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Adieu “Super HOD”! A tribute to late professor Balarabe Maikaba



Balarabe Maikaba

Ibrahim Siraj Adhama

I must admit that I’m not good at writing tributes but as late Prof Maikaba’s student, supervisee, colleague and one of his closest friends and confidants of late, I feel personally indebted to write one this time around.

The dilemma, however, is where to start from given the avalanche of information that readers will be interested to know about him. Thankfully many of his former and current students have written excellently paying glowing tributes to their teacher and mentor, reminiscing about great moments shared together in the Department of Mass Communication, Bayero University, Kano, where the late scholar spent his life teaching and shaping lives. They wrote about the Prof Maikaba they know, the academic giant he was, the research guru he personified as well as his relationship with students.

However, there is lot more that needs to be said about Prof Maikaba especially with regards to his leadership, his inclination towards doing the right thing, his love for academic excellence as well as his relationship with colleagues with whom he worked or was still working until his painful exit on 26th April, 2020.

Late Prof Maikaba started lecturing as a graduate assistant and rose through the ranks to become a Professor, thus reaching the peak of an academic career that spanned nearly thirty years.

He was opportuned to serve as the HOD Mass Communication for five consecutive years (two terms plus an acting period).

As the leader, he was able to steer the department to greatness through dedication and hard work.

A true leader

He proved to be a good leader both academically and administratively.

He led with passion and commitment, taking charge personally when necessary and delegating responsibility at the appropriate time.

His approach to problem solving was remarkable – always deploying tact, wisdom, foresight, consultation and a deep sense of responsibility.

Allah the almighty blessed his headship making it arguably the most successful as well as the most eventful in history particularly as it affects staff strength and development.

More than a dozen academic staff (including 7 at a go in 2012) were added to the Departmental workforce making Mass Communication, BUK reportedly the largest department in the country in terms of manpower.

So strong was the department that even when the new Department of Information and Media Studies was curved out and some important staff had to be transferred there, the mainstream Mass Communication was able to continue operating unperturbed.

I once wrote about how I always wanted to be a lecturer (though I considered it a tall dream knowing the job situation in the country) and how Prof Maikaba made it all too easy for me.

In 2012 (immediately after acquiring my Master’s degree) the then HOD saw in me what it takes to be a lecturer, considered me worthy of working in the Department and facilitated my appointment without being prompted by anyone.

Merit must always take precedence, for him.

The Bulldozer 

Similarly, there was never a time when staff acquired higher degrees as they did under Prof Maikaba’s headship.

Not less than 10 staff (including 7 in one fell swoop) acquired their PhDs in 2014 in addition to dozens of Masters’ degrees completed around that time.

This earned him the nickname “Super HOD” or “the Bulldozer of a HOD”, apologies Prof Abdalla Uba Adamu.

This feat though would not have been achieved without the push and support of such senior colleagues in the Department as Prof Malam, Prof Abdalla, Prof Pate, etc.

They must share in the credit.

Whoever worked with Prof Maikaba will know one thing about his insistence and inclination for what is right.

He wanted every single mark and every grade to be truly earned.

He was averse to favoritism or ‘alfarma‘ in whatever form or shape. He didn’t care if a particular student was Hausa-Fulani, Yoruba or Ibibio, and it didn’t matter to him if such a student came from Fagge of from Port-Harcourt: All he cared for was the student’s “capacity” and his/her ability to answer his questions.

He didn’t subscribe to the idea of “helping” students with free marks in order to graduate.

He believed that the system was accommodating enough to provide for two years of spill over to enable students make amends and that, before any talk about “help”, such opportunity must be fully utilized.

For Prof Maikaba, the position of a lecturer is a trust and every one of us will be held accountable.

A popular phrase of his which also underscores his penchant for due process is “things must take their natural course”, implying that what is right must be done under all circumstances devoid of unnecessary influence and interference.

Excellent Supervisor

Prof Maikaba’s attitude towards quality project was uncompromising.

His supervisees always found it a little more difficult to survive. They always had to work a bit harder to meet the standard set for them.

This is more so with postgraduate students on whom he always had higher expectation.

A Chapter could be written as many as five times until he was satisfied it approximated the quality expected of it.

Prof Maikaba has always warned against “cheapening” higher degrees because the name of the University was at stake.

Also, doing so could sink the name of the Department and its lecturers into gradual disrepute.

For him, a higher degree is not a life necessity and anyone who came for it must sweat to earn it.

Masters’ degree is not a “charity” he would say, and that only academic excellence, as against compassion, should determine who gets it.

One night he called me on phone and after exchanging the traditional pleasantries he said that he called purposely to appreciate my effort and that of other colleagues in adding value to our postgraduate defense sessions.

He told me that our contributions always made him proud as well as made him feel vindicated.

He urged us to always prioritize strengthening and improving the quality of work done by our postgraduate students.

At the end, he asked me to extend the same message to other colleagues he mentioned, something I did immediately after my conversation with him.

Since I became MSc Coordinator, there wasn’t a time we met without Prof Maikaba offering one suggestion or another to me on how to strengthen the program.

Sometimes he would call to offer his advice concerning how certain issues should be handled.

Honestly, I found all his advice useful, invaluably helpful as well as a great source of guidance.

Controversial Professor

Prof Maikaba earned the respect of all his colleagues.

He related very well with each and every one of them.

During meetings, his contributions were always invaluable.

His critical mind led him to see things differently from other colleagues thereby making his views subject to debate which he often won.

In situations where he couldn’t defend his position, he would laugh his way out and accept the majority decision.

He never harbored any ill feeling against his colleagues.

If he had any grouse against you, he would say it right in your face or to people he was very sure would convey same to you.

He believed in disagreeing to agree.

He was so outspoken and had always spoke his mind not minding whose ox was gored.

Humorous Person

He believed in reconciliation and compromise often making serious concessions in order to ensure that personal misunderstandings did not last long.

His sense of humor always helped to ease tension during stormy sessions.

This has often provided postgraduate students with some relief and helped them to stabilize or regain their composure.

He helped the Department and the University in various capacities where his assistance was sought.

He delivered on every responsibility assigned to him to the satisfaction of whoever gave him the assignment.

Prof Maikaba’s loss is a huge one.

He will be seriously missed by his students (former and current), his colleagues, the University Community, the communication family in Nigeria and world over, professional associations such as ACCE and ACSPN, media organizations in Kano who benefitted immensely from his resourcefulness, his visiting universities especially ABU Zaria and KASU as well as family, relations and many others too numerous to mention who are beneficiaries of his benevolence and philanthropy.

Allah ya jikansa da rahama, ya kyautata bayansa

Dr Ibrahim Siraj Adhama is a staff of Mass Communications Department, Bayero University Kano

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Childhood killer diseases: NGO gets $29m grants to reach 1m caregivers



An International Non-Governmental Organization, New Incentive, said it has received a grant of $29 million under it project – All Babies Are Equal targeted to reach over one million caregivers and immunize their infants against childhood killer diseases in four Northwest States .

Kano Focus reports that the four Northern states are Katsina, Jigawa, Zamfara and Sokoto.

These childhood killer diseases include, tuberculosis, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B, Haemophilus influenzae type B, pneumococcal disease and measles.

The Stakeholder Relations Director, of the NGO Nura Muhammad disclosed this at a stakeholders meeting with the benefiting states held in Kano.

Muhammad said the grant would be disbursed as conditional cash transfer to support the caregivers to ensure they avail their infants for the Immunization.

He said, “New Incentive – All Babies Are Equal, NI-ABAE has received commitments of over $29 million of funding over the next 3 years to reach over 1 million caregivers and their infants in Jigawa, Katsina, Zamfara, and Sokoto States.

This covers expansion to 35 LGAs with continued operations through Dec 2023.

“The organization aims to reduce child mortality through cost-effective and evidence-based health interventions.

In Nigeria, the organization operates as the All Babies Are Equal Initiative and implements the conditional cash transfers (CCT) for routine immunization (CCTs for RI) program.

“The flagship CCTs for RI program operated by ABAE disburses cash incentives to caregivers conditional on infants receiving four vaccines: BCG (against tuberculosis), PENTA (against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenzae type b), PCV (against pneumococcal disease), and MCV (against measles).

These vaccinations are part of the routine schedule for infant immunizations in Nigeria and are provided at no cost to the caregiver through government-supported clinics.

Upon confirmation of their infant receiving a vaccine, the caregiver receives ₦500 for the first four routine immunization visits and ₦2,000 for the fifth visit.

“The cash transfers compensate for transport, lost trading income, and waiting time while creating behavioural change through awareness of routine immunizations.

“The CCTs for RI Program has been implemented in the states of Katsina, Zamfara, 2017 while Jigawa in 2018.

To date, the program has enrolled over 390,000 infants whose caregivers have received over 1 billion naira in conditional cash transfers.

An independent impact assessment of NI-ABAE’s CCTs for RI program (2017 – 2020) found that the program increases the likelihood that children would be fully immunized by 27 percentage points, and increases rates of individual vaccinations by 14 to 21 percentage points.

Beyond vaccination, the assessment found that the program contributed to improved knowledge about vaccination among caregivers in the catchment areas served by the program.

“Immunization is one of the most effective public health interventions, saving 2 to 3 million lives yearly (WHO) and there is evidence that suggests a 27 percentage points increase in the likelihood that children would be fully immunized by a conditional cash transfers for routine immunization program (NI-ABAE RCT Impact Assessment 2017-2020),” the Stakeholder Relations Director, Nura Muhammad however said.

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Meet Abdul: The most talented Dabo Babies player of all time



Picking out the footballing stars of the future is a tricky task.

There are so many factors which could hinder the progression of even the most professional of teenagers.

But some do seem destined to reach the top, while others display a work ethic that’s even greater than the natural talent at their disposal.

The second paragraph could be the case with Dabo Babies talented, 19-year-old forward Abdul Attacker.

He burst onto the scene when he was playing for a local club, Golden Bullet and was snapped up by famous Dabo Babes FC after the departure of former Nigeria U-20 star, Nazifi Yahaya.

And has since caught the attention of football enthusiast across the country with his brilliant display for Dabo Babes.

Abdul tormented four-time Nigeria Professional Football League Champions, Kano Pillars FC after he scored twice against the Sai Masu Gida in a friendly match before the kickoff of the second stanza of the just concluded 2020/2021 Nigeria Professional Football League season (NPFL).

He was the catalyst to Dabo Babes good run to the Kano state Tofa Premier League title driving the famous academy from game to game until they reach the final.

The dazzling forward produces mouthwatering display to earn himself accolades from the Pen Profession who could not hide their love for the next Super Star during the Tofa Premier League final.

He likes his game to that of Real Madrid forward, Karim Benzema and Bayern Munich deadly striker, Robert Lewandowski.

The 19-year-old’s talent and versatility has some people wondering whether he could be a bolster for the Nigeria National U-20 team, the Flying Eagles for their upcoming assignments.

As preparations for the 2020/21 Nigeria Professional Football League season gearing towards climax, many top clubs are interested in snapping him to bolster their squad as well as few other European top teams.

He has scored 55 goals and provided further 22 assists for Dabo Babes in less than three and a half years.

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Lamido, Jega celebrate NEPU @ 71 



Aminu Kano

Dr. Nuruddeen Muhammad 

Yesterday, Sunday, the 8th of August, 2021, I accompanied His Excellency Dr Sule Lamido  (CON) who was the speaker at a symposium organised by the Aminu Kano Centre for Democratic Studies, Bayero University Kano (Mambayya House) to commemorate the 71st anniversary of the founding of the Northern Elements Progressives Union (NEPU), with the theme; ‘Politics of Principles and the Phenomenon of Political Party Defections in Nigeria’.

Sule Lamido

The event which held under the distinguished chairmanship of the cerebral Dr. Tijjani Muhammad Naniya, also had the ebullient Dr. Auwalu Anwar as the sole discussant. While Professor Attahiru Jega, Professor Dandatti Abdulkadir, Dr. Akilu Sani Indabawa, Professor Hafiz Abubakar, Professor Sule Bello, Dr. Nasir Fagge, former NEPU/PRP regional, federal and state parliamentarians, women and youth leaders from across the country, notably Kano, Jigawa, Katsina and Kaduna States all ran incisive commentaries.

Prof. Dandatti Abdulkadir

The cacophony of voices were as fierce as they were sharply different in tone, content and delivery. But by far, that which stood out and generated most responses was Dr Lamido’s lead assertion that the raison d’etre for the NEPU/PRP ideological and political initiatives was to liberate the common folks (the Talakawas), first from the clutches of the combined reppression of the colonial overloads and their willing surrogates in the Native Authority establishments in Northern Nigeria, and the restrictions placed on them in political participation, aspirations and freedoms.

He forcefully argued that the movements have achieved on both counts as the children of yesterday’s Talakawas are today the new overloads and oppressors who deny their fellow Talakawas quality leadership as presidents, governors, parliamentarians, ministers, council chairmen and their councils. He concluded that the movements (atleast as organised political actions) should rest and cease to exist. And that today’s progressives should instead leverage around available political opportunities/platforms to confront the existing selfish order using present day political sentiments and realities as mobilization tools.

Prof. Hafiz Abubakar

But recalling copiously from memory, the lead speaker canvassed for an ideological graft transplant from the NEPU/PRP days in ways that the moral and ethical characters of both politics and governance of today can benefit from the sound value systems of old oder.

He narrated how he first resigned as a member of the House of Representatives in Lagos in 1983 purely on moral grounds, and then flew to Kano to convince the then Governor Alhaji Abubakar Rimi to do same as the governor of the old Kano State when the duo defected from the People’s Redemption Party (PRP) that gave them the mandates in the first place.

He then described the present phenomenon of political party defections in Nigeria as the worst form of corruption.

This profound submission drew a symphony of responses from today’s PRP practitioners who are mostly academics. Leading the park was Professor Attahiru Jega who argued that without justice in leadership and the level of impunity as is the case today, the NEPU/PRP cause has just begun and asked Sule Lamido to come lead the national onslaught.

Many other PhDs and Professors joined in the call that Lamido would later say lacked sufficient local and broader national political insight. It is significant to note that I was to totally align myself with the Sule Lamido’s perspective of the argument only yesterday, having engaged with him for over a decade on the same exact topic as the Jegas had done yesterday at Mambayya.

I am now fully convinced that the NEPU/PRP politics exclusively represented yesterday’s political sentiments and realities in the North with no much utility for either our present political and social circumstances or broader national appeal.

Sule Lamido, Dr Nuruddeen Muhammad and other guests

The Mambayya rendezvous is prehaps the only remaining theatre in Nigeria where political practitioners, activists and ideologues meet political researchers, theorists and even wannabees in a real time intellectual brawl. Bayero University Kano is both creative and thoughful in this annual ritual. Mallam Aminu Kano and his comrades had lived a very politically active, intellectually robust, and ideologically/philosophically sound lives to deserve this honour.

When academic excellence and classroom sense meet self taught philosophers and the practical hands on the streets, a cetain unique flavour emerges. Yesterday’s flavor has unfortunately left a distinctively sour test in my mouth. The fact that the Talaka is today his very own oppressor is a very bitter pill for some of us to swallow. And even more bitter is the second fact that the second on coming liberation of the Talakawas (from themselves this time around) will have to invent it’s devices with no NEPU/PRP emotional relic to rely on.

This, on a very personal note, was a befitting way to round off my three weeks extended sallah visit in Jigawa.

Dr. Muhammad was Nigeria’s former Minister of State for Foreign Affairs & Federal Minister of Information as

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