...Redifining Journalism for Development

Breakthrough with Professor MK Othman: Readers' Comments


Time to relax and pause, thanks for another circle of readers’ comments when my esteemed readers are allowed to express their opinions on issues, which appeared in this Column. However, I am dedicating the Column to the comments of my readers on the recent tribute I wrote to my bosom friend, confident and motivator, Prof. Yusuf Zakari, which was published on 27th April 2018, titled “Tribute to Professor Yusuf Ibrahim Zakari: Adiu Bindawa’s Discipline and Hardworking Ambassador”. The article enjoyed unprecedented readership; There were over 200 comments and more than 40 individuals’ “shares” of the article, which was posted it on my Facebook. I am publishing few of such comments to further present the modesty, dedication and selfless service rendered by Prof. Yusuf till his death.
Read: Tribute to Professor Yusuf Ibrahim Zakari: Adiu Bindawa’s discipline and hard-work Ambassador
Before then, let me still crave the indulgence of my dear readers and editor to bear my diversion from the breakthrough issues being addressed by this Column. Last two weeks, I requested the editor to publish the tribute of my close friend, Prof Yusuf Zakari whose death momentously shocked me. Graciously, the editor, Mrs. Winifred Ogbebo granted my request to publish in a different page, perhaps, thinking I was writing few words but I had so much to write on Prof. Yusuf that one page couldn’t contain. I wanted to talk on the negative impacts of the semester educational system, which is being operated in our tertiary institutions of learning. This system is simply not suitable for educational system; it is killing the quality of our education (well, this is a subject for another write up in the future). I wanted to talk about the reluctance of the tertiary Institutions at national level to massively employ graduates with first or second-class (upper) degrees for development to become academic staff. Every university wants to use the experienced and fully developed PhD holders as visiting scholars, direct employment and so on. Thus, overworking such category of university staff. As this category of personnel are retiring and getting older, who will take over from them without deliberate effort to develop the youth? I wanted to talk on how civil and public services give more work to result-oriented personnel; “the result of hard work is more work” thereby promoting laziness and mediocrity among the rank and files. Prof Yusuf was a first-class result-oriented academic per excellence. Thus, he was naturally having more work whilst striving to deliver at all times as stated in my tribute.  Yusuf’s former student, currently a physician in the city of Katsina, Dr. Ali Yusuf stated a sympathetic situation of busy schedule without breathing space.  I am starting with over 300 words the comments of Dr. Aminu Yakubu, a Chief Lecturer of Physics in Federal college of Education, Katsina. Yakubu is my friend and classmate at secondary school. Dr. Yakubu’s revelation of Professor Zakari’s life is spectacular as he brought out the archetypal life of Prof. Zakari, how Dr. Yakubu was one year Senior to Prof. Zakari at undergraduate level studying BSc Physics, but by dint of hard work and zeal to excel in academics, Zakari quadrupled his effort to become one of Yakubu’s teachers and eventually supervised his PhD project from mere concept to reality.  This is exceptional phenomenon in academic Institutions.
“I received with shock the news of the death of Dr Zakari, whom some few hours to his death was promoted to Prof of Nuclear Physics. May Allah forgive him and may his gentle soul rest in peace, amin. I had three relationships with him during his lifetime: as colleagues during our undergraduate, as friends as we discussed personal issues freely, and as my Supervisor during my PhD program. As my supervisor, Prof Zakari assisted me with a lot of materials, especially in the process of making the proposal. He always insisted on doing the right thing at the right time, he set aside personal relationship and asserted himself as teacher and discipline mentor, but appreciates good work. He treated me not only as a student but as a friend as well. He made enormous contribution towards the success of my PhD program, which I will never forget. One beauty about academic environment, you can see clearly, he was one year behind me during my undergraduate program but through dint of hard work and dedication he accomplished so much within a short period and eventually became my teacher and supervised my PhD project from the beginning to the end. During our graduate program, I observed characters; he was very vocal, fearless and pursued his studies with all seriousness. Professor Zakari made many of us what we are today as our mentor, by taking his useful advise, showing concern to our challenges, providing both moral and financial support and copying his exemplary life. He assisted several of us, as his students and friends at BSc, MSc and PhD levels.  Professor Zakari was among the few exemplary personalities I came across in my school years, he was always ready to assist students who did not comprehend his course or even courses of other lecturers through a personal coaching and extra effort at no cost to the students. It was his persistent encouragement and support that made some of us pass examination of “Quantum Mechanics” with flying colors, an examination, which makes Physics students spend several sleepless nights to pass.  My friend/classmate, late Musa Sulaiman Sharika of blessed memory and my humble self and many others were highly indebted to Professor Zakari’s unlimited generosity and bounteousness.  The death of Prof. Zakari is a great loss not only to his family, friends, ABU community but to the entire nation and the International family of physicists. May His gentle soul rest in perfect peace and make Aljanna Firdausi be his final abode, amen.”
Dr. Aminu Yakubu
Federal College of Education, Katsina
“May Allah grant him Jannah, This is a huge loss to Ahmadu Bello University & Nigeria at large. He was hardworking, selfless & dedicated to his work.”
Thauban Bn Musa, Kano
“Overall, Allah has done what is right at the right time. He needs him more than we do. Prof Zakari, prestige is not something that you can get over a short period of time, you were born into it, you maintained it and you died in it, I personally do not know the words I will use to qualify your life.
You were humble, simple, generous, kind; considerate, trustful, sympathetic, blunt and cogent but far and above, Zakari was a pious and virtuous believer in ALLAH (swt). May Allah forgive your short comings, May He erase all your sins and grant you mercies, blessings and a permanent abode in JANNATUL FIRDAUS, Amen. May Allah continue to guide and protect your family from any affliction, suffering and worries in their lives, and have the determination to bear your lost, Amen”
Musa Bindawa
“The loss of Prof. Yusuf Zakari is a great one indeed. I can remember when he once told me that he was having some recurrent headache.
I asked him about his daily schedules. After narrating to me how tight his schedules were, I realized that he had no much space to rest. I advised him on routine medical check up and creating some resting time.
He told me on the implication of not utilizing even an hour of his life and said that he has to provide as much service as possible within the remaining time available for him in this life. He always want to maintain a standard in the educational sector in the midst of several challenges militating against it. May Allah admit him into Jannatul Firdausi.”
Dr. Ali Yusuf, Katsina
Professor Othman is the Executive Director of National Agricultural Extension and Research Liaison Services (NAERLS), ABU Zaria.

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