Mal. Abubakar Gimba: First pro-chancellor, IBB University Lapai

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Malam Abubakar Gimba, MA, OFR was a renowned author, administrator, economist and distinguished Abusite who was a former vice president of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) and later president of the association from 1997 to 2001, he is the first person from Northern part of Nigeria to hold both positions.

Born on 10 March 1952 in Lapai town, Niger State. He began his early school at Gulu Primary School from 1959 to 1962, then went to Senior Primary School Lapai where he finished in 1964 and he proceeds to obtain his high school certificate from 1965 to 1969 at Government College Keffi.

Mal. Abubakar Gimba (1952-2015): The first pro-chancellor, IBB University Lapai
Mal. Abubakar Gimba

He earned a BSc in Economics from the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria in 1974. He proceeded to the University of Cincinnati, Ohio, in the USA 1976 for a Master’s degree, where he obtained an MA in Economics.

He subsequently attended the University of Bradford for a UK’s Project Planning Course on Infrastructure in 1982. He attended other courses professionally and in 2000 took part in the University of Iowa’s writing programme sponsored by the United States Embassy in Nigeria.

Abubakar Gimba worked with the Union Bank of Nigeria and then the United Bank of Africa as executive directors. Prior to entering the corporate sector, he was a civil servant who rose within the administrative cadre to become a Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance in Niger State during the tenure of David Mark between 1984 and 1987.

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After his retirement from banking, he was nominated to work or advice in some public institutions. Gimba was appointed chairman University disciplinary committee at Ahmadu Bello University, his alma mater during the interim administration of Mamman Kontagora.

Thereafter, Abdulsalami Abubakar made him the member Programme Implementation Monitoring Committee till the end of the former’s term in 1999. Gimba is a former president, Ahmadu Bello University alumni association, and was a member of the Ahmadu Bello University Governing Council from 2002 to 2006.

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He is the first pro-chancellor of Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University Lapai. He became an adviser to David Mark, senate president of Nigeria on the economic and budget matter, and in 2010, he was a presidential advisor on various matters, he also served as a member of presidential Review Committee on public service.

His experience with political institutions, the military, and the civil service had some influence in his early works and in thematic depictions of religion, society, and morality of those works.

His first novel, Trail of Sacrifice, was published in 1985, and it was followed by Witnesses to Tears, released in 1986. In 1991, he published Sunset of a Mandarin, in which readers were introduced to aspects of his life within the civil service. His 1994 work, Sacred Apples, explores African feminism in Muslim society through the eyes of its female protagonist, Zahra.

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Abubakar Gimba’s view on Nigeria’s problems contradicts with Achebe’s assertion that leadership is what is wrong in society; he takes a position that followers of political leaders and other members of society magnified societal problems in Nigeria.

Most of his books were published by Dillibe Onyeama at Delta Book Club, including: Trail of Sacrifice. ISBN 9782335940; Witnesses to Tears: a novel. 1986. ISBN 9782335215; Sunset for a Mandarin. 1991. West African Book Publishers. ISBN 9781530170; Sacred Apples. 1994. Evans Brothers. ISBN 9780201378, Among many others

The Celebrated author died on 25 February 2015 at the Minna General Hospital, Niger State, Nigeria after a protracted battle with an undisclosed ailment. He was 63 years old.

Abubakar Gimba was a recipient of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR), a prestigious merit award from the federal government of Nigeria. He is survived by three wives and many children.

In the words of Su’eddie Vershima Agema, “Abubakar Gimba was a humble man and never walked up to any platform or high table until he was invited… His simplicity was easily noticeable and not once did I have to ask: ‘Is this really Abubakar Gimba?’ For what it is worth, I think Alhaji Gimba was a fine man, quiet, reserved, and not much like all the other ‘big men’ who would want everyone to notice them”.

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Chila Andrew Aondofa

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