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By Bala Ibrahim.

Perhaps because I am not academically sound, whenever a person introduces himself as an academic, he or she sends a twinge of envy into my silly sentimentality. The sentiment graduates to envy, if he or she is prefixed with the title Doctor (Dr.) and instantly prances to the ostentatious pang of jealousy if he or she is denominated as a Professor. In my present place of work, I am compulsorily compelled to accord two colleagues extra respect, because they are Professors, one of whom I call, “My Three Star Director”. That is the level of my weakness or better put, respect for those who took time to study, and have the righteousness to upskill in the academia. And precisely that is the stimulus that spurred me into writing this article.

I woke up this morning to read the good news of the appointment of a friend, Professor Umar Adam Katsayal, mni, as the Vice Chancellor of the Federal University of Transportation, Daura, Katsina State, by President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR. According to the news, the appointment of Prof. Katsayal as the Vice Chancellor is for a five-year tenure, effective from whenever he assumes duty. The offer was conveyed in a letter signed by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Dr Magdalene Ajani, in line with the Federal University of Transportation (Establishment) Act 2022, Part 1 Section 3(6)

In congratulating the Vice-Chancellor, the Honourable Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Jaji Sambo, another friend and schoolmate of mine, charged the Vice-Chancellor to run with the vision that birthed the institution, graduating scholars that will break new grounds with cutting-edge interventions in the country’s transportation sector. While wishing him well, he implored him to make the institution a university of national unity.

For those familiar with Professor Umar Adam Katsayal, who is a professor of Pharmacognosy and Drug Development at the famous Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, and one with teaching and research experiences in Nigerian Universities, spanning over two decades, the call by the Minister is nothing but a chance call to calibre. Certainly, Prof. Umar Adam Katsayal, whose disposition is akin to that of the man with a date with destiny, would deliver. I have a feeling that Katsayal’s success as the pioneer Vice Chancellor of the Federal University of Transportation, Daura, is fait accompli.

The records say Professor Katsayal is an experienced Professor with a demonstrated history of working in the education management industry. He has excellent skills in Lecturing, Public Speaking, Management, and Strategic Planning. He is the consultant on the establishment of the University as well as the Chairman, of the Interim Management Committee of the University. It is therefore not surprising, that the President, who knows him very well and long before now, saw him as a round peg to fit into the round hole of the management of this particular pioneer tertiary institution in Daura.

The Daura Transportation University is conceived with the dream of paving the way for the domestication of railway engineering and general transportation sciences in Nigeria, so as to bridge the technology and skill gap in the railway, and ultimately the transportation sector. It is believed that the University can reach the target of training people, technology transfer and developing the railway industry, which is in huge demand in Nigeria and the West African region as a whole. And the Katsayal that I know, has the avidity, zeal and enthusiasm to touch the zenith of that dream.

I came across Prof. Katsayal in the course of some political assignments, to which I was conscripted by another Professor friend, and since then, I noticed the workaholic nature of the man, who does not believe good is enough, nor believe very good is enough. For Professor Umar, the target is excellent, and he always pursues the aspiration with a hot cup of coffee.

I have since sent my congratulations, but to the people in the catchment area of the University, by this article, I am expressing my confidence and praise, in a man that I know, would not let the people down. More so, as the appointment is coming from the son of the soil to the son of the soil, for the sons and daughters of the soil. And that is what I call, the chanced call to calibre.

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