Bigard Memorial Seminary Enugu, Hosts 2020 National Association of Philosophy Students (NAPS) Weekend

Bigard Memorial Seminary, Enugu, from Friday, January 10 to Sunday, January 12, 2020 played host to Nigeria philosophy students. The guest philosophy students were officially received in the Seminary Auditorium by 21: 00 Hours.

In his address that flagged off the events of the weekend, the Rector of the host seminary, who spoke through the Vice Rector II, Rev. Fr. Miletus Ossai welcomed all who came to be part of the 2020 NAPS weekend. Going forward, he pointed out that there was a difference between being a philosopher and reading philosophy. Reading philosophy, he said, is “all about reading or studying what philosophers have said, especially their wise sayings, whereas the application of such knowledge acquired makes you a philosopher”. Wisdom in this sense he explained is “knowledge pragmatically used”.

Prominent among the opening events that took place in the Seminary auditorium was a debate between the philosophy students of Bigard Memorial Seminary, Enugu and Seat of Wisdom Seminary, Ariam, Abia State. The two schools debated on the theme – “Religion is dysfunctional in Nigerian politics”. Seat of Wisdom Seminary Ariam proposed the motion while Bigard, the host seminary, opposed the motion.  There was room for reactions, contributions, clarifications, and suggestions from the audience as the panel of judges computed the scores of the debaters. At the end, Bigard Memorial Seminary, Enugu emerged the winner of what the judges described as “fierce competition” with a total of 230 points against their opponent who had a total of 165.5 points.

The event was equally warmly animated with a brief instrumental rendition and other presentations by the philosophy students of the host seminary. This was followed by the closing remark and closing prayer by the Dean of Students Affairs, Rev. Fr. Justin Utazi.

Induction of the new philosophy students and paper presentation took place the next day. After the opening prayers was the ushering of guest to the high table, among whom were the Head of Philosophy Department (Rev. Fr. Dr. Uchenna Ani), the Vice Rector I (Very Rev. Fr. Dr. Francis Igboanugo), the paper presenter (Rev. Fr. Professor Francis Njoku) among others.

In his opening remark, Rev. Fr. Dr. Cletus Umezinwa, pointed out that philosophy is very important because it has contributed so much to the development of nations, especially the developed nations. He explained that we could see this in the philosophies of John Locke which forms the back -bone of the US constitution, and also that of William James and J. J. Rouseau in the French politics. He remarked that although we do not feel the immediate impact of philosophy, he noted, “does not mean that it is not essential or needed”. His remark was followed by a key note address presented by the Head of Philosophy Department and the Moderator of NAPS, Bigard Chapter, Rev. Fr. Dr. Humphrey Uchenna Ani. In his address Fr. Ani remarked that the primary idea behind the Annual NAPS Conventions is to engage other exercises that further philosophical enterprises beyond mere class pedagogical routine. After the remarks, freshmen were inducted into the body of NAPS through a traditional oath taking ceremony.

The induction was followed by a paper presentation by Rev. Fr. Prof. Francis Njoku. The paper which was anchored on the topic – The Influence of Religion in Nigeria and Politics Vis-a-vis, a Case of Irreligious Religion – was ably responded to by Duru Chigozie.

The rest of the program featured presentation of certificates to all the participating schools, excursion, and later in the evening,  a football match between the Philosophy students of Bigard Memorial Seminary, Enugu and St. Bernard’s Seminary Hostel, Enugu. The match ended 1: 0 in favour of the host seminary.