Thanks for another un petit pause, a time to allow readers air their views on issues I presented in this column. One issue that elicited comments was the tribute I wrote on the late Mukhtar Muhammed, Pro-Chancellor and Chairman Governing Council of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. So far, he was the greatest loss of 21st Century to my lovely Ivory Tower, Ahmadu Bello University Zaria. Similarly, ABU suffered another gigantic loss in the 20th Century when crazy mutineers led by Major Chukwuma Nzeogwu brutally murdered Sir Ahmadu Bello in cold blood at his home on 15th January, 1966.
Sir Ahmadu Bello was the founder of ABU and the first and last Premier of the Northern region. He laid the solid foundation of the university. His immense and immeasurable contributions made ABU a “true national university” whose contributions to nation building are unquantifiable.
Today, ABU is an orphan yearning for another AVM to support the management for the achievement of its lofty objectives set by the founder, Sir Ahmadu Bello. I hope Baba Buhari, our amiable President and the Visitor to the University will avail us another AVM as a matter of urgency and national importance.
I cannot present all the comments and accolades made by readers. However, the comments made by Prof. Ado Sale, one of the ABU council members, Engr Bashir Garba, a Personal Assistant to the AVM and Head of ABU Procurements and Aliyu Suleiman, an erudite, tireless administrator are worth sharing.
This is for the information and records of my esteemed readers.
Re: AVM Mukhtar Muhammad: ABU’s Greatest Loss of 21st Century
Engr Bashir Garba, ABU Zaria
I recall my interaction as a personal assistant to the great hero, AVM Mukhtar Muhammad. He was the first chairman of the Governing Council of ABU Zaria who interacted with fellow ABUSITE (Ahmadu Bello University students) on arrival directly during a student union’s function at the University. In his speech, the AVM told the students that ABU would continue to graduate students who will make contributions to the development of our nation. Graduates, who will bring progress to the nation, graduate who can address issues of poverty and corruption. He called for the cooperation of all students to work together with him to create a conducive environment for teaching and learning
In this interaction with the students he promised to make great contribution on student’s accommodation and also promised students that he will visit their hostels and houses on and off-campus to assess their condition. This kind of interaction was never done by past Council Chairmen in the history of ABU.
On the 3rd of June 2017 during his first outing to the University, I was among the few people who received him and ushered him to his official residence. He then requested me to organize interaction sessions with different ABU stakeholders to allow him understand the university and its challenges. First, I organized a meeting between the AVM and ABU Branch of ASUU EXCO members led by Comrade Dr. M. Liman. The union EXCO articulated the issues challenging ABU progress and suggested the way forward toward a better ABU. The AVM appreciated their valuable contributions and requested them to consider him as a father to the university community and that he was ready to listen to their calls at anytime. He was ever ready to dialogue with them on matters affecting the university. He said he considered the ASUU leadership as his children.
In addition to in-house unions, other important stakeholders were the traditional rulers, opinion leaders and religious leaders surrounding the Samaru Community. The AVM met with all these important people within one month of his appointment as Chairman of the ABU Council. I successfully organized series of meetings with community leaders of Samaru, Basawa, Jama’a, Bomo, Kudingi, Biye, Shika, Koraye towns and villages.
Issues discussed were diverse, bordering on admission, employment opportunities, contracts, land boundary, etc. The communities were amazed as nobody closed to the AVM’s caliber from ABU ever gave them listening ears. Thus, a solidary support rally was accorded to him as the Chairman of the ABU Governing Council.
It was the first time this kind of unsolicited support was shown to ABU. Within his short stay in office he had established various contacts and pledges of assistance were made by many prominent personalities across the nation. We hope those who made the promises to assist the University would redeem their pledges. I also hope that the support and cooperation accorded to ABU by the stakeholders should continue for the benefit of our great University.
-Prof S.A. Ado, Department of Microbiology, ABU Zaria
The tribute on AVM Mukhtar Muhammad (Rtd) by our own erudite scholar and columnist in his Leadership column “Breakthrough with Prof. M.K. Othman” was very apt and timely. As pointed out by Prof. Othman, AVM Mukthar Muhammad was indeed a very dedicated elder statesman and Ahmadu Bello University was extremely lucky to have him as Chairman of its Governing Council at the time he came. Having worked with him as a member of the council for the short period he was chairman, I can attest to the facts of all what Prof. Othman said about AVM. He is a man of impeccable character and came to ABU with a lot of goodwill, lofty ideas and great plan to develop all sectors of the University. Unfortunately he could not live longer to realize his dream for the benefit of the University.
Fortunately, there are still other elder statesmen who could continue with the good work he had started in ABU. Prof. Othman has suggested some notable names in that respect. We call on the visitor, President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently do the needful in order not create a vacuum and break the momentum brought by AVM in governance of this great University. May Allah grant Mukhtari Muhammad Aljanah firdausi.
Alhaji Aliyu Suleiman, NAERLS, ABU Zaria
The tribute by Prof. M. K. Othman to late AVM Muktar Muhammed that featured in the Leadership Friday edition of October 13, 2017, was a masterpiece with reassurance that the academia, in Nigeria, can rise to any level whenever they were called to duty. The demise of AVM Mouktar Mohammed, the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Governing Council, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, was certainly a call-to-duty, for those, as the writer posited, “who respects the personal principles of AVM and wants to accomplish” to used whatever means to eulogize such an accomplished public servant, a gentleman and compatriot. Without fear of criticism, I opined that Prof. Othman’s response to call-to-duty inform of written tribute to AVM, could only be replicated by the likes of Dr. Yusufu Bala Usman of blessed memory, and his disciples. Those that shared my take in commending Prof. Othman for his prolific writings on different topics, keep wondering and yawning for answer to a hypothetical question: how would the resourcefulness of his article be had either arts, social science or human resource management was his area of specialization?
Anyway, Prof. Othman’s accomplishments as a Professor of Soil and Water Engineering and the Executive Director, National Agricultural Extension and Research Liaison Services (NAERLS), Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, speak volumes for his ideas and ideals. To buttress this assertion, at the end of his inspection visit to the NAERLS, on Friday, 2nd June, 2017, the AVM signed-out as follows: “WE HAVE NOTICED THE EFFORTS AND COMMEND THE LEADERSHIP AND WORKERS. KEEP ON THE GOOD WORK AND I AM SURE POSITIVE RESULTS ARE NOT FAR AWAY“.
May Almighty Allah (SWT) grant AVM Mouktar Muhammed Aljannatul firdausi. (Mouktar is the name the AVM used in the Visitors Register of the NAERLS referred above). May Allah grace Ahmadu Bello University with, as a mark of highest respect I choose to call- another AVM, amin.
Prof J. K. Adewumi
The epistle narrated on Re: AVM Mukhtar Muhammad: ABU’s Greater Loss of 21st Century concerning the immediate past chairman of Council was a masterpiece. I enjoyed reading the choice of English being displayed there. It was as if I was again in my final year class of my ordinary level English class or literature class. Many thanks to the author of the article, Prof. M. K. Othman.I humbly doff my hat. Thanks. – Prof J. K. Adewumi, former staff of ABU – (1982-2005). Now, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta. I also obtained all my degrees in ABU in the Department of Agricultural Engineering..
Prof Adewumi, sir, I am happy you enjoyed my write up and happy to remind you that I, the writer of the article is one of your products. You supervised my undergraduate project in the 1980s and PhD Thesis more than ten years ago. You are not only an ABU product yourself but you contributed immensely to the quality of ABU graduates. Thank you sir for everything you did to many others and myself. May the Almighty God repay you in million folds, amen. Prof. Mohammed Khalid Othman.
Professor Othman is the Executive Director of National Agricultural Extension and Research Liaison Services (NAERLS), ABU Zaria.