It may look like a routine birthday piece to my boss, the Vice Chancellor of the National Open University of Nigeria, NOUN, Professor Abdalla Uba Adamu, but it is actually an effort to merely scratch, nay dig in fresh areas to the academic cum administrator, who diligently and doggedly carries the dual burdens with extraordinary gusto.
April 25th happens to be the birthday anniversary of the Vice Chancellor, and this modest piece only attempts to lay bare what Professor Adamu focuses on; the scholarship he cherished; the countless efforts to take NOUN to even a higher pedestal as well as front row account of silent and salient remarkable qualities worthy of mention at occasions like this.
As the vice chancellor clocks 63 years today, like in 2017 when he celebrated the day amidst the infamous traffic of Lagos in the pursuit of making NOUN better, this year, it is his primary constituency of scholarship that takes him away to Berlin, Germany, where he is to conduct examination on PhD students.
But to put things into proper perspectives, the university he heads, has continued to grow in leaps and bounds, to borrow his words, when reeling out the series of achievements recorded within just three years of his stewardship.
Just as the 2018 was winding down, it was capped with a historic yet unmatchable feat: President Muhammadu Buhari assented into the amendments to the NOUN Act that will forever change the outlook, status and fortune of the university.
After painstakingly pursuing what otherwise looked a mountain to climb, the amendments to reposition the university in the National Assembly, the president’s assent confirmed the cherry on top in a famously celebrated development that almost made some stakeholders, especially students, to forget their end-of-the year plans.
This is aside the numerous physical development at the headquarters of the university. For the first time, a staff and students witnessed the “uncommon” infrastructural transformation in not only at the headquarters, but all the 78 study centres across the country.
A 3-storey faculty building at the headquarters in Jabi, Abuja, that will house the remaining faculties still in Lagos; a magnificent university library, only bettered by the ABU like in the country; a brand new printing press; convocation ground; international media centre are but few of the ongoing structures either finished or about to be finished any moment from now.
Another worthy development of mention is the vice chancellor’s interest in sport development in the university (only germinated upon assumption in office). A brand new recreation centre is being constructed at the headquarters to allow very NOUN staff to cool off or “chill out” after an exhaustive working hours. Two brand new courts for Basketball and Volleyball are daily witnessing a flurry of discerning staff after working hours as well as a new football pitch have reignite the passion and stimulate the zeal in staff to perform their routine assignments.
No surprise that NOUN stole the show at the recent NUSSA Games at the University of Ilorin and smiled home with the highest medals, after attending the event with the highest athletes cutting across senior officers, academic and non academic staff and even junior and clerical staff. This is the spirit of oneness and team work that currently resonate in all departments and units of the university.
I cannot stop (not end), without a mention of exploits to add value and wider recognition of NOUN programmes. Every day, both global and local players in education are trooping to the university in search of partnerships and/or collaborations. A lot of Nigerian universities and foreign ones are using NOUN study materials so much so that invitations to open NOUN study centres in some African countries continue to reach the vice chancellor’s desk and United Nations bodies, like UNESCO, are recognizing the university’s unique provision of access to education.
Permit me to, at this juncture, reiterate that these form a fraction of what the vice chancellor is busy executing and passionately pursuing.
As the years continue to add, let me use this opportunity to, once again, pray that Allah continue to add wisdoms, guidance and strengths in you so as to continue piloting the affairs of the university.
Hearty cheers and happy birthday to a boss and mentor.