Meet Professor Gambo Laraba Abdullahi: The First Female VC from Northern Nigeria

Professor Gambo Laraba Abdullahi is a Nigerian chemist, administrator, distinguished Abusite and renowned professor of analytical chemistry who was Vice-chancellor of the University of Abuja from 1999 to 2004 becoming the first female vice-chancellor from northern Nigeria.

Professor Laraba Gambo Abdullahi was born on March 21, 1951, in Azare, Bauchi State, her father was a district officer in Katagum Native Authority. She started education early as a young Muslim girl in Azare. She studied at Provincial Girls’ College, Bauchi, and in 1963, she proceeded to Queen Elizabeth School, Ilorin where she completed her secondary education in 1969.

In 1970, she was accepted to study biochemistry at the great Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, a year later, she married Umar Lawal when she was still an undergraduate. Abdullahi then completed her studies in 1974.

In 1976, she joined University of Maiduguri as an assistant lecturer in chemistry and in the quest for more knowledge, she traveled to the U.K. In 1978 to study analytical chemistry and earned her doctorate at the Loughborough University of Technology in 1984.

Professor Gambo Laraba Abdullahi’s Career

Abdullahi returned to Nigeria and accepted the position of a lecturer at the University of Maiduguri. In 1985, after a few years of academic work, she was appointed state commissioner information, then education followed by commerce and industry in Bauchi State.

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After serving the Bauchi state government for five years. Abdullahi returned to academia. In December 1990, she got an academic appointment at the University of Abuja and between 1991 – 1998 she was director of the college’s remedial and general studies program. Between 1998 and 1999, she served as the Nigerian Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development.

In 1999, Abdullahi was appointed Vice-Chancellor of the University of Abuja. During the course of her tenure, she improved the relationship between the university administration and academic unions. She was committed to excellence and standards in the procurement and promotion of academic and known academic staff. She was in this position until the end of her tenure in 2004

Prof Gambo Laraba Abdullahi was appointed as the Director-General/Chief Executive Officer of the National Board for Technology Incubation (NBTI). A body set up in 2005 to help the Technology Incubation Centres fulfill its mandate of promoting innovative technology-based enterprises across Nigeria. A position she held until, 2013. She was also a delegate to the National Conference organized by the Jonathan Administration.

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Prof Gambo Laraba Abdullahi is currently a board member representing North East Zone on the central board of trustees of the Chemical Society of Nigeria (CSN). The umbrella body of all Chemists in Nigeria which, among other things, protects the professional interest of chemists as well as promotes the propagation, study, and practice of the science of chemistry in Nigeria.

The book: Gambo Laraba Abdullahi: The Amazon from the Sahel, is a book written by Job Dangana to bring to the public domain the biography and achievements of Professor Gambo Laraba Abdullahi. A Book of this nature on great personalities like Professor Gambo Laraba Abdullahi is needed as inspirational materials to motivate the young generation to adopt a well-focused lifestyle that will make them achievers in life.

This book is a unique literature as it clearly highlighted the factors that helped to shape the life of Professor Gambo Laraba Abdullahi, as a person, to serve as lessons and inspiration to young generation so that they too can become Amazon in their areas of strength.

The book also clearly captured the role and importance of education in the life of Professor Gambo Laraba Abdullahi. Equally clear from the book are the invaluable roles played by the parents and grandfather of Professor Gambo Laraba Abdullahi as well as that of the government in giving opportunity to the Professor, the Amazon from the Sahel, to be well educated.

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The book also captured appreciably the state of things in Nigeria at the time of Professor Gambo Laraba Abdullahi’s childhood, particularly the condition of Nigeria’s educational system.

The book is rich, full of inspiration and reflections into Nigeria of the old, and will motivate the younger generation to search for knowledge and live worthy lives in the mold of Professor Gambo Laraba Abdullahi as well as serving as a resource material for leaders at all levels, including parents.

Professor Gambo Laraba Abdullahi who is a recipient of the National Merit Award of the Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON) has served the nation on several boards and committees at state and national levels. Abdullahi is a member of some professional associations amongst which are:

  • Fellow of the chemical society of Nigeria (FCSN);
  • Member Royal Society of Chemistry (MRSC);
  • Women’s Right Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA).

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