My encounter with Associate professor Abdulazeez
Story from Saleh INUWA, Kano
Recently, I was sitting comfortably in my parlour, very much alone because my wife had gone to work. Since I was not hungry I decided to take a bottle of coke before going out to file my stories for Neptune Prime, an online newspaper that I joined recently as their Bureau Chief Northwest. To cover the Northwest for Neptune Prime or any newspaper for that matter is a job I find so easy, having been an active reporter shuttling between Kano and Kaduna since 1999.
But I later got a message through my Whatsapp, from my General Editor, a woman of substance, very hardworking and friendly according to those that have known her for years, as I am yet to meet her face to face. As for the publisher, Dr Hassan Gimba, I will not say much about him, because he is not only a household name, he is a seasoned Newspaper Editor, a first-class writer and a respected social commentator.
My encounter with Associate Professor Mansura Abdulazeez is that our General Editor asked me to go to Bayero University Kano (BUK) Center for Biotechnology, to interview her over recent reports in the media that she had a breakthrough by discovering a treatment for malaria using local herbs.
Though I ought to have been in Kano, I had not done that so one Friday I took off to Kano for the assignment, and arrived in the evening, and had to stay in a hotel, because I didn’t have her number. On Saturday, the next day, I decided to go to Bayero University’s new campus and was told her office was at the old campus, Kabuga. When I got to the old campus, I was told she doesn’t come to the office on weekends except on exceptional cases.
I went back to town and returned to BUK old campus again on Sunday, I waited at her department from 10 am to 3 pm, later I asked one of the security men around, including some lecturers, but I didn’t get her number from them. When I was about to go I saw somebody and I opened a gate leading to the department, approached him and introduced myself. He then called her on phone and she asked him to give me her number. Then we agreed to meet the following day being Monday in her office at exactly 8 am, but we ended up both coming an hour late.
When I was directed to her office, I went straight to the door and knocked and later I entered when she permitted me. Sitting behind an executive table, was a renowned scientist who was working hard to discover a treatment for cancer using local herbs. Already she got a research of 31 million naira grant from TETFUND in Abuja for the purpose. After welcoming me and offering me a seat, I later introduced myself and gave her a copy of Neptune Prime Magazine.
I read out my questionnaire to her and the interview commenced. First, she said she was born in Zaria, date not mentioned, and did her nursery, primary and secondary there before proceeding to Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, where she read Biochemistry and came out with second class upper. She was retained as a lecturer and she continued with her Master’s Degree, later she got a fellowship for Science Women to travel outside for her PhD Programme and later returned and bagged her PhD from ABU, where she called home before she was snatched away by BUK.
When I asked her about the breakthrough, this was her answer: “No there is no breakthrough, but we are poised to identify new bioactive compounds from local herbs for developing cancer treatment drugs.”
She added that women in the North are lagging behind in education and other endeavours, so she is doing all she could to assist those who are already struggling hard to catch with their colleagues in advanced countries, and she intends to set up an NGO to assist them.
Her story, she said, is simple and at the same time difficult.
“I was sponsoring all my research projects with my own money, then one day I sought the assistance of Bayero University. Former VC, Professor Yahuza graciously approved my demands, and today I am leading a team, here at the biotechnology centre, researching hard to find local treatment to cancer,” she said.
“Very soon, she added, most of their works will appear in an international journal”.
Before rounding up the interview, Associate Professor Mansura insisted that we need competent science Journal in Nigeria. She is not popular with the media yet because she doesn’t want to be misquoted and over reported as according to her she is not a politician.
On the copy of the Neptune Prime magazine which I gave her, she noted that she would read it thoroughly while expressing the hope that the stories inside would be as interesting as the packaging of the magazine which she said is of high quality and wished that the edition that would carry her interview would be well packaged and professionally edited.
But later she called me on phone and insisted that I should send her the raw copy of my transcript for her to go through before publication, which I did and what you read about her in our current edition is a well-edited interview by her and my editor.
Some people may not have the magazine, so we summarised it here for them to log onto our website and read a bit about this woman that the sky is the beginning of her success.
When she saw a copy of the magazine, she wrote, “This is not only beautiful, the interview is one of the best and was professionally handled by Journalists that one can trust anytime anywhere. I wish you guys the best of luck and in the nearest future NEPTUNE should be a flagship of online publication and the magazine should also be sustained. I am proud of the quality, I will buy five copies from the vendors”.