The Adviser to the Borno State governor on Communications and Strategy, Malam Isa Gasau, has graduated with a first class degree in Public Relations, Advertising and Digital Media at Middlesex University in London, United Kingdom.
The graduation ceremony took place Tuesday at the university’s main campus in Hendon, north London. It was attended by the Pro-Chancellor, Sir Michael Patridge, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Tim Blackman, board of governors and other senior officials. The university, founded in 1878, runs campuses in Malta, Dubai and Mauritius.
Gusau was in 2017 admitted into Year 3 (the final undergraduate year in UK) after meeting the direct entry qualifications and passed the university’s credibility assessment test.
Governor Kashim Shettima had granted his request for study leave and supported him as reward for loyalty enabling his relocation to London from where he operated as spokesman throughout his academic year.
As a direct entry student, Gusau’s previous school records only qualified him for admission without transfer of academic transcripts.
To achieve his target of getting first class, he needed to obtain distinction in minimum of 75 per cent of all modules (the name for subjects) after first and second semester assessments.
Normally, assessment for every subject is marked by three persons: the tutor, a different lecturer and an external marker. All must agree before scores are ratified by the academic board.
Gusau surpassed the minimum requirement by obtaining distinction in all subjects (representing 100%) at the end of the two semesters. His dissertation, which markers rated as being “far above undergraduate standard” was graded 1/20, the highest category of distinction. The university’s distinction starts from 1 to 4.
The dissertation, it is presumed, could be the first major academic research that is specific on examining areas of convergence, interdependence, influences and conflicts between Nigerian journalists and public relations intermediaries (like media managers, spokespersons to government and private institutions or persons).
He argued in his abstract that whereas in Europe and United States, there exist “more than 100 years of research into relationships between PR intermediaries and journalists”, in the case of Nigeria, there is dearth of such research because most existing research focused on relationships between journalists and prominent public and private newsmakers while ignoring the role of PR intermediaries, who in actual sense relate with journalists on behalf of those prominent newsmakers.
In his work, Gusau cited more than 100 academic books and journals published by leading authors around the world, including Nigerian academics. He combined qualitative and quantitative research methods by interviewing and observing a sample of PR intermediaries and senior journalists from different sections of Nigeria and also did content analysis of three newspapers: THISDAY, Nigerian Tribune and Daily Trust, to compare thousands of news elements with interview findings and literature.
The dissertation is being reviewed for publication by a UK-based academic journal for reference by academics around the world.