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Idowu Sobowale: Multidisciplinary journalist turns 80

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Sobowale

Unveils autobiography, talks about life in the media
It was a rain of tributes yesterday, as friends, colleagues and past students poured encomiums on Professor Idowu Sobowale, considered by many as one of the forerunners of Mass Communication in Nigeria, who turned 80 years yesterday.

Activities to celebrate the erudite scholar continues today with a keynote to be delivered by renowned Professor of Political Science and former Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academics), University of Ibadan, Prof Adigun Agbaje, at the 5th Idowu Sobowale Conference.

The first Idowu Sobowale International conference was organised in 2009 to create a forum for regular dialogue on different aspects of intellectual and professional interventions of Prof Sobowale in media, journalism and public communication. Former VC, LASU, and Fellow Royal Statistical Society, Professor Abisogun Leigh, Fellow, Royal Statistical Society will chair the event.

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The President, Association of Communication Scholars & Professionals of Nigeria (ACSPN), and current VC, Federal University Kashere, Gombe State, Professor Umaru A. Pate, is special guest and Vice-Chancellor, Caleb University, Imota, Professor Nosa Owens-Ibie, who is also the Secretary-general (ACSPN), serves as guest of honour.

The Acting Vice Chancellor, LASU Prof. Oyedamola Oke, is the chief host of the event, while the new Dean of the LASU School of Communication, Prof. Yinka Alawode, is the host.

With the theme, ‘Media, Public Opinion and Governance in Africa’, chairman, Idowu Sobowale Conference Committee, and former Dean, LASU School of Communication, Prof. Rotimi Olatunji, said the conference is organised in partnership with Department of Mass Communication, Covenant University, Ota.

Prof. Olatunji noted that the 2021 conference provides unique opportunities for scholars, media professionals, veterans, contemporaries and academic disciples of Professor Sobowale to also celebrate the legend as he marks his 80th birthday and his autobiography (“Unexpected Turns”) unveiled during the opening ceremony of the Conference today.

“The choice of the venue is equally spectacular because Professor Idowu Sobowale served both as one of the founding fathers as well as the pioneer Dean of the Lagos State University School of Communication (LASUSOC).”

He said that during the conference, Prof. Sobowale, on March 31, will reminisce his odyssey in journalism, public service, government, politics, the academia and private life, which presented unique opportunities for budding media professionals and scholars to learn at the feet of the academic and media grandmaster.

The session on reminiscences by Prof. Idowu Sobowale will be chaired by another legend, Prof. Ralph A. Akinfeleye, Professor of Journalism and Mass Communication, Council Member, World Journalism Education Congress.

According to Lade Bonuola, former Managing Director of The Guardian, “Sobowale is everything in journalism. He is a byword in the industry.”

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He added; “He was a reporter; Port Harcourt correspondent; airport correspondent; war correspondent, sub- editor; assistant editor; deputy editor, editor. All at the Daily Times of old. These were not all. He was a lecturer at Daily Times Training School, he was a lecturer at Unilag and later Head of Department, Masscom, also the same position at Covenant University. He has been a visiting lecturer to many universities across the land.”

Professor Sobowale, two-term Special Adviser (Education) in Lagos State, first to pioneer Governor of Lagos State, now late Alhaji Lateef Jakande, and later during the first term of Ahmed Tinubu as Governor of the state.

He became Commissioner for Education during the same period. He was among the technical team that recommended the establishment of the LASU School of Communication, where he later served as the pioneer dean.

Already, in recognition of the contributions of Sobowale to scholarship and media profession, Caleb University, Imota Lagos State, has long named its Faculty of Communication and Media Studies in honour of the icon.

Sobowale has pledged to utilise the proceeds of the autobiography (Unexpected Turns) to institute a professorial chair in an aspect of Media and Communications Studies, as well as offer scholarships to budding communication scholars to attend local and international conferences.

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