Kabiru Haruna Isa, PhD
“Death is not the opposite of life, but a part of it”~Haruki Murakami
It was in January, 2020 when ASUU-Chairman, Bayero University, Kano (BUK) branch informed me of the ailing condition of Professor Haruna Wakili.
As a good tradition of the branch, whenever any of its members is sick, members of the executive council (EXCO) will pay them a visit to show empathy.
I was part of the ASUU team that visited Wakili just before he embarked on his medical trip to India.
While in India, I, and of course my colleagues, would occasionally send him goodwill messages which, to our delight, he replied giving us hope that he was responding to treatment.
I was away in Katsina last week Monday when I received a call from my HOD, Prof Dalha Waziri, informing me of the return of Wakili to Nigeria.
He also told me that there was a plan to visit him on Wednesday, at the National Hospital, Abuja.
I could not resist such an opportunity, stressed as I was.
We therefore left Kano on Wednesday 17 June and arrived Abuja on the same day, braving the dilapidated condition of the Kano-Abuja road and the general insecurity now associated with travel within Nigeria.
When we entered his hospital room, my hope to see him in an improved condition dissipated immediately.
I saw him covered on the sickbed that was to be his deathbed and he couldn’t know we were there as he had gone far in the journey that turned out to be his last.
Three days later, it was on a ‘dark and unforgettable Saturday’, the 20th of June, I received a traumatizing call from his niece confirming my worst fear that he had died.
It wasn’t unexpected, though.
An inspiring teacher
Prof Wakili was my teacher and a colleague at the Department of History, BUK.
My first contact with him was when I was admitted through direct entry into BUK to study BA History.
He was the then Acting Director, before he was subsequently confirmed as the substantive Director, of the Centre for Democratic Research and Training, Mambayya House (later rechristened the Mambayya House, Center for Democratic Studies).
The undergraduate students in our Department, especially those who were in level III, were narrating different stories about his personality, the courses he taught and his teaching methods.
I registered with his course, HIS3308 Comparative Historical Methodology, which was a core course that all students majoring in History must take.
He introduced us to advanced historical methodology and the new trends of inter-disciplinarity, multi-disciplinarity and cross-disciplinarity.
More importantly, he made us to appreciate, grasp, love and value scholarly pursuits, the practice of history and the historical enterprise.
He made sure that his students worked assiduously and diligently to understand their subject matter and the role and relevance of history to individual, family unit, society, state formation, nation building and human development.
He used history class to instill self-respect and self-pride in his students and always encouraged them to never settle for less or accept the position of inferiority in the face of parasitic commercialization and commodification of university education.
I remember his intellectual and historical pontification whenever he was on the podium.
He always tried to justify that history was the queen of all disciplines on the account of its centrality to all fields of study.
No discipline can do without history; and any society that ignores history does so at its own peril; it is the be-all and end-all of human existence, functional operation of university education and knowledge production.
On intellectual honesty
In addition to the above, and at a closer level, Professor Wakili was my BA dissertation advisor when I was in level IV.
I vividly remember my first meeting with him.
He appeared serious, as was characteristic of him, and briefed me about his personal principles and work/research ethics.
One of the important issues raised that I will never forget was the need for any student of history, aspiring to become a historian, to suppress primordial sentiment and at the same time to always imbibe/symbolize intellectual honesty.
There was arguably, nothing within the four walls of university that gave him pleasure like intellectual discourse, scholarly disputation, research, identification and nurturing of talents.
He had the patience of sparing his precious time to respond to vexed questions of his supervisees.
In one of my subsequent encounters with him as my supervisor I asked him to shed light on what he meant by intellectual honesty. He responded in a most exquisite and philosophical way.
He explained that it was all about being truthful and sincere about the past, reporting what actually happened and acknowledging your sources as accurately as possible.
He was fond of quoting Samuel Eliot Morrison thus: “no person without an inherent loyalty to truth, a high degree of intellectual honesty, and a sense of balance, can be a great or even a good historian”.
A passion for administration
Professor Wakili was adamant and uncompromising when it came to academic standard and excellence.
He always gave the best and expected nothing less in return.
He persistently emphasized that his students had to conduct original research and at the same time drew their attention to the gravity of the crime of plagiarism.
He was generous with his collections and lent his rare books to his students.
He engaged his students and prodded them to think rationally and critically.
He had passion for administration and recorded huge success as a Director of Mambayya House.
This success catapulted him to the position of the commissioner for education in home state, Jigawa State, where he midwifed the establishment of the state owned Sule Lamido University, Kafin Hausa.
After serving as a commissioner, he was subsequently appointed as the Deputy Vice Chancellor (administration) in BUK, the position he held up to the time of his death on 20th June, 2020, at the age of sixty.
I will conclude with the words of American philosopher and poet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, “it is not the length of life, but the depth of life”.
The impact he made on the university system, education sector in Jigawa state and young academics in Nigeria will ever serve as memorials and ‘depth of his life’.
May Allah have mercy on his soul.
Kabiru Haruna Isa, PhD teaches at the Department of History, Bayero University Kano.
Commemorating NEPU’s 70th anniversary – Tanko Yakasai
Today the 8th of August, 2020 marks the 70th anniversary of the formation of the Northern Elements Peoples Union (NEPU), the first and only political party in the history of Nigeria, formed solely not only to fight oppression and exploitation of the common man the Talakawa by the ruling class in Northern Nigeria, but also for the unity, freedom and independence of our motherland, Nigeria.
It is in the cause of championing that commitment to liberate the oppressed and promote unity of the people of Nigeria that NEPU entered into alliance with National Council of Nigeria and Camerouns (NCNC), led by the doyen of Nigerian nationalism and first president of Nigeria, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe GCON during colonial era and the First Republic political activism in the history of our country.
The ultimate objective of the NEPU/NCNC alliance was for the two parties to eventually merge into a formidable party that will belong to all Nigerians regardless of their ethnic, sectional or religious background just as the VISION and MISSION of the founders of the National Party of Nigeria, NPN, during the Second Republic.
It was the fear of that eventuality that made the British colonial rulers of Nigeria at that time to incite traditional institutions and reactionary elements in northern Nigeria to subject NEPU and its members to unprecedented harassment, wide spread intimidation of arrests, imprisonment and persecution with the sole aim of scaring the educated elements in northern Nigeria to distance themselves from coming out to support the struggle of the party during colonial era and the politics of the First Republic.
That situation led to the paucity of intellectuals among the leading cadres of the party in large numbers.
The situation also led to the stagnation of progress of the NEPU in its struggle for the emancipation of the downtrodden in the North thereby hampering the efforts of forging national unity and success of progressive politics in our national development efforts.
The outcome was the perpetuation of ignorance and lack of enlightenment in the area which constitutes serious drawback of Nigeria’s march to progress and national development.
Liberation of the Talakawa
But in spite of that, all hopes were not lost as the emergence of NEPU engineered the sprouting of many opposition parties in the north at that time resulting in the emergence of political parties opposed to colonial rule such as Borno Youth Movement (BYM), Ibira Progressive Union (IPU), Middle Belt Peoples Party (MBPP), Ilorin Talaka Parapo (ITP), Katagum People’s Party (KPP) Habe Tribal Union (HTU) and many others during the period under reference – the formation of which resulted in widening the scope of revolt against colonial and feudal domination in northern Nigeria and enhanced the resilience of the peoples’ resolve to liberate themselves from domination and exploitation.
Another achievement associated with the emergence of NEPU was the political awareness among the downtrodden masses of northern Nigeria otherwise known as the talakawa.
All the subsequent political developments in northern Nigeria such as the emergence of United Middle Belt Congress (UMBC), Great Nigerian People’s Party (GNPP) People’s Redemption Party (PRP) and others, were born out of the sacrifices the militants in the NEPU promoted and endured.
As one of the remaining leaders of the NEPU still alive I salute the uncommon courage and fortitude displayed by the political activists in Northern Nigeria in fighting the combined forces of British colonialism and imperialism in collaboration with indigenous reactionary forces in the region in particular and the country in general both fallen and those still alive.
All the political progress made in promoting national unity in Nigeria drew inspiration from the example of collaborative efforts of the NEPU/NCNC alliance and other patriots.
May the souls of the departed comrades of the struggle for the emancipation of the talakawas who paved the way for the political awareness and national liberation in the Nigeria’s political development rest in peace.
I also wish those of us who are still alive to rededicate our resolve to safeguard the unity, freedom and wellbeing of the Nigerian nation and its people.
Long live the struggle for the emancipation of the common man in Nigeria and for our National unity, peace and prosperity.
Tanko Yakasai OFR is a former National Publicity Secretary of NEPU.
OPINION: Professor Abdallah Uba Adamu – The Ibn Khaldun of our time
By Hassan Auwalu Muhammad
Every area of knowledge has its specialties, and people will rarely have experience in a variety of fields.
For example, it can be difficult for someone who specialized in the area of health to be involved in the area of communications, or for someone who is studying political science to return to health.
However, there are certain types of people upon whom God has bestowed unique abilities, which made them different from their peers and contemporaries.
There are not many of such people, and even if you find them, it is mostly in countries that are advanced in terms of their education and economic growths.
Their research in different fields often allows them to be unlike other people.
Kano State used to be one of the least considered cities in the world as regards the number of people with high level of Western education.
However, after discovering the benefits of it, there are many gifted individuals with an extensive background in research such as Prof. Abdallah Uba Adamu.
Prof. Abdallah Uba Adamu (born 25th April 1956 in Daneji, Kano city), in his story as told by all those who had grown up together with him, friends and relatives, testified that since childhood, he has being passionate about researching different areas of knowledge.
His father, the late KANTOMA of Kano, Dr Muhammadu Uba Adamu, was a renowned scholar through whose guidance and inspiration, Prof. Abdallah began his research, which later earned him the respect of being a full-blown researcher in different areas of knowledge.
After graduating from primary and secondary schools, he decided to study medicine but failed to secure admission to the university of his choice, which later forced him to go for B.Sc. in Education, Biology and Physiology in 1979 at Ahmadu Bello University.
He did his National Service at a high school in Umoarkrika, Imo State, before he proceeded to Chelsea College, the University of London where he earned a Master of Arts in Science Education in 1983.
He earned his doctorate from the University of Sussex in 1988 under the sponsorship of the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission.
He started teaching as a Graduate Assistant at Bayero University Kano in 1980.
He re-invested himself in the field of research, which led to him becoming a Professor in Science Education in 1997 and also the youngest Professor in Bayero University at the time.
He presented his Professorial Inaugural Lecture in 2004, entitled ‘Sunset at Dawn, and Darkness at Noon: Reconstructing the Mechanisms of Literacy in Indigenous Communities’ in which he explored the use of Arabic alphabet as Hausa language literary devices in Ajami writings.
He proposed what he called ‘Ajamization of Knowledge’ as an alternative educational strategy, for millions of Qur’anic school pupils to acquire contemporary education in a literary script they know, rather than the Latin alphabet.
Professor Adamu was a Fulbright African Senior Research Scholar at the Centre for Studies in Higher Education, the University of California, Berkeley from 1991 to 1992.
While there, he wrote a monograph, Reform and Adaptation in Nigerian University Curricula, published by The Edwin Mellon Press, New York, in 1994, which explores the transfer of educational influence and structures from the United States to Nigeria, and the substitution of the British educational system in Nigeria in the process.
Professor Abdallah Uba Adamu has delivered commissioned lectures at Rutgers State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick (2015); the University of Warsaw, Poland (2012); Institute of Mediterranean and Oriental Cultures; Polish Academy of Sciences Warsaw, Poland (2012); University of Florida (2010), University of Basel, Switzerland (2009); Barnard College, Columbia University, New York (2007); School of African and Oriental Studies, University of London (2006); and Institute of Afrinkanistic, University of Cologne, Germany (2004).
Professor Abdallah Uba Adamu started his study in Media after the emergence of the film industry in Kano State in the 90s.
From that time on, his focus shifted from Education to Communication.
He earned his second professorship in media and cultural communication in 2012, from the Department of Mass Communications Bayero University Kano.
Prof. Abdallah Uba Adamu is the first Nigerian to hold double professorship in two very different disciplines.
He has over 117 publications, most of which were published outside the country.
He had also attended and presented papers in more than 200 conferences and workshops.
In fact he is scheduled for another workshop in the University of Florida in October 2020. He is one of the few Nigerian academics willing to tell the world about the intellectual output through his own independent website at www.auadamu.com.
In the knowledge of computer, Professor Abdallah Uba Adamu is said to be among the first few people with a vast knowledge of computer in Bayero University, Kano.
He was the first person to bring the computer PC 1512 to Kano State in 1988.
With the introduction of the internet, he was the first person to type Hausa words into computer with a hooked top showing the change of meaning from one word to another.
He served also as Director of Management Information System (MIS) in Bayero University Kano.
Although Professor Abdallah has never studied Hausa as a course, his deep knowledge of Hausa literature has led many to wonder whether Hausa was his area of specialization.
Prof. Adamu’s vast knowledge of Geography and Public Administrations made him stand out among the rest.
In the entertainment industry, Professor Abdallah excelled in the field of Hausa Rap, which led to the formation of a musical concert during the British Council era in Kano State.
The Government of President Muhammadu Buhari has selected Professor Abdallah Uba Adamu as the Vice-Chancellor of the National Open University of Nigeria thanks to his expertise and research.
He assumed office in February 2016, and will leave on 10th February 2020, almost six months from now.
Upon his arrival he realized that the university itself was considered more of a regional than a national institution.
His first move was to nationalize it by ensuring that all the six principal officers of the university come from the six Geopolitical zones of the country.
This is the only university with this administrative structure.
He immediately began a plan to ensure that the Headquarters of the university relocated from Lagos to the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, despite the threats and challenges he faced.
Without hesitation, he began expanding the new headquarters of the university in Abuja, and in a short period moved from Lagos to Abuja.
He also stopped the outsourcing of students’ portal and facilitation to third party companies and created directorates in the university that handled all these functions, saving the government a huge sum of money.
Successes @ NOUN
Here are a few of the achievements so far made by Professor Abdallah Uba Adamu as the vice-Chancellor of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN):
From the very beginning, the first step he made was ensuring the relocation of the university headquarters from Lagos State to the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
He has built numerous study centres across Nigeria, especially in the northern part of the country.
He encouraged politicians to use their constituency projects to build the centres.
Due to his persuasion, about 18 were built in Kano, 15 by Distinguished Senator Barau Jibril in his Senatorial District, two by Honourable Aminu Suleiman in Fagge and Kwaciri, and the biggest and most impressive of all, the one by Honourable Mustapha Bala Mai Gidan Ruwa at Dawakin Kudu.
This last one is the biggest and most comprehensive in Nigeria.
In fact, it is better than many universities, yet it is only a study centre.
Other places he fought for study centres include Katsina, Jigawa, Delta, Ondo and Edo States.
Prof. Abdallah has worked hard to employ many young people at the university under the Employment Act, and with the permission of the legal organs of the Government, and many young Nigerians have been employed in different capacities at the university, particularly in Computer Science.
This was before IPPIS stopped employment.
He re-built the University’s FM station in Lagos for the university to broadcast programs like any other FM station in the country.
Before becoming the VC, all students’ books and materials were produced from outside the university, which cost a large amount of money.
However, he later built a university printing press that would provide all the basic things that university students need, which saves the government a lot of money.
He has improved the school’s internet system so that students can read and research information on various subjects easily.
During the Pandemic lockdown, NOUN was the only university conducting online Pen-on-Paper examination using Artificial Intelligence software that detects cheating.
The students did the examinations at home without going to any Study Center.
Professor Abdallah found a Mosque at the National University Headquarters in Abuja already built by the Contractors building the University.
To show his liberal attitude, when the Christian community asked for a place of worship, he allocated lands to Protestant and Catholics for them to build their Churches, but informed them that they have to source the money to build their worship places as it is not government policy to build worship places for either Muslims or Christians.
Even the mosque was built privately by a contractor without any government funding.
Thus one of his greatest efforts was to unite the staff of the university by working together without any discrimination based on race, religion or ethnicity.
He has worked tirelessly with other major universities in the world to improve the academic system at the university he leads.
Prof. Abdallah built a Media Centre for the university at its Jabi Headquarters in Abuja.
Monogamist for life
Professor Abdallah Uba Adamu is a philanthropist, a man of the masses, easy-going, man of his words because no matter what, he will not lie to you about something he cannot do just to impress you.
Above all, he is incorruptible.
In the use of language, both Hausa and English, you can say he is an orator.
When he speaks in the Hausa language, you would assume he cannot speak the English language at all, but when he addresses you in the English language, you would think Professor Abdallah is an English man.
He was crowned NZE OKAA OMEE, a traditional title in the Awene Ezema Olo Kingdom of Ezeagu LGA Enugu state.
Professor Abdallah Uba Adamu will complete his term as vice-chancellor on 10th February 2021 and return to Bayero University Kano and resume duties on 1st March 2021.
He has one wife and four children, and says he is not ready to marry another wife as the one he has, whom he married in 1987 as his first and last wife, is more than four wives.
His children are all grown up, except the youngest who is 13 years. One is a married computer programmer, another a barrister who lives outside the country with her family and the only male is a Businessman.
Hassan Auwalu Muhammad a student of Mass communication at Bayero University Kano can be reached via email@example.com
A salute to NEPU at 70 – Mahmud Othman
Today, 8th AUGUST, 2020 marks the 70th Anniversary since the formation of the defunct Northern Elements Progressive Union (NEPU) political party.
It was on Tuesday, 8th August, 1950, that a group of eight dynamic, patriotic and restless young Nigerians met at No. 9 Ibadan Road, Sabon Gari, Kano around 4pm where they deliberated and resolved to form the first and only revolutionary political party in Nigeria
Though about 100 people were invited to the meeting, only eight very committed ones among the invitees showed up.
Some of those who could not honour the invitation claimed that it was the usual heavy rain of August that poured on that day that made it impossible for them to attend.
The indomitable and indefatigable eight who attended the inaugural meeting were: Abba Maikwaru, Baballiya Manaja, Musa Kaula, Abdulkadir Danjaji, Abubakar Garba Bida, Mudi Sipikin, Magaji Danbatta and Bello Ijumu.
The political party they formed, NEPU was used as a very strong platform for anti-imperialist, anti-fascists, pan-Africanist and anti-feudal struggle.
Its ideology was tailored towards the total liberation of Nigeria and the African continent from all vestiges of colonialism, imperialism and maladministration by the local bourgeoisie and their apologists.
Nigerians who identified with the party suffered from all forms of indignities from the defunct Native Authority (NA) warlords with the tacit approval of the British colonial agents.
They were imprisoned for no just causes, beaten up in public, sacked from their jobs, taxed arbitrarily, their properties destroyed and all sorts of unimaginable harassment.
What NEPU supporters suffered in Northern Nigeria was something more like what Palestinians and Rohingyas are experiencing from their modern day oppressors.
Despite all attempts of the powers that be to wipe out NEPU member and their just and noble struggles, the party still managed to win seats in both Federal and Northern Nigerian legislative councils.
As mentioned above, NEPU was formed on 8th August, 1950 and it operated for 15years and 161 days.
Or looking at it from another angle, we say that the party lived for 5640 days.
NEPU was among the 81 political parties and cultural associations Major-General Aguiyi Ironsi dissolved when he made his military coup speech on Monday, 17th January, 1966 through the Network Service of Radio Nigeria at 7am.
Some of the other political parties that were dissolved together with NEPU include: Action Group, National Council for Nigerian Citizens, United Middle Belt Congress, Niger Delta Congress, Borno Youths Movement, Republican Party, Dynamic Party, Midwest Democratic Front, Ilorin Talaka Parapo, National Emancipation League, Kano Peoples’ Party, Calabar-Ogoja-Rivers Movement, Communist Party of Nigeria, etc.
Some NEPU national leaders when it was alive include: Alh. Aminu Kano, Dr. Yerima Albatan Balla, Alh. Abubakar Zukogi, Alhaji Sadiq Abubakar Tanko Yakasai, Alhaji Yahaya Sabo, Alhaji Yahaya Abdullahi, Alhaji Lamin Sanusi, etc.
By the will of Allah (SWT) Alh. S. Abubakar Tanko Yakasai, former NEPU National Publicity Secretary, now in his 90s is the last man standing.
May Allah bless the soul of the departed and may Alh. Tanko live long and healthy.
Though NEPU was disbanded by military fiat more than 54 years ago, its spirit is still alive in all those who know what it was all about – love for equality, equity, justice, patriotism, pan Africanism, freedom, progress and development.
Mahmud Othman was Kano state commissioner for rural development during the 2nd Republic administration of late Muhammad Abubakar Rimi.
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