Umar Aminu Yandaki Graduates With First Class Honours At Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto

Umar Aminu Yandaki graduates with a first class honours with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History of the Faculty of Arts and Islamic Studies at Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto (UDUS) in the 2017/2018 academic session.

22-year-old Umar Aminu Yandaki is the second person to graduate with a first class honours degree in the history of the Department (History) in 33 years and also seemingly, in the history of Northern Nigeria. The first person being Professor Mahmood Yakubu – the current Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Excerpts of an interview between Umar Aminu Yandaki and Muhammad Adeyemi (a 200 level student and a campus journalist of UDUS) are as follows:

MUHAMMAD ADEYEMI: What was your academic performance during your primary school and secondary days?


At the primary School level, I attended Unity Comprehensive School Runjin Sambo Sokoto. Typical of the education system in Nigeria, pupils’ IQ is rated based on their termly report cards (result sheets). The memories are crystal- clear that I used to get 1st position, sometimes second or third. In some cases up to 5th position as conditions warrant. Nevertheless,I am very sure, with all sense of modesty that I used to be among the best in my class. At the secondary school level, I attended Usmanu Danfodiyo University Model Secondary School. Here, the story was a little bit different. Before I could adapt to the new environment, I suffered some setbacks. I could recall, that made my late mother to start thinking of taking me back to my former school. With time, however, I was able to cope. In the concluding years of my studies there, I found myself among the best students of Arts and Humanities. I even bagged a prize as the best student of history at a time. The credit, however, with all sense of humility, goes to my secondary School History teacher, Dr. Mansur Abubakar Warrah. I have said it elsewhere that Dr. Wara and a teaching practice Student, Abdulaziz Isa Bawa, who also taught us History at the secondary school level jointly played a significant role in boosting the passion for the study of History in my heart. Words cannot express my gratitude to the duo.

MUHAMMAD ADEYEMI: The dream of most Art and Humanities students right from their secondary schools is to become a Lawyer or to study Mass Communication, how is the case different from yours?


My case is different. Already, my father, Professor Aminu I. Yandaki is a professional historian. Right from the beginning I have been inspired by his trans-disciplinary personal library, which possesses thousands of books.

MUHAMMAD ADEYEMI: How can you describe your 4 years duration while on campus?


Well, the four years I spent on campus are the most important to my life so far. Moreover, academically it was within those four years that I became exposed to rigorous and critical thinking as a problem solving skill. This of course is a cardinal principle in historical research as one strives to sift out the truth from the fallacy and the real from the fantasy.

MUHAMMAD ADEYEMI: How were you able to sustain your CGPA considering how hard it could be schooling In UDUS?


I did not only retained my CGPA, but I also kept improving it session by session up to 400 level. I was able to do this through three major ways. First, by researching and exploring information and ideas on the courses I was to take in a session prior to the beginning of each session. Secondly, by being committed to my studies. Because I hardly missed lectures. I also prepared my personal lecture notes, assignments and seminar presentations in good time. Thirdly, by praying hard.

MUHAMMAD ADEYEMI: What gave you an edge over other students?


Well, I don’t really know. I can only guess. I guess it’s because of the following reasons: First, from the beginning, I chose History myself. But a lot of them did not choose it as their most preferred course. In fact, one of us called himself a victim of circumstances because he was offered admission to study History in the Department. Furthermore, because my father is a Professor of history. He guided me throughout my studies, and also gave me free access to his personal library. In fact, almost throughout my studies, it was only on few occasions that I would go out in search of books for reading and assignments. But for my colleagues, I think they don’t have such an advantage. Moreover , there may be the issue of quick comprehension, as well as solid background especially in English language. I have personally met a number of university students with the inability to construct good sentences in English.

And finally, it is Allah’s will.

MUHAMMAD ADEYEMI: How cordial was your relationship with lecturers?


My relationship with most of them has been and is still very cordial. As for my grades, I truly worked for them. But I have to confess that my lecturers have really helped me with advice and good mentorship.

MUHAMMAD ADEYEMI: Did you participate in any extra-curricular activities?

I actively participated in student Unionism. However, I am game less. I do hangout with friends too.

MUHAMMAD ADEYEMI: What is your advice for NigeriaN students?


My advice for Nigerian students is that they should always read. They should read most pieces of write ups that come their ways. Indeed, for everything you read, you must learn something. They should also be Good fearing and prayerful. They should also instill self discipline in themselves (remember, change begins with you!). They should also, irrespective of their courses of study, be History-conscious.

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