By Umar Abdulsalam.
Professor Sa’ad Abubakar, husband of the Chairman of NYSC governing board, Ambassador Fatima Bala Abubakar is dead. He died last Saturday, aged 76.
Professor Sa’ad, during his lifetime, was a well regarded scholar and accomplished academic. He started his teaching career in 1969 as Assistant lecturer in Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, his alma mater. He had a steady career progression and became a professor of Nigerian history in 1980, lecturing at different times in universities in Zaria, Maiduguri and Abuja.
Professor Sa’ad was awarded the prestigious honor of the ‘Order of the Federal Republic (OFR)’ by President Goodluck Jonathan in 2010 for his impressive contributions to the development of Nigeria, particularly in the fields of education, diplomacy and politics.
As a scholar, Professor Sa’ad was a towering figure. Aside from his teaching assignment, he also performed meritoriously and excelled as a result-oriented administrator, serving at different times as Deputy Vice Chancellor (DVC) and Head of Consultancy unit/post graduate studies.
He was also the pioneer Commissioner of Education in the defunct Gongola State. He facilitated the establishment of Colleges of Education and Agriculture in Jalingo.
As part of his sterling contribution to Gongola State, Prof. Sa’ad served as Secretary to the Military Government (SMG) under the then Military Governor, Major General Muhammadu Jega (retd), CON.
He was appointed as Nigeria’s Ambassador to Switzerland in the late 1980s by former Military President, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (retd), GCFR.
In his quest to contribute his quota to nation building, he ventured briefly into politics, contesting for the Taraba governorship seat in 2003 as the gubernatorial candidate of the then All Nigeria Peoples’ Party (ANPP). He narrowly lost to former Governor, Jolly Tavorou Nyame (CON).
He subsequently served in the tourism/cultural industry in Taraba State as the pioneer Chairman, Taraba State Tourism Development Board (TSTDB).
He was the Chairman, Governing Council of Taraba State University (TSU) until his demise.
Reacting to the passing of the legendary scholar, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar described his death as sad, noting that his contributions to scholarship and promotion of knowledge will always be remembered.
Prof Sa’ad Abubakar authored the prominent book, “The Lamibe of Fombina: A Political History of Adamawa 1809–1901.”