Leadership, they say, is a sacred burden or liability; however, good leadership is even a more herculean task. There is this political school of thought that concurs that good leadership entails using any opportunity at one’s disposal to better the lives of the governed, to create competitive opportunities where they were initially absent, to lead by example, to take risks that have more positive consequences than negative outcomes, to serve rather than preferring to be served, to aggressively effect paradigm shifts that will attract positive results, to embark on policies and programmes that are rationally concomitant with opinions and aspirations of the governed, as well as to fearlessly take decisions that are leveraged or pivoted on the overall interests of the governed. Unfortunately today, the dearth of good leadership in our society remains the bane of the nation’s socioeconomic and political development.
Furthermore, it is worthy of mention here that Professor Shehu Alhaji Musa, the indefatigable and quintessential Vice Chancellor of KUST, epitomises all the aforementioned sterling qualities of a good leader. In fact, the name, Professor Musa, is a household name in Kano and the academic environment, thus may not need much introduction; however, for the benefit of a few, who do not know him well; he is simply an altruistic, dynamic, astute, outspoken, far-sighted, and dedicated leader with sterling nobility, down-to-earth humility, charming charisma, unrivalled academic track records, tested and proven integrity, and above all, an intelligent leader with rare administrative acuity and political adroitness. Moreover, Professor Musa’s visionary and unequalled leadership qualities have undoubtedly served as springboard that astronomically spurred the actualization of his colossal achievements at KUST within four years of his first tenure and a few months into his second term as Vice Chancellor.
At this juncture, it is pertinent for us to navigate our searchlight towards explicitly illuminating and divulging the VC’s monumental feats at KUST within the period under review. Before we delve into the tasking task, we must take a stint here to unwrap Professor Shehu’s 7-point target, which colossally spurred the actualization of his success story, especially at KUST.
The seven-point cardinal targets of the VC are: to strengthen the quality assurance of KUST’s academic training programmes; to enhance and expand all existing KUST’s academic and non-academic programmes; application of Information Communication Technology (ICT) in all areas of the University’s operations; to strive to attract research grants and create linkages and collaborations with both public and private organisations within and outside the shores of Nigeria; to promote effective staff sourcing, training and retraining, welfare and general development; to enhance financial resources mobilization, generation – Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and optimal utilisation, and to build a great university team towards becoming and entrepreneurial institution through maintaining strong ties with external stakeholders that deliver added values to the activities of KUST.
Similarly, Professor Shehu once reiterated his determination to offer sound scientific, technological and functional education, which would be leveraged on equality, innovation, adaptability and morality, which result in self-reliance.
In his words, “My aim is to provide sound and functional, scientific and technological education anchored on core values of equality, creativity, adaptability, and morality that would in turn empower the graduates of KUST to be fulfilled entrepreneurs and fill any missing gaps in the public sector.”
Primarily, on his assumption of office as Vice Chancellor (VC) of KUST throughout his first tenure, he would personally pay impromptu visits to sites of ongoing projects on campus. This tremendously assisted in expediting completion of projects within stipulated period.
It was in his first tenure that the University started witnessing, for the first time, ground-breaking milestones such as subsumption and ceding of some academic, professional and entrepreneurial institutes, as well as colleges of agriculture, to KUST. These institutes and college include the Institute for Information Technology, Kura (Informatics); Sports Institute, Karfi; Hospitality and Tourism Institute, Kano, and Audu Bako College of Agriculture, Dambatta. KUST has since assumed full control of these institutes, and each of them offers peculiar programmes as given below.
Sports Institute, Karfi: offers Diploma in Coaching and Officiating; Diploma in Sports Management; Diploma in Sports Marketing and Promotion; Diploma in First Aid/Sports Injury; Diploma in Human Kinetics; Certificate in Coaching and Officiating; Certificate in Sports Management; Certificate in Human Kinetics, and Certificate in Sports Marketing and Promotion.
Institute for Information Technology (Informatics), Kura: offers Diploma in Network Technology; Diploma in Programming and Software Development; Certificate in Network Technology; Certificate in Programming and Software Development.
Hospitality and Tourism Institute, Kano: offers Diploma in Catering Management; Diploma in Home Economics; Diploma in Tourism Management, and Diploma in Hospitality and Management.
In the same way, the VC had provided an enabling environment and all the necessary requirements to Mathematics students of the University, which led to their triumphant victory at the National Mathematics Competition for University Students (in 2015). They won both Gold and Silver Medals.
It is during Professor Shehu’s tenure that members of senior academic staff have been securing political cum administrative appointments from Kano State government. For instance, the immediate out gone and serving provosts of ABCOA, are both from KUST; the incumbent provost of the Kano State College of Education and Preliminary Studies (KASCEPS) is from KUST, and the provost of Institute of Informatics, Kazaure, is also a seasoned academic from KUST.
Under the visionary helmsmanship of Professor Musa, the University has felt the pulse of unprecedented achievements with respect to infrastructure, and these include the construction of two units of students’ hostels – with 400 bed space capacity; construction of a 250-bed space capacity of hostel for female students; construction of two units of hostels, one for female students and the other for male students – each having the capacity of 1,000 bed space (constructed and donated to KUST by the Chancellor of the University, Kano-born business mogul and Africa’s richest man, Alhaji (Dr.) Aliko Dangote GCON.
To minimize workload and maximize work output, and create room for effective administrative functions, the VC had in 2015, bifurcated the hitherto single office of the Deputy Vice Chancellor (DVC) into DVC – Administration and DVC – Academics.
Other spectacular infrastructural achievements of the VC at KUST include the construction of two units of students hostel with 400 bed space capacity; construction of a unit of female students’ hostel with 250 bed space capacity; establishment of Agricultural Economics and Extension CBT; construction of new offices of Academic Staff of the University; establishment of Department of Agricultural Economics and Extension Services (AEE); construction of Crop Protection Department; construction of Division of Agricultural Research Colleges; construction of Faculty of Agriculture and Agricultural Technology (FAAT) Block; construction of Geography Department; construction of road networks on campus; establishment of Animal Science Department; establishment of the Centre for Research and Extension Services; construction of Plant Science Department; on-going construction work on Postgraduate School; construction of a new ultra-modern University Clinic (a storey building); construction of Faculty of Architecture, Environmental and Earth Sciences (FAEES)Block; establishment of Urban and Rural Planning Department (URP); establishment of Estate Department; construction of University Gymnasium; procurement of ICT facilities worth millions of naira; procurement of office furniture worth millions of naira; purchase of University Clinic Ambulance; procurement of University Library Computer Based Test (CBT) equipment worth millions of naira; procurement of Engineering Laboratory equipment worth millions of naira; procurement of TATA Luxury buses – for shuttling of between Wudil and Kano; procurement and distribution of Hilux vans to directors of various directorates of the University, and fencing of the University Sports Complex.
Professor Musa’s visionary leadership of KUST has succeeded in actualizing the long awaited Meteorological Station (KUST, Wudil – NiMet Station) at the Department of Geography. The project was officially commissioned by the Director General of the Nigerian Meteorology (NiMet), Professor Sani .A Mashi, on the 24th day of May, 2018.
The VC has actualized the establishment of convivial relationship among members of staff of the University (Academic and Non-academic). Due to the glaring and bare fact that KUST is Science and Technology biased, the VC found it pertinent to take the bull by the horns to actuate ICT revolutionary transformations on the campus. To buttress this, the following internet facilities and subscriptions had been procured and installed: KUST Wireless (1-base station, 8-remotes, 45-mbps bandwidth capacity); NCC Cloud (1-base station, remote station, 5 mbps bandwidth).
Other impressive feats recorded by Professor Musa with regard to ICT at KUST include the following: procurement and installation of 12 units of Interactive Teaching and Learning Smart Boards (ITLSB) in different lecture locations; procurement and installation of CCTV Cameras and Monitors in strategic points for security surveillance on campus; procurement and distribution of 30 computer sets, projectors and monitors to different departments of the University; establishment of CBT Centres at the University (3 CBT centres have a total capacity of over 1,000 computer systems, the centres were accredited and used by JAMB for university matriculation examinations and adjudged the best in northern Nigeria, another 259 capacity CBT centre was constructed and used for the 2017 and 2018 UTME and JAMB Tests, respectively); the University’s website has been overhauled and upgraded to meet international standards; NgREN Subscription (45 mbps bandwidth capacity, video conference facilities, online database resources, EBSCOHOST – database, and Science Direct database).
Under his visionary leadership, reputable scientists of international repute from KUST had embarked on a research, which resulted in the successful acclimatization, breeding and production of Cowpea and five (5) varieties (species) of Irish potatoes, namely Bertita, Marabel, Ditta, Nicola G.L, and Nicola Y.C., on the University’s farm in Gaya Local Government.
In another development, the KUST had hosted the United Nations International Day of Peace (UNIDP/World Peace Day) on the campus of the University, on 21 September 2015.
Other impressive achievements of Professor Musa include periodic staff training and re-training; sinking of motorized borehole on the University campus by a popular Kano-based philanthropist, business tycoon and transporter, Alhaji Sani Yunusa Sarina, and ongoing construction of a multimillion naira worth of Central Mosque on KUST Campus (by Ganduje Foundation).
Other matchless achievements of Professor Musa at KUST include sourcing of sufficient funds to tune of Five Hundred and Twenty Million Naira (N520,000,000.00) for procurement of consumables, equipment, and general preparation prior to the University’s 2015 Accreditation exercise by the National Universities Commission – it was the Executive Governor of Kano, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, who doubles as Visitor to the University that munificently provided the funds); request by the VC and approval by the Executive Governor to employ 340 staff at the University (240 Academic and 100 Non-academic Staff) in 2015; construction of 2 hostels (1 for female students and 1 for male students)of 1,000 bed space capacity); receipt of financial donations worth One Hundred Million Naira (N100,000,000.00) from the Chancellor of the University, Alhaji (Dr.) Aliko Dangote, who also pledged to recruit 15 professors of international repute for KUST, and shoulder their salaries, accommodations and other welfare on contract basis, for one year, among others.
The VC has dramatically ameliorated the academic status of the University by uplifting its academic programmes from 18 to 49, and faculties from 5 to 6. Similarly, on assumption of office, the number of students’ enrolment stood at 2,000 only, but with his visionary leadership of the University, that number has snowballed to over 15,000 students today.
Since in the history of its establishment, the University had not recorded the volume of staff recruitment it did between late 2017 and early 2018, as Professor Musa employed over 500 workers (both academic and non-academic) within the period under review.
Also, plans are on top gear to introduce faculties of medical sciences, vertinary medicine, and pharmacy at KUST.
Being a detribalized and altruistic leader, the VC made his employment of staff based strictly on merit, thus, it included individuals from different backgrounds, ethnic groups, tribes, and religions across the nation, and on permanent and pensionable status.
Entrenchment of Cordiality between KUST and Host Communitie
Since his assumption of office as Vice chancellor, Professor Shehu has been striving assiduously to cement and concretize the relationship between KUST and its host community, as well as the traditional institutions across Kano State. To achieve this, the VC in alongside principal Officers of the University have been paying familiarization visits to traditional leaders like District Heads of Wudil, Albasu, Garko, Gaya and Ajingi Local Governments. The VC and his dedicated team of Principal Officers have paid the Emir of Kano, Malam Muhammad Sunusi (II), such courtesy calls on several occasions in the past.
As part of its corporate social responsibilities, KUST had donated sets of computer systems to some primary schools in Wudil, its villages and milieu.
In its bid to foster cordiality between the University and its host community, the University has magnanimously granted members of its host community permission to use some of its vehicles in conveying people during events like wedding ceremonies or funerals; earmarking of slots for admission into its Staff Primary, Secondary, and Islamiyya Schools, exclusively for children in the host community; the University’s Muslim Staff Forum does periodically provide food items and clothing to the destitute in the host community, and it settles medical bills of sick and needy people in the community.
Members of the host community make the University’s sports and recreational facilities accessible for use.
The host community on the other hand, had reciprocated the kind gesture exhibited to it by the University via one of its members, Alhaji Comrade Ibrahim Khaleel mni (Jarman Makaman Kano), who generously donated sports facilities worth hundreds of thousands of naira to the University.
Formation of Linkages, Affiliations and Correspondences The University, under Professor Musa, has been into much research business and academic synergies with over 30 different academic, professional, industrial and research organizations from within and beyond the borders of Nigeria. Moreover, there has been bumper fruition because of these collaborations, partnerships and affiliations. Some of the organizations with which KUST currently collaborates include Bayero University, Kano; National Research Institute for Chemical Technology, Zaria; Russian Agrarian University, Russia; National Remote Sensing, Jos; Training Guide International, Ogun; International Centre for Leadership and Entrepreneurship Development Skills; Inspur Group Company and Innosun; Jigawa Institute of Information; Kano Fire Service College, Dakata; Dipto Investment and Trade Ltd, Abuja; University of Twente, Netherlands; John Hopkins; Yahaya Ahmad Stuttgart, Germany; Shenyang Agricultural University, China; University of Aberty, Dunde – Scotland; Federal University of Abeokuta, Akure; Al-Munir Computer Training Institute; Environmental Health Officers Registration Council of Nigeria; Youth Energy Africa; Uglich Poultry Farm, Russia; Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi – Lagos; Modern Integrated Agricultural Company Ltd; Akdeniz University, Turkey; Kwara State University, Malete; Raw Materials Research and Development Council, Abuja; Nan changeling Kong, China; Chartered Institute of Public Diplomacy and Management (CIPDM); Alhassan Dawanau College of Health Sciences, Kano; Gansu Desert Control Research Institute, China; Xingjian Institute of Ecology and Geography, China; Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana; Super Computing Centre of Chinese Academy of Science; World Peace Prayer Society (WPPS)/United Nations International Day of Peace (UNIDP) Steering Committee, Nigeria Chapter, et al.
The VC, having considered the indispensability of staff in moving any organization forward, had to work out modalities to ameliorate their welfare in order to yield optimal output out of them. To achieve this, the following measures were adopted: procurement and distribution of 92 units of motorcycles (on soft loan basis) to junior and intermediate staff cadres, as means of alleviating their transport challenges to and from their place of work. The gesture has so far yielded positive outcomes, as the beneficiaries feel highly elated and motivated, thus, putting in their very best at work, and reporting earlier to duty than they used to do previously.
The University management has been promoting its eligible staff (academic and non-academic) periodically, as a way of boosting their working morale.
Other remarkable achievements with respect to staff welfare include the provision of annual leave to every category of staff at the University; provision of long term loans to members of staff of the University, who have pressing needs that outweigh their basic earnings – here, substantial amount of money is usually lodged into the account of the Loans Committee of the University as revolving fund, which the committee disburses to members in need periodically.
Arrangements and negotiations have reached advanced stage with a select motor companies and Ja’iz Bank on procurement and supply of brand new and second-hand vehicles to interested staff of the University community based on loan. This is a specially designed loan scheme, which has the University management as guarantor to members of its staff. The University management procured shuttle buses that convey staff to Kano during closing hours and back to the University the following morning – on daily basis. Also, the University buses are made available for academic excursions, and staff welfare, especially during wedding ceremonies and condolence visits to colleagues.
The Professor Musa’s prudent and visionary stewardship of the University has led to the actualization of more permanent and pensionable senior academic staff (e.g. professors, MSc and PhD degree holders) than any other period in the history of the establishment of KUST. Contrary to the past, one seldom finds a master’s degree holder as Head of Department, Dean or Sub-Dean, or Director of a Directorate at the University as the present time.
In his predilection to holistically overhaul the University’s internal system by evacuating the clog in its wheel to pave way for rapid academic and infrastructural development, efficient, focused and proficient administrative service delivery, Professor Musa had established five (5) more directorates at the University. The directorates include the following: KUST Directorate of Agricultural Research College (KUST – DARC); University Farm (UF); KUST Consults and Investment Limited (KUST – CIL); Continuing Education and Innovative Programme (CEIP), and Quality Assurance (QA).
It is noteworthy to state here in categorical terms each of these directorates is distinctly unique in the sense that there is function specificity in each of them, as succinctly presented below.
KUST-DARC: is the technical and administrative hub of the Agricultural Institutes and Colleges of the University.
CEIP: is mandated to supervise sub degree programmes offered by the University.
UF: is responsible for the management, implementation and evaluation of policies and activities of the University’s farms.
KUST-CIL: is the University’s revenue drive engine.
QA: is in the saddle of ensuring effective checks and balances, as well as best administrative practices and quality service delivery in conformity with the directives of National Universities Commission (NUC) to instil establish best services delivery on the campuses universities.
Student Development and Support Services University is a micro society, where education, moral values, and social development of an individual are achieved; as opposed to the general belief that it is a mere avenue for self-realisation, academic, and career pursuits. Therefore, in its burning proclivity to attain the aforementioned unsoiled functions of a university, the leadership of KUST, under the erudite scholar and administrator per excellence, Professor Shehu Alhaji Musa, had established the Directorate of Counselling and Human Development, which provides academic, social, psychological, quality enhancement, intervention and referral services to students, individual and group study habits among students on campus.
The University provides transport services to students, who stay off campus, especially those that permanently live in Kano Metropolis and only come down to the University, thus, plying the Wudil-Kano Road on daily basis, for lectures. To achieve this, the University management procured shuttle buses that convey students from the University to Kano Metropolis and vice versa, on daily basis.
The University provided over 7,000 bed space accommodations; regular supply of potable water, steady power supply; fire extinguishing equipment for emergency -in an event of fire outbreak; students’ common rooms – well refurbished with modern facilities and electronic gadgets. The University management has been waiving off school fees of students whose parents cannot afford shouldering. For instance, 325 students, who were incapable of paying their registration, were given free registration pins to register.
In line with the recommendations of the National Universities Commission (NUC) to instil entrepreneurial skills in students of universities across the nation, the management of KUST had established a directorate to that effect, which has as its primary obligations, the teaching, training and equipping of students of the University with the requisite skills for running different enterprises upon graduation, in case the much expected white collar jobs fail to avail themselves. An old adage says, “When the preferable is not available, the available becomes the preferable.”
Sporting on the other hand is very essential for mental, physical well-being of and individual. Sports bring about unity and peace among diverse groups; they enhance self-esteem, they minimize social vices in the society; they bring about recreation, creativity and fun.
Considering the importance of sports to effective learning and career development, the University management provided sporting and recreational facilities on campus for use by students. Some of the facilities provided include Basketball courts; Table tennis courts; Football pitch; Volleyball courts; Badminton pitch; Lawn tennis pitch; Draught; Judo; Chess; Athletics; Javelin throw; Long jump; Shot-put; Track and field, among many others. Meanwhile, construction work on the University Gymnasium is on top gear, and near completion any moment from now.
So far, Professor Shehu Alhaji Musa is indisputably the first individual to have secured two (2) consecutive terms to serve as Vice Chancellor of KUST, since its establishment in 2001.
In conclusion, the spotlight of the magnificent achievements of Professor Shehu Alhaji Musa at KUST is a mere attempt to highlight the gratification and redemption of the golden mandate reposed in him by the University community. It is also hoped that this piece will serve as research material and model of good governance worthy of emulation by those who crave for the pristine qualities of good leadership.