Communication experts call for increased research and documentation of social challenges in Nigeria

By Uche Peter

Lagos, Nigeria; June 15, 2013. Communication scholars and practitioners have called for a more focused effort at research and documentation of socio-economic and behavioural issues in communication and other social sciences as they began a three-day “Dialogue on Media and Communication” at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

Prof Robert White, a renowned communication scholar at the Institute of Peace Studies and International Research, Hekima College, Nairobi, Kenya led the charge as he called on Nigerian scholars to use their enormous research potentials to solve the country's problems. White stressed that the position of Nigerian universities would also improve as scholars publish their research results in the highly rated Impact Factor journals.

Speaking on the theme “Research Methods”, Prof White urged researchers to mould their researches to solve pertinent policy problems in the country.

Community Relations Manager of Nigeria LNG Limited Mr Ifeanyi Mbanefo urged academics to tailor their researches to solve industrial and social problems in the Nigerian society. He maintained that every meaningful research exercise should offer solutions to particular challenges without which such exercise would not attract support or sponsorship from industry.

Mr Mbanefo challenged academics to make themselves relevant to Nigerian industries instead of confining their activities to Ivory towers.

The three day 2nd UNN Dialogue on Media and Communications would feature presentations by leading academics and practitioners interacting with graduate and undergraduate students of mass communication and the Faculty of Arts of the university as well as practitioners from neighbouring towns. Airtel Nigeria is lead sponsor of the workshop attended by a hall full of students.

Speakers expected at the Conference include Prof Kate Omenugha of the department of Mass Communication, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Prof Charles Okigbo, first Registrar of the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria and currently professor of mass communication at North Dakota State University as well as Mr Chido Nwakanma, president of the Public Relations Consultants Association of Nigeria (PRCAN).

The Dean, Faculty of Arts, Prof Uchenna Anyanwu, who represented the Vice Chancellor at the occasion, said that the topic of the Dialogue-Research Methods- was apt and relevant to the present Nigerian situation where solutions to myriads of problems bedevilling the country must be unearthed through research. He urged participants of the workshop to use the medium to equip themselves with the relevant academic amour needed to confront the challenge.

Similarly the Head, Department of Mass Communication, Dr Nnanyelugo Okoro, said that as the first full-fledged department to offer academic and practical training in journalism in Africa, the Department of Mass Communication would continue to live up to its primordial responsibility to promote communication studies in the continent.

He thanked Airtel Nigeria and other good spirited individuals for sponsoring the Dialogue and said that the event has come to stay.

The “UNN Dialogue on Media and Communication” is an annual event that offers a platform for communication scholars and students to discuss existing issues in media and communication. Hitherto known as the Jackson College of Journalism, the department of Mass Communication at the University of Nigeria was one of the pioneering departments established by the University's founder, journalist and politician the late Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe to groom high level manpower in journalism and mass communication.

The Department of Mass Communication initiated the Dialogue in 2012, and it has begun to attract attention of mass communication scholars and experts from across the globe.