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An upcoming gathering of humanists in Owerri, Imo State, Southern Nigeria

2022-12-13

Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): Medium (Humanist Voices)

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2018/01/26

A forum will be coming together of a bunch of Humanists in Owerri, Imo State, Southern Nigeria. It is the capital of Imo State. The intention is to give a platform for humanists and freethinkers to have community and do what communities do: share ideas, experiences, and time together.

The goal is to galvanize the population, the local one, in Owerri to be able to found, maintain, and grow a state chapter of the Humanist Association of Nigeria or the HAN. In a marginalized community, based on demographics of belief, this could be a great opportunity to develop that sense of shared community and spirit.

As Igwe notes (2018), the dominant belief system or worldview in Imo State is Christianity. To have a community stationed and built by, and for, the non-religious, especially the proactive form of it in the humanist population, is an important step for equality, as far as I am concerned.

Igwe quips that it is the “Bible Belt” of Nigeria. In other words, Christianity is taken very, very seriously in this region, so this can, in a way, make the foundation of an outlet for those who do not adhere to the dominant faith there doubly important.

As I have found in conversation with people who know the region better than others, or those who grew up and have lived in the culture for a substantial amount of time, there is a ubiquitous admixture of Abrahamic religions and traditional beliefs and practices (or traditional Nigerian religions, as it sounds to my sensibility).

“Ritual killings frequently occur in the area. Osu caste discrimination is practiced in various parts of the state. Christian churches have a lot of influence in Imo stat,” Igwe said, “They virtually monopolize the media, local politics and the educational system.”

Caste, traditional faith, and Abrahamic religion seem like a complicated mixture for the population, especially regarding the political climate as noted by Igwe. The Roman catholic and Anglican churches hold sway and “determine who governs the state and the bills that could pass or be rejected at the local assemblies.”

As these indicate, the separation between church, or place of worship, and state is not a well-delineated phenomenon, but, rather, the obvious conclusion is the blurring of the lines and more often than not in the favour of the religious, i.e., the Christian religious (Catholics and Anglicans).

But like that line from the Star Wars reboots, ‘there has been an awakening…’ Igwe said, “A wave of intellectual awakening is sweeping across the region. And this humanist forum is an initiative to build on this momentum. This forum will be used to promote public education and enlightenment in the state. It will provide a platform for humanists to interact and discuss contemporary issues.”

With this gathering, there could be an improvement in the material and political conditions for the non-religious, the humanists and freethinkers and others, in Owerri. The inaugural meeting will be before the end of March…Stay tuned!

For more information, please see the here:

Prof Dede Konkwo, a lecturer at the Imo State University has volunteered to be the contact person. All who are interested in participating in this forum should contact Prof Konkwo via email at: dedekonkwo@yahoo.com ; Tel 08035774378. According to Prof Konkwo, convening a humanist forum in Imo state is an idea whose time has come! (Igwe, 2018)

References

Igwe, L. (2018, January 26). Humanist Forum and Intellectual Awakening in Inno State. Retrieved from https://www.modernghana.com/news/831120/humanist-forum-and-intellectual-awakening-in-imo-state.html.

License

In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at www.in-sightpublishing.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-Present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

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