Dr. Felix Ajiola has emerged winner of the 2021 Rahamon Bello Best Thesis Award after being overall best among 23 others from universities in Nigeria and other African countries to win the prize.
The award was put together by the Institute of African and Diaspora Studies, University of Lagos, and Dr. Ajiola, whose Ph.D. thesis is entitled: “Cocoa Production and Rural Development in Idanre, South Western Nigeria (1900 to 1996)”, won the first prize which attracts a cash reward of $1000.
A graduate of the University of Ibadan, Dr. Felix Ajiola is a lecturer at the University of Lagos (UNILAG) teaching history.
Reportedly, Adebayo Kudus Oluwatoyin, a sociologist and research fellow at UNILAG’s Institute of African and Diaspora Studies, who is also a graduate of the University of Ibadan, emerged overall winner of the first edition of the award in 2020.
Commenting on the latest results of the 2021 contest, Dr. Feyi Ademola-Adeoye, deputy director of the Institute of African and Diaspora Studies, University of Lagos:
“We have just announced the winner of this year’s award, and on December 7 , we shall be doing the presentation ceremony to the winner.
A couple of months ago, a call went out for people who finished their P.hD. in the last two years to apply for a competition that was being organised in honour of the 11th vice chancellor of the University of Lagos, Professor Rahamon Bello. This is an annual event. The maiden one was held in 2020.
We received a total of 24 entries, that is Ph.D. theses for this year, and it was limited to fresh holders who must have obtained the degree in the last two years.”
Following this call, people submitted their theses from various universities across the country, such as UNILAG, University of Ibadan, Covenant University, Babcock University, and Imo State University, among many others, as well as those from other parts of the continent.
Assessors for the contest were drawn from Kenya, Nigeria and the United Kingdom, and were all independent.
However, in choosing the best three candidates in the competition, they all came together via zoom to harmonised their choices.
“I must tell you that they were unanimous in their choice of the first, second and even the 3rd place winners. Even though they worked independently, they all did their ranking, and in doing this, they discovered that their choices were the same.”
She further explained that Dr. Joseph Kunnuji, with the thesis titled: “A Chronicle of Cultural Transformation: Ethnography of Badagry Ogu Musical Practices, Ph.D. (2021) Ethnomusicology, University of Cape Town, South Africa”, came second in the competition.
According to her, the third position went to Dr. Louis Kusi Frimpong, with the thesis titled: “Fear of Crime in the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolis: Exploring the Role of the Built Environment and Community Social Organisation, Ph.D. (2019), Geography and Resource Development, University of Ghana, Legon.”
The first and second runners up would be presented with certificates and plaques, even as the Rahamon Bello Best Ph.D. Thesis Award was conceived to encourage intellectuals, whose Ph.D. theses address African and diaspora issues.
It was also meant to promote multi-disciplinary research in African studies.