Prof. Abiodun Salawu
For Nigerian academics to grow beyond their comfort zones and widen their research fields outside the shores of Nigeria, impactful collaboration with their contemporaries, younger and up-and-coming colleagues in Nigeria and abroad is sacrosanct. This was the key submission of Professor Abiodun Salawu, Professor of Journalism, Communication and Media Studies and Director of the research entity, Indigenous Language Media in Africa (ILMA) at the North-West University, South Africa.
Speaking to Abito Citta recently, Professor Salawu identified passion, collaboration with younger colleagues, observation, calls for papers for conferences, special issues for journal and book projects as the major resources that have contributed to generating research ideas in his over 20 years of academic career.
According to him, the collapse of infrastructures in Nigeria and lack of support for scholarship motivated his migration. And, more importantly, South Africa has greatly impacted his scholarship because of the system of recognition and rewards she practise.
Having realized the great role collaborations play in generating research ideas, he said they widen ones horizon, particularly if one is working with like-minded individuals.
“There is an adage that you work far when you work together. Collaborations should not be restricted to local levels. Efforts should also be made to have international collaborations. As an academic, you need it as much as your foreign partner.”
Responding to the issue of youth employability in Nigeria, Salawu posited that he doesn’t believe in the total obsoleteness of Nigerian education and unemployability of Nigerian graduates; there are still a good number of Nigerian graduates who can perform anywhere in the world.
“However, we can do well to improve on our infrastructures and facilities as well as updating our curricula in line with the dictates of the time.”
Professor Salawu suggested that the Nigerian academics in the Diaspora should be revamping the educational system by sharing their expertise and experiences abroad with people at home.
As a co-founder of the International Association for Minority Language Media Research, he assessed the state of the indigenous language media in Africa today as not up to its best, and opined that the change in attitude of peoples to their languages and support from both the government and the corporate world will help to enervate the indigenous language media.
On the roles mentorship and networking play in postgraduate training in universities, he observed that, “ Mentorship can help graduate students to find their paths and grow. Networking would expose graduate students to practices elsewhere and will create opportunities for collaborations, funding and developmental programmes.
Abiodun Salawu has taught and researched journalism for over two decades in Nigeria and South Africa. Prior to his academic career, he practised journalism in a number of print media organisations in Nigeria.