Meet Kabir Abu-Bilal, Abu Professor Who Works As A Welder

Despite a catalogue of academic degrees and attaining the highest academic pedigree in the university circle, Professor Kabir Ahmed Abu-Bilal of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria also engages in welding business to make ends meet.

The academic icon, who operates a workshop in Zaria, conducts the welding business on the roadside without egocentrism.

Speaking to Daily Trust Saturday, the professor of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, said welding had been a passion for him and another way of using God-given talents to be self reliant.

The professor, who was initially an arts student during his secondary school days, passed with excellent results, yet he was mocked by his friends.

He said that despite his excellent results, his friends could not celebrate him because he was not a science student.

Abu-Bilal said that became a challenge to him, but since he had no background in science subjects, he enrolled in a programme and went for sciences.

“After one year of my studies as a science student I sat for the West African School Certificate Examination (WASCE) and incidentally became the best science student in the set, having passed all the subjects with flying colours.

“That was how I got admission into the ABU to read Electrical and Electronics Engineering as an undergraduate.

“And because I graduated with first class I was instantly offered a lecturing job in the same university. From there I rose to the rank of professor, with specialisation in Mechatronics Engineering,” he also said.

The professor explained that the passion for handiwork was driven from to his academic discipline, where he teaches students both theory and practical aspects of the course.

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“Since we deal with electrical equipment during our practical lessons, I easily developed the passion for welding and started doing it with some of my students, who are more brilliant than me in the practical.

Meet Kabir Abu-Bilal, Abu Professor Who Works As A Welder
Meet Kabir Abu-Bilal, ABU professor who works as a welder

“I, therefore, learnt more of practical from them and added it to my theatrical knowledge, which made me understand the trade faster,” he added.

Prof Abu-Bilal noted that while at the practical workshop of the university, private works started to troop in and they started generating money outside job until the authorities realised and put a ban on any outside job.

He further said, “Instead of the university authorities to collaborate with me so as to generate some revenue for the department and institution as a whole, they felt putting a ban on us was the only option.

“I then came out of the university to search for a place. I got it and immediately established my welding workshop there.”

The university don, however, said he had to start afresh because he did not have the necessary tools and machines to enhance the welding and fabrication business. He said that with little time in the workshop he was able to weather the storm and found his bearing.

Abu-Bilal said what he generated from the workshop in a month doubled his monthly salary as a professor, stressing that it is one of the beauties of handiwork.

He recalled that during the last strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), when lecturers were denied salaries for eight months, his lifestyle did not changed as he did not feel the impact of the industrial action.

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“In fact, some of my colleagues came here to borrow money because they learnt in the hard way. Others just came for help due to the non- payment of salaries.

“This is why I keep telling my students to learn skills so that they can be self-employed, with or without government jobs,” he also said.

He said he had fabricated so many machines for public use, including drilling machines for shallow boreholes. He produced a compressed soil block machine for construction work and scissor lift for conveying people and equipment to a height during construction jobs.

Others include a flour milling machine for bakeries and many smaller irrigation machines for agricultural purposes.

“Right now, the welding machine generator I am using in my workshop is not using the costly petroleum but liquidities petroleum gas. I am the one who worked it out to reduce cost.

“I am also working to convert many machines that use petroleum products into gas to ease hardship faced by Nigerians using petrol.

“All I require is empowerment to be able to roll out my conceived ideas for the betterment of the society,” he added.

He, however, said he had no intention of leaving the country for any foreign land except it is for training.

“Nigeria is my Germany, it is my China and Japan, so I will rather stay here and develop my country than develop other people’s country.

“We have the potentials and capacity to be whatever we want. Inasmuch as we can concentrate and generate incentives from the government, we can become anything,” he concluded.

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