Journalism in the service of society

Professor Abd-Rasheed Na’Allah: End of a heroic tenure at UNIABUJA

In both his public and private life, the famous Professor has never failed to demonstrate outstanding attributes through his contributions to events in society. He is a global citizen, especially with the understanding that his efforts to better the lives of others have never declined

IN thirty days, Professor Abd-Rasheed Na’Allah will vacate his office as the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Abuja. He was the pioneer Vice-Chancellor of Kwara State University, becoming one of the few who served as vice-chancellors in two universities, thereby devoting a significant aspect of his career to university administration. What that management entails is the subject of a Special Leadership Dinner in Abuja on June 1, 2024, in his honour. I am privileged to have been invited to give the Keynote at this event. I cannot thank Professor Philip Afaha, who flew all the way to Nairobi to see me and insisted on my participation. This piece is not a clue to my Keynote Address.

One defining characteristic of world changers is that they are often undaunted by the tribulations of the world. They defy the challenges of life to accomplish whatever is recorded in their name. This begins with their resilience to life’s trials and determination to actualize their potential, regardless of the cost. People in this category are worth their names. Professor Abd-Rasheed Na’Allah belongs to this category because his story is inundated with the ups and downs that commonly define great people. He does not shy away from a good fight.

As a young man starting his life in the Ilorin metropolis, the first ingredient of success he assimilated from a tender age was his perseverance. The acquisition of both his primary and secondary education certificates prepared him for the rough experiences of life, equipping him to survive the hurricane of challenges that were to come. His embodiment of intelligence from his childhood exposed him to competition and contempt, but his resilient spirit helped him navigate the hot waters of the world. His frog jumped into hot water and survived.

By the time he got to the University of Ilorin as an undergraduate, it was impossible to dim his precocious light because, at the time, he had developed an effective mechanism that aided him in assimilating maximum knowledge. At that time, it did not matter the tightness of everything, Na’Allah illuminated the world with his extraordinary capabilities in educational activities. From a tender age to adulthood, this strong individual continued to prove himself worthy of the recognition and accolades accorded to him in contemporary times. He has paid his dues.

After the accumulation of quality educational experiences illustrated by the attainment of different certificates, it became clear that Na’Allah was set on the journey to greatness. He used his intellectual energy to propel growth and usher in a culture of responsibility, integrity, and good moral mandate, all of which would be transferred to the people during teaching and other productive engagements. Perhaps this explains the reason for his delighted investment in teaching. This poet and scholar has painstakingly anchored revolutionary thinking into the minds of responsible students who now, on their own volition, began circles of patriotic involvements through educational engagements. This, therefore, underscores the immersion of the scholar into teaching engagements.

To be fair to him, he has recorded massive success while teaching and his story has inspired generations of people to understand the imperative of growth and make them disposed to structural planning in anything they do. At no point did he demonstrate fatigue in the acquisition of knowledge. Despite his attainment of stellar academic success and administrative hierarchy, the distinguished Professor continued to invest in knowledge to refine what he knows and redefine intellection in all manners possible. Maybe this can explain why he invested in professional courses even after attaining the highest level of his career growth.

Meanwhile, classroom engagements define quality teachers. They are identified by how well they can convert their thoughts into writing so that they can spread their influence and ideas to epistemic geographies that are far from theirs. Accordingly, this administrator has blazed the trail where necessary in this conversation. While the Professor’s background lies in literature, and his contributions consistently demonstrate sound literary judgment, his work extends far beyond.

Na’Allah’s engagements are crucial for fostering a vibrant citizenry and a thriving civilization. This intellectual depth is evident across various disciplines, as demonstrated by his well-regarded works that transcend the realm of literature, therefore defining his quality and, in a way, revealing how important he still is in the business of changing humanity. The continued inquisition into different human undertakings has increased his popularity and beyond his cultural borders. Na’Allah’s meticulous research on the evolution of Dadakuada in Ilorin, particularly its connection to Yoruba oral history, is a testament to his intellectual depth. This insightful work not only deconstructs misconceptions surrounding Yoruba oral history but also sheds light on its adaptation to Islamic cultural principles. It’s no surprise this sparked a surge of interest in intellectual circles. This character of seeking the truth and laying the foundation of events inspired Na’Allah to pen down the praise poetry of Ilorin, especially in ways that establish the chronological sequence of their history, which, among other things, indicate the layers of their cultural values, ideological philosophy, and epistemic traditions to ensure that people understand their values and culture.

Central to his intellectual projection is the fact that the infusion of Islamic identity and values into its host activities has also gained momentum among the Yorùbá, to the extent that any separation between them appears impossible to the people. Nevertheless, it is aimed at revealing the systematic evolution that people undergo at a point in time, which ultimately defines their change in everything. It comes as no surprise that he has dedicated himself to uncovering the various activities of the people, which, among other things, showcase some traces of moral compromise so that they would learn from their mistakes and, therefore, establish a better framework for the development of a formidable civilization. For instance, when he wrote about the Almajiri, the intention was to identify the unwholesome damage that the system held, especially for those who could not access quality opportunities as others within that same society. By that condition, he became the voice of the masses and spoke to authorities on their behalf to create awareness where necessary and effect solutions to generational problems.

A remarkable characteristic of efficient individuals is their ability to make an impact regardless of their station in life. Many individuals cannot adequately function in places where they find themselves. In the case of Professor Abd-Rasheed Na’Allah, history points to a different thing. This holds ground to the extent that he has served in different administrative positions in which he recorded exciting accomplishments. While the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Abuja, for example, he inspired a revolution of infrastructure that helped facelift the citadel and make it capable of competing with others in the global community. His concentration on the quality infrastructure project came from the understanding that infrastructural projects set any place in motion for true transformation. In the human world, connections between countries, states, and local governments are a recipe for economic transformation. This is also proven to be true in the university system. Once the infrastructure of the academic community is developed, it inspires a new generation of thinkers. But what Na’Allah did was more than an infrastructure revolution. His involvement in the accreditation of additional courses shows how informed and flexible he is in meeting international standards. He understands, for example, that the constantly changing society needs an investment in diverse disciplines, and he became pivotal to this revolutionary act.

Is it necessary to once again reiterate that he has served in other capacities with similar mandates? Being a Vice-Chancellor at Kwara State University qualifies him for this recognition. But then, we should not get carried away to thinking that the only place where he has functioned is in the Vice-Chancellor’s capacity. The whole gamut of Professor Abd-Rasheed Na’Allah’s educational vibrancy inheres in his fluidity in different areas of life. His services to the community cannot be overemphasized, especially when we understand that they motivate a new way of thinking that helps to resituate their collective interests and values and put them on the right trajectory.

At the state level, he has been chosen as a team leader who is saddled with astounding responsibilities to bring about an agricultural revolution in Kwara State. This is underscored by the fact that he has an uncommon integrity that helps him pursue collective ambition and aspirations with intensity. It is the case, therefore, that his appointment to these assignments indicates how useful and uncompromising he remains in his public and private involvements. In both his public and private life, the famous Professor has never failed to demonstrate outstanding attributes through his contributions to events in society. He is a global citizen, especially with the understanding that his efforts to better the lives of others have never declined.

Professor Na’Allah remains unique. Alhaji, take a break in July, rest well, and announce the contents of your next leap to us in August. Congratulations!

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