Dr. Salihu Lukman is a professor, author, columnist, administrator, inventor, YouTuber, lifestyle enhancement advocate, and a distinguished multi-talented Abusite. He is also called Halifa and known by the nicknames “Mallam mallam”, “Engineer” and “Alhuda-Huda”.
He was the first professor of civil engineering employed immediately after completing his PhD in civil engineering by the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM, the best university in the Arab world), Saudi Arabia, to establish a new civil engineering program from scratch in one of its campuses in Hafr Al Batin, now called University of Hafr Al Batin, Saudi Arabia.
He was also charged with the responsibility of overseeing the establishment of a chemical engineering program from scratch and head both the civil and chemical engineering departments – a super head of department (HOD) for that matter.
Dr. Salihu Lukman is also undoubtedly the most illustrious product of the famous Zaria-based Muslim Refresher Course Program (MRCP) which has produced some of the most influential and intellectual graduates across the old city of Zakzak (the original and unadulterated name of Zazzau according to Sheikh Usman Danfodio’s works).
This is a beautiful story of an unassuming, hardworking, late bloomer, outgoing introvert and a multi-talented boy who witnessed a humongous quantum leap in his life between two opposite extremities – from zero to hero and from rags to riches – that will surely be worth your while.
Early Life of Dr. Salihu Lukman
It was on a Friday, September 12, 1980, when Hajiya Halima (Inna) Muhammad (may Allah forgive her departed soul) was delivered at a hospital of her 10th child. She would later inform this child that she had never experienced pregnancy and labor pains for all her previous 9 home deliveries similar to when he was in her womb. She gave birth to 12 children altogether
His father (may Allah forgive his departed soul), an Upper Shari’ah Court Judge, Alkali Yusuf Lukman (late Dr. Rilwanu Lukman’s elder brother) named him after his revered grandfather, Salihu.
As it was the Hausa customs at the time to call a child with another name different from his real name to either depict the day he was born or other peculiar circumstances, this child used to be called Jumare (i.e. born on Friday – Jumma’ah in Hausa) until his stepmother would change his informal name from Jumare to Halifa (successor) – a distinctly rare name at the time. His parents were purely blooded Fulanis ethnically, but culturally Hausas.
Towards the end of 1984, his father retired from active civil service and relocated to the popular Alkali Lukman’s family house at Anguwan Alkali Zaria City, Kaduna State. Salihu would grow up as a strong-willed child, giving his parents and elder siblings a tough time that made his father give him so much attention and care, the like of which had not been given to any child before him.
Dr. Salihu Lukman had a highly retentive memory as a child and would later recall and narrate to his elder siblings, numerous incidences and structural descriptions of episodes that took place when he was just 2 – 4 years old with such precision and accuracy that left siblings dumbfounded about his recollection capacity even at that young age.
Education, Achievements, Awards & Prizes
Dr. Salihu Lukman grew up like the typical Zaria City boy to start schooling in the nearby Rimin Tsiwa (now Amir Abdulkarim) LEA Primary School. He was also enrolled in an Islamic school popularly referred to as Makarantan Allo and Islamiyyan Dare (in Hausa) even before he started his primary school education.
His performances in Islamic schools had always been excellent. Throughout his primary school period, he was formally addressed as Halifa Yusuf in his primary school until when he was to collect his primary school leaving certificate that his father would instruct the school management to write his name as Salihu Lukman instead of Halifa Yusuf.
He would live the rest of his life to be addressed as Salihu Lukman except during his Junior Secondary School days at Government Secondary School (popularly referred to as Government Day), Tukur-Tukur, when he was addressed as Salihu Y. Lukman.
He had little or no remarkable performance at his basic education period i.e. primary and junior secondary school years. Though, he independently read widely books written in the English language during his free time. His performance was above average in that subject. He also attended daily evening Islamic classes conducted in Dansabo Mosque between sunset and evening prayers.
In SS1, he joined science class and wasn’t getting much from his regular classes at school and so decided to intensify personal efforts which pushed him to seek out for assistance out his older colleagues to explain several concepts of especially physics.
It was on this personal voyage that he was introduced in 1995 to Ibrahim Physics’ extramural lessons (Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics) held at Alhuda-huda College and Muslim Refresher Course Program (MRCP) (Refresher) by a nephew and a childhood friend, Engr. Idris Nuhu Malami (Major).
That marked the beginning of an academic sojourn, from then on, a fire had been ignited, zeal and a passion for science, a force so strong, that nothing could stand in his way. Suffice it to say that he was always top of his class since then. He loved to teach even his classmates and could sometimes teach even better than many of his teachers who oftentimes let him take over the class to teach their subjects, particularly Physics and Chemistry.
It was in Refresher that his intellectual traits began to manifest. He was not only excellent in the sciences, but he was also very comfortable in the arts and had participated in dramas, debates, quizzes, spelling and essay competitions. He would also attend evening Islamic classes conducted by one of his greatest mentors, late Albani Zaria (may Allah forgive his shortcomings and admit him into paradise) in Tudun-Wada and Muchiya, Sabon Gari.
Sheikh Albani was the first person who taught Dr. Salihu Lukman how to install a computer program – something that helped in propelling him into becoming a computer wizard at a time when people were just learning about computers, he taught many of his peers and relatives the ABCs of computer operation, email and internet browsing.
He would visit him later on January 10, 2014, to seek copyright permission for uploading his videos on his YouTube channel. Shaikh Albani received him warmly at his residence in New Gaskiya Layout, Tudun-Wada and informed him that he is already aware of his YouTube channel and asked him to continue the good work.
Exactly 3 weeks after this meeting, he received with shock, the bad news that Shaikh Albani has been assassinated together with son and wife and the same day he wanted to call Albani to inform him that he had finished uploading all his videos. That assassination shook him beyond description.
This intensive personal learning voyage yielded positive results within a short while. While in SS2, he won a 1st position trophy in Essay and Spelling Competition organized for secondary schools in Zaria by Zaria Educational Development Association (ZEDA).
Encouraged by one of his mentors “Dr. Daddy”, he also sat for WAEC External Examination in SS2 which he passed with flying colors including an A2 in Chemistry. After he was presented with the trophy at the ZEDA Annual General Meeting (AGM), His Royal Highness, the Emir of Zazzau, Alh. (Dr.) Shehu Idris secretly pledged to personally sponsor his tertiary education.
His Royal Highness lived up to his words and even bought him a desktop computer system needed for his final year project at the undergraduate level.
He often says that apart from his parents and Maj. Suleiman Lukman (his elder brother), Refresher made him what he is today and what he will ever be in the future, by Allah’s will. One of his greatest mentors, Dr. Lawal Halliru (Dr. Daddy) strove to make a medical doctor out of him.
However, this young lad knew inside of him that a life devoid of the combo – Further Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry was not something he could imagine. So, well equipped by his mentors – Mal. Baban Jummai, Mal. Ibrahim Physics, Dr. Ahmad Isma’il (of blessed memory), Dr. Suleiman Garba and many others to start university to study either medicine or engineering.
young Lukman followed his heart and at the young age of 18, started a bachelor’s degree in Water Resources and Environmental Engineering (WREE) at the popular Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, after miraculously scoring 180 points in JAMB (now called UTME) exams.
Yes, I said miraculously scoring 180 points because he went to write the exam when he was ill and could not finish answering all the 4 subjects (English, Chemistry, Mathematics & Physics). He could manage to answer English and Chemistry fully and stopped while answering Mathematics due to colic and could not attempt even a question in Physics.
Almighty Allah in his infinite mercy, gave him 30 points in Physics to make his aggregate 180 points – the lowest entry JAMB points into any undergraduate program in Nigeria – yet, he would graduate on top of his class.
His arrival on campus was not unnoticed when in 100 level first semester, he had straight A’s in all his Physics courses. This was something remarkable. He was personally interviewed by his lecturers who were surprised to find out that he attended a common government school and that his father was not even an academic and yet, he was so good.
He became very popular on campus as a tutor of several notorious courses like Strength of Materials, Heat, and Properties of Matter, etc. His tutorials were attended by a large crowd of students. While in the university, he would also come back, especially on weekends, to teach at his alma mater, the popular Refresher and Muslim Potential Doctors (MPD) now called Muslim Special Training Centre (MSTC).
He applied for Chemical Engineering but did not get it. He attempted in his 200 level to change his course from WREE to Chemical Engineering. Unfortunately for him, all changes of course applications were rejected that year. He also tried to change to his mother department, i.e. Civil Engineering Department in his 300 level.
Dr. Salihu Lukman rejected the condition given to him by the Civil Engineering Department that he should accept to be a lecturer in the department after his graduation. He chose to remain in the WREE Department. Little did he know that he would one day head both Civil and Chemical Engineering departments. He graduated as the best student in WREE in 2004 with a second class upper and was employed during his NYSC as a lecturer in the same department.
He served under the Works Department, Wamba Local Government Council, Nassarawa State. He did his MSc in Water Resources and Environmental Engineering (Hydraulics and Engineering Hydrology option) in ABU, in 2009, before gaining a scholarship by the Saudi Arabian Government to do his PhD in Civil Engineering (Environmental Engineering option), at the prestigious King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM) – the best university in the Arab world and one of best in the world.
KFUPM is currently the 4th best university in the world in terms of the number of patents produced annually. He was fortunate to finish in a record time of 3 years with a first-class and an outstanding number of publications in international journals and conferences.
Dr. Salihu Lukman was offered a faculty (lecturing) position as the first assistant professor of civil engineering in one of the prestigious KFUPM colleges in Hafr Al Batin (now called University of Hafr Al Batin), Saudi Arabia, where he rose – within a year – to head the departments of Mechanical, Civil and Chemical Engineering and directly supervise two other associate degrees in Mechanical Engineering Technology and Non-Destructive Evaluation Technology. Currently, he heads the Civil and Chemical Engineering Department at the same university.
Dr. Salihu Lukman is the first PhD holder from the Lukman’s family and likes being addressed as Dr. Lukman. This reminds him of one of his role models and uncle, late Dr. Rilwanu Lukman of blessed memory (former multiple-times Nigerian petroleum minister and 2-term OPEC secretary-general) who holds 5 honorary doctorates and the first African to be conferred with the fellowship of the Imperial College, London. He is also the first Northerner to obtain a degree in mining engineering.
His other role models include late Dr. Shehu Lawal Giwa (may Allah forgive his departed soul), late Sheikh Albani Zaria (may Allah forgive his departed soul) and H.E. Nasir El-Rufa’i (Kaduna State Governor).
Dr. Salihu Lukman’s guiding philosophy in life can be beautifully summarized as ‘the best of mankind is he who benefits them the most.’ He would never miss the opportunity to be of benefit to those close to him and humanity at large.
His dream on how successful he would grow up to become – as he would recall later in his life – was shown only to his mother, Inna, who had been constantly and indirectly telling him that he would grow up to become an important personality someday. Deep inside him, He never took his mothers’ comments seriously. But now he knows better and had realized that his visions were seen only by his most beloved mother.
Dr. Salihu Lukman’s main research areas include soil and groundwater remediation, contaminant transport modeling, adsorption using locally available materials, design, assessment and appraisal of water and wastewater treatment facilities and infrastructures. He is currently supervising 2 PhD students and 4 MSc students from ABU. He has been involved in about 10 environmental and water research projects.
Dr. Lukman’s Serendipitous Invention
In his PhD research, he had initially set out to carry out simple soil remediation (decontamination) with multiple contaminants using the already established treatment conditions, on a local Saudi Arabian soil. During the preliminary characterization of the soil, he accidentally found it to possess high pH (alkaline) and exchangeable sodium percentage.
To describe this, Dr. Salihu Lukman added an adjective to the local Saudi Arabian soil and he called it sodic soil. Upon further analysis, he again accidentally found the soil to possess high electrical conductivity which prevents the application of the standard known treatment conditions for such soil. He added another adjective SALINE to describe the soil fully. The soil became known as SALINE-SODIC soil.
This type of soil is usually found in arid and semiarid regions. Fortunately or unfortunately, there was no previous remediation study on this type of soil – hence, he undertook a comprehensive and successful remediation study on this novel soil at bench scale and pilot scale.
Shortly after he submitted his PhD dissertation to the graduate school of KFUPM, he received a message from the Deanship of Scientific Research, KFUPM, that the attorney in KFUPM’s US patent office had studied his dissertation abstract and concluded that his dissertation is patentable. He was instructed to file for a US patent for his invention.
What is a PATENT? It is “a government authority or license conferring an official legal right or title for a set period, especially the sole right to exclude others from making, using, or selling an invention”, (Cambridge Dictionary).
Unfortunately, due to some academic political reasons, he did not apply for the patent at the time. Almost, 2 years later, he was again approached by KFUPM to file a patent for his invention. At this time, the political reasons were resolved, and he filed for a US patent for his invention.
Months later, he received a positive prior-art search which in essence confirmed that his invention is unique, innovative and patentable. Unfortunately, when he responded to the prior-art search message that will enable the US Patent Office to go ahead and approve the patent, they responded to him that the time within which to process the patent had elapsed and they could no longer continue to process the patent application despite its novelty.
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That was how he lost that patent because he had published his findings in journals even before he completed his PhD and failed to apply for the patent immediately he completed his PhD. Under the US patent application rule, 2 years is the maximum interval between disclosure of an invention and subsequent approval of a patent.
Whenever you feel that your research is unique and innovative, don’t waste any time filing for a patent. You can see from the foregoing, how serendipity significantly affected his research, positively. If not for the delay in filing the patent, he would have owned one US patent today. This does not in any way nullify his invention, check the literature on the remediation saline-sodic soil as proof.
As Administrator and Curriculum Development & Assessment Expert
Recall that Dr. Salihu Lukman headed the departments of Mechanical, Civil and Chemical Engineering and directly supervised two other associate degree programs in Mechanical Engineering Technology and Non-Destructive Evaluation Technology.
Currently, Dr. Salihu Lukman heads the Civil and Chemical Engineering Departments at the University of Hafr Al Batin. He was involved in numerous curriculum development, assessment and research activities summarized below:
- Coordinated the development of a proposal for the establishment of an Engineering Research Center, College of Engineering, University of Hafr Al-Batin (UHB).
- Ensured strict adherence to ABET (US accreditation body for engineering courses) & NCAAE (Saudi Arabian accreditation body) accreditation guidelines in all courses offered in the Mechanical, Civil and Chemical Engineering departments and later, Civil and Chemical Engineering Departments.
- Engaged in the continuous review and assessment of the BS degree curriculum of Mechanical Engineering program and later, Civil and Chemical Engineering Departments.
- Coordinated the development of energy efficiency courses at UHB. This made UHB become the 4th to have started this country-wide course in the Kingdom.
- Participated in the review of curricula of the following BS degree program proposals: Software Engineering, Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Finance, Finance & Management, Medical Lab Technology, Nursing.
- Submitted a report titled “Proposed Syllabus Amendment (B.Eng, MSc, PhD)” to the Department of Water Resources & Environmental Engineering, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria.
- Invited by Thomson Reuters to participate in the Annual Academic Reputation Survey (2014, 2016, 2019) that supports World University Reputation Rankings under the Times Higher Education (THE), USA.
- Co-authored “Proposal, BS Degree Program in Civil Engineering” report submitted to the University of Hafr Al-Batin, Saudi Arabia.
- Reviewed the MS graduate programs in water resources and environmental engineering and submitted a report to the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals (KFUPM), Saudi Arabia.
He also participated in numerous committees and chaired many others ranging from University-level committees down to departmental committees. He formed and supervised all departmental committees and had supervised all college-level committees.
While in ABU between 2006 – 2010, i.e. before he left for Saudi Arabia, the following are some of his routine administrative duties faculty and department level:
- Representative on Dam/Pipeline Networks on A.B.U. Academic Area Rehabilitation Committee
- Faculty Representative on University Health Consultative Committee.
- Departmental Registration Officer
- Departmental Information Technology (IT) Officer
- Undergraduate Project Coordinator
- Environmental Health (GENS 102) Officer
- Departmental Finance & Procurement Officer
Dr. Salihu Lukman is also a member or fellow of the following professional service or honor societies:
- Fellow of Strategic Institute for Natural Resources & Human Development (FRHD)
- Corporate Member, Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE)
- Society for Occupational Safety & Environmental Health (SOSEH)
- Materials Science & Technology Society of Nigeria (MMSN)
- Nigerian Association of Hydrological Sciences (NAHS)
He is also a recipient of the scholarships, awards & prizes:
- Recognition Award, University of Hafr Al-Batin, Saudi Arabia, 2017
- Pillars of Nation Building Award, Strategic Institute for Natural Resources & Human Development, Nigeria, 2016
- Ph.D. Fellowship Award, King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. 2010
- M.Sc. Scholarship grant, Nigeria-Sao Tome and Principe Joint Development Authority Scholarship. 2008
- University Award, Best Graduating Student, Department of Water Resources & Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, A.B.U. 2004
- Undergraduate Scholarship Award, Federal Government of Nigeria. 2003
- 1st Position, Essay & Spelling Competition for Government Secondary Schools in Zaria. 1996
- 1st Position (Overall Best Science Student), SS 1 – 3, Extra-Mural Classes in Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Biology & English Language held during week-ends under the Muslim Refresher Course Program (MRCP), Nurul Huda Primary School, Tudun-Wada, Zaria, Nigeria. 1995 – 1997
- 1st Position, SS 1 – 3, Science ‘C’, Government Secondary School, Tukur-Tukur Zaria, Nigeria. 1995 – 1997
Diabetes, Lifestyle Enhancement Advocacy & Community Services
On November 4, 2019, a day set aside by the United Nations as the World Diabetes Day, Dr. Lukman – a former diabetic who had conquered the chronic disease in just 15 months – decided to venture into writing by sharing his story titled “How I Fought Diabetes To A Standstill In Just 15 Months” on his Facebook wall and got it published in a 3 part series in Daily Trust Newspaper.
This marked his propulsion into the next level of social media blogging where he started the Diabetic Monitoring Forum (DMF) – 2 on WhatsApp (English & Hausa) and 2 on Telegram (English & Hausa). He delivers webinars to over 500 members regularly on diabetes, nutrition, and workouts necessary to combat and reverse chronic illnesses especially diabetes and other related illnesses such as hypertension and heart diseases using lifestyle modifications.
He had presented about 13 different webinars and had helped – with one of his wives who is a medical doctor and other team members (medical doctors, pharmacist, nutritionist) – many diabetic members of the forum to be completely weaned off any diabetic medication to helping others with very bad blood glucose control to achieve normal blood glucose control.
He wrote Daily Trust to request that he maintains a health column in the widely read newspaper he can be writing articles on the webinars he presented on the DMF groups for wider circulation and benefit. Daily Trust has already accepted his offer and his column will soon continue from the 3 part series which were already published by the newspaper.
His webinars on diabetes and diabetes-related issues are already in wide circulation across the social media (WhatsApp, Facebook, Telegram, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, etc.) under the harsh tag names #diabeticmonitoringforum and #workwhilestandinggroup.
He considered how he was able to combat diabetes in 15 months despite previously using insulin injection and other therapeutic medications coupled with his zero knowledge on lifestyle modifications at the time to be a miracle. More miraculous was having the woman that laid the rock-solid foundation for the achievement of this feat – behind every successful man there stands a woman.
Dr. Salihu Lukman had donated over 2,000 e-books on different areas of water resources and environmental engineering to the Water Resources and Environmental Engineering Department, ABU. Yet, this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Amongst his community services are the following:
I) Served as a reviewer to the following journals/conference
- Marine Georesources & Geotechnology,
- Chemical Engineering Journal
- Technical program committee for the 3rd International Conference on Civil, Offshore & Environmental Engineering 2016 (ICCOEE2016), Malaysia
- Environmental Earth Sciences
- Desalination and Water Treatment
- British Journal of Science and Technology
- International Journal of Water Resources and Environmental Engineering
- American Chemical Science Journal
- International Journal of Agricultural and Soil Science
- African Journal of Agricultural Research
II) Offer scholarship grants to the needy and monthly allowance to orphans through their charity organization called Godewa Foundation.
III) Participated in pro-bono teaching at all levels: Primary, junior secondary level, senior secondary level, JAMB (UTME) preparation class and conducted tutorial classes throughout his undergraduate level.
VI) Participated in a medical caravan that visited Kinkiba village (near Zaria) and Funtua local government area, Nigeria, under the umbrella of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Graduate Association in 2003 and 2008 respectively.
V) Held leadership positions from primary school to university: These include class monitor, prefect, time-keeper, deputy head boy, class representative, welfare officer, financial secretary, etc.
Dr. Lukman is a passionate teacher that he would not let go of any opportunity to impart knowledge. He would say that he obtains his daily dose of serotonin – one of the 4 happy hormones (endorphins, dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin) that determine human happiness – which is released whenever we act in a way beneficial to others. It is also released whenever we provide useful information on the internet or answering people’s questions on social media blogs.
Dr. Salihu Lukman had organized and presented the following seminars or workshops:
- Cooperative Work (Industrial Training/SIWES): Review of Practices by different Colleges & Departments, University of Hafr Al-Batin, Saudi Arabia., 23 March, 2016.
- Library Utilization As I Experience It, Kashim Ibrahim Library (KIL), Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria, 16 July, 2015.
- Don’t Give Up On Your Dream! Dream and Dream Big, NUESA (Nigerian Universities Engineering Students’ Association) First Monthly Lecture Series, Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria, 1 July, 2015.
- Use & programming of EndNote Citation Manager for Academic Referencing with Introduction
- to ISI Journals, Journal Impact Factors and Plagiarism, Department of Water Resources & Environmental Engineering, Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria, 31 July, 2014.
- Using SigmaPlot for Professional Plotting of Graphs/Charts, Department of Water Resources & Environmental Engineering, Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria, 1 August, 2014.
- Overview on the use of Response Surface Methodology for Modeling & Optimization of Processes, Department of Water Resources & Environmental Engineering, Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria, 4th August, 2014 and 24 June, 2015.
His most significant achievements and skills include:
- Publishing over 87 research articles (journals, conferences, book chapters) at both local and international level and still counting. This is in addition to having 295 citations of his publications to date.
- Long-standing experience (about 23 years) in effective teaching and mentorship which cuts across all educational levels: primary, junior & senior secondary, preparatory year (remedial), diploma, undergraduate & postgraduate (MSc & PhD) levels.
- Extreme passion for improving teaching methods at all levels and useful information dissemination.
- Possession of very good leadership and followership qualities for effective human resources development and management. He has reviewed over 500 curriculum vitae of professors and interviewed over 100 professors from all over the world including MIT (world’s best university) graduates.
- Highly innovative and passionate for bringing about positive changes in whatever capacity and under all conditions.
Dr. Salihu Lukman’s Personal & Social Life
Dr. Salihu Lukman is happily married to 3 Abusites: (1) Jamila Yusuf Ubandoma, a teacher and an MIM (master of information management) postgraduate student at ABU. (2) Dr. Fatima Aminu Mahmud, a lecturer at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital (ABUTH), ABU. (3) Zainab Ibrahim Sa’idu, a former lecturer at the Kano State College of Art, Science and Remedial Studies (CAS) and an M.Ed. (master of education) postgraduate student at ABU.
He would always encourage and support his wives to further their education because according to him, boko wajibi ne, meaning, Western education is compulsory.
They have been blessed with 3 wonderful boys and 6 gorgeous girls. Dr. Lukman is a loving father and a caring husband who used to be a staunch proponent of monogamy, but how he ended up in polygamy is another story for another time. His hobbies, among others, include reading, table tennis, badminton and watching documentaries.
At first glance, you would think that he does not talk so much. But when you bring up a topic that he is passionate about, or when you hear his conversation with his intimate friends, you would think that he is an extrovert. Dr. Lukman is an outgoing introvert who so much likes the company of people close to him and he is down to earth.