Like several well-meaning Nigerians and indeed Africans, I am particularly interested in the effort of Yusuf Abdulrahman Sambo for demonstrating that ingenuity does not recognize race, religious differences or ethnicity. Sambo, an African immigrant in a Whiteman’s country Scotland to be accepted to lead crop of researchers in a modern day technology “development and perfecting of 5G” means that Sambo is exceptionally excellent. We all need to celebrate Sambo for making Nigeria proud and in deed the entire black race. Sambo is an Alumnus of the great Ahmadu Bello University Zaria where he graduated with the Bachelor of Electrical Engineering, second-class upper division. ABU Zaria being the hotbed of academics has always been in the forefront in producing brainy personalities that project the nation image to high heaven.
Right from establishment, ABU Zaria has been consistently creating waves in the global academic arena using her cosmopolitan nature and diversity to great advantage. Sambo is perhaps among the latest ABU Zaria graduates elevating the university to a greater height. Earlier, there were Abba C. Zubair and Sarki Abba Abdulkadir among others who appeared in this Column three years ago. Mr. Abba C. Zubair, a Professor of Laboratory Medicine And Pathology, working in Mayo Clinic Florida, USA. Prof. Zubair did his MBBS in Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, obtained his MSc in Clinical Science from Harvard Medical School, did his Clinical Fellowship – Transfusion Medicine Programme in Harvard Medical School, had his Residency in Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, University of Pennsylvania, had his PhD – Tumor Immunology University of Sheffield and Post Doctoral Fellowship, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. He is actively involved in many ongoing and completed research works at Mayo Clinic Cancer Centre, Centre for Regenerative Medicine and Hematologic Malignancies Programme. Prof Zubair is a recipient of several global accolades and awards in medicines and related disciplines. This hard working ABU Zaria Alumnus in a faraway America achieved several feats as reported in my article of June 17th, 2016 titled “Educational Feats of Nigerians in Diaspora”. In a similar vein, another 1990 Ahmadu Bello University graduate from the same Faculty is breaking records in the same medical field in God’s owned country, America. He is Sarki Abba Abdulkadir, a former Vanderbilt associate professor of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology and of Cancer Biology, who is now a professor in Urology and Pathology at Northwestern University, Chicago. After graduating from Ahmadu Bellow University, Nigeria in 1990, he made his PhD in Immunology from Johns Hopkins University, (1995), had his Residency in Barnes Jewish Hospital, Clinical Pathology (1999), had his Fellowship: Barnes Jewish Hospital, Clinical Pathology in 2000 and had his Postdoctoral Fellowship: Washington University, Pathology in the same year 2000. After his formal training in the various Institutions, Prof Abdulkadir wrote his name with gold in American medical industry in teaching, research and training. He has several academic publications in reputable journals at national and international levels. As a result of series achievements in his famous profession – medicine, Abdulkadir, a professor of urology in the Feinberg School of Medicine, was named the John T. Grayhack, M.D., Chair in Urological Research of the university. A Urological Research chair is a highly prestigious position that can only be occupied by scientists who had distinguished themselves in the science of urology. Details of this article can be accessed via https://breakthroughwithmkothman.blogspot.com/2016/06/educational-feats-of-nigerians-in.html.
Despite the poor state of Nigerian educational system, ABU Zaria is still relatively maintaining high standard and leading several academic areas. The university system in Nigeria is faced with inadequate or moribund infrastructure, inadequate high skill manpower, crowded lecture theatres inadequate teaching consumables and poorly motivated tutors, which constitute major challenges to teaching and learning. Recently, ABU Zaria ICT Team excellently performed in an ICT global competition organized by Huawei in far away China. Newspapers, both hardcopies and online publications were outdoing each other with cheering headings; “ABU students shine at Global ICT Competition” – Punch edition of 4th June 2019 (https://punchng.com/abu-students-shine-at-global-ict-competition/) “Huawei ICT Competition 2019 Global Final: ABU Zaria Team Emerges Third” – Mobilitaria edition of 31st May 2019 (https://www.mobilitaria.com/huawei-ict-competition) “3 ABU Students Win Huawei ICT Prize” – Leadership edition of 31st May 2019 (https://leadership.ng/2019/05/31/3-abu-students-win-huawei-ict-prize/) among several other news outlets. Students of ABU Zaria out performed others to emerge the winners of African regional competition and then competed against other students from different continents/regions and took a third position. The 2019 ICT Competition Global Finals took place on 25 and 26 May at the new Huawei campus in Dongguan, close to the Huawei HQ in Shenzhen. 49 teams from 39 universities and polytechnics in 30 countries travelled to Dongguan where the competition took place. The performance of the ABU Team in African region and Global competition is a clear indication that the university is still advancing the frontiers of learning and breaking new grounds. This was the university where Yusuf Sambo got his baptism in intellectual arena.
Sambo’s intellectual activism created hopes to Scotland citizens that made the first woman Minister of the Country, Nicola Sturgeon excitedly announced “the country is aiming to be the 5G leader in the United Kingdom as the technology could enable Scotland to add about £17 billion to GDP by 2035 and create 160,000 jobs”. Yes, Sambo’s exceptional feat is one of the most celebrated happenings to both countries; UK and Nigeria. Now, who is Yusuf Sambo? How did he achieve this feat? And what are the positive implications of Yusuf’s achievements and other Nigerians in diaspora to Nigeria?
Yusuf Sambo is currently a research associate at the University of Glasgow, UK. Sambo was born in 1988 to the family of Dr. Abdulraham Sambo, former acting executive secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS). He hails from Ikara local government, Kaduna state. He started his educational career at Command Children School, Abuja, where he had his primary education, and then moved elitist Zaria Academy, Shika, for his secondary school education. Thereafter, he secured admission into the famous Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria, where he read degree in electrical engineering and graduated in 2010. A year after graduating from ABU, Sambo expressly completed his master’s degree in Mobile and Satellite Communications at the University of Surrey (with distinction and two publications) in 2011. This is a rare accomplishment even among the most privilege individuals. The distinction result of his MSc instantly earned him admission to read PhD and a full scholarship to work on a European Union-funded project on designing low electromagnetic emission future networks. He promptly took the offer and started the PhD program in earnest. His spectacular performance in first year of the PhD program earned him a mobility funding, to conduct research on mobile communications at the Texas A & M University in Qatar. Within three years plus some months, Sambo, at the attainment age of 27 in 2016, he completed successfully his PhD program in Mobile Communications from the 5G Innovation Centre, reputed as the world’s largest academic research center dedicated to next-generation mobile and wireless connectivity, at the University of Surrey. Sambo has since tapped into the center’s vision to drive the fourth industrial revolution “to enable a world where everything is provided wirelessly to the end device by a fixed and mobile (converged) infrastructure that functions across the whole geography”.
Sambo’s outstanding accomplishment is yet another indication that Nigeria has all it takes to be a great nation. Sambo is in the league of several other Nigerians home and in diaspora who have repeatedly demonstrated their capabilities of making Nigeria great. This has certainly reinforced our faith in Nigerian prosperous future, Nigerian potential of becoming a great nation sooner than later. Yes, brighter future awaits Nigeria on the condition of using our political will to transform our massive human resources to human capital. To do this, we simply add ‘skill and education’ to human resources for the magic transformation to human capital. The ball is in the court of Nigerian political leaders; we need to get out of this quagmire and move to prosperity.