A Professor in one of Nigeria’s top universities also engages in welding work despite his academic pedigree.
Professor Kabir Ahmed Abu-Bilal, a distinguished academic at Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, combines his extensive academic background with a passion for welding to sustain his livelihood. Despite achieving the highest academic credentials in the university, Professor Abu-Bilal operates a welding workshop on the roadside in Zaria.
In an interview with Daily Trust Saturday, Professor Abu-Bilal, who specializes in Electrical and Electronics Engineering, disclosed that welding has always been a personal passion and a means of utilizing his God-given talents for self-reliance. He shared his journey from being an arts student during his secondary school days to facing mockery from friends despite excelling in his studies. This mockery fueled his determination, leading him to transition to a science program, where he eventually became the best science student.
After obtaining a first-class degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from Ahmadu Bello University, Professor Abu-Bilal rose to the rank of a professor and specialized in Mechatronics Engineering. His passion for handiwork developed from his academic discipline, where he taught students both theoretical and practical aspects of the course.
Professor Abu-Bilal emphasized the importance of practical skills, stating, “I keep telling my students to learn skills so that they can be self-employed, with or without government jobs.” He highlighted the financial benefits of his welding workshop, noting that the income generated exceeded his monthly salary as a professor.
Despite facing challenges and restrictions from the university, Professor Abu-Bilal ventured outside to establish his welding workshop. He has since fabricated various machines for public use, such as drilling machines for boreholes, compressed soil block machines for construction, scissor lifts for construction jobs, and flour milling machines for bakeries.
Expressing his commitment to Nigeria’s development, Professor Abu-Bilal stated, “Nigeria is my Germany, it is my China and Japan, so I will rather stay here and develop my country than develop other people’s country.” He highlighted the need for empowerment to implement his ideas for societal betterment.