There are few female professors of Mass Communication in Nigeria really doing well in the discipline. They have made their marks in various ways and have become inspirational models to numerous upcoming scholars in the country. But to achieve the remarkable feat of becoming a professor in a region where women are not usually encouraged to go to school is what makes this story exceptional. For Prof. Ladi Sandra Adamu to become the first professor of broadcast journalism from the northern part of the country means she is truly noteworthy. With the unbundling of Mass Communication into seven new programmes, Prof. Adamu’s area of specialization has made her one of the most sought-after communication scholars in Nigeria.
Prof. Adamu started from somewhere and she never tells her story without referring to the Nigerian Army especially for playing a huge role in the successes she has recorded in life. In a chat with The Nation newspaper, Prof. Adamu gave a bit of her growing up and how the Nigerian Army impacted her life. As a young lady growing up, she had lost her father, Adamu Pankshin, who died as a soldier in the line of duty. The late Pankshin was better known to many old time soldiers as Sgt Major Adamu Pankshin, and he had made history as the first Nigerian to become a Regimental Sergeant Major of the Nigerian Army Corps of Engineers in Kaduna.
For his military exploits, Prof. Adamu’s father became the first soldier ever to be honoured with a song by renowned Hausa praise singer, Mamman Shata. He was also one of the best (British) trained soldiers in the Nigerian Army during his time. He was also believed to have impacted positively on the lives of many of his colleagues and subordinates. He was one of the pioneer hands of the Engineering Corps of the Nigerian Army as we have it today. He greatly influenced his daughter’s growing up. “He was a legend and my mentor. I wish he was alive to witness my achievements,” Prof. Adamu said.
Prof. Adamu had her primary education at Army Children School, New Cantonment in Ribadu Barracks, Kaduna. She had her secondary education at Queen Amina College, Kaduna. She has a bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism (specializing in radio and television) from Columbia College, Hollywood, and a master’s degree in film/script writing from the Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles. She became an Associate Professor of Mass Communication at Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria in 2014 and was later made a full professor years later but backadated to October 2017. She has several publications in local and international journals.
Prof. Adamu’s dedication and passion for her job have made her different among other female communication scholars in the country. She is today northern Nigeria’s first female professor of broadcasting. While speaking about this unique achievement in a chat with The Nation, Prof. Adamu said; “When I began my education, I never thought that one day, I would become the first professor of broadcasting in Northern Nigeria. I didn’t know that I would make or break any academic record in that field of study or write my name in gold as reported by the broadcast stations.
“The idea of becoming the first professor of broadcasting was hatched by my postgraduate students in the Department of Mass Communication, Ahmadu Bello University Zaria when I became an Associate Professor in 2014. Having attained the full chair of professor (backdated to October 2017), I was given the specialisation of broadcasting because anybody promoted to the rank of professor must have a specialisation attached to it, based on qualifications and academic publications.
“At a luncheon in honour of my professorship as the first female professor of broadcasting in Northern Nigeria, industry people present at the occasion made it known that I was not only the first female but the first broadcast professor in the region. All I can say is to God be the glory.”
Prof. Adamu has practical experience which she combines with her research knowledge to deliver top quality lectures in the classroom. After studying abroad, she returned to Nigeria and worked with the Nigeria Television Authority, Jos as an announcer and presenter. She was later posted to the News and Current Affairs Division as a News Editor and sometimes as a reporter. Her career in journalism took her to the defunct Democrat newspaper as Deputy Editor with the weekly title, also overseeing the women, children and entertainment pages. She was romoted as Weekly Editor of The Democrat newspaper before joining ABU Zaria as a lecturer.
Even when she joined the ABU, Zaria as a lecturer her colleagues could still notice her field experiences which were very essential in classroom teachings. According to her; “As you can see, I moved from the field of journalism to the classroom. My former colleagues referred to me as a classroom journalist. This migration assisted me in my teaching practice. It has also impacted greatly on my students, many of who are now practising journalists.”
Impact in the Dept. of Mass Communication
Prof. Adamu is not just a lecturer but one of the pillars of the department of Mass Communication in ABU Zaria. Here is what she said in an interview, about her contributions to the department; “I started the broadcasting section in ABU in 1998/1999 second semester. I have been teaching broadcast courses basically and I also teach news and commentary. I also teach online journalism and some production courses. I was in charge of Campus FM for 10 years; I started it with the BBC. So I rose through the ranks and became a professor.” Her presence in the department is truly amazing.
Prof. Adamu is truly a role model and an inspiration to a lot of young ladies in Nigeria, especially in the Northern part of the country where the space is not yet very liberal for women in education. Her achievements have given hope to many women who would want to carve a career in education with a view to making the kind of impact she has made.