Provost of the Federal College of Horticulture, Dadin kowa, Gombe State, Babawuro Mahmood Ali PhD. The man whose pragmatic and transformative leadership are glaringly visible in the number of giant leaps that Federal College of Horticulture, Dadin kowa (FCHDK) has recorded under his visionary administration in less than three years.
Nowadays, especially in our contemporary settings, those who got an opportunity to serve in the public office, they’ll at the end of the day misused the opportunity by either turning the office to a money-making venture than service to the nation or left without making any progress or development to their credit. In any situation, whether good or bad, there used to be rarity.
There are silent few who have rare ingenuity in changing things for the better whenever an opportunity to serve knocks on their doors, they write their names in gold and bequeathed a situation far better than they met it. In truth, and according to the legendary organization expert and pioneer of modern leadership principles, Warren Bennis: “leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.”
The above contemporary definition of a true leader is not only apt but reflected in the sterling character and personality of the Provost of the Federal College of Horticulture, Dadinkowa, Gombe State, Babawuro Mahmood Ali PhD., the man whose pragmatic and transformative leadership are glaringly visible in the number of giant leaps that Federal College of Horticulture, Dadinkowa (FCHD) has recorded under his visionary administration in less than three years.
Undoubtedly, his footprints and innovative ideas are rapidly transforming the twenty-one-year-old Monotechnic Institution into a 21st Century citadel of learning that can be reckoned with globally. No wonder he already achieved more than 80 percent of his five-year Vision Plan within three years in office despite being confronted with the COVID-19 pandemic at the beginning of his tenure. One can only imagine the level of progress FCHD would have witnessed without the COVID-19 pandemic.
The immediate consequence of this pandemic was the grounding of academic and administrative activities in public institutions in worldwide, with its concomitant effect on students’ admission, lectures, graduation, issuance of academic transcripts as well as on research and community services. These, in no mean measure affected developmental activities in the institution. 2021 was envisioned as the consolidating year for the administration of Dr Babawuro Mahmood Ali, having assumed duty on 24th August, 2020 as the 4th substantive Provost of the Federal Collage of Horticulture, Dadinkowa.
So, the disequilibrium caused by the protracted closure of schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic couldn’t have come at a worst period for the collage. Yet, against all odds, the wheels of academic and infrastructural development were kept on track through the sold-out commitment of the provost and his team, and the doggedness of loyal and enterprising workforce. As Lori Schneider, one of the few women to have conquered Mount Everest said, “Even the highest mountain can be climbed one step at a time by staying on course.” Babawuro Ali remained focused and prudent in the management of scarce resources and achieved the goals and objectives he had set out.
Ordinarily, some leaders could have thrown up their hands in the air, using the COVID-19 pandemic as a veritable excuse, but not Dr Babawuro. As a man who was adequately prepared for the position he occupies and is equally in a hurry to make his mark in the collage, he inspired, encouraged, and urged the staff not to give up on the system.
This never-say-die attitude paid off, as the collage, its staff and students made positive impact in various areas in 2021, therefore making his first year in office a success with verifiable achievements in various areas of the collage life. In academic matters, the collage hit the bull’s-eye in many fronts.
Under the stewardship of Dr Babawuro, 7 academic programmes at both National Diploma (ND) and Higher National Diploma (HND) – HND Agribusiness Management, HND Cooperative Economics And Management, HND Fishery Technology, ND Library and Information Science, ND Computer Science, ND Social Development all received full accreditation from the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN).
The successes recorded in the Provost’s three years in office were not restricted to the academic front as the collage, against all odds, also attained significant and unprecedented milestones in physical infrastructural development. He has successfully turned the collage from an ordinary school to a world-class institution conducive for teaching, learning, and research.
Firstly, an ultra-modern Administrative Block was constructed, which houses the provost’s office and many other offices, council chamber and conference room. During his visit to the collage earlier this year, the Executive Secretary Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria, Professor Garba Hamidu Sharubutu was heard praising the provost for the excellent idea behind the project, saying it was an “incredible edifice.” Dr Babawuro also established an ultra-modern clinic for the provision of quality health services to both staff and students.
The facility is equipped with state-of-the-art equipment like moveable x-ray machines as well as other very important modern hospital facilities. Determined to reduce students’ congestion in classes during lectures, increase the college’s admission quota and improve teaching and learning conditions, Dr Babawuro constructs and fully furnished new lecture theatres, classrooms, halls, students’ hostels, perimeter fencing, entrepreneurial centre, among others.
Other projects include the construction of African Centre for Horticultural Garden to address concerns about rapid and large-scale environmental degradation, pollution, and depletion of natural resources. The provost’s goal in formalizing the garden is to spearhead the incorporation of sustainability and environmental literacy in teaching, research, operations, and outreach at the collage and in Nigeria through tree planting and a reforestation campaign.
The provost has also provided modern facilities for water storage and reticulation, solar street lighting, waste management system and construction of over 5km of road linking various parts of the collage. Some projects are still ongoing such as the African Centre for Horticultural Garden, a gigantic Collage Guest House and phase two of link roads among others.
In concluding, Jim Collins in his book “Good to Great” noted that leaders who led their organization quietly and humbly are much more effective than flashy, charismatic, and high-profile leaders. This submission aptly captures the leadership style of Dr Babawuro Ali, who is known for his humility and quiet mien, yet, he has continued to produce landmark results without many airs.
The provost believes that leaders should be judged by their results irrespective of the degree of the progress at a time, rather than on the razzmatazz and flamboyancy of leadership. Khalid, a public affairs analyst writes from Gombe