Meet Professor Sarki Abba, ABU genius that broke WASCE record

Professor Sarki Abba.

Meet Professor Sarki Abba, ABU genius that broke WASCE record

In 1984, 16-year-old Sarki Abba from Science Secondary School Dawakin Tofa in Kano State made history in Nigeria.

Abba sat for his West African Senior School Certificate (WASCE) Exams and scored 9 distinctions (8 A1 and 1 A2) without cheating.

His success was so “unrealistic” that WASCE authorities in Lagos doubted his performance. They provided a car that took him to Lagos and made him retake the whole 9 exams in the duration of 3 days under strict supervision.

After marking the rescheduled exams, he scored 9 A1, the only A2 he initially had in English Language before the retake changed to A1.

The authorities apologised to Sarki Abba and instituted the National Merit Award, for which Abba became the first recipient.

At 21 years of age, Sarki Abba graduated as the overall best medical student as well as the overall best graduating student from Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria in 1989.

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But before then, there was a mild drama that occurred while he was in the university. He purportedly failed a course to which he believed he must have passed with flying colours. That event could have affected his final grade.

He complained and the secretary to the state government was sent to officially come and protest to the vice chancellor, seeking for a remark, because they believed their son did not fail.

After the remark, it was discovered that he had passed with distinction and it came to light that the lecturer, from a different part of the country, deliberately failed the young Abba. He was subsequently dismissed from the services of ABU Zaria.

Sarki Abba was, after his national youth service invited to the U.S.A to further his studies.

He is currently a Professor of Urology and Pathology at Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, USA. Also, MD, Ph.D., at the John T. Grayhack Professor of Urological Research. He is the first Professor of Urology and Clinical Pathology from Northern Nigeria.

Professor Abba’s research program is focused on understanding the molecular mechanisms that drive cancer initiation, progression, and recurrence with the ultimate goal of developing therapies that interfere with these processes. His work has particularly focused on Prostate Cancer.

Professor Abba has a strong interest in genomics and gene regulation; oncogenic kinases as molecular therapeutic targets; as well as the use of in vivo lineage tracing to define the fates of specific cell populations in tumorigenesis.

His work has shed light on the cellular origins of prostate cancer, cancer gene cooperation in tumorigenesis, and the development of novel therapeutic agents currently in preclinical and clinical development.


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