A sociology scholar, Dr. Kudus Oluwatoyin Adebayo, has become the pioneer winner of the Rahmon Bello Award for the best thesis in African and Diaspora Studies.
Adebayo’s PhD thesis entitled: “Migration and Settlement Experiences of Nigerians in Guangzhou, China”, was adjudged the best of 29 entries submitted to the Institute of African and Diaspora Studies (IADS), University of Lagos (UNILAG), said organisers of the competition.
He was presented with a cheque of $1,000 at an award ceremony graced by the UNILAG Vice Chancellor, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, his predecessor and part-sponsor of the award, Prof. Rahmon Bello, and other principal officers, old and new, at the institute last Tuesday.
Dr. Ayodele Bello of the University of Lagos was first runner up for his work, “Stylistics of identity and ideology in alternative Yoruba music textuality”, while Dr. Nonzuzo Mbokazi of the University of Cape Town was named second runner up for her thesis titled: “Understanding child care choices among low-income employed mothers in urban and rural KwaZulu-Natal.”
Director of IADS, Prof. Muyiwa Falaiye said entries were submitted from all over Africa, including South Africa, Zimbabwe – with the majority coming from Nigerian universities.
“We received 29 theses which were assessed by three people. We never knew we would receive these many theses. We received theses from South Africa, Cameroun, and very many universities in Nigeria,” he said.
Falaiye thanked the university management led by Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe for supporting the institute’s quest to be a centre of excellence for African research, adding that IADS had attracted grants of over one million dollars.
He also praised Bello for helping the institute get sponsorship for future editions of the prize.
Chairman of the Selection Committee, Distinguished Professor Ayodeji Olukoju said himself and two other members of the committee, Prof Akin Akinyoade from Leiden University, The Netherlands, and Prof. Akin Iwilade of the University of Edinburgh, UK, were unanimous in their independent assessment of the top three winners.
“Surprisingly, the top three candidates emerged by a unanimous decision. It was observed, however, that several candidates performed unevenly across the eight criteria adopted in the scoring. In the end, the winners were those who performed evenly across those categories,” he said.
Responding to his win, Adebayo said he was particularly happy that the award came from an indigenous institution, saying it was rare to be appreciated locally.
“I am excited to receive this honour – particularly because this study was carried out locally. PhD researchers work without recognition for their work,” he said.
Ogundipe said the university would continue to support the institute to promote scholarly activities.