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Celebrating Northern Nigerian professionals in California, USA and their colleagues in Nigeria

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Celebrating Northern Nigerian professionals in California, USA and their colleagues in Nigeria

Uji Abdullahi Iliyasu looks at the scholarly contributions of some Nigerian professionals and students in California, USA, and some Nigerians with California connection back home and reports that the second generation of northern Nigerians, particularly from Borno, Gombe and Kano, are making Nigeria proud in their various fields.

Background

Dr Umar Baba and his wife, Dr Anabel, have recently celebrated the graduation of their children from their various schools, and have revealed the youngsters’ individual interests. As part of their celebration on their successful graduation from their various schools, their parents have given them various gifts as incentives to work harder.

California State in the United States of America (USA) has a strong commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Many schools in California have policies and programmes put in place to support students of diverse backgrounds to attain their dreams.

Dr Umar Baba and wife Dr Anabel 

According to the California Department of Education, all public institutions are required to have a policy that ensures equal opportunities for children.
Many schools have programmes and initiatives that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in areas of training for their teachers, support services for students from diverse backgrounds as well as inclusion curricula.

Here, there are a number of proactive measures put in place to check behaviours not acceptable to California education system.

Who is Dr Umar Baba?

Dr Umar Baba is a Nigerian-born school administrator in California, USA. He has received numerous grant and intervention reform awards in California State.

Dr Umar Baba

He has been living in the United States of America since 1982, about 42 years. The educationist has a doctoral degree obtained in USA.

He has held various administrative positions, mostly in basic and upper basic schools. He is an education reform specialist. He is Kanuri from Borno State, and his mother is Fulani from Azare in Bauchi State.

Dr Baba is married to Dr Anabel, a Mexican-American who is also an educationist.

Dr Umar and Dr Anabel have four children together, all of whom were born in California, USA. These children are part of a new generation of Borno indigenes who are making positive contributions to their communities in California.

Dr Baba said he has three colleagues whose contributions are worth mentioning here. These colleagues are Dr Baba Adam, Dr AbdulSamad Rabiu and Dr Aliyu Moddibo Umar.
While Dr Baba Adam is still living in California, contributing immensely to the development of his community, Dr AbdulSamad Rabiu and Dr Aliyu Moddibo are now in Nigeria, contributing immensely to her economic development.

Colleague in California

Dr Baba Adam

  Dr Baba Adam

Dr Baba Adam is an educator and administrator living in California, USA. He is an indigene of Borno State in northern Nigeria who has made significant contributions to education in America.

He holds a doctoral degree, and has taught at various institutions in California, including Santa Rosa Junior College and Modesto Junior College. He has served as Dean and Vice President at several colleges in California. Dr Adam is actively involved in community service and has received a number of recognition for his contributions to education and community development, even as he has demonstrated strong leadership skills as well as serving as mentor to many students and professionals in California.

Dr Adam has received several awards for his outstanding contributions to education sector and community service in California.

READ ALSO: Nigerias first professors and women academic trailblazers

Colleagues in Nigeria

Dr AbdulSamad Rabiu

Dr AbdulSamad Rabiu is Chairman of BUA Group of companies. Born in Kano, northern Nigeria, AbdulSamad is a businessman and philanthropist. He attended Federal Government College, Kano, and later studied Economics at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio, USA.

Dr AbdulSamad Rabiu

Dr Rabiu founded BUA Group in 1988, which has grown into a leading conglomerate in Nigeria with diversified investments in foods, manufacturing, and infrastructure. He is also the chairman of Nigeria’s Bank of Industry (BOI).

Not only known for his business acumen, Rabiu is involved in various philanthropic activities through the BUA Foundation and the AbdulSamad Rabiu Africa Initiative (ASR Africa), focusing on healthcare development, education infrastructure and social development project. Dr Umar Baba said the chairman of BUA Group has been a mentor to him and other Nigerians in California during his student days in USA.

Dr Aliyu Modibbo Umar

Dr Aliyu Moddibo Umar is a former FCT Minister. He hails from Gombe State, Nigeria, and holds a BA in Journalism from California State University, Long Beach, where he made his mark as an outstanding student; an MA and PhD from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
Dr Umar Baba said Dr. Aliyu Modibbo, while in California, was a mentor to many Nigerians in Diaspora particularly to him.

Dr Modibbo was Minister of State for Power and Steel (Dec. 2002 – May 2003); Minister of Commerce (July 2006 -July 2007) and Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT) (July 2007- Oct. 2008).

Dr Aliyu Modibbo former FCT Minister

While serving as minister of FCT, he initiated many projects in Abuja, including the Abuja Central Business Development (ACBD) and others. Currently, he is the Special Adviser on General Duties to the Vice President of Nigeria, Senator Kashim Shettima.

Dr Umar Baba’s children

Jamila Umar Baba

Jamila, also known as Anabel, after her mother, is the last Born to Dr Umar Baba’s family. Her father fondly calls her “Queen Jamila”. She is 14 years old. She has completed Junior Middle School and going to High School in Aug. 2024. She performed excellently in her school. She celebrated her graduation from Junior School in June, 2024.

Jamila clearly demonstrates the importance of girl-child education and the need to support girls to realise their dreams and full potentials.
She chose football (soccer) in the area of sports. She has shown great interest in football and the parents are giving her all necessary support to fulfil her dream. She is among the First Eleven at Chino Hills United, California. Chino Hills AYSO Soccer offers training to children interested in soccer.

Her soccer team had qualified for national tournament where over 40 cities competed for medals. Her team has won about 18 medals in competitions between three to four years period.

Jamila and her Coach

Jamila’s interest in football started as early as when she was just four years old. Due to the support and encouragement she received from her parents, she is now an active footballer and among the First Eleven at Chino Hills United FC.

In the pursuit of her dreams, her father said she has not encountered any obstacle because California encourages every child to attain their dreams irrespective of colour of the skin or creed. Once you are a law-abiding citizen, the doors are open for you to reach the sky. It is an education-friendly state, after all, Dr Umar Baba’s children are aware of their civic responsibilities.

In California, there are 33 public universities; 23 California State universities and 10 universities of California. All of them are on the list of top ranking world public universities.

Amina Umar Baba

Amina has passed her third examination. Her interest is on cosmetics and medical hygiene. She has passed through a number of trade schools successfully. Her dream is to become a registered nurse (RN) as a profession.

Amina chose nursing because she
is passionate about helping others as the profession allows individuals to make positive impact on patient’s lives. It’s a rewarding and challenging profession that offers many benefits.

Amina & Dad, Dr Umar Baba

Nurses build relationships with patients and families, as they strive to make a difference in their well-being, her father said.

Umar Baba Jr

Umar is also in High School and also taking courses in a community college. And he is into two years in his studies. His performances have been extra-ordinary. His goal is to obtain Associate Degree while in high school. He is striving to obtain both college degree and high school certificate simultaneously.

Umar Baba Jr is good in American football. He loves American football with a passion Due to his parents’ support, he now plays in his high school team. He is also doing well academically, getting good grades in his studies. He is part of the second generation of Borno descents in California, USA, who are making Nigerians proud due to their positive contributions to their communities.

Umar & sister, Amina

Umar Baba Jr is 16 years old. He is second to the last born in the family.

Halima Umar Baba

Halima celebrating her graduation

Halima has received about seven admissions into different high-ranking universities in USA. One of the universities ranks No. 3 in America and 10th in the world according to global university ranking.

She has completed her Associate Degree and has been accepted into the University of California (UC) San Diego.
It is noteworthy that the university had received 156,000 applications for admission out of which 14,000 (about 10 per cent) were admitted.

Halima, accompanied by her parents, Dr Baba and Dr Anabel, have spent approximately two months visiting the different schools that had offered her admission in order to select the best for her. There have been strict requirements in UC San Diego system and she met all the requirements. Thankfully, Halima is among the students on honours roll.

The motivation

Dr Umar Baba and wife, Dr Anabel, motivate their children in many ways. They take them to Disneyland for recreation, they also enroll them in swimming school. After successful training in the school, they will be certified to swim in commercial swiming pool and also swim in the ocean. These are all part of incentives to charge the children for higher performance in their schools.

Conclusion

This article is not only celebrating Dr Umar Baba and his colleagues, it also highlights the contributions and importance of Nigerians, particularly, Borno, Gombe and Kano state indigenes in California as evident in BUA Chairman, Dr AbdulSamad Rabiu and former Minister of FCT, Dr Aliyu Modibbo Umar. These persons have contributed hugely to the country’s political, industrial and social development after graduation in the Diaspora.

The students in the Diaspora also serve as ambassadors of Nigerian culture and values. Also, through their connections made abroad, collaborations in investments and partnerships beneficial to Nigeria could be made.

Furthermore, the knowledge gained could be transferred back home, bringing back new ideas, innovations and practices that will help to address Nigeria’s development challenges, even as it is a commitment to Nigeria’s future.
It is noteworthy that California has one of the largest Nigerian communities in the United States.

Many Nigerians in California live in cities like Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, and San Francisco. All of them are bound together by membership of organisations like the Nigerian American Public Affairs Committee (NAPAC) and the Nigerian Community in California (NICAC).

These individuals have made significant contributions in fields like technology, healthcare, and entertainment.

Dr Umar Baba’s children and his colleagues mentioned above, are indeed, part of the new generation of northern Nigerians, particularly Borno, Gombe, and Kano state indigenes, who are true ambassadors of Nigeria.

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