ADEBAYO NATHANIEL had an interview with the past three times Deputy Vice Chancellor of Federal University of Technology, Minna, Niger State–Professor Abdullahi Bala
It went as follows:
ADEBAYO NATHANIEL: Can we meet you sir?
PROF BALA:I am by name Professor Abdullahi Balawasredeployed theDeputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) onFebruary 4th, 2013 for aperiod of twoyears in thefirst instance. After my early education at Dawaki PrimarySchool Suleja, I proceeded to FederalGovernment College, Minna for my secondaryeducation, graduating in 1984. Ithereafter went to Ahmadu Bello University Zariawhere i graduated with a First Class Honours inAgriculture in 1989. I obtained my M.Scin Soil Chemistry and Fertility from the Universityof Reading in 1993 and Ph.D in Soil Microbiologyin 1999 from the University of London, England.I joined the services of the Federal University ofTechnology, Minna on January 10th, 1991 as anAssistant Lecturer in the Department of SoilScience, School of Agriculture and AgriculturalTechnology, where I progressed steadily to therank of Professor of Soil Science in October 1,2010. I have numerous publications in reputable journals, nationally and internationally and am happily married with children.
ADEBAYO NATHANIEL: May we know your leadership roles from the past till date?
PROF BALA:I have been exposed to leadership since my first day in primary school as I was appointed the class representative during the first week and that started my leadership experience. I served the class throughout my primary school after which I was the president for various clubs and societies in my secondary school. I also serve as my house’s captain and finally as the senior prefect boy in my secondary school.
In my university days, I served in various capacitiessuch as member of Student Union Representative for my faculty, President of my faculty – School of Agriculture and Agricultural Technology. During my Youth Corps Service as well, I was appointed the farm Manager of the corpers farm and I had the responsibility of managing corp members in their youth empowerment, and finally am here, first as the Deputy Vice Chancellor Administrative and now Academics, and as some point, I joined the INTA, where I had the chance to work with various scientists all over the world, The summary of it all I will say is that serving, gives one an opportunity to express oneself and to also learn more, because experience is not what one can buy with money, you have to be there as different positions bring different challenges.
ADEBAYO NATHANIEL: From your wealth of understanding Sir, what have you learnt from leadership?
PROF BALA:Well, I will say leadership is not how long you have served, but how well you have done it. So it is important when leading to discharge responsibilities as supposed and to make sure that one’s conscience is clear.
ADEBAYO NATHANIEL: ADEBAYO NATHANIEL is aware of your administrative capacity prior to your service as Deputy Vice Chancellor for the second time. Kindly elucidate on why you stand tall for this core leadership position?
PROF BALA: ahhh! I will say my past experience I had from the various leadership positions held. You can but learn different things from time to time, emotional and psychological comportment is very important as one need to know that people are created in different forms and that most times, not all will agree with you and you need to be able to convince your members to agree with you. You should also be willing to ask questions whenever you do not know and always carry the members along.
ADEBAYO NATHANIEL:What is your secret attributes that outstands you among equals?
PROF BALA:Integrity, a leader without integrity amounts to nothing therefore being conscious of one’s name is very important and the understanding that being in a position is by the grace of God and not because one is wisest, oldest, or even the smartest. The fear of God i believe is enough to keep one going.
ADEBAYO NATHANIEL: What are the challenges you have encountered as a leadership icon and how did you cope with leadership and your family?
PROF BALA:The challenge of the office is more compared to that of the family, the fact that many people are looking up to you is one and different people have different expectations so therefore it is important that anyone who meets you for an assistance should not leave in a worse situation even if you can’t solve the problem. As for coping with family, I will say time management is very important. You should have time for your family just like you do for work in as much as the familyis part of the position. So, whatever affects you affects the family. The family should key into the agenda, and once that is done, every else becomes easy.
ADEBAYO NATHANIEL: What has been your source of motivation?
PROF BALA:The ultimate inspiration is from God, when faced with a new challenge and you feel you can’t continue then you just have to rely on the strength of your faith. I do have role models too of people who have served in various capacities and who have exceptional records such as Nelson Mandela who kept to his principle all through. General Muhammad Buhari – who in the face of temptation and against all odds stands tall, He was one a governor, the minister for petroleum, and he served justly and was fair to all.
ADEBAYO NATHANIEL: What has been your drive?
PROF BALA:Faith and experience has been my drive. The saying “The sun will always be out after the storm” bearing in mind that, “No condition is permanent” and one should not see any obstacle as big enough to stop one from moving forward but rather as an opportunity to make progress.
ADEBAYO NATHANIEL: What is your advice to youth in leadership positions or who intends to be?
PROF BALA:They should live true to their principles and not compromise for temporary gains, the fear of God should always be in their hearts. Do not be easily swayed by worldly things, be focused, determined and most importantly do not be discouraged as the saying “If you keep throwing stones to dog that barks on your way, you will never reach your destination”. Stay focused.
ADEBAYO NATHANIEL: We sincerely appreciate your time and opportunity given me to have this great interview and interactive session with you.
PROF BALA:You are welcome