Prof. Mamman Audu Wasagu: The Eternal Transition of a Veteran Scholar and University Don

 Prof. T.Y. Baba
Department of Political Science
Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto

Prof. Mamman Audu Wasagu

It is with total submission to the will of Allah that we mourn the death of an erudite pillar of knowledge, Prof. Mamman Audu Wasagu of the Faculty of Education and Extension Services. We all acknowledge that DEATH is a natural and integral part of human life. To live also mean to die. Death is always associated with the living. Life thus makes sense only if it is associated with death. Inspite of the inevitability of death, the humankind is always bereaved by this natural and eternal transition of fellow humans. The human instincts of bereavement is largely instigated by the bonds of family ties, collegiality, friendship, neighborhood or any other form of relationship and association including the broad humanity bond. Therefore, human beings from time to time are bereaved and thrown in to mourning for loss of their loved ones and people they have known and/or interacted with, across spectrum and endeavours of life. The bereavement is largely as a result of the sudden and/or preempted and indefinite cut in the relationship with the deceased.

Some human beings are deeply mourned while others are moderately and/or scanty mourned. This is always a function of the position, influence and relative value of the dead. People of huge influence and value are deeply mourned, particularly by those directly influenced and transformed by the dead or the expectations that the dead will in the future be of shared value. Among the great influencers of the world are teachers, scholars and intellectuals, whose ideas, inputs, efforts and commitment have been responsible for the transformation and development of both human beings and the society in which they live. Thus the loss of a scholar is a loss and bereavement to the global community. This piece is even more traumatising, as it is meant to say farewell to one most outstanding Scholar and teacher of our own time. Prof. M. A. Wasagu is undoubtedly a rare gem and exceptionally top educationist and academic mentor that has impacted many lives. His death has indeed thrown many individuals, groups and communities into mourning with reflections on his times and life.

Three days after the shock and devastating news of the demise of Prof. M. A. Wasagu, the mourning mood is still active, particularly at the Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto and indeed in his community where he was buried. If not for the transient aspect of life and the unpredictable nature of death, it was hard to believe the news of his death. He was until the minutes that he answered the call of His creator, in a state of robust good health. As an erudite Scholar involved in different aspects of academic pursuits, exploits and value addition, his death, as ordained by the Almighty Allah, was on the path of a career he built for more than forty years. He was on his way to the Bayero University, Kano to examine postgraduate students preparatory and necessary for the award of different postgraduate Degrees when he was involved in a ghastly traffic accident that gave him no room to survive. As revealed by many colleagues who interacted with him days before his infamous trip, he had attempted to avoid the trip by road and conduct the viva hybrid (virtually) but was unsuccessful. The current cash crunch and fuel scarcity also made it difficult to drive to Kano himself or to be drove to Kano for the academic exercise. So as destiny will have it, he was left with the choice of public transport, which is hazardous, risky and dangerous. Eventually, the worst happened. Prof. Wasagu is no more!

Prof. Wasagu is among the few most senior serving Professors in the Faculty of Education and Extension Services of the Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto. He had a very fulfilled and inspiring academic career worthy of note and emulation. He began his academic career in the same Faculty in the early 1980s as a Graduate Assistant and rose through the ranks to the position of Professor of Science Education nearly twenty years ago. In the course of his career he had the opportunity to train in the United States and attended many professional career development programs at home and abroad. At the evolving period of his career, he proved to be an excellent teacher, scholar and mentor.  He had trained many students at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels and was instrumental in kick-starting the academic careers of many promising and emerging scholars, most of whom are Professors or at the verge of becoming Professors. As a responsible academic, he was also entrusted with different leadership positions of Headship of Department and Dean of Faculty at both his mother institution of Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto and Kebbi State University of Science and Technology, Aliero. He had also served as Provost, Federal College of Eduation, Katsina. As an outstanding scholar, he earned the trust and confidence of his colleagues at national level and was one time elected the National President of Science Teachers Association of Nigeria (STAN)

At the level activism and unionism, Prof. Wasagu was not only a visible and actively committed Comrade in the ranks of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) but had served as the branch Chairman of the Union at the Usmanu Danfodiyo University ,Sokoto Chapter. Until his death he never seized to be an active member and ardent supporter and promoter of the just courses of quality and affordable University education for the Nigerian youth, better condition of service for scholars and state of arts facilities and infrastructure for quality University education as catalyst for sustainable development in Nigeria. As against many of his peers who maintain low level involvement in ASUU affairs, he was always with the union to energise and inspire young academics on the need to be resilient in the fight for a just course. I remember during the eight-month long ASUU Strike, he was always in attendance to give memorable and contextual perspectives necessary for the steadfastness of members in the Struggles for better University system in Nigeria. Unfortunately, he is not alive to see to the realisation of this dream. Sadly, he passed on while the government still hold, maliciously his eight months salary as weapon to cripple the union's patriotic stand on funding education for sustainable development.

Prof. Wasagu was also an active member of his local community that was responsible for his upbringing and upkeep until his maturity and development to an important and resourceful personality in the world of Academics. He held important traditional titles of Sa'in Zuru Emirtae and Dan Masanin Wasagu Chiefdom. As a true community leader, he willed that after his death, he should be buried in his community in Wasagu Town in Zuru Emirate, Kebbi State. The wisdom behind his decision to be laid to rest in his home town was seen clearly in the opportunity he created for many of his relatives, friends and associates to pay their last respect and offered their prayers to the deceased. Among the congregants at his funeral rites were top government functionalities, senior and seasoned academics, traditional, community and religious leaders as well friends and well wishers.

Personally, I have high regards and respect for him both as a serious scholar and as an elder that cares and champion the affairs of members of our local community on the campus. He was instrumental to the resuscitation of the abandoned Community of Zuru people in the Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto. He until his death served as the chairman of the forum while I provide secretariat services to the platform. Anytime we meet he often gives inspiring and encouraging thoughts and ideas about academics and life generally. He was a fearless, independent-minded academic that speaks truth to power. He detested boot- licking, sycophancy and hypocrisy of any sorts in the pursuit personal interests. He was straightforward, simple and accessible to students and younger colleagues for guidance and mentorship.

I pray that Almighty Allah to grant his soul eternal rest, forgive his shortcomings and mistakes and reward his good deeds with Jannatu Firdaus, amin. May Allah also protect and guide the family he left behind, amin. Adieu and rest peace our dear Professor.

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