One Day, Many Lessons – By AbdulYassar AbdulHamid


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On Saturday 15th June, 2019, Bayero University, Kano, conducted the last lap of its 2018/2019 convocation ceremony. The ceremony, which is the university’s 35th, had been going on for three days.

I was invited by two friends of mine, who were awarded with bachelor degrees on the first day of the convocation, but due to some tight schedules, I could not honour the invitation. I later congratulated them on the feat they had recorded.

The celebration was reminiscent of the day I signed out of the university. I remember the unnecessary difficulties attached to university education in Nigeria. The toils, joys and woes shared by students in vigil and asleep can only be imaginatively recollected by those who have experienced them. 

On the last day of the convocation, I was opportune to be one of the journalists who covered the event. I saw many familiar faces in graduation gowns. Professors and vice chancellors of various universities who came to deliver goodwill messages to the university’s vice chancellor added colour to the event. One needs not be told of those slow-motion movements.

Although very unusual of the university, BUK was conferring on Professor Abdulkadir Dangambo the so coveted Emeritus Professor for the distinguished academic services he rendered to it. Tony O. Elumule, Folake Solanke and Senator Bello Hayatu Gwarzo were conferred with Honorary Doctorate Degrees for their laudable contributions to humanity.

It is noteworthy that bagging a doctorate degree at Bayero University, Kano is one of the most herculean tasks on this earth. Wealth, status or lineage has never been indices for bagging such an honour at the university. One has to pass through rigorous screening, testing, examinations and assessment.

I asked myself the question: what have these gentlemen and a lady done to make it to so high a rung of the social ladder? 

Each of the four awardees, according to the university, has immensely contributed to the socioeconomic development of this nation and invested in so many a soul. Their methods may differ, but the results are, so to speak, the same – .When I perused the awardees’ CVs, I could not agree more.

Professor Dangambo has retired after serving meritoriously for 37 years at the university, but opted to hold onto the light by helping the university through teaching, research, and supervision of postgraduate students.

Born on October 15, 1945 in the ancient city of Kano, Dangambo has spent about 46 years of his 74 years in the service of Bayero University, Kano. Professor Dangambo is an accomplished academic. This journey started in 1973, when he was appointed assistant lecturer at the institution.

Dangambo has trained generations of scholars; his decades of public service at the university earned him the sobriquet “Garkuwar Adabi”.

Born in Jos, Plateau State, Mr. Tony O. Elumelu’s name bears with it the aura of philanthropy and entrepreneurship and his name has travelled far and wide in Nigeria and throughout the African continent.

Elumule’s chief initiative is his Tony Elumule Foundation (TEF) – one of the African leading philanthropies founded with a view to empowering African entrepreneurs and championing entrepreneurship in the continent. The foundation is committed to identifying, training, mentoring, and funding 10,000 African entrepreneurs. 

His commitment to changing the world, especially Africa, for a better place to live has fetched him the partnership of President Barack Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative, the African Union Foundation, World Economic Forum Africa Steering Committee, United Nations Sustainable Energy for all Initiatives, Corporate Council on Africa, Aspen Institute Series on Global Food Security, the United Nations Agency for International Development (USAID), among others.

Chief Folanke Solanke is of entrepreneurial background. Her father was entrepreneur and made his presence felt in the pharmaceutical industry, when he founded, patented and manufactured the Alabukun powder, a much-sought after pain reliever.  

Chief Folake Solanke was the first female Advocate of Nigeria. She has been a member of Zonta International, a global organization of executives in business and the professions working for the advancement of women since 1970.

She was the first non-Caucasian to be elected the president of Zonta International. She used her position as the president of the organization – in tune with the organization’s objectives – to champion women’s health, Human rights and world piece.

In 2010, Folanke was conferred with the national honour of Commander of Order of the Niger by the Federal Government of Nigeria, in addition to many awards conferred on her by various public and private institutions. 

Senator Hayatu Gwarzo was a four-time senator of Kano North. As BUK’s citation described him, he is a man of endless service and a distinctive politician of laudable achievements.

Born in 1960, Senator Bello Hayatu Gwarzo was educated at Gwarzo Primary School, Government Teachers College as well as Kano State Polytechnic.

Gwarzo attended various high profile and strategic leadership courses and programmes including Leadership Management Programme at Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, strategic Leadership Programme and Advance Management and Strategic Leadership Programme at Oxford University.  Gwarzo has led a life worthy of emulation. He has positively contributed his best in many fields of human endeavours. 

I watched with keen interest as the former senator was brought into the convocation hall on a motorized wheelchair. He has lost the use of his legs for some time now; but there sat comfortably a courageous, middle-aged man. He is an accomplished politician and philanthropist par excellence.

I could not translate his zeal and ambition until when Elumule made one thought-provoking statement. Henceforth, I understand that whenever we sleep with heavy snoring, there are some people awake whose ambition is to find solutions to economic crises facing our society and lay out a suitable plan for our youth.

Elumule said that the university at the moment was releasing about 10,000 hope-filled young men and women into the world. The youth can either leave the school and be full of despair due to lack of economic opportunities or be engaged in suitable employment and have access to economic opportunities.

The options stare us in the face and we are left with the responsibility of charting out a direction and economic destinies of those youth.

In the afternoon of that day, Kano State Government organized a dinner in honour of Senator Bello Hayatu Gwarzo. Speaking during the state-sponsored dinner, Governor Ganduje said, “Senator Bello Hayatu Gwarzo was a four-time senator of Kano North in a row. That alone summarizes his personality and acceptability to his people. He had given good representation, brought numerous constituency projects and invested in the people of Kano State.

When I asked the senator in a post-dinner interview what is his next mission in this world, he answered, “I want to appear clean before my Lord for it is a mission accomplished.” What is more? 

Abdulhamid wrote via abdullahiyassar2[email protected]


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