How Abdallah transformed NOUN

Professor Abdallah Uba Adamu was appointed Vice-Chancellor of National Open University of Nigeria, NOUN, in February 2016, by President Muhammadu Buhari for statutory five-year tenure. It was really great to have an academic amazon from Daneji Quarters in the ancient city of Kano as vice-chancellor of a university with over 5,000 students.

Upon his appointment, Prof Adamu realised that the university was more of a regional than a national institution. His first move was to nationalise it by ensuring that all the six principal officers of the university come from the six geo-political zones of the country. This is the only university with this administrative structure. He relocated the headquarters of the university from Lagos to Abuja. He also built numerous study centres across Nigeria.

Adamu re-built the university’s FM station in Lagos to broadcast programmes like any other FM station in the country. Before becoming VC, all students’ books and materials were produced from outside the university, which cost a large amount of money. Consequently, he set up the university printing press to cut cost. He improved the school’s internet system so that students can read and undertake researches with relative ease.

During the Covid-19 lockdown, NOUN was the only university conducting online pen-on-paper examination using artificial intelligence software that detects cheating. The students did the examinations at home without going to any study center.

Professor Adamu found a mosque at the University’s headquarters in Abuja already built by the contractors building the university. To show his liberal attitude, when the Christian community asked for a place of worship, he allocated lands to the Protestant and Catholics for them to build their churches. Thus, one of his greatest efforts was to unite the staff of the university by working together without any discrimination based on race, religion or ethnicity.

For students of English, NOUN means names of persons, places or things, but for AU Adamu as the vice-chancellor NOUN means work (verb). He has devoted his life, time and energy to ensure NOUN becomes VERB (work) in another context.

Adamu is a philanthropist, a man of the masses, easy-going, man of his words because no matter what, he will not lie to you about something he cannot do just to impress you. And above all, he is incorruptible. In the use of language, both Hausa and English, you can say he is an orator.

When he speaks Hausa, you would assume he cannot speak English, but when he addresses you in English, you would think Professor Adamu is an English man. He was crowned Nze Okaa Omee, a traditional title in the Awene Ezema Olo Kingdom of Ezeagu local government area of Enugu state.

Professor Adamu’s tenure as vice-chancellor ended on February 10, 2021, and he has already returned to Bayero University, Kano and resumed duties.

Hassan Auwalu Muhammad,

Department of Mass Communication,

Bayero University, Kano

[email protected]

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