Meet the 6 most Iconic professors from Northeast Nigeria

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Long before the northeast became notorious for insurgency and terrorism, these brilliant minds from the region have won impressive academic laurels.

Here are six world-class professors from northeast Nigeria.
Emeritus Umaru Shehu from Maiduguri: The first Emeritus in Northern Nigeria
Professor Umaru Shehu: professors from the northeast.
Professor Umaru Shehu

Professor Umaru Shehu is not just a renowned Nigerian professor of medicine, he is a genuine Icon, a true elder statesman, and a great role model. He is one of those few who still command genuine public respect on account of the quality of his person at a time when integrity and honor are in short supply.

Professor Umaru Shehu was born on December 8, 1930, in Maiduguri, born state of Nigeria. He attended elementary school Maiduguri, from 1935-1940; middle school Maiduguri, from 1941-1943; Kaduna college Kaduna, from 1944-1947; University college Ibadan, from 1948-1953; and was at the University of Liverpool between 1953-1956, and 1966-1967.

Professor Shehu holds MBBS (London), IRCF (London), MRCS (England), DPH (Liverpool), FMCPH, MFCM, FFCM (UK), FFCM (Nigeria), FAS, FWACP, DFMC (Nigeria).

He served as the first HOD, Dept of Community medicine ABU Zaria; former vice-chancellor of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka; former sole administrator of the University of Maiduguri; former Pro-chancellor and chairman governing council Bayero University Kano and University of Lagos; professor emeritus, community health, university of Maiduguri; former president of the Nigerian Academy of Science and former president, medical schools in Africa.

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Prof. Iya Abubakar: first-rate mathematician of Africa who became a professor at 28.
Prof Iya Abubakar
Prof Iya Abubakar

Prof Iya Abubakar is an elder statesman and Nigerian Mathematical Genius who was the third Vice-Chancellor of the great Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, multiple times minister, former director of the Central Bank of Nigeria, and a former Senator for Adamawa North from May 1999 to May 2007.

Abubakar, an ethnic Fulani by tribe, had first class in mathematics at London University (University College Ibadan) in the ’50s and completed a doctorate at Cambridge University, England in the ’60s.

Professor Iya Abubakar was one of the only two Nigerians appointed into faculty positions at the inception of Ahmadu Bello University Zaria. The other was professor Adamu Baikie (Education). He was the only Nigerian appointed as a Professor in the Department of Mathematics, ABU, Zaria, at the age of 28 in 1963.

A first-class graduate of Mathematics at the University of Ibadan, he is the first Northerner to earn a Ph.D. in any field when he earned it at the University of Cambridge, UK.

Professor Iya Abubakar became Head of Department, Mathematics and Computer Science, ABU, Zaria, at age 32 (a record in the Nigerian University system), Second indigenous Vice Chancellor of ABU, Zaria, at age 40, and retired from academics at age 44. READ ALSO: Prof Iya Abubakar: 3rd Vice Chancellor of ABU Zaria

Prof. Jibrin Aminu: A brilliant professor of Medicine
Meet the 6 most Iconic professors from Northeast Nigeria 2
Professor Jibril Aminu

Jibril Muhammad Aminu is a professor of cardiology. He was Nigerian Ambassador to the USA (1999–2003) and was elected Senator for Adamawa Central constituency of Adamawa State, Nigeria, taking office on 29 May 2003.

Aminu was born in August 1939. Studying medicine, he obtained an M.B.B.S from the University of Ibadan in 1965, and a Ph.D. in Medicine from the Royal Post-Graduate Medical School, London in 1972

Prof Aminu was a Consultant in Medicine, Senior Lecturer and Sub-Dean, Clinical Studies at the University of Ibadan Medical School (1973–1975), and Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (1975–1979).

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He was Visiting Professor of Medicine at Howard University College of Medicine in Washington DC (1979–1980) and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Maiduguri, 1980–1985. He was also a Professor of Medicine at the University of Maiduguri (1979–1995)

Prof Auwal Abubakar: The erudite Surgeon who separated multiple Conjoined Twins
Prof Auwal Abubakar
Prof Auwal Abubakar

Prof Auwal Abubakar, is a renowned scholar, distinguished abusite, and current Medical Director & Chief Executive Officer of Federal Medical Centre, Yola. He led teams that separated CONJOINED TWIN and earns several awards for leading multiple successful surgeries of separating conjoined twins.

The erudite scholar and Professor of Paediatric Surgery have in the past operated successfully on three cases of conjoined twins. On the 14th, of May 2018, Prof. Auwal led another team of 26 medical personnel including surgeons on a similar mission to successfully carry out the separation of Fatimah and Maryam, conjoined twins born to Mohammed Ramat and his wife Kellu Adam.

Prof. Auwal M. Abubakar was born on 20th January 1966 in Mayokila village, Leko District of Jada local government area of Adamawa State.


He gained admission at the School of Basic Studies (A.B.U. Zaria) in 1983 and 1984 was admitted to read medicine at the prestigious Faculty of Medicine, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, and graduated with an MBBS degree in 1989.

Prof. Zainab Alkali: The first female novelist from Northern Nigeria
Zainab Alkali
Zainab Alkali

Zaynab Alkali was born in 1950 at Tura-Wazila in Borno State. Her family came from a Tura-Wazila in Borno State, Nigeria, and later they moved to a village in Gongola State, where she was brought up.

Zaynab Alkali attended Waka Girls Boarding (Primary) School, Biu, And later to Queen’s School, Ilorin, Kwara State, and went on to obtain both her first and second degrees from Ahmadu Bello University (ABU)/BUK, Zaria. At Bayero University Kano (BUK), she studied English to a doctorate level.

Zaynab Alkali was honored with the title of Icon of Hope (2000) by His Excellency, President Olusegun Obasanjo’s government. She received the Nigerian Woman of Distinction Award (29 September 2010) on the occasion of Nigeria’s Golden Jubilee, presented by His Excellency, President Goodluck Jonathan.

Prof. Ahmed Babagana: The first Professor and Consultant of ENT from Northeast Nigeria.
Professor Babagana Muhammad Ahmad
Professor Babagana Muhammad Ahmad

Regarded as the father of ENT in northern Nigeria, Professor Ahmed Babagana from Yobe is the Northeast’s first Professor & Consultant of Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT).

He was the pioneer Medical Director of the NATIONAL EAR CARE CENTRE, KADUNA.

Credit to Emmanuel Ochayi

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