Professor Andrew Haruna: A cobbler who became Professor

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From HUSSAINI MUHAMMAD BABA, Abuja

Professor Andrew Haruna, the Vice-Chancellor Federal University Gashua, Yobe State says he was a shoe mender, also known as shoe shiner before he became a professor.

Andrew, a Professor of English Literature from the University of Maiduguri, was born in 1957 at Gar village area in Alkaleri local government of Bauchi state, he spent his early years engaging in farming, selling firewood and bean cake (Akara), and other difficult activities to raise money to assist his poor parents who could barely afford his primary and secondary education.

Although they were very supportive of his ambition, all they could offer was their love, care and this put the work on Haruna as a young child, to do all he could to pay his fees.

He started his education at Gar Local Education Primary from 1964 to 1970 and was at Government College, Maiduguri from 1971 to 1975.

Not only was it difficult to pay his fees but the distance from the school to his home was also long – about 600 kilometers and this required him to risk his life on the lonely road, traveling with strangers just to get educated. 

After completing his Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE), he remained in Maiduguri and started working as a shoemaker, just to make ends meet and save money to further his education to the university level. 

From 1983 to 1990, he received the university’s Fellowship to study at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.

In addition, he would run errands for staff in offices near his work station, just to earn extra cash. 

It was on one such occasion that a lady approached him and requested his service.  It is one that is inspiring and also brilliantly paints the picture of how hard work, perseverance and hope can play a major role in the lives of human beings.

Professor Haruna, vice-chancellor of Federal University, Gashua (FUGA), Yobe state, started his early years doing menial jobs just to survive. From a tender age, he liked the idea of schooling and getting educated, his passion led him to attend school, even when his parents could barely afford it.

But they struck a conversation and she was interested in helping him further his education. 

The journey to becoming an academic started in 1982 when he was appointed as a Graduate Assistant by the University of Maiduguri.

From 1983 to 1990, he received the University’s Fellowship to study at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, United Kingdom.

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