BY JIBO NURA,
Dr. Abubakar Kofar Bai, I think both you and the Swedish lady are right, but at the same time you may all be wrong. May be you did not care to tell your Swedish friend about some good Nigerian geniuses and people that were born, bred and educated in Nigeria who are today doing the world proud. Remember, you and I have been discussing and debating over this issue of our national development and underdevelopment since when you were in your dear motherland. When that Swedish lady challenged you about academic per excellence and breakthroughs by asking you to cite an example of any known Nigerian that contributed to medical literature, I suppose you would be wise and kind enough to mention to her many of our best brains in the land, but unfortunately or ‘fortunately’, you could not do just that. How dare you my dear K.Bai? You could have simply drawn her attention by telling her that in Nigeria the education is indeed sound and competent! You could have won the debate had it been you were keen and wise enough to make her understand that there are wonderful academics that can compete with anybody anywhere in the world. In fact, you could have passionately told her about the likes of Prof. Abba Gumel. Prof Abba, I understand, is the 6th world best mathematician that uses mathematical modeling to determine the HIV/AIDS prevalence in sub-Saharan Africa. He’s today the no. 1 best African Mathematician that collected a medal in that regard. Even our famous and honourable man-of-honour, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, had to bow down to Abba in respect. Abba received his full undergraduate training at Bayero University, Kano (BUK), northern Nigeria before moving to UK for his Masters and PhD. He finally settled in Canada and is making Nigeria proud. Abba was the overall best graduating student in Physics and Mathematics at BUK during his time. Prof. Abba, I understand, is today the world leading scholar in the Department of Mathematics, University of Manitoba, Canada. He is currently the Director of the Institute of Industrial Mathematical Sciences (IIMS) of the University of Manitoba. Let me reproduce in part, Abba’s profile that I have possessed long ago so that subsequently in our discourse I can give you his biography in full.
His main research interests are in (i) Mathematical Biology, (ii) Applied Dynamical Systems and (iii) Computational Mathematics. The main objective of his research work is to use mathematical theories and methodologies to gain insights into the transmission and control dynamics of human diseases of public health interest. He has supervised a number of research students (NSERC-funded summer undergraduate and graduate students) and postdoctoral fellows. Professor Gumel has been the coordinator of the Mathematical Biology Team of the IIMS since its inception in 1999, and represents the University of Manitoba on the Board of Directors of the Fields Institute for Research in Mathematical Sciences, Toronto. Professor Gumel is an active member of the Canadian Applied and Industrial Mathematics Society (CAIMS). In addition to serving on its various committees earlier, Professor Gumel was elected Secretary of CAIMS from 2007-2009 (he was re-elected for a second term: 2009-2011). Professor Gumel serves on the Outreach Committee of the Society for Mathematical Biology (SMB). Owing to its interdisciplinary nature, Professor Gumel’s work enjoys fruitful collaborations with mathematical and medical scientists from around the world. Professor Gumel has received the following research awards and honours:
(1) Elected fellow, African Academy of sciences (December 2009)
(2) Elected Fellow, Nigerian Academy of Sciences (January 2010)
(3) 2008 University of Manitoba (UM/UMFA) Merit Award for Excellence in Research.
(4) The 2009 Dr. Lindsay E. Nicolle award for excellent paper published in the Canadian Journal of Infectious Diseases and Medical Microbiology. June 2009, Toronto, Canada (The Award, given annually, is given to an author who has made a significant contribution to Infectious Diseases and Medical Microbiology as demonstrated by the impact of their original research published in the journal). The work is co-authored by Miriam Nuno (Harvard School of Public Health) and Gerardo Chowell (Arizona State University).
(5) University of Manitoba Award for Outstanding Outreach, December 2008.