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31 Year Old Adamu Tilde’s Journey To PHD

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Adamu Tilde

 

By Marzuq Ungogo

“We did it. Your friend has been awarded a Ph.D.” As I read this exciting text from Adamu Tilde on Tuesday, I couldn’t contain my excitement and shouted out in joy. If I scared the people in the building, I know they would forgive this “first time” and would have wondered if I had won a lottery.

When I talked on phone later in the day with Adamu, we couldn’t help go down memory lane reminiscing about all the challenges faced. Suddenly his journey became clear in front of our eyes, how determined he had been, how much he worked for it and how he completely earned it.

In 2016, Adamu and I decided that going by our predilection for inquiry and love for learning and imparting knowledge, academia is our most logical destination. To be successful academics, we know how important obtaining PhD is and we had to start as soon as possible. At that time, Adamu completed a Master’s degree from a Hungarian university (in style) and I also was just about to return home after an MSc in the UK.

So we came up with 2 plans;

1. To apply for PhD studentship in 2 Nigerian universities
2. To apply for as many international PhD scholarships as possible

We went to work and by my count I applied for more than 20 scholarships. While waiting for responses from the these scholarships, Adamu was offered an admission in UDU Sokoto while I got admission into ABU Zaria. So, we decided to begin our PhD journeys in early 2017 in Nigeria all the while keeping fingers crossed on the international scholarships. The plan was to pursue the Nigerian PhD to the best we can, but leave if we got better offers abroad in good time.

But it was not easy decision to make considering all the negative testimonies around. We consulted so many people for about it, and most were pessimistic. In fact very few people could understand why 26-year old boys with First Class Master degrees from Europe would be desperate to start a PhD in Nigeria. But we stood by one logic- we need and want it, and in a few years to come we would either have it or be in the process. We knew if we didn’t start and were not able to get what we hoped (a scholarship abroad), we would only have a regret in years to come. After all, one mentor (Dr Abdurrazak Ibrahim “Biorazi”) said it was at least not a bad investment to pay 150k and listen to experienced professors for a year!

Adamu was earlier called by Bauchi state government officials with acknowledgement of his achievement in Hungary, and pledge to sponsor him for PhD in UK or any other foreign university of his choice. They made it look so real with clear instructions like “just bring us admission letters anywhere in the world”. Knowing fully the uncertainty of Nigerian politicians, he went ahead and accepted the PhD admission at UDUS first. Today, he would have regretted putting all his eggs in the past Bauchi government’s basket.

I remember Adamu left his business and took a chance with his life savings in far away Sokoto. But he didn’t just study in Sokoto, “he hustled too”. He started poultry farm with friends and later even got an NGO job in Sokoto and some gigs in Abuja. That way Adamu was shuttling between 2 jobs and a PhD. A year into the program he was offered an academic job at Dutse, with a part-leave agreement that he could continue his studies in Sokoto but show up to teach. That means for some months he had to move around Abuja, Sokoto, Bauchi and Dutse!

A Rejoinder To Adamu Tilde On Missing Opportunities By Northerners

On my own part, I also was combining farming and NGO job in Kano with a PhD studies in Zaria for 6 months before I was offered a job in my faculty in Zaria. That way I was able to “settle in one place”. In 2018, I got a sponsorship offer for a PhD in UK and I left. As for my friend, offers abroad came when he was far into his lab work at UDUS, and he decided to stay home and complete what he was enjoying.

There are many challenges associated with postgraduate research degrees in Nigeria. One big challenge is that one has to to self-sponsor themselves. Others are instability of the academic calendar, “wicked” supervisor, and inadequate/lack of equipment and materials. Many people felt that we were just wasting our time starting a PhD in Nigeria, but we know that it was the best decision to make -using what is available. But all these challenges did not stop my friend from completing his lab work and thesis writing in the minimum 3 academic sessions because he was determined.

By early 2020, Adamu has completed his Lab-work and thesis. As fate would have it COVID-19 pandemic started and Nigerian universities also went on strike. What looked like a simple break turned to complete disruption and it took until this week for him to defend his thesis.

Looking back, I think there are lessons fellow young people especially in Northern Nigeria would learn from Adamu’s experiences.

1. Just do it, because if you don’t, time will still pass and you will still have to do it.
2. Leave your comfort zone, you may not know what is in stores for you somewhere. Didn’t I tell you that my friend got a nice NGO job in Sokoto, started a poultry farm and consultancy there?
3. Use what is available at every material time. Many of us fail to utilise available opportunities and get fixated with “what may not be”, then end up getting none.
4. It is still possible: we often get discouraged by the many terrible stories around especially about MSc or PhD in Nigeria. That way we lose without even making any attempts. Everybody’s circumstances are different and from experience I know postgraduate students are not completely blameless themselves.
5. One good step leads to another: in the journey to career and self-development, one good step opens many opportunities. Adamu landed his dream academic job partly because he is already a PhD in-view. Employers always love a candidate that has gone an extra length. With shortages of PhD holders in Nigerian academia (especially in the north), it’s hard to turn down a candidate who is already enrolled in a PhD. So if you want to be in that system, here is a model for you.

As the external examiner announced Adamu Tilde a PhD holder at 31 on Tuesday, I know one thing was on his mind ”I made it”. As Adamu drove home the following day from far away Sokoto, he definitely was pleased with his decisions to leave Tilden Fulani in 2017. It was a journey to remember.

Congratulations once again Dr Adamu Tilde. May you continue to inspire and impact us with your work and your achievements!

Marzuq Abubakar Ungogo wrote this from Glasgow

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Remembering my late sister: Hajiya Salamatu Ajiun Abdulrauf

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By AbdurRaheem Sa’ad Dembo

It was at the peak of COVID-19 pandemic, precisely May 22nd, 2020 and a day to the end of Ramadan fast when death struck and took her away from us. On the 29th day of Ramadan, she was served her food to break fast but she could not, and that marked the end of an era in our family. Her selflessness was beyond
description. A good family woman who did not in any way jettison her family. She could travel from Lagos to Ilorin in order to attend family events as many times as possible within a year. She was not a millionaire but she had a heart of giving. Her investment on us has paid off.

We lost our father at a time some of us could not fend for ourselves but we have elder brothers, sisters and even cousins who were selfless, and they assisted us in actualizing our dreams. A woman would always be woman; they have large heart and there is a way they always do their things with care and spice. As an undergraduate student in Bayero University, Kano; before resuming to school for a new semester, it was willy-nilly to visit Lagos and get cash from her.

My observation of her was that of a woman with a great mind. She was not educated as such but had exposure that could match or compete with some who had privilege to get higher education. How do you know a great mind? Certainly, it is through selfless attitude and her contributions to humanity. There is no any discussion you would embark upon and she would not contribute immensely. At that point you would look and appreciate her for being an enlightened person.

I learnt the culture of giving from observing my father and selflessness of my brothers and sisters; it is a profitable enterprise. If I have had selfish brothers, sisters and cousins I might not have had the opportunity of going to school. I might have ended up somewhere less glamorous in the society. An educated person sometimes may not be rich or enmesh in a perpetual poverty but he would be free from shackles of ignorance and penury. Like the common saying “We are acquiring education to overcome or have a say over poverty” .But being educated and rich at the same time; ultimately the prerogative of Allah

If you are building somebody; you are invariably helping yourself. My sister is no more alive but her good deeds still illuminating and resonating in our minds. Despite her huge investment in us, she would never ask you to go and bring anything even though she deserved everything from us.

Significantly, it is not until one is rich before he or she can help. If one is waiting for that time, it may never come. Like the popular saying on the social media, “it is not the rich people that help, but the good people”.

My sister was blunt; if you had offended her she would tell you. She had no heart for malice. Another beautiful thing about her was the way she united the family. She did not belong to that class of women that would say “let us scatter everything”. Of course, if you scatter everything, everything would go worse.

If we’re alive and seeing each other; it is a rare opportunity to be kind and fair to one another. The reason is simple, because there would be a time death will overtake us one after the other and we would account for our deeds. We should always be patient with one another. A united family is far greater and stronger than the scattered ones.

On 12th December, 2023 I was in Lagos on official assignment, but I was not elated. I told my nephew that any time I was in Lagos it was usually a boring experience after my sister’s demise.

Eulogising our own Ajiun Omo Ade in a singular tone of mine won’t be sufficient and that’s why I had to reach out to some members of the family to tell their own perspective of her.

A foremost politician, Alhaji Ahmad Alfa Dembo describes her this way, “Ajiun united the family and would never want to see anyone in difficulty. She always rejoiced with whoever that was doing well among family members.She would ensure that she prevents anything that might pave way for misunderstanding among family members. She was a great lover of the family”

A retired Warrant Officer II , Nigerian Army, Mallam Usman Dembo captured her personality thus “She was very liberal , accommodating, and has no hate in her mind. She was honest and straight-forward .Above all ,she was always on the side of the truth.May Allah increase His mercy on her.

Alhaji Shuaib Lanre Dembo, a retired Training Manager, Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja said,” Ajiun was a team player who felt at home with everyone in the family irrespective of the lineage. She was so much loved by my wife because she accorded my wife the respect she gave me. She helped resolved some disputes I can’t mention here. She is really missed.”

The Imam of Masalasi Alfa n’ta ,Sheikh Salihu Sa’ad Dembo said Alhaja Ajiun was a good elder sister , who had done her best in uniting the family of her father and that of her husband. She was generous, prayerful, kind, and one who hardly gets angry. She was a guardian to him as her advice had worked for him on several occasions. He asserted that to the best of his knowledge, she was submissive and kind to her husband.He prayed Allah to overlook her inadequacies and that of her husband by granting them aljannah firdaus

Hajiya Maryam Imam Bashir, who is the second wife of Chief Imam of Ilorin describes her aptly: “She was kind and generous,and a family unifier.May Allah grant her aljannah firdaus”

Sheikh Hassan Sa’ad Dembo,who is also the Khalifatul Quadriyya in Portharcourt ,River State opines “Alhaja Salamatu Ajiun was a good sister, she united the family and was not selfish. She always stand with family members either in good or bad time. During my wedding she bought
clothes for me and my wife. If you visit her in Lagos she would treat you with comprehensive hospitality”

In the words of Ajanasi Makana,Mallam Yusuf Sa’ad Dembo, “She was so compassionate, kind, prayerful, and she loved saying the truth”

Mrs Shakira Abdulrauf is her eldest child. Here is what she has to say about her late mother,” My mother was not temperamental. She was kind, caring, and a family unifier.

She was so generous that she could spend her last kobo and began to look for another money the following day.

She had no hate and did not underrate anyone either among friends or family. May Allah continue to grant her mercy by granting her aljannah firdaus”

Yusuf Issa Aloba, a staff of Kwara Inland Revenue Service also has this to say about her
“She was generous to a fault, she was a pillar for me during my undergraduate days, She upheld the family ties.

I know I owe her a lot. I’m happy that at least I was able to visit her during an official training in Lagos, at the same house we used to stay whenever we went for holidays . She was very happy when she saw me, she said ” Amuda, eku ojo meta”

When I heard the news of her death I was shocked and I said to myself, I’m I dreaming? I wished she could live longer for me to reciprocate her generosity. May jannatul Firdaus be her final abode.”

Alhaja Ajiun was not only a sister but also Godsent. She understood me so much that by mere looking at me she knew what I wanted.May Allah forgive her shortcomings.

Finally, May Allah reward her with aljannah firdaus and bless her children she left behind.Ya Allah equally bless those who have touched our lives positively: family members, friends, and outsiders.

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Tribute To Late Justice Ahmad Belgore

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By AbdurRaheem Sa’ad Dembo

Death is an inevitable
visitor. When it strikes its victims it’s usually the end of an era. It was in the morning of Eid-l-Fitri, which was 10th April, 2024 I read the news of the demise of Justice Ahmad Olanrewaju Belgore, who died the previous night. He was a star in the judiciary because of his piety, consistency and fairness.

Many prominent Nigerians have sent their condolences to his family, Ilorin Emirate and Nigeria judiciary. One significant thing about late Justice was the fact that his life as a judge was filled with face of humanity.

Emir of Ilorin Alhaji (Dr) Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari and Chairman of Kwara State Traditional Rulers Council in his condolence message described the demise of Justice Belgore as a big loss to the Ilorin Emirate and the Nation at large.

According to the Emir “Belgore was one of the finest justices that the Ilorin Emirate had ever produced, who contributed in no small measures to the growth and development of the judiciary in particular and humanity in general.He prayed that Almighty Allah accept his good deeds, forgive his shortcomings and admit
him into aljannah firdaus.

The Turaki of Ilorin Emirate, Senator Saliu Mustapha has also expressed grief over the death of the legal luminary, described him as a renowned jurist who lived and served the country with his knowledge of the law as an examplary member of the bench.

Senator Mustapha while commiserating with the Nigerian Bar Association on the death of Justice Ahmad Belgore noted that the late jurist contributed immensely to the development of his community and the state in general. Recalling his years of service in the judiciary where he worked with utmost dedication and bowed out in glory last year.

The Senate Committee Chairman on Agric production and Services condoled the Belgore family, The Emir of Ilorin, Ilorin Emirate Descendants Progressive Union, the people of Balogun Fulani Constituency, Associates and friends of the deceased over the demise of illustrious son of the Ilorin Emirate.He prayed Allah to overlook Justice Belgore misdeeds and grant him eternal rest.

Meanwhile, Kwara state Governor,AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq equally expressed sadness over the death of Justice Belgore who passed on Tuesday night.The Governor sent his heartfelt condolences to the entire Ilorin Emirate, and to the Belgores who have lost a rare gem.His Excellency prayed to Allah to forgive justice Belgore of his shortcomings, and admit him to aljannah firdaus.

The Nigerian Bar Association,The Lagos Lawyers and other prominent Nigerians have also mourned the late Ilorin born jurist, but mentioning all of them may not be necessary.

It is imperative to say that late Justice Ahmad Belgore was an incorruptible judge as he retired meritoriously last year.This was aptly captured by the words of Shehu Bashir,Esq “Justice Ahmad Belgore was a jurist with decency of conscience.He journeyed the delicate profession of adjudication with distinction and came out unblemished.

He was an incredibly tolerant, calm, generous, religious and extremely patient man.His propensity to generosity would almost make you think he had more than he was giving,yet he was undoubtedly incorruptible. And he would never make public his generosity to a third party.He was such a responsible gentleman.”

According to a retired judiciary staff who craved for anonymity, disclosed that in 2015 when his benefit has not been paid,he reached out to late Justice Ahmad Belgore and he gave him 120,000 naira as at that time.

Significantly,the late Justice has been described by many as an embodiment of humility, generosity and accessibility. In the words of Pharm Munirat Bello “He was a great icon of peace and beacon of hope to the less privileged, reliably a dependable pillar of support. His act of kindness could be likened to the scent of the natural musk, very calming yet so impactful. No life hardly gets in contact with him and fail to progress. He was gifted with a divine heart of generosity. An upright jurist to the core, an impeccable symbol of Islam. I have never for once seen him angry to the point of passing derogatory words, he could be stern but in a loving way”

Sheikh Saidu Ibrahim Maimasa is a close associate of late Justice Ahmad Belgore and he is also the Public Relations Officer of Markaz, recounted how helpful he was to him and other friends.He said describing his magnanimity and generosity would be inexhaustible.

He cited a case of a person whose house was forcefully taken and he approached Late Justice for possible redress at the Court of law.He explained that the justice told the man not to go to court, because there was no point going to court and win, and thereafter he lost his life.He later ensured that another house was erected for the man from his personal purse.

Furthermore,A family source disclosed that anything that has to do with Belgore’s family, the late Justice Ahmad Belgore was always at the forefront.Meaning he had imbibed the sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) in uniting the family.

In unraveling his unwavering support for the less privileged, a young man was said to have gone to his GRA residence and appealed to him that he wanted to go to school but he had no sponsor.The late Justice embraced him and sponsored his education throughout.

Parts of the traits of great men are humility and accessibility. If you are the type that cannot render help to people until an influential person in the society recommends them, then you may be far from circle of great men.Your door should be open for help , that is when you would be able to identify those whole truly need succour .

Justice Ahmad Belgore was never a religious bigot,According to Sheikh Saidu Ibrahim Maimasa “He had an open door policy, because he was very accessible.His security orderly was a Christian from Oyo State and he did not only sponsored his wedding but he was also there in person.He did not discriminate”

He was born on April 18,1953, Belgore studied Law at the prestigious Ahmadu Bello university (ABU),Zaria, where he bagged LL.B (Hons.) with specialisation in Islamic Law 1975 to 1978.He attended the Nigerian Law School, Victoria Island,Lagos between 1978/1979 session.

He was the presiding Justice of the Ilorin Division of the Court of Appeal before his retirement in April,2023.He was also former Chief Justice of the Gambia.Justice Ahmad was younger brother to former Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Alfa Belgore.

There is no doubt about the fact that late Justice Ahmad Belgore had lived a life worthy of emulation.He was a regular reciter of holy Quran and a great scholar in his own class.He was the president of Darul-Uloom Alumni Association.

Perfection, they say, belongs to God. I pray Allah forgive his shortcomings and grant him aljannah firdaus.

abdurraheemsaaddembo@gmail.com

07037813177

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A Tribute to Barrister Sulaiman Ahmed Assayouty

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Late Barrister Suleiman Ahmad Assayouty

 

By AbdurRaheem Sa’ad Dembo

Death is a reminder that this world is fleeting and interim. It has yet corroborated the assertion that we are strangers on this planet called, earth just as Barrister Assayouty has left us unannounced through the inevitable shackles of death

I was shocked because he was a brother that I knew very well as an undergraduate in Bayero University, Kano.He wasn’t a regular student as he was preoccupied with hustling in photography business.He usually stationed at the old site of Bayero University Kano where he carried out his business activities

I was at the new site and we had our regular photographer in person of Hope Photo there but whenever we were at the old site we patronised him.In fact his business point was a regular station for Ilorin Emirate students and other customers whenever they did not have lectures.

Since I left the University I have not heard or seeing him until the day he graduated from Law School and the same was posted on the BUK Alumni WhatsApp Group, Ilorin Emirate chapter.I knew within me that day that he struggled to attain the feat and I rejoiced with him through my comments.

We were all in BUK but Assayouty was an hustler and we patronized him not just because he was one of us but he’s very humble. He had a dream and he pursued it with tenacity, hardwork and prayers so he became a certified lawyer eventually. I was not even aware that he later had a Sayuti Cafe on campus,i got to know through BUK Chat zone on Facebook; an online medium for BUK students and others. I’m sure it was after we have left the school he operated the cafe business

From the Account of my friends and brothers that are resident in Kano, they said he was going to a Police Station in Tofa with his wife and his child yesterday 8th April,2024 before they had an accident that claimed his life and injured his wife and his child who are still in the hospital. I pray to Allah for their speedy recovery.

When a promising young man died it is usually tremendously painful because a dream has been shattered and retrogressed.The demise of Assayouty was one too many as it reinvigorated and rejuvenated the futility of this world.He laboured so hard to become a lawyer. He was studying Law in pari passu with hustling. How great would it have been if He had lived long to enjoy the fruit of his struggle?

According to Mallam Zakariya Bayero “we were staying in an uncompleted building together in 1998, he was running a diploma programme then”.

Barrister Yakubu Abdullahi reacted to my Facebook post about his demise thus “May Allah admit him to Jannat, his death is shocking, I know him as a struggling lawyer, despite his commitment to law practice,he has other struggles he did around Janguza axis. May Allah forgive his shortcomings”.

In Quran 62 Verse 8, Allah says “Say, indeed, the death from which you flee.Indeed it will meet you”. Today it has met our brother but our solace is that Barrister Sulaiman Assayouty died as a Muslim in the holy month of Ramadan, he never tarnished the image of his family and lived a dignified life.May Allah grant him aljannah firdaus and give his immediate family, the Ilorin Emirate BUK Alumni and friends the fortitude to bear the huge loss.

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