A SHORT TRIBUTE TO PROFESSOR AMIDU O. SANNI
OUTGOING VICE-CHANCELLOR, FOUNTAIN UNIVERSITY OSOGBO (FUO) 2018-2023
Professor Amidu Sanni is an amazing, brilliant, multi-talented gentleman with a light heart who carries himself with dignity, integrity and humility.
I met the erudite Islamic Scholar early in 2004 when he delivered a brilliant and thought-provoking lecture to a distinguished audience at NASFAT’s Secretariat. His masterly and superb delivery won him scores of admirers including my humble self and we became friends.
I was invited to play a role during the public launching of one of his books, “The Theory of Prosification” – a history of the introduction of Islam to Ilorin Emirate written by an Arab and translated into German by Professor Sanni. He displayed a very good mastery of Arabic, English and German languages to the admiration and pleasure of the highly distinguished audience. The publication became widely accepted among German and European scholars of Islam in Africa and Europe. It won the German Oriental Society Book Prize.
Soon afterwards, our friendly relationship deepened and I started to follow his career growth and trajectory at the Lagos State University (LASU) where he served meritoriously teaching, supervising and mentoring. Before joining Fountain University Osogbo (FUO) in 2018, Professor Sanni had distinguished himself as an outstanding Islamic scholar of international repute. He was not only a Faculty Dean, and earlier as Dean of Students for 4 years he served as a member of LASU Governing Council, too. One of his remarkable and unparalleled achievements unknown to many, is the fact that since the establishment of LASU in 1984 he has and up till now been the Chief Imam of that great University, which has a population of over 40,000 staff and students across her campuses. * So, Professor Sanni has, interestingly, been combining Vice-Chancellorship of Fountain University with the imamship of LASU in the past five years.
At the time of coming to head FUO, he had the choice of becoming the VC of a West African university, a public university, or an interuniversity centre but chose FUO instead as an act of ‘ibāda, knowing fully well the challenges involved.
A workaholic, stickler for excellence with zero tolerance for mediocrity and laziness, Professor Sanni’s tenure at FUO is undoubtedly a watershed in the history of the institution because of his huge impact and monumental accomplishments.
Mr. Chairman, please permit me to mention a few of Professor Sanni’s landmark achievements with regards to student population coupled with the academic and infrastructural profile of FUO.
* Student enrolment grew phenomenally from 100/150 in 2018 to 450/500 in 2022 largely due to the introduction of new courses and increased hostel facilities. There was considerable improvement in staff quality and number to run additional academic programs.
– –New Master Plan and Academic brief approved by NUC.
- Academic programs (undergraduates) grew from 12 to 20, and PG programmes added 5 more under his watch. Knowledge of the Qur’an and Arabic Literacy is now a credit-carrying course. Henceforth, every academic program, be it Economics, Accounting or Law must have Islamic content integrated in full utilisation of the new NUC Core Curriculum Minimum Academic Standard (CCMAS).
- He introduced, for the first time at FUO, Senate Standing Order which regulated the activities of Senate, updated and revised Staff and Students Handbooks, revived the production of Annual Reports for the University, now usually circulated during Convocations, got the Registry and Bursary fully automated, democratized student unionism/association, introduced new standards for appointments and promotions such that a DVC from UNIOSUN admitted that her University would have to borrow a leaf from FUO.
- A new Anthem, as approved by the Senate, has just been given to the University.
- Library materials donations from the Arab World, Europe, USA, and individuals/organisations.
- Academic and Rehabilitation Project (AREP) at Iragbiji. For students with substance abuse and behavioural issues. The 2-acre land was donated by the Iragbiji community. NDLEA is assisting with infrastructure development, UNODC providing technical and training supports. A Board made up of outstanding volunteers & professionals from across the country is in place.
* Infrastructure – The following new structures and infrastructures have helped to make life more meaningful and they are helping to accelerate growth and enhance progress:
- Adekunle Law Faculty which Prof. Sanni personally attracted from the donor friend.
- Furnishing of Parents Forum Building by the UAE government
- Basic Medical & Health Sciences Building
- New Ambulance for the Health Centre
- A new cafeteria for students, courtesy of Parents Forum.
- NASFAT’S DP 1 to 4
- F. K. Lawal Hostels
- Bola Babalakin Guest House
- Vice Admiral Jubrila Ayinla (Rtd) Hostel
- Improved road network within and outside the campus.
* External Linkages
- The out-going Vice Chancellor has earned the distinction of being the first NIGERIAN and African to be appointed to the Editorial Board of the most prestigious journal in the Arab world – The Journal of the Association of Arab Universities for Research in Higher Education (JAArURHE)
- Most recently he got FUO into the membership of the Alliance of Islamic Universities in Africa, giving FUO direct access and automatic MoUs with over 30 universities in Africa and Asia (Pakistan etc.)
- Saudi Arabia Center of Excellence to be stationed at FUO through the Islamic University of Medina.
- Smart Agric International Symposium facilitated by ICESCO is to be hosted by FUO in collaboration with the Federation of Universities in the Islamic World (FUWI) in 2023.
Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen, I sincerely believe that FUO is lucky to have been led in the last five years by a professor who served with extraordinary interest, passion and commitment. Professor Sanni has not only worked extremely hard to achieve some transformation and repositioning he has laid a sound foundation for his successors to build upon.
In conclusion, I submit that Professor Amidu Sanni, his numerous good deeds and golden tenure would be remembered with appreciation and fond memories for years and years to come. I believe that Allah’s promise for doers and performers of good deeds will be fulfilled on Professor Sanni. Allah says in Qur’an 12:90, “…. so verily, Allah shall not waste the reward of doers of good deed”.
I pray that the Almighty Allah’s mercy and favours will always follow Professor Sanni and He will bless him and his family abundantly. Aamin.
ALH. Y. OLALEKAN SALIU, FCA.