Prof. Abdullahi Bala: The First Class Academic

Professor Abdullahi Bala, fsssn, is a consummate researcher of international repute with over 30 years of scholarship experience. He is a superb mentor who has made a tremendous contribution to expanding the pool of indigenous scholars and professionals in the field of Soil Science and Land Management in Nigeria. Prof. Bala was born in Suleja, Niger State, North Central, Nigeria on March 27, 1967. He attended Dawaki Primary School, Suleja from 1973 to 1979 emerging as the overall best student. He had his secondary education at the famous Federal Government College, Minna from 1979 to 1984. He also emerged as the best graduating student with a distinction in the General Certificate of Education (GCE) O’Level. A First-class graduate of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Prof Abdullahi Bala is also an alumnus of the University of Reading and the University of London, the UK where he obtained his Master’s and Ph.D. degrees respectively with distinctions. He is also the President of the Association of West Africa Universities (AWAU). Based on his impressive academic records, Prof. Bala was poached by the Federal University of Technology, Minna on January 10, 1991 as an Assistant Lecturer in the Department of Soil Science, School of Agriculture and Agricultural Technology (SAAT). He was promoted to the rank of professor of Soil Science by the Governing Council of the University on October 1, 2010.

Prof. Bala is one of the most sought after scholars in his field. For example, he worked briefly during his sabbatical leave with Africare Nigeria, an international Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) engaged him as an Associate Policy Analyst at the Independent Policy Group, a policy think tank for the former President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, GCFR. In that capacity, he conducted perspective and introspective studies for policy analysis into agriculture, water resources and environment, rural development as well as science and technology.

In 2010, he was also engaged by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan as an International scientist based at the Institute’s sub-station in Kano. He also had a stint with the N2Africa Project where he distinguished himself by coordinating the first-ever procurement and supply of rhizobial inoculants for use in the large-scale demonstration of inoculants technology to farmers in the country.

He was at a time, Head, Department of Soil Science, former Director, Centre for Preliminary and Extra-Mural Studies (CPES), FUT, Minna from 2008 to 2009. He was later appointed Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Administration) 2012 to 2013 and later as Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) 2013 to 2016.

Prof. Abdullahi Bala was appointed as the seventh substantive Vice-Chancellor of Federal University Technology, Minna by the Governing Council of the institution in a seamless and transparent exercise adjudged by many and other contenders as the best ever in the annals of the University.

Within the past three years of his stewardship, Prof. Bala has transformed the fortunes of the institution for good in virtually all facets. Little wonder the University has become a byword for academic excellence and administrative distinction among the comity of universities in Nigeria. He has also changed the narrative of the institution’s architectural landscape through the massive construction of world-class buildings.

The scholar of Olympian magnitude has attracted numerous research grants to the University. He has also been involved in various research projects funded by notable International bodies. Prof. Bala has won several scholarly awards and attained global acclaim based on his research breakthrough as well as demystifying the complex nature of the fields of soil science, soil chemistry, soil microbiology just to mention a few.

He has supervised many students at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels with records of superb cutting-edge studies aimed at proffering solutions to societal problems. Presently, Prof. Bala has over 100 papers to his credit in top-notch international journals. He has also attended over 90 local and international conferences, seminars, and workshops.

It is on record that some of Prof. Bala’s Ph.D. students have become professors across different universities in the country. He is an External Examiner and Professorial Assessor in many Nigerian, African, and European Universities.

Prof. Bala is a member of several professional bodies including the International Union of Soil Science (IUSS), the American Society for Agronomy (ASA), and a fellow of the Soil Science Society of Nigeria. He is happily married and the marriage is blessed with children.