By Alaba Abdulrazak
Catherine The Great in one of her famous quotes says: “Assuredly men of merit are never lacking at any time, for those are the men who manage affairs, and it is the affairs that produce the men”. This quote is synonymous to Professor Oshiotse Andrew Okwilagwe. He is assuredly a man of merit who has emerged Vice Chancellor of Westland University because of his zeal to manage affairs.
In the field of impartation of knowledge, some teachers have become a class by themselves. They play significant roles in educating their students, sharpening their intellect and moulding their characters.
Such teachers live on in the memories of their students – some as strict disciplinarians, some as scholars, some for their meticulous teaching skills, a few for their loving care, and fewer still for all these and more. But teachers like Okwilagwe; whose influence transcends the boundaries of four walls of citadel of learning is an embodiment of all the good attributes that make a good teacher.
Oshiotse Andrew Okwilagwe was born in Jattu-Uzairue area of Edo State. He is a Professor in the Department of Library, Archival and Information Studies (LARIS), University of Ibadan. As a scholar and a writer of commendable literary depth, he holds degrees which are uniquely relevant to information resources manufacturing, processing, use of mass media and communication. Today, he has over 100 scholarly publications in high profile journals both home and abroad.
A highly commendable scholarship for a man who holds B.A., M.A. in Communication and Language Arts, MLS in Library, Archival and Information Studies, M.Litt and PhD in Publishing and Copyright Studies. Today, Okwilagwe represents a rare intellectual bridge that runs across the major information communication disciplines. Having studied at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria and University of Stirling, Scotland, Okwilagwe enrolled and completed course work on the MA degree programme in Africa Studies, University of Ibadan.
Okwilagwe is an academic and as well as a professional publisher involved in teaching, research, consultancy and practical scholarly publishing. His researches include Library and Information Studies,
Bibliotherapy, Social and Community Informatics, Publishing and Copyright Studies. Along his career path, he served as Sub-Dean (Undergraduate) in the Faculty of Education, University of Ibadan between 1995/96 – 1996/97.
He was a member of some important committees such as Senate Curriculum Committee for six years, University of Ibadan Business School Establishment Committee, University of Ibadan Vision and Mission Committee on Curricula Development and also served on other Faculty of Education curriculum and other various committees. He was Head of the Department of LARIS from 2011 – 2013. It is on record that he sourced and prudently saved over 11, 500, 000, 00 (Eleven Million, Five Hundred Thousand Naira) and also personally donated N1million for the department. As a seasoned scholar, Okwilagwe has also edited and published a 4 volume Encyclopaedia of Mass Media and Communications. He sourced for 8million Naira to publish the four thousand copies of the 1000 sets of the Encyclopaedia. He donated the books worth 36 million Naira to all University Libraries, Mass Communications Departments, members of the Guild of Editors and all professors and researchers of Mass communication in Nigeria. Okwilagwe has also donated books worth over one million Naira to Donican , Kola Daisi and Edo State Universities Iyamo.
Professor Okwilagwe was a member of the Governing Council of Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Edo State, Nigeria. He is a resource person to Nigeria Copyright Commission, Nigeria Publishers Association and Library Association, Oyo State chapter.
Professor Okwilagwe is a strong advocate of autonomous sustainable publishing capacity in Africa. He is the founder and President of Nigeria Association of Researchers and Teacher of Publishing (NARTOP) which is the Nigerian Chapter of West African Association of Researchers and Teachers of Publishing (WARTOP) and African Association of Researchers and Teachers of Publishing (AARTOP).
Professor Okwilagwe is also the Director of Stirling-Horden Publishers Ltd which is the publishing arm of NARTOP. NARTOP has in collaboration with Stirling-Horden Publishers Ltd published over 1000 scholarly titles on not-for-profit basis, under the NARTOP/Stirling-Horden Scholarly Publishing Action Programme (NARTOP/S.H- SPAP). Dr Okwilagwe has worked with over 800 authors on various publishing projects in Africa.
Professor Okwilagwe has trained many scholars through workshops held under the auspices of NARTOP on the Nigerian Scholarly Authors Empowerment Programme (NSAEP). NSAEP which is aimed at creating a crop of small-scale scholarly publishers who are highly educated and with the right brief for scholarly publishing in Nigeria.
As one of the most noted of his contemporaries, Okwilagwe developed the pedagogical concept, designed the programme contents that led to the establishment of a full-fledged, highly structured and unique academic and professional Modula Master degree and a complimentary PhD degree programme in Publishing and Copyright Studies (MPCS) in the Department.
The Master Degree in Publishing and Copyright Studies (MPCS) is highly subscribed and has produced top-flight publishers who are now holding executive positions in the publishing industry in Nigeria. He has authored 4 books and edited a 4 Volume Encyclopaedia entitled Nigerian Stirling-Horden Encyclopaedia of Mass Media and Communication and two books on Mass Media and Communication.
Professor Okwilagwe’s researches focus on the influence of Publishing, and Library and Information Science on national development. His research focused on the methods and processes of using the services of the information professionals in bringing about rapid and sustainable development in Nigeria. In this regard, his research effort has honed new perspectives on the synergy between Library, Archival and Information Science and allied disciplines of publishing, copyright, bibliotherapy for national development. These perspectives indicate the processes of applying the services of information professionals towards building information systems that can effectively meet users’ needs. Thus, his research thematically and theoretically spans Library, Archival and Information Science, Publishing, Copyright, Bibliotherapy Information Resources Management and Social Librarianship.
This scholar of note has also supervised over 120 first and master degrees projects and 10 PhD theses.
Professor Okwilagwe’s appointment as Vice Chancellor of Westland University, Iwo is indeed a plus to the new University. Okwilagwe will no doubt bring his experience and expertise to bear as the new VC of Westland University, Iwo. The reason is that, Okwilagwe is an astute scholar who will continue to put premium candour in educational and professional discourse in Nigeria and Africa in general.
As you are appointed the new Vice Chancellor of Westland University, I pray that the Lord will ease your affairs and make you fulfil your new mission in moving Westland University to greatness.