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Politics killed my proposal for photography university – Pa Bola Dada

Pa Adebola Josiah Dada is a photojournalist, lecturer and mentor to various people.  A recipient of several awards including, being the only Nigerian to receive Master Photography in the International Photography Society in London. He was among the photographers that covered the first World Youth Conference held in 1992 at Abuja. Dada has mentored many youths, including the late award winning photographer Yinka Adeparusi.  Pa Adebola Josiah Dada who clocked 80 years recently  and also celebrated his 54th wedding anniversary in this encounter, talks about his foray into photography, including the proposal he made to Lagos State University to make photography a course of study in the institution.

By Elizabeth Uwandu

TELL us about yourself

I am Adebola Josiah Dada from Ibefun Ijebu-Ode. I had my elementary education at Odo-Senlu Methodist School at the age of six, before relocating to Lagos. At Lagos I continued at Ereko Methodist School where I obtained my first leaving school certificate.

I later went to Methodist Teachers Training College Ifaki and Wesley Colllege, Ibadan where I obtained Grade 111 and 11 certificates. My love for Photography made me to attend the many institutions, including Norwood School of basic Studies of Photography; Paddington Technical College on Scholarship for City and Guild Photo Technology;London School of Film Production for Higher Diploma etc.

• Pa Bola Dada, still looking strong at 80

I have worked as a teacher , lecturer and in government agencies. But , Photography has taken me to places within and outside the shores of Africa. I was the London Photo Correspondent to Daily Times and Daily Express, Lagos 1963-1965; Photo Correspondent to West Africa Journal 1966-2000;Medical Photographer in Middlesex University Teaching Hospital West End, London 1974-1978. Coming back to Nigeria, I was Head of Photographic and Film Unit in National Youth Service Corp 1978-1991; Head of Department, Photojournalism and Cinematography,School of Communication, Lagos State University 2001-2011.

Photography as a life long profession

It is a pity that Lagos State University did not take my proposal. I really wanted Photo journalism to be a course of study . My dream was to have Photography established in universities as it has many genres such as Medical Photography; Underwater Photography;  Animal Photography and several others. Photography is a special course, however, shortly after my proposal to make Photography a course in LASU, I retired and subsequently politics entered into its deliberations. If my proposal had scaled through, maybe photography would have been a foremost course of study in Nigeria.

I will love to live to the age where universities will teach photography seriously because the journalists are not going to the interior to publish what is happening in the villages. That is why people shun going to villages because there is no exposition. I would like a situation where you will look into newspapers and see the portrayal of people living in the interiors not just the conventional pictures.

Life at 80

I had always been a sportsman from my youths up till national and international level, I did various forms of exercises. But, when I left LASU, I looked up to God. I believe my lending a helping hand to people is one reason God is using to bless me with strength and grace.

Regrets

In Nigeria, we do not promote photography like is done overseas. They don’t make journalism and indeed photo-journalism attractive for youths to get involved. For example , I am recognised in Britain, where I was honoured  with Master Photography in the International Photography Society in London,  1976 but in Nigeria where I come from and known , nobody has recognised me.


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