By Elizabeth Uwandu
THE relevance of Sociology, its impact in nation-building and its relatively low appreciation formed the focus of a round table and presentation of awards to distinguished alumni at the 50th anniversary of Sociology department, University of Lagos, UNILAG, tagged: Sociology: question of relevance and visibility, held at Afe Babalola Hall, UNILAG.
The round table organised by Dr. Olufunlayo Bammeke, Dean of Sociology and her team, had prominent Nigerians as guests including Alhaji Musiliu Adeola Smith (former IGP, retd); Mrs. Thelma Amata Iremiren; Amb. John Kayode Shinkaiye; Richard Idowu Ogundele; Dr. Sunday Fakunmoju, Hon. Taiwo Olatunde Fatiregun, among others.
Briefing journalists on the reason behind the event and the award ceremony to distinguished Nigerians who have used their knowledge of sociology to make positive impacts within and outside the country, Bammeke said despite the enormous role sociology plays in man, many people still undervalue the discipline. “What we do not know is that sociology has all the answers to Nigeria’s problems. Basic knowledge in the discipline which is all about man and his relationship with fellow humans, will help stem distrust, insurgencies and anarchy.
“When we understand each other, then there can be dialogue for the betterment of all irrespective of tribe, race or religion. In Nigeria, when we know the benefits of our diversity, we will be able to dialogue. Then you will see everyone being proud to be called a Nigerian. So, I see the impact of sociology in our governance in raising the consciousness of our national identity.“
The Dean who lamented the poor rating of Sociology among students said: “It is not out of place for this department to address the question of the relevance and visibility of sociology.”
Thus, The 50th anniversary provides an opportunity to celebrate this exceptional discipline and honour some alumni who have distinguished themselves via the utility of Sociology knowledge.
Few of these great achievers have been nominated to share a little of their lives’ journey with younger generation to inspire them to excel.”
For Amb. Skinkaiye, who has represented the country as a Diplomat in various capacities and in three continents, Africa, Europe and Asia , said that the utilisation of Sociology in governance help build trust, understanding and co-habitation among nations. “Sociology did not prepare me to be a Diplomat, but it prepared me in several other ways of life including being successful as a Diplomat. As A Diplomat, my training in Sociology subjects introduced me to the tools I required to write the necessary reports and brief to help the Nigerian government take appropriate action for the country’s benefit. So, one of the best training for Diplomat is the study of Sociology as it helps in conflict resolution within a country and her counterparts.”
Also speaking of the usefulness of Sociology, Mr Akin Adeniran , former Assistant Controller, Customs, and current CEO, Oilways Investment Limited and First Climax Hotels Limited said the knowledge of the social science subject was a tool to change a society from being anti-social. “Now, is the time we need sociology knowledge more. The discipline can be used in all spheres of life to caption the society from being anti-social. It is a veritable tool for building relationships as my exposure in it made me interact meaningfully with colleagues and members of the public. I was able to successfully work even among the enemies during my investigations. Such knowledge can be replicated at the national level. “intoned the former Customs boss.
Dr Fakunmoju , Associate Professor, Westfield State University, Department of Social Work, Westfield , Massachusetts who spoke on the benefits of Queen of all discipline from the academic perspective noted that among other things, the discipline has helped to interact with students and clients. His words, “ Sociology afforded me the opportunity to comprehend the complexities of the social and global world. It enables me to understand how personal issues translate into social issues and then to national and global . The same knowledge enables me to understand how solutions to social problems inherently contain a seed that is capable of complicating national and global problems.