Rev. Prof. Elom Dovlo, Professor at the Department for the Study of Religions and the Acting Director for Distance Education at the Institute of Continuing and Distance Education at the University of Ghana, delivered his inaugural lecture to a packed audience last Thursday at the Great Hall, on the topic: Public Religion in Ghana’s Fourth Republic: Impressions and Prospects. The lecture was chaired by the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Ernest Aryeetey.
Prof. Dovlo delivering his Inaugural Lecture at the Great Hall
Noting that the Fourth Republic happens to be the longest democratic dispensation in Ghana, Prof. Dovlo said it offers an opportunity to study the processes and impact of public religion in the country. He argued that the fourth republic opened the door for sustained civil society engagement in the public sphere.
He said Public religion must be communicated and the liberalization of the electronic media in the 1990s giving wide access to television, FM stations, the Internet and cell phone has enabled religious personalities, bodies and institutions invade, pervade and have very high visibility in Ghanaian public space.
Prof. Dovlo shared experiences from years of phenomenological research and a graduate course taught on Religion in Public life in Ghana, and critiqued public religion in contemporary Ghana by examining its engagement with politics, especially during election time and socio-economic life.
He posed questions such as: Should elections in Ghana be misconstrued as Biblical election/ordination: Does Public Religion in Ghana reflect the moral aspirations of the nation? Does or can religion serve as a barometer for Ghana’s democratic maturity? How important are religious institutions to the economy of a democratic Ghana?
Prof. Dovlo’s lecture was animated with graphic images and press cuttings demonstrating the role of religion and politics.
On whether public religion is legitimate, Prof. Dovlo argued that because it contributes towards the construction of Ghanaian national identity, the voice of religious citizenry cannot be ignored in discourses of governance since the totality of religion seeks well being here and in the hereafter.
In concluding his lecture, he said religious leaders must know that they are opinion leaders and therefore must be careful in their choice of words within the public space, remembering that even though they lead congregations of the same faith, there will surely be people of different political opinion in the groups they lead.
The lecture was attended by family and friends of Prof. Dovlo, school mates from Mawuli School, members of the Grace Family Chapel, Global Evangelical Church, students from the Global Theological Seminary, university officials and other members of the university community as well as a large number of students.
There were presentations from his wife and children, family and Church. Other presentations came from the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Social Sciences. The Women’s Fellowship from Grace Family Chapel rendered befitting choruses in honour of Prof. Dovlo.
Prof. Dovlo, (left) processing to the Great Hall with the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Ernest Aryeetey
Prof. Elom Dovlo in a pose with his wife, Stella and children, Exom, Sedem and Sedinam
(A captivated audience at the lecture)
(Mrs. Stella Dovlo (left) with siblings of Prof. Dovlo, Mrs. Kafui Fiakporno and Air-Vice-Marshall C.E.K. Dovlo at the lecture)
(Prof. Dovlo in a pose with his family after they presented him with a floral bouquet )
Prof. Dovlo being congratulated after the lecture by his maternal uncle, Rev. Prof. Christian Gaba
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