A former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Prof Rahamon Bello, has identified the environment as a major obstacle to quality research across the board.
He said this during the recent presentation of a $1,000 grant to the winner of this year’s Rahamon Bello Best Thesis Award, Dr. Felix Ajiola, a lecturer at the Department of History and Strategic Studies, UNILAG.
Prof. Bello instituted the award in 2020 at UNILAG’s Institute of African and Diaspora Studies for the best PhD thesis in Africa. Ajiola’s PhD thesis is titled: ‘Cocoa Production and Rural Development in Idanre, South Western Nigeria (1900 to 1996)’, PhD (2021), University of Ibadan.
The former VC stated, “All these will prevent researchers from being consistent and meet their deadlines as appropriate. When they get grants and don’t use them properly, the donors will not renew the grants.”
The first runner-up was Dr. Joseph Kunnuji, with the thesis ‘A Chronicle of Cultural Transformation; Ethnography of Badagry Ogu Musical Practices’, PhD (2021), Ethnomusicology, University of Cape Town, South Africa.
The second runner-up was Dr. Louis Kusi Frimpong with the thesis ‘Fear of Crime in the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolis; Exploring the Role of the Built Environment and Community Social Organisation’, PhD (2019), Geography and Resource Development, University of Ghana, Legon. The winner said the award had restored his confidence, regaining his balance as an academic. He said he would use his intellectual capital for the development of Africa and the world.
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The institute’s Deputy Director, Dr. Feyi Ademola-Adeoye, said Ajiola defeated 23 others from universities in Nigeria and other African countries to win the coveted prize.
She explained that the award was instituted to encourage and appreciate the hard work of intellectuals whose doctoral theses address African and diaspora issues.
“It also aims at promoting intellectual and multi-disciplinary research works in African studies,” stated Ademola-Adeoye.
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She added that the assessors, drawn from Kenya, Nigeria and the United Kingdom, worked independently to choose the best three.
Ademola-Adeoye also stressed that Dr. Adebayo Kudus Oluwatoyin, a sociologist and research fellow at the Institute of African Studies, also of the University of Ibadan, won the first edition of the award in 2020.