Praises, attestations as the tenure of the Vice Chancellor of Saadu Zungur University, Prof. Auwalu Uba draws to an end

Mohammed Kaka Misau

Professor Auwalu Uba, the Vice Chancellor of Sa’adu Zungur University Gadau, Bauchi state was appointed on 20th December 2017 after serving as the Deputy Vice Chancellor Administration at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU) Bauchi from 2016 to 2017.

Born in Hardawa, Misau local government area of Bauchi, the young, Auwalu Uba attended Hardawa Government Primary school before he went to Government Secondary School Misau where he spent three years and then transferred to Government Scuence Secondary School Azare. He was among the pioneers of science secondary school Azare during the administration of late Tatari Ali.

He proceeded to School of Basic Studies, Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, got admitted after a year and graduated in 1987 with bachelor’s degree in microbiology.

After graduation, Prof. Uba did his compulsory one year NYSC at General Hospital Katsina in Katsina state, after which he got appointment with the University of Maiduguri teaching hospital where he started his career.

Prof. Uba took up appointment with the University of Maiduguri as a graduate assistant and rose to the rank of lecturer II. From there he transferred his services to the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Bauchi where he rose through the ranks up to the rank of Professor in 2007.

Commenting about five years stewardship of the VC, Director, Center of Excellence for Research and Innovation in the University, Dr. Kabiru Ibrahim Karamba described him as an exemplary leader to the core, a Professor of microbiology per excellence.

According to him, the vice Chancellor is the architect of the new Bauchi state university who has established an unbreakable system with all strategic committees in place, among others.

On his part, Abubakar Baba Yakubu, a student with the department of Public Health, faculty of basic medical sciences of the University, and president of the students representative council said that the VC is referred to as the modern architect of Bauchi state university Gadau due to his developmental strides in the institution.

“For the whole of my life I have never seen a leader like him, he always consider us, the students as his biological children, we call him Baba (father) because of his kindness and support to everyone of us”, he said.

Also speaking, the Dean School of science of the University, described Professor Auwalu as one of the best VCs in the country, adding that so many positive changes have been recorded since his assumption of office about five years ago.

“He has recorded tremendous successes particularly in the area of accreditation, before now, this faculty of science, we were expecting so many courses to be accredited, luckily enough since he came on board, so many courses such as mathematics, physics, chemistry, botany, zoology, microbiology, science Laboratory, technology, computer science and many other courses were fully accredited.

In an interview with our Corresspondent, the Vice Chancellor whose tenure is elapsing on 20th December, 2022 said just like any Vice Chancellor, the position carried many challenges.

“Just like every other Vice Chancellor in Nigeria, my tenure has been a challenging one because it’s a position that requires a lot of looking inward and outward”, he said.

The other one is the challenge of funding which is not peculiar with Sa’adu Zungur University Gadau alone and the reality is that the service charges we are collecting from the students are grossly inadequate and the govt cannot cater for everything, it is trying its best but the reality is that we are far being where we need to be in terms of funding.
And then, the environment also with this security challenges you have to be highly vigilant, we do face a lot of challenges. And like I said in the beginning of my conversation with you, bringing up a university or overseeing the affairs of a university for staff that are growing you have to grow with everybody, you have to teach almost everybody the job, but Alhamdulillah they are learning and we have gone far. I think these are some of the basic challenges that we faced.

According to him, “you know the problem with the Nigerian university is funding, funding has been a great challenge”, he said.

Professor Auwalu further explained that one of the challenges he encountered was heading the university that was just starting.

“I took over a university that was just about five years old, so the staff are growing with the university, they are learning the job so you have to be a coach for everybody, trying to bring everybody on board”, he added.

The Vice Chancellor while describing the scenario as a sweet experience, said it has made him learned a lot.

“Because of this position, I have learned a lot about people, I wouldn’t want to say it has not been difficult but Alhamdulillah, this is where we are, by God’s grace my tenure is coming to an end on 20th of December, 2022, but it has been a challenging period”, he confessed

Professor Auwalu who said his assumption was that the deanship of students’ affairs is the most difficult position in the university system not knowing that the VC manages everybody in the university and as such, has the most herculean task.

He said having a large students population living in a campus where there are limited accommodation space has been a challenge that most universities have to live with.

Professor Auwalu expressed delight that the management of the University under his leadership has been able to work harmoniously with the host communities where 80 percent of the students in Gadau lives.

“For Misau we don’t have problem but for Bauchi campus, we have zero campus. So we always have to intervene, this is one of the major challenges”, Professor Auwalu revealed.

He said understaffing has been the problem bedeviling almost every university in Nigeria, adding that over 90 percent of public universities are understaffed.

“Public universities are understaffed, particularly academic staff. That is why for every discipline, whether arts, humanity, science, medicine, engineering there is what we call, the students – teacher ratio and in almost every university, that has been exceeded and we are not different from them”, the University Don said.

He said that the the management of the Bauchi state owned University are striving hard to train many people to occupy those positions but are hindered by the limitation of funds.

“We can’t employ all the compliments of all the academic and non academic staff that we may need but we are managing, we compliment that shortage by what we call visiting lecturers that usually come from other universities and they teach and we pay them on monthly bases”, the Vice Chancellor revealed.

The VC who said that the university has been living harmoniously with its host communities, added that the management has been up and doing regarding its corporate social responsibility.

The Vice Chancellor who recalled that the university had in 2019, carried out a rehabilitation work on a clinic in Yuli, added that, as a result, the village head of Yuli honored him with the traditional title of Dan-Madamin Yuli.

“In 2020, we purchased and distributed drugs to communities in Gadau, Misau, including the general hospital Misau, in Mada and in Yuli also, we assisted them with drugs and that they appreciated”, he said.

To further cement the relationship between the university and the host Communities, Prof Auwalu said, in most cases youth from the area are given preference in the area of employment as casual workers, most especially security.

“More importantly, when it’s time for admission, they bring their request and whoever that is qualified is given admission and this gesture has created peaceful living with our host communities, they are involved in everything that we do”, he noted.

The Vice Chancellor said he has in 2019, brought on board post graduate programs into the university where it run 19 out of 39 post graduate programs ranging from PGD, masters, Academic masters, professional masters and PhDs.

“As I am talking to you now, I just came back from a seminar presented by one of my PhD student, we have graduated so many masters students, we run 39 masters and PhD programs that cut across the faculties of arts, faculty of science, faculty of management sciences and the faculty of social sciences as well as faculty of education”, he added.

The VC who pointed out that the university is yet to start post graduate program on agriculture because it has not graduated the first set, equally said that the university has not started in the faculty of law but plans are under way.

“We have not started with pharmaceutical sciences because we have not graduated any set, we have not started in basic medical sciences for short of academic staff, so this is the run down of PG academic programs, we have 39 PG programs”, he said.

Professor Auwal who described the relationship between the management, staff and students of the University as very extremely cordial, said 98 percent of the Staff, students and the management are on the same page.

He said that the university has inculcated the idea of peaceful co-existence between the students most especially between different ethnic religious groups.

“Just last week I saw the NUBASS president wrote on his social media handle that he has visited the fellowship of christian students and they received them. I can tell you that the last Quranic recitation competition final that I attended in the university, the Muslim students invited their christian counterpart and they attended and all of us were there and we were very happy, so we live peacefully and cordially here”, the VC said.

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