By Muhammad Bashir Shuaib

On the daylight, 30th June 2024, The Sun at the centre of unity was at its calm end, students and staff of the University of Abuja bided a farewell to its outgoing Vice-Chancellor, Professor Abdul-Rasheed Na’Allah for its contribution and relentless efforts towards the development of the University.

Professor Na’Allah is said to have obtained a bachelor’s and master’s degree in literature in English from the University of Ilorin in 1988 and 1992, respectively. In 1999, he bagged a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada, and was subsequently professor and chair of African-American Studies at Western Illinois University. He held the position of Vice-Chancellor at Kwara State University, Malete, before assuming duty as the 6th substantive Vice-Chancellor of the University of Abuja.

Following the end of his tenure at the University of Abuja, Muhammad Bashir Shuaib reports on how students and student leaders of the University of Abuja have showered praise on the erstwhile VC, extolling his numerous achievements and legacies that have elevated the university’s standards.

Issa Folorunsho Muhyideen, the president of Kwara State students at the University of Abuja chapter, lauded Professor Na’Allah for his remarkable accomplishments, including the accreditation of all courses, introduction of new faculties, creation of 26 new courses, and rebuilding of the university’s infrastructure. Muhyideen also commended the outgoing VC for his student-friendly initiatives, such as the high-standard school portal and the creation of student work opportunities.

“Some of the key achievements of Professor Na’Allah include accreditation of all courses in the university, the introduction of over 20 new courses which increases the interest of aspirants in the institutions, and rebuilding the university community with infrastructure into a new model,” he said

Before his administration, a sustainable living environment, lack of infrastructural facilities and as well unavailability of some lucrative courses have continued to be a challenge to the university system and on his arrival the story began to change.

“The University of Abuja now has a standard school portal where the student doesn’t need any intervention before making any payment or doing anything on his or her portal. He also built hostels and partners with the private sector in building new hostels,” he added

Muyideen, a native of Kwara State further described the legacy the VC left behind, initiating the legacy the outgoing has built a foundation of good leadership for the selfless service of humanity. With the good work of Na’Allah, his work on how leadership should be governed gives room to remember his dedication and contribution to humanity. He continued by describing the immediate past vice chancellor of the institution as a great man with a good initiative that helps students grow.

“We have many students who now have opportunities to be self-employed with the entrepreneur programme, this initiative programme really contributes to the students and gives them more opportunities to have direct interaction with successful entrepreneurs, Prof. Na’Allah creates student work that gives more opportunities to students who are physically and academically fit to earn while studying to help themselves without disturbing their academics or getting their salaries,” he concluded

More Students Applaud

Issa Muyideen was not the only student who commended the efforts of the VC, wherein, his appraisal showcased the relentless efforts of the outgoing VC

Muhammad Lutfiya, A 300 student of the Faculty of Law, described Professor Na’Allah as a “Digital Vice-Chancellor” who hastened the academic calendar and introduced digitalization, making the university more competitive. Lutfiya also praised the VC for his unique personality, stating he was a leader who honoured student invites and listened to their complaints. he hastened the academic calendar, and the period was smooth.

“I have friends in other schools that we were admitted to at the same time, and I am at a level ahead of them now.” she boasted

The University of Abuja is said to be one of the fastest Universities in Nigeria at the arrival of Professor Na’allah, the institution happens to produce one of the fastest calendars not only among federal universities but Nigerian Universities at large.

“The VC brought digitalization; we now do the general studies exams in CBT; the New Faculty of Law and Engineering was commissioned; and renovation of most of the facilities took place during his tenure. Also, an international hostel was developed with just two people in the room; this was a saviour for someone like me who prefers privacy to stay around as many people as it is in a general hostel,” she added

She further describes him as a unique person and a leader who always honours student invites. In her attempt to describe him using a phrase, she said the right name to call the outgoing VC is “Present Leader.” He was known to be accommodating and always gave a listening ear to the student’s laments. When asked what Prof. Nahala left behind as a legacy, Lutfiya submitted that the past Vice Chancellor left behind a legacy worthy of emulation, and his achievements made her proud. Even though she is not her child, she is proud to call her father, and she is sure his legacy will forever live in her heart.

The University of Abuja, located in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, was founded in January 1988 as a dual-mode institution, offering both conventional and distance learning programs. The university welcomed its inaugural students in 1990, marking the beginning of academic activities. Since then, the university has grown and evolved, providing higher education to numerous students. The students’ testimonials about the past Vice-Chancellor paint a picture of a transformative leader who has left a lasting impact on the University of Abuja.

Na’Allah is a Transformative Leader – UNIABUJA Graduates

In another interview with Abubakar Abubakar, a graduate of microbiology, he highlighted Professor Na’Allah’s achievements, including the establishment of new faculties, digitalization of the university system, and partnerships with government agencies and foreign countries. Abubakar described the VC as a man of discipline and responsibility who instilled these values in the students. He said: “Prof. Abdulrasheed Na’Allah has had lots of achievements during his tenure as the VC chancellor, which I will mention but a few; these achievements include but are not limited to the establishment of new faculties, digitalization of the university system (introduction of the integrated portal, installation of CCTV in the hostels and lecture rooms for security purposes), Partnership with government agencies like NDLEA and NILDS. This partnership brings about the introduction of new courses into the university curriculum, which brings more enlightenment on leadership courses and also public lectures.”

“The partnership with the foreign countries through their embassies aids the university in securing some benefits, like funds and donations from foreign country representatives in Nigeria, e.g., the Saudi Arabian Embassy, the Chinese Embassy, and lots more.” he commended

“Partnership with NGOs also brings about new developments at the university, like the construction of new hotels and the donation of palliatives to the students,” he added

Abubakar continues by describing Professor Abdul-Rasheed Na’Allah as well a disciplined and responsible leader, in his words, he said: “Every university student in Abuja knows that he has inculcated the acts of being disciplined and responsible into the lives of the students.”

Meanwhile, a postgraduate student who pleaded anonymity said that during his undergraduate days, the rate of corruption among the university Students and Lecturers was a great one, but upon coming for a PG degree during Na’Allah’s tenure, the rate was reduced. He recounted how a lecturer silently advertised his books, unlike when he was an undergraduate when such things were seen as normal things. He also stated that part of the past VCs achievements was the building of a new CBT Centre (yet to be launched). He further described him as a national treasure, a person worth emulating, and one of the few professors in Nigeria who uses honesty to grind their places in any position they find themselves in.

I want to emulate his Leadership style – student leader react

For Mashood Muhammed Kayode, a senator representing NUASA UNIABUJA National body and Secretary General of the Ilorin Emirate Students Union he would like to emulate Professor Na’Allah’s discipline, positivity, true love, and passion.

He praised Professor Na’Allah for introducing the integrated school portal system, establishing the UNIABUJA Microfinance Bank, and introducing new faculties and entrepreneurial studies.

He said: “the establishment of the UNIABUJA Microfinance Bank, the introduction of four (4) new faculties (pharmacy, nursing, environmental science, and mass communication), and the introduction of a school lanyard as a means of identification. Muhammed continues that. During his tenure as the Vice-Chancellor, he introduced the Centre for Undergraduate Research (CUR), whose aim is to assist students with grants to carry out their research work.

“Also, he introduced Entrepreneurship Studies to assist students in acquiring entrepreneurial skills and knowledge,” Mashood concluded

Muhammad Bashir Shuaib is a Journalist and works as a reporter with Confidence News Ng, he can be reached via