OBITUARY: Prof Mahadi’s Footprints as Vice Chancellor of Gombe Varsity, ABU Zaria

Following a proctarcted illness, Professor Abdullahi Mahadi, former Vice-Chancellor of Gombe State University (GSU), passed away at 77.

The erudite historian and successful university administrator, passed away at the Federal Teaching Hospital Gombe, according to a family source.

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“Innalillahi wa Inna’ilaihi Raji’un. It is with a heavy heart I announce to you that Prof. Abdullahi Mahadi has passed away last night at the FTH, Gombe. The funeral prayer will take place today (Saturday) by 4 pm at the Emir’s Palace Gombe,” a member of his fanily had posted.


Prof Mahadi, a renowned historian and excellent educator, had held the positions of vice chancellor at three universities — Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, Gombe State University, and Gombe State University of Science and Technology.

Born in December 1945, Mahadi hailed from Gwoza, Borno State. He attended Warrabe Primary School to begin his schooling. Later, he enrolled at Maiduguri’s Gwoza Centthe School, Government Craft School, according to Abusite.

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He proceeded with his secondary education at Mubi Teachers’ College and his undergraduate and graduate degrees in history, respectively, from ABU,  Zaria. He started working as a teacher at Gadamayo Primary School in Gwaoza town.

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At ABU, Mahadi began his lecturing career in 1984 as a senior history instructor. He performed numerous functions for the university.

He would rise to become the institution’s vice chancellor from 1998 to 2004. The Gombe State University and Gombe State University of Science and Technology both nominated him as their first vice-chancellor.

In 2017, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia recognized Mahadi for his work on: ‘The Environmental Management and Protection in the Islamic World’ at the ISESCO Headquarters in Rabat, Morocco.

Prof. Mahdi also served as the Chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities (ASUU) during the military era before being appointed Vice-Chancellor.

He received a hard deal from the military back then, and the wounds of those terrible times are still visible on his physique.

Currently, his son, Musa Abdullahi Mahadi, is the Director of Ahmadu Be University’s Division of Agricultural Colleges (DAC).


Mahdi, a lover of the environment, eco-friendly nurtured GSU and ABU simultaneously. Many of his proteges at ABU have taken after his environmental legacy.

At GSU, Professor Mahadi built a zoological garden that draws a lot of wildlife lovers. According to insiders, he donated a portion of his salary over the years to help the institutions become greener. since he loves the outdoors.

During his tenure as the VC of GSU, Mahadi implemented stiff punishment for students who violated the campus’ generations. 

Also, ABU has received help from Mahadi Foundation, a pro-ecological and tree-planting not-for-profit organization, to stabilize some of its ecological zones and maintain the environment in Gombe State.

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Abdullahi Sule of the Department of Crop Science referred to Prof. Abdullahi Mahdi as a philanthropist since he has funded numerous persons and organizations to get environmental education.


Netizens on social media eulogised the iconic professor, condoling with the bereaved family while reminiscing his accomplishments.

“We’ve lost a pillar in the community of persons with disability in Nigeria, Prof. Abdullahi Mahadi! A philanthropist goes home!  From 2005 to date, almost all the students with disability in GSU are studying under his scholarship that covers not only tuition fees, but also some part of the living expenses,” Aishatu Adamu Saraki wrote. “May Allah grant him jannatul firdaus ya rabb! Prof. Abdullahi Mahdi academy (A model of inclusive educational) will miss you greatly!”

One Yakubu Sadau on Facebook described Mahadi as a humble and pragmatic educationist.

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He wrote: “InnaliLLAHi wa Inna ILLAHIR raji’un. With a great shock, I learned about the passing away of Prof. Abdullahi Mahadi. Hardworking gentleman, humble, human developer, pragmatic educationist and environmentalist. He was VC A. B. U. Zaria and GSU, Gombe at different times. May Allah forgive his shortcomings and grant him Jannatul firdaus.”

For Muhammad Maifada, another Facebook user: “A seasoned Administrator, Academician, and a Historian per excellent Prof. Abdullahi Mahadi is gone. He is indeed one of the best University VCs of his generation. May his gentle soul rest in Jannatul Firdausi amen.” 


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