By Ridwanullahi Odofin
It is no mean feat inhaling almost six decades of a fulfilled life. A life that is filled with many tremendous transformation. A life that has encountered so many life battles but consistently stands tall to cross the Rubicon. A life of a thoroughbred academic and administrator, who has demonstrated consistency over the years and rose through many ranks. A life of a Professor of Arabic Literary Criticism and Islamic Manuscript. A life of Prof. Moshood Mahmood Jimba, the Dean, Student Affairs, Kwara State University, Malete.
He is 59 today (25th of February, 2022) appreciating Almighty Allah, for sparing his life. When he looks back, he has every cause to be grateful. He is a mentor to his younger colleagues who seek him out to share in his vast knowledge of not just the profession but his rich experience in life. He continues to demonstrate this and many more in his selflessness nature.
Jimba has a good run in his profession as an academic where he has held many leadership positions. He’s been former Head, Department of Arabic, Kwara CAILS, Ilorin; former Dean, School of Languages; former Dean, School of Arts and Islamic Studies and former Director of Student Affairs, all at the Kwara State College of Arabic and Islamic Legal Studies (CAILS), Ilorin; former Head, Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies and former PG Coordinator for the department, Kogi State University; former Head, Department of French, Portuguese and Arabic Language and Literature (F-PALL), KWASU; former Head, Department of Linguistics, African and European Languages, KWASU and former Director, Centre for Ilorin Manuscripts and Culture, KWASU.
Currently, Prof. Jimba is a Consultant to about seven academic journals and External Examiner to various departments of Arabic across Nigeria and a member of the Advisory Board of the famous Duke University-based Research Africa Platform and Al-Rufuf Journal of Manuscript at Africa University, Adrar, Algeria, among several others.
Prof. Jimba was the Assistant Secretary (Minutes) and Assistant Secretary (Publicity) at different times to the Nigerian Association of Teachers of Arabic & Islamic Studies (NATAIS) and he is currently the President of the Academic Society for Arabic Language and Literature in Nigeria (ASALLIN) and Chairman, Kwara State Arabic Education Board.
My encounter with him came just immediately after my graduation at the Kwara State University in December, 2021, when he was in need of a writer who will assist him with the bulletin for his unit. He informed his friend and the Dean, Faculty of Information and Communication Technology, Dr. Isiaka Aliagan about it. Unexpectedly, I was the chosen one and I will be eternally grateful to Dr. Aliagan, for considering me worthy among my peers. I received a call from him and he informed me of the development. I accepted to take the responsibility and he immediately sent Prof. Jimba’s number to me. I called him and he invited me to his house.
On getting to his house, he received me with great enthusiasm. We had a long discussion about what he intends to do and how he intend to go about it. As the conversation flows, I was quick to notice that aside from being an administrator, he also has penchant for writing both in English and Arabic Language. He had demonstrated this flair as Editor, Faculty of Humanities Journal, KWASU; Editor, Akhbar Al-Jami’a, a publication of Arabic Unit, KWASU; Editor, At- Turath, The Newsletter of Centre for Ilorin Manuscript and Culture (CIMAC). Our discussion centred on the Student Affairs Unit bulletin and we came up with the name Deanery Watch. That was how it all began. After we gathered our stories, he said the bulletin will be published on a quarterly basis due to financial constraints.
We moved to produce 200 copies of the first edition last month to the delight of many in the university community. Following a great deal of expertise demonstrated in the course of producing it, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Muhammed Mustapha Akanbi SAN, directed that the bulletin should come on a regular basis. Prof. Jimba informed me of the decision and I cannot but be happy about it.
As a man of many parts, Prof. Jimba has fought and won many battles. I have seen him demonstrate a generosity of spirit in his reconciliation with formidable opponents in the past. I have also witnessed his relentless pursuit of adversaries, who remain resolute in opposition to him especially where he feels they’ve gotten their facts wrong. He exude humanity at all times.
At 59, he looks good for his age. He remains relational, regularly servicing his wide networks. He moves around with commendable agility and participates robustly in intellectually stimulating exercise of the university.
On the occasion of his birthday, I join other mentees of his to felicitate with him on this day. May Almighty Allah continue to renew his strength for more exploits and grant him peace of mind in the twilight of his life.