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    Thursday, December 8, 2022

    Author of Best PhD Thesis on African Studies Receives $1,000

    The Institute of African and Diaspora Studies (IADS), African Cluster Centre, University of Lagos, has declared Henrietta Omo Eshalomi, of the University of Ibadan, winner of its 2022 Rahamon Bello best PhD Thesis Award.

    Henrietta Eshalomi of the University of Ibadan (UI) has emerged as the winner of the 2022 edition of the Rahamon Bello Best PhD Thesis Award in African Studies by the Institute of African and Diaspora Studies (IADS) at the University of Lagos.

    The first female winner of the award, which is in its third edition, was awarded a $1,000 cash prize.

    Ms Eshalomi’s thesis, which is titled: “Delta State Diaspora and the Ramifications of Ethnic Ambivalence for Homeland Development,” beat 16 other entries from various universities in Nigeria, Africa and Europe.

    The first runner-up of the award was John Uwa of the University of Lagos with his thesis: “Transformation and Transmedialities of Nigerian Popular Drama: The Agency of Nigerian Stand-up Comedy.” Kehinde Adepegba of Obafemi Awolowo University was ranked second runner-up for his thesis titled “Continuity and Change in the Egungun Costumes in Abeokuta, Nigeria.”

    Apart from the cash prize, the winner also received a plaque and a certificate, while the runners-up only received certificates and plaques.

    52 months of work

    The winner, who hails from Delta State in Nigeria, described the exercise as arduous, saying it took her a record four years and four months to complete.

    She said what informed the topic was her desire to change the narratives and nuanced views about her kinsmen living in the diaspora.

    She said: “I wanted to do something that was entirely different from the norm. So, I did a pilot study that actually showed that if I was going to do diaspora remittances, I was going to get stuck. So I needed to do something different that would question the status quo.

    “I was trying to carve a niche for myself. I wanted to make my research count and not just be rated like every other one out there. That inspired me to go the extra mile to find something unique.”

    She said her kinsmen who sojourn abroad were found to do so for many reasons but that their sense of nostalgia about their homeland is shown in the way they plough back into the place of birth by way of boosting socioeconomic activities.

    “The award says a lot. It is going to inspire me to do more and I’m going to use it to negotiate as well as unlock several opportunities that may come my way,” she added.

    VC, Bello remark

    In her remarks, the UNILAG Vice-Chancellor, Folasade Ogunsola, described the award as very commendable and urged the recipients to see it as a stepping stone to reach greater heights within academia and beyond.

    On his part, Rahamon Bello, the former Vice Chancellor of the university, who the award is named after, hailed the recipients for what he described as their commitment to research ideas.

    Mr Bello said by their efforts the researchers are contributing their quota to the existing body of knowledge.

    Also, in his welcome address, the Director of the Institute, Muyiwa Falaiye, commended the participants and thanked those he said made the initiative a success.

    Mr Falaiye described the awardees as worthy ambassadors of the various universities they represent.

    The award

    The Centre said the Rahamon Bello Best PhD Thesis in African and Diaspora Studies Award was established to promote the development of more in-depth and targeted contemporary scholarships in African Studies that advance the theoretical and practical limits of academic research.

    Endowed by Mr Bello, UNILAG’s 11th vice-chancellor, the Centre said it seeks to honour the Professor of Engineering who retired from the university a few years ago.

    According to the organisers, 17 entries were received for the edition, 12 of which were from eight Nigerian universities- Obafemi Awolowo University, University of Ibadan, University of Abuja, Kwara State University, Ekiti State University, Covenant University, University of Lagos and University of Ilorin.

    Two applications were from two South African Universities— the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg and the University of Western Cape, while three submissions were from three European Universities – the University of Sheffield, University of Birmingham and Aarhus University, Denmark, the organisers added.

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