Gov Shettima’s spokesman, Isa Gusau bags first-class degree from London University

Malam Isa Gusau
Borno governor, Kashim Shettima’s adviser on communications and strategy, Malam Isa Gusau has graduated with first-class degree in public relations, advertising and digital media at Middlesex University in London, United Kingdom.
The graduation ceremony took place yesterday at the University’s main campus in Hendon, North London. It was attended by the Pro-Chancellor, Sir Michael Patridge, the Vice Chancellor, Professor Tim Blackman, board of governors and other senior officials. The University, with origin from 1878, runs campuses in Malta, Dubai and Mauritius.

Gusau was in 2017 admitted into Year 3 (the final undergraduate year in UK) after meeting direct entry qualifications and passed the University’s credibility assessment test. Governor Shettima had granted his request for study leave and supported him as reward for loyalty enabling his relocation to London from where he operated as spokesman throughout his academic year.
As direct entry student, Gusau’s previous school records only qualified him for admission without transfer of academic transcripts. To achieve his target of getting first class, he needed to obtain distinction in minimum of 75 percent of all modules (the name for subjects) after first and second semester assessments.

Normally, assessment for every subject is marked by three persons: the tutor, a different lecturer and an external marker. All must agree before scores are ratified by the academic board.
Gusau surpassed the minimum requirement by obtaining distinction in all subjects (representing 100%) at the end of the two semesters. His dissertation, which markers rated as being “far above undergraduate standard” was graded 1/20, the highest category of distinction. The University’s distinction starts from 1 to 4.

The dissertation, it is presumed, could be the first major academic research that is specific on examining areas of convergence, interdependence, influences and conflicts between Nigerian journalists and public relations intermediaries (like media managers, spokespersons to Government and private institutions or persons). Gusau argued in his abstract, that whereas in Europe and United States, there exist “more than 100 years of research into relationships between PR intermediaries and journalists”, in the case of Nigeria, there is dearth of such research because most existing research narrowed focus on relationships between journalists and prominent public and private news-makers while ignoring the role of PR intermediaries, who in actual sense relate with journalists on behalf of those prominent news-makers.
In his work, Gusau cited more than 100 academic books and journals published by leading authors around the world, including Nigerian academics.

He combined qualitative and quantitative research methods by interviewing and observing a sample of PR intermediaries and senior journalists from different sections of Nigeria and also did content analysis of three newspapers: Thisday, Nigerian Tribune and Daily Trust, to compare thousands of news elements with interview findings and literature. The dissertation is being reviewed for publication by a UK based academic journal for reference by academics around the world.

However, some advantages contributed to Gusau’s performance in London.
From his personal records, about 20 years ago Gusau was among the three overall best graduating students of Mass Communication for his HND class in Kaduna Polytechnic. He holds PGD and Masters Degree in Industrial and Labour Relations from University of Maiduguri. Gusau has also attended different courses with certificates on Creative Writing from University of Cambridge in UK; Leadership and persuasive communication from Harvard University in Massachusetts, USA; reputation branding, media relations and political communication from Thompson Reuters in New York, USA.

Also, his membership of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) and Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA), both in UK, gives him access to online and practical training opportunities.
Gusau has also attended more than 20 other training programmes mostly in Nigeria with at least ten of them sponsored by Daily Trust for categories of staff. They include decision making, team work and budget management in work place conducted by the Nigerian Institute of Management in Abuja; effective communication and subordinates’ supervision conducted by Kaduna Business School in Kaduna; strategies of highly effective leadership conducted by Research-Training & Leadership (RESTRAL) at a management retreat in Cotonou, Benin Republic; skills for ground breaking political reporting taught by Professor Idowu Shobowale in Abuja; Legal provisions and ethical news reporting conducted by Rickey Tarfa’s Law chambers in Lagos.

Gusau’s working experience and personal achievement also gave him some advantage. During his NYSC in Taraba State, he combined primary assignment with freelance journalism.
At passing out parade, he was among five recipients of the NYSC state director’s certificate of commendation. Gusau was employed by Daily Trust three months before he completed service. Ten years at Daily Trust, he was first to win the Board Chairman’s star award and cash prize for integrity in the journalists’ category. He was also recipient of the Editor In Chief’s letter of commendation and cash reward for integrity. He had received series of commendations from the Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer for prudence, transparency, accountability and productive management of regional offices in Maiduguri and Port Harcourt.
He also received performance based incentives and accelerated promotions. He joined Borno government in March, 2012. He has been practicing public relations in more than six years before going to study it in London. His travels to about 22 countries as journalist and government media coordinating delegate for numerous activities that include UN summits, US-Nigeria Bi national commission meetings, security summits and bilateral discussions may have also worked for him.

Notwithstanding these advantages, Gusau’s student- record showed extreme dedication in London. He was one of the very few students with 100% attendance record for lectures, seminars and field trips. His school record also show that at different times he applied and held one-on-one tutorials on academic writing offered free of charge by experts in the University’s learning enhancement team at the library, who support students aiming high marks by improving their skills in resea