studies Association in the UK and Visiting Research Professor to Osun State University and Adeyemi College of Education, said it would focus on the Yoruba-speaking areas which are shaped by their proximity to the Lagos Lagoon, the coastal stretch between Lagos and Warri, and the waterways connecting them.

She said, “Coastal Yorubaland has produced communities whose fortunes were largely independent of these centres and, so, the people aligned themselves with separate economic and religious networks and strategies. They were also shaped by the movement of slaves and their traders, and other factors such as plantation agriculture, legitimate commerce, modern economic activities and a wide range of religious practices.”

Commenting on the religion and the political economies of the coastal communities Ogen noted that “As obtainable in other parts of southern Nigeria, a multiplicity of ancestors, deities and other spiritual forces, all competed for power and influence in this region. Given the difficult terrain of most of these areas, Islam and Christianity were often established through local migrants or itinerant preachers who financed their religious activities as they journeyed along the coast; these thematic preferences have seldom been explored.”

Among the keynote and lead paper speakers expected at the conference are: Prof. Toyin Falola of the University of Texas at Austin; Prof. Ayodeji Olukoju and Prof. Adebayo Lawal of the University of Lagos. Others include Prof. Rasheed Ajetunmobi, Tai Solarin University of Education and Prof. Dipo Olubomehin of Olabisi Onabanjo University, among several other scholars.

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