The Institute of African and Diaspora Studies, University of Lagos (UNILAG), is set to reward Dr. Felix Ajiola with a grant of $1,000 for emerging the winner of this year’s Rahamon Bello Best Thesis Award.
The award was instituted last year by a former Vice-Chancellor of the university, Professor Rahamon Bello, 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.
Though he currently teaches History at UNILAG, he obtained his PhD from the University of Ibadan.
The Deputy Director of the institute, Dr. Feyi Ademola-Adeoye, who announced this while briefing journalists in Lagos, said Ajiola defeated 23 others from universities in Nigeria and Africa, to win the coveted prize.
She said the first runner-up is Dr. Joseph Kunnuji, with 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, according to her, is Dr. Louis Kusi Frimpong with 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.
She said the prize will be formerly presented to the winner on December 7 at a ceremony to be attended by members of the jury and other distinguished personalities.
The first and second runners-up would be presented with certificates and plaques.
Ademola-Adeoye, explained that the Rahamon Bello Best PhD Thesis Award was instituted to encourage and appreciate the hard work of intellectuals, whose PhD thesis address African and diaspora issues.
It also aims at promoting intellectual and multi-disciplinary research works in African studies.
“A couple of months ago, a call went out for people who finished their PhD from African universities in the last two years, to apply for a competition that was being organised in honour of the 11th Vice- Chancellor of the university, Prof. Rahamon Bello.
“We received a total of 24 entries, that is PhD thesis and they were limited to fresh holders who must have obtained the degree from 2019 to the time of the announcement,” she said.
She stated that the assessors, drawn from Kenya, Nigeria and the United Kingdom, worked independently, and in choosing the best three, they all came together via zoom to harmonise their choices.
“They were unanimous in their choice of the first, second and even the third place winners.”
The deputy director added 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.