THE DEATH OF RESEARCH IN NIGERIA WITH REFERENCE TO EDO STATE By ENAMAYE JACOB M.Ed Dept. of Voc. & Tech Edu. Faculty of Education University of Benin, Nigeria Dec. 2012
Research publication is an important device in the expression of proffered solutions to carefully identified problems. It is a fundamental tool for knowledge development, the essence of which is to find solution to human problems. The emerging knowledge of an economy in which intellectual knowledge is seen as an important source of wealth is changing the way knowledge is generated, diffused or disseminated through different vehicles to a broad range of consumers, including practitioners, industry, public policy-makers and the general public. The seriousness with which universities all over the world perform this function through its academic staff is expressed in Nigeria with a popular slogan “Publish or Perish”. The index of scholarly research in Nigeria has declined in terms of output, quality and regularity of publications. This reflects a general decline in the standards and funding of education, a consequence of prolonged military rule characterized by lack of accountability and a thinly veiled culture of obscurantism. It also derived from the preoccupation of most Nigerians with the problems of daily existence following the virtual collapse of the currency (the Naira) owing to sheer plunder and mismanagement by the country’s military rulers and their civilian collaborators. This state of affairs generated the “brain drain” syndrome, and led to disillusionment and despair among those mired in the dismal conditions in the country. Academics were distracted from their primary assignments of teaching, research and supervision of students’ research, and were made to dissipate energy confronting official neglect and wrong-headed policies. This explains the spate of seemingly endless strikes for a better academic environment since 1981. Long established reputable journals and academic publishers had collapsed in the meantime, taking a heavy toll on academic publishing in Nigeria.
The Beginnings of Academic Research and Publishing and the Early Challenges The establishment in 1948 of the University College, Ibadan may, for the sake of convenience, be taken as a staring point in the discussion on this subject. From then till the late 1970s, Ibadan was the fountain of academic research in Nigeria, particularly in the Humanities. This culminated in the Ibadan History Series, about which a lot has been written, it must be conceded that, at least in the 1950s and 1960s, that school blazed the trail and set the research agenda for historical scholarship in Nigeria and, indeed, the rest of the continent. Given the preoccupation with political independence, the focus on indirect rule and political history is quite understandable. Expectedly, there was a market for books on colonial conquest and African resistance, and aspects of indirect rule, which were the current issues of the times. Such was the currency of History that the Historical Society of Nigeria, founded in 1955, was the first such professional body to emerge in Nigeria. To its credit, the Society maintained three credible publishing outlets for academic research: the Journal of the Historical Society of Nigeria; the Ibadan History Series; and Tarikh. The first two published original research by academic historians while Tarikh published articles specially prepared for secondary school and undergraduate students. A survey of the contents of the Ibadan History Series, the flagship of academic publishing in Africa till the 1970s,...
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