During a chat with Professor Shehu Abdullahi, A former Vice Chancellor, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. He requested that I should see Prof. Abdullahi Mahdi, the then Vice Chancellor of Gombe State University, and current Vice Chancellor of Gombe State university of Science and Technology, who was instrumental to the greening of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria and the ecological transformation of the institution.
Everywhere I went, I got the feeling that my story will not be complete without meeting Professor Abdullahi Mahdi. With my guides in the Environment Committee including Prof. Mohammed Balarade in the lead, we set out to reach Prof. Mahdi. In the end, we met him. His house has also become an ecological haven, a garden hidden under big trees. He kept rare species of plants, which he nursed and also reintroduced to the larger society either in Ahmadu Bello University where he was a former Vice Chancellor or in Gombe State University where he was the head (at the time of writing this article)
A lover of nature, Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Gombe State University and now Gombe State University of Science and Technology remains the environmental babies of Mahdi that he nurses simultaneously. His legacy at ABU has taken root with many followers. Prof Abdullahi Mahadi has created a zoological garden at Gombe State University and this has attracted many lovers of nature.
The Mahadi Foundation which carries out ecological projects and tree planting has been responsible in assisting Ahmadu Bello University in stabilising some of its ecological zones as well as carrying out environmental protection in Gombe State.
Prof. Abdullahi Mahdi has sponsored many individuals and groups to receive environmental education and Abdullahi Sule of Department of Crop Science described him as a philanthropist.
Shy and unassuming, Prof. Abdullahi Mahdi was once the Chairman Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities (ASUU) in the days of the military before he became the Vice Chancellor. In those days, he had a raw deal under the military and still carries the scars of those dark days on his body.
Because of his love for nature, Prof. Abdullahi Mahdi had spread part of his salary over the years for the greening of the environment in Zaria and Gombe.
When we remarked that behind every successful man is a woman; inferring to his wife as his pillar of success, Hajia Mahadi, who overheard us replied on the contrary, that the professor has been her pillar and all. Both of them gave thanks to Allah simultaneously.
By Tunde Akingbade