My wife was my motivation - PhD thesis winner

Dr. Moruf Rasheed

Mr. Moruf Rasheed is the winner of the 2018/19 overall best Ph.D. thesis. In this interview with PAUL AGADA, he shares how his wife was a big motivation behind his award winning thesis, the innovation poised to emerge from his thesis, why he decided to come study in Unilag and the challenges he faced.

Could you tell us about yourself?

My name is Rasheed Olatunji MORUF, I’m 37 years old and I hail from Ajegunle, Ajeromi LGA in Lagos State. Aside western and Qur’anic education in the formal setting, I also had ‘street education’ on the streets of Ajegunle. A man owes very little to where he is born with; a man is what he makes of himself and it does not matter where you are coming from; all that matters is where you are going.

I had my primary education in God is Able Primary School, Ajose and secondary educations in Cardoso High School Badia where I was the Senior Prefect (Head boy) and Amir (President, Muslim Students Society of Nigeria) in 2004. I bagged a Nigeria Certificate in Education (NCE) at the Federal College of Education (Tech.), Akoka, Lagos before proceeding to University of Ibadan for my first degree. I then returned back to Lagos for my M.Sc. and Ph.D. in the Department of Marine Sciences, University of Lagos.

What motivated your decision to study in the university of lagos

My chosen course (Marine Sciences) has been at the forefront of my mind when making a sensible choice of university. The facilities here at the University of Lagos for my subject are second to none. Hence, my chosen course of study motivated my choice of University of Lagos where main campus is largely surrounded by the scenic view of the Lagos Lagoon. I also learnt before coming in that the school places great premium on the development and welfare of students both at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

How would you describe the journey so far?

My academic journey at the University of Lagos really gave a good enjoyment of study life. The great lesson was about research publication and how to supervise students. The uncommon supports of my amiable supervisors, Associate Professors Aderonke Omolara Lawal-Are and Khalid Olajide Adekoya redefined the academic potential in me. Their belief in me inspired me to deviate from the stereotypic project ideas.

Your thesis emerged the best ahead of the 2019 convocation ceremony, how would you react to the news

I feel so excited because I had no premonition to win the laurel at the start of the research work, but I decided I was going to get the best out of everything I laid my hands on.  I don't compete to be the best, I strive to be unique in my own way. Being the best makes one the NUMBER ONE but being unique makes one the ONLY ONE. Each person knew its own place for water (Q 2:6).

With respect to what I had done within the 3 years of my fulltime Ph.D. research leading to twelve (12) extracted published papers in both International and National journals, I then realized it is an award well deserved. I thank God Almighty for this honour, knowing that many of my colleagues also had good contribution to knowledge.

What societal problems does your thesis seek to provide solution, and what innovation should be expected in the nearest future?

Seafood harvested from contaminated waters harbor pathogens, absorb algal toxins from their bivalve food and accumulate heavy metals higher in values than their aquatic environment, which have been implicated in outbreaks of food-borne diseases and food intoxication in many parts of the world. Their illnesses include food poisoning, cholera, salmonellosis, shigellosis and similar disorder of the neurological and digestive system. This prompted my desire to pursue a research work that could give indicators of safety consumption of seafood, determining the optimal habitat condition of the marine species as well as the productivity of the coastal ecosystems for effective utilization for sustainable development. Hence in the course of my research work, I was able to identify three haemocyte morphotypes: hyalinocytes, semigranulocytes and granulocytes; and peculiar cell type-Lipo-protein in the haemolymph of the marine species revealing taxon-specific health status of the species from coastal waters of Southern Nigeria.

The expected innovation on the established geographical heterogeneity and limited gene flow across the portunid populations is its application in the construction of a genetic-based stock needed by conservationists.

What challenges discouraged you during the period of your doctorate programme

Financing the project work was not easy at the beginning. Fortunately, I latter won four research grants which include: 2017 University of Lagos Muslim Alumni (UMA) Postgraduate Scholarship, 2018 University of Lagos Muslim Alumni (UMA) Postgraduate Scholarship, 2018 University of Lagos School of Postgraduate (Doctoral) Trust Fund and 2019 Bayero University Ph.D. Fellowship. I also had a perfect CGPA of 5.0 in Ph.D. course work, making me to win the 2018 Pgschool scholarship scheme

Frequent travelling to the north to see my boys, and my wife who lectures at the Federal University Dutsin-Ma in Katsina State was another challenge. I am convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I passionately loved what I was doing. All is now a story

How many publications does your thesis have?

I have published 12 papers from my thesis and still counting. But my total publication at work is over 40 now.

Are you in the academics?

Yes, I lecture at the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Faculty of Agriculture,

Bayero University, Kano (BUK), Nigeria.

What benefits does the completion of the doctorate degree have for you?

I secured the BUK employment as Assistant Lecturer shortly before my Ph. D. Defence. With my Ph.D. Degree, I have been upgraded to the next promotion cadre, given additional responsibilities and qualify to apply for senior staff research grants.

Can we have your final words?

My motivation was from my wife, who made a first class and won several awards of the University of Ibadan.  “Whatever a woman can do, a man can do it better”. To my fellow graduating doctors, every end has a new beginning. Ph.D. Graduation doesn’t just signify a culmination of stress, sweat, tears and triumphs, but also the beginning of a defence era. Every next step of your life will demand a different version of you. Now, we have to start defending this tittle, “DR”. Congratulation to us all.


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