Prof. Fatima Tahir: A peculiar case of gender inequality

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By Tahir Ibrahim Tahir

About a century ago, the saying was, “do not blow your own trumpet, and allow others to blow it for you.” The whole world has departed from that now, and if you do not blow your own trumpet, no one will blow it for you actually. As a writer, and an apologist of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in that, I am here, week in week out, extolling the virtues and good works of President Muhammadu Buhari and personalities in his government, that have excelled one way or the other– taking good governance to the doorsteps of ordinary Nigerians. Most of them are persons I am not familiar with, and do I have any form of relationships or contacts with. Nevertheless, I gladly bring their strides to our domains, as an APC enthusiast, whose heart is joyed by their activities, which bring repute and honour to our party, and our APC-led government. 

My party affiliations were borne from the fact that my dad, Dr. Ibrahim Tahir, the late Talban Bauchi, was the spokesperson for the Buhari Organisation, through PMB’s campaigns in 2003, and 2007, and he died before the 2011 attempt. He was a very close friend to PMB, politics aside and, in fact, whenever Buhari was in Bauchi, he only ate from my mum’s cooking. Mamman Daura was ‘practically’ a brother to the late Talba and the families were indeed quite close, even though there hasn’t been much between the two families, since GMB became PMB. Because of Ibrahim Tahir’s support and friendship, I naturally joined PMB’s CPC movement and was one of the major stakeholders in Bauchi local government area. We were at the fore-front of the APC merger process as well as the very historic and masterful campaigns that ousted a sitting Party Goodluck Jonathan, in 2011. 


Professor Fatima Tahir, who we refer to as ‘shalelen Babatalba’ (late Ibrahim Tahir’s most favoured daughter), is the first professor in the family, having gone through a very rigorous academic life of learning and excellence at the prestigious and tedious Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, ATBU, Bauchi. Tahir is a professor of microbiology, with no less than 20 conference papers, and 50 journal papers. She has had a career progression that saw her rise from a graduate assistant, through to reader, and finally a professor. She has supervised more than 30 students through their master of science studies, while also having supervised another 20 or more for their doctoral thesis. Tahir is an expert on fermentation technology, biomass production of entomopathogenic fungi, medicinal plants and antimicrobial chemotherapy. Prof Tahir is a member of the Biological Sciences Mycology Research Group, and the lead researcher for Tetfund Institutional Based Research in 2016 and 2017. Prof. is a consultant for COMPASS, a USAID funded project in developing training manuals for schools, and also a consultant for PROPCOM, a DFID funded programme on mapping and assessment of organisations and institutions for programme facilitation. Prof Is a consultant for Action Health and a consultant for the Northern Nigerian Education Initiative, another USAID funded project. 

She is a recipient of the University of Wales, Cardiff Link Award, and the Fellowship Award from the Third World Organisation of Women in Science. She is also a recipient of the Merit Award for the Best Skilled Lecturer in the Department of Biological Sciences at ATBU, in 2014. She also has an award of recognition by the Centre for Community Empowerment and Youth Development, in Bauchi State. Prof Tahir is a distinguished member of the Nigerian Institute of Food Science and Technology, a member of the Nigerian Society for Parasitology, and the American Society for Microbiology. She has been member of various federal government’s universities visitation panels, as well as an instructor and facilitator in numerous universities across the country. She was at one time, the vice chair, Committee of Deans of Schools of Postgraduate Studies. She is also an external assessor to various other universities for professorial cadre assessment. 


Prof is usually heading the school of postgraduate studies in one institution or the other or is named deputy vice chancellor (academics) in one institution or the other. Prof is currently the deputy vice-chancellor of the Army University, Biu, and has been once the acting VC at the same institution. Three vice chancellors have been named at the Army University, and also at the Bauchi State University, and at each time, Prof Fatima Tahir has been passed off. This has happened a good five times or even more. Probably because she is female or because she is not helter-skelter, pulling strings? Tahir is more than ably qualified and, of course, deserves a chance to be VC, especially coming from Bauchi local government area, where gender bias is rife and women representation in government and politics is highly suppressed.

There is a new Airforce University in Bauchi, and I, therefore, pen my humble plea to PMB and the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, for Fatima (goggontuwo)’s consideration for that position. I believe Fatima has paid her dues and has lived up to ‘beyond expectations.’ She is one of those deserving of recognition and encouragement, especially for our sisters and daughters in learning and scholarship– inspiring them to believe that they too can reach those dizzying heights. If party affiliations are also in play, then her father and mentor, late Dr. Tahir, as a former spokesperson of the Buhari Campaigns right from its onset, deserves that honour. 

Tahir is Talban Bauchi. 

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Sky Daily

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