SHORT PROFILE OF DR. YAQEEN ABDULLAH HABEEB
Dr Yaqeen A. Habeeb
Dr. Yaqeen A Habeeb hails from Ayegunle Gbede, in Ijumu Local Government of Kogi State. Below is a brief glimpse of his profile.
- SELF STRUGGLE TO START LIFE
The young child today known and addressed as Dr. Y A Habeeb was enrolled in primary school only to be withdrawn by his father after two years. He stayed at home and had to send himself back to school when his father was on a journey. As he was not allowed to further his education, he had to migrate under the cover of night darkness from his home town on a journey to the unknown. The journey took him to Lokoja where he was a street boy as he had nowhere to lay his head. He worked as a labourer at construction sites to keep body and soul together, as an apprentice and later a house boy in Lagos. He later sent himself to school and was able to read up to PhD level.
A highly intelligent individual yet so humble that one can hardly detect his intelligence until you take him up. He enrolled into Baptist Secondary Commercial School, Iyah Gbede in September 1973. His immense talents became apparent within a very short spell of time as he was promoted to form 2 barely 7 weeks in form 1. His academic excellence was sustained as he led his class in almost all subjects throughout his less-than-four-year secondary school education. As an active sports student, he led the School football First Eleven as Sports Captain in addition to his portfolio as Deputy Senior Prefect of the school. He was equally active in social and academic clubs and associations where he held commanding positions.
When the result of West African School Certificate was released in 1977, it was not a surprise that he obtained Division One Distinction. He was admitted into the School of Basic Studies of Kwara State College of Technology where he completed his Cambridge Advanced Level. His academic exploit took him to Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. On his first day in the university he said to himself, “I must make a First Class”.
He was exceptional at the university that despite the fact that he combined menial job with his studies, he was adjudged the best first year student in the University for which he was nominated to participate with all such students in all Nigerian universities in a national competitive assessment for Mobile Oil scholarship. Eight students among all best students of Nigerian universities were successful and he was
one of them. That was how the self-sponsored and menial job student became a Mobil Scholar for his university education.
In line with his promise to himself to make first class, he bagged a First Class Degree in Economics in 1983 and got an award as the best student in Economics. In quick succession, he obtained a Master of Science Degree in Economics in 1986 specializing in Econometrics and went ahead to cap it with a Doctorate Degree in Management Sciences (specializing in Operations Research, O.R.) of the University of Ilorin. For his PhD dissertation he adopted Goal Programming model for his analysis. By that time, PhD holders who had used Goal Programming model in Nigeria were indeed very few.
He also studied Banking and Finance in India through a scholarship of Special Commonwealth African Assistance Plan. He has attended several leadership, mentoring, banking and finance courses in Nigeria and abroad including Harvard Business School.
Part of his education is sound comparative religious studies for which he is at home with all religious scriptures of most dominant religions of the world and can discuss them at ease. He has respect for all religious beliefs and always proclaims that for peace to reign in a nation we must respect the beliefs of others.
- WORK EXPERIENCES
The un-assuming Dr. Habeeb started his post degree career as an NYSC Honourary Graduate Assistant at Ahmadu Bello University when the University Authority insisted that he be retained for his Youth Service in view of the fact that he bagged a first class honours and well-grounded in quantitative subjects. At the end of the service year, he was appointed a Graduate Assistant. He later moved to University of Ilorin as a lecturer. Having put in about eight years into academics in two Nigerian universities he moved on to banking. He had worked with Nigerian Industrial Development Bank (now Bank of Industry) and Urban Development Bank. He distinguished himself in the service of Urban Development Bank that he got various commendations from the Managing Director, who once wrote,
The Bank is proud of you and I encourage you to keep up the good work.
His work in First Bank of Nigeria plc was memorable. He won several cash and material awards in the Bank for outstanding performance where he rose to the position of Deputy General Manager and acting Executive Director. His hard work and dedication to duty earned him many good commendations that are too numerous to be listed. An important customer once told him that:
You are the best banker I have ever met.
- LEADERSHIP AND COMMUNITY SERVICE
His natural endowment as a leader was exhibited at early age as he was elected leader of several school and university associations. He was a National President of Ayegunle Gbede Students’ Union after holding various positions of the Union. As National President of the Students’ Union, he instituted Pa James Onundi Scholarship Scheme and a student enjoyed the scholarship at Baptist High School, Ekinrin Adde during his one year tenure. Long before he ascended the presidency of the union he was called upon to lead a team to give the first ever draft constitution for the union. He did this creditably.
In 1995, he was on hand to take over from the first National President of Ayegunle Gbede Descendants’ Union (AGDU), the umbrella Development Association of Ayegunle Gbede. He restructured the working of the Union creating various community committees for efficient administration. He mobilized the community and started the Ohon Community Bank which later transformed into Ohon Micro Finance Bank. He successfully celebrated first ever anniversary of the community as the 70th Anniversary in 1996. As the Union was running without a solid constitution he instituted a committee that drafted a constitution which was approved in 1997. The administration before him lasted for 14 years as there was no tenure limit. The 1997 constitution stipulated tenure of three years and maximum of two terms for the president. He therefore had to hand over in December 2000 having completed the maximum two terms of three years each despite pressure from the community for him to continue. He was first national President of Muslim Youth Association of the community for several years.
As a co-founder of Ohon Community Bank, he chaired the Board of Directors, from 1995 to 2000 when he resigned but continued, on the insistence of the Board of Directors, to attend the Board meetings as Adviser. His efforts at sustaining the Bank have been acclaimed by all and sundry.
He has held several religious leadership positions including being the Deputy National President of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at, Nigeria. Other leadership position he has held are too numerous to be enumerated here.
- CONTRIBUTION TO EDUCATION
As a student in secondary school our icon was in the habit of taking over the class to teach his mates whenever the teacher was not around as well as during prep. He contributed to knowledge through teaching and research in two Nigerian universities. He is a resource person to many professional bodies where he delivers lectures. He went further to establish three schools in Kogi State. His first in Lokoja is left in the hands of some people to manage. The second is Al-Azhar International College, Zango Daji
Lokoja, a Cambridge university Associate College. The third is what he termed a give-back to community at his home town, Ayegunle Gbede. It is a philanthropic school. He also built two schools in remote villages of Iye Osa and Igbo Oruwo in Oyo North Local Government through his Humanity First NGO.
His philanthropic gesture started as he was growing up such that from his student days he already set up a scholarship scheme in the name of a renowned educationist of his community and awarded scholarship to a secondary school student. For over ten years he has run scholarship schemes for primary and secondary schools in Ayegunle Gbede in memory of his late father. He awards 30 scholarships yearly to Primary, JSS and SSS but awarded 40 in 2019 during the tenth anniversary. At Al-Azhar International College, Lokoja he grants scholarships to many students running into several millions of naira. This is different from the several individual students of other institutions that he helps to pay their school fees. From 2021 he started yet another scholarship scheme christened Dr. Yaqeen Abdullah Habeeb Foundation Scholarship Scheme.
He sponsors several religious activities, mosques, churches including many to hajj and one to Jerusalem.
His humanitarian services also cover several individual personal health and other challenges.
Dr. Habeeb is the National Chairman of an International NGO, Humanity First which is engaged in life-saving services to humanity. The Organization has drilled boreholes in Lagos, Nasarawa, Kogi, Kwara, Osun, Niger, Oyo and Borno States. It has set up two Computer Academies. He has built two rural schools and a clinic in Oyo State. Many people have regained their sights through her monthly free eye surgery sponsored and still being sponsored by the Organization.
Three states of Kogi, Rivers and Jigawa benefited tremendously in her reliefs to flood victims of 2022 and Edo and Kogi in 2012. Skill training was also instituted for victims in Rivers State. Through its cloth banks, hundreds of thousands of clothes have been provided cloths. This was also extended to Burkina Faso on the request of her sister organization there. Free medical services are provided for people all over the country. Her food bank provides food for the hungry especially during festivities. Her services are with disregard to race, religion and tribe.
- SAVING NIGERIA FOR FUTURE NIGERIANS
Looking at the deplorable condition of many African countries especially Nigeria and their near failed status, the signs are very clear that if something urgent is not done to redress the declining fortune of the country, the youths may not have a country they can proudly call theirs in the near future. Not satisfied with the dwindling fortune of Nigeria, Dr. Habeeb concluded that you don’t have to be the Page
president to contribute to bringing about a new Nigeria. He therefore authored the thought-provoking book IT’S TIME FOR THE BLACKMAN’S REVOLUTION aimed at bringing back Nigeria from the brink of collapse so that we can have a saner, save and prosperous country for current and future generations. He opines in the foreword to the book “I do not believe in the transfer of responsibility of our circumstances to external actors, limit or boundary pre-determined for our lives, or accepting an unfavorable status-quo believing that there is nothing we can do about it. I do not believe that any one should unduly determine the course of our life or destiny. I believe there should be no earthly or human condition that cannot be changed.
My personal philosophy of life is therefore the Philosophy of Responsibility. That is everyone is responsible for his own condition and we are collectively responsible for our condition. We must take control of our lives and set the stage for our real destiny to manifest. We must act to change whatever conditions we deem unfavorable. Having successfully applied my philosophy to drastically change my life from the status quo of a peasant farmer, labourer, apprentice, I asked myself should we look on without impacting the future of Nigerian youths?”
An elder statesman comments about the book saying: Having gone through and listened thoroughly to the YouTube of this wonderful and truthful piece from Dr. Habeeb, I am convinced that he has written the minds of many Nigerians who have genuine love for Nigeria. … what remains now is the promotion for the wide spread of this book to reawaken the consciences of Nigerians.
A brief of the book is available on YouTube at the following channel:
- NATIONAL SERVICE
The appointment of Dr. Habeeb as the Special Assistant to the then Honourable Minister of Industry, Chief Kola Jamodu, MFR was his second national assignment. He was called upon in 1994 to serve as the Resource Person to the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Committee of the Constitutional Conference. He proved his mettle there that the Chairman of the Committee, Chief (Arc) Gabriel Aduku wrote to him stating:
“Your contributions to the success of the committee in this national assignment are highly appreciated; and I am pleased to inform you that my Honourable Colleagues in the Committee equally appreciate
your commitment and hard-work…..It is hoped that you will respond with equal enthusiasm, dedication and consciousness any time in the future you are called upon to serve this country.”
- ATTEMPT TO SALVAGE KOGI FROM THE QUAGMIRE OF MISERABLE LIVING
Knowing fully that he is well endowed as an astute leader he was prevailed upon by those who know him well to bring a new lease of life to governance of Kogi State and push forward much desired development for the state. This was in 2015 when he was prevailed upon to put his wealth of experience, knowledge and global reach to the service of Kogi State to take them to a land of comfort and productivity. He was screened by the national Working Committee of APC and found worthy to contest the governorship primaries of the party. The delegates however believed he was too advanced and sophisticated for their time and felt that they needed someone who will dance to prevailing tendencies. We are all witnesses today to what we are missing by not bringing in such a personality to salvage the State.
He has received several national and international merit awards from Communities, Publishing houses, Student, Professional Associations and religious Organizations including his home town, Ayegunle Gbede, NAPPS, etc. He has declined several chieftaincy titles.
- INTERNATIONAL TRAVELS
Dr. Habeeb is a well-travelled personality. He has travelled to countries like USA, Britain, China, UAE, Oman, India, Egypt, Kenya, South Africa, Ghana, Togo, Benin Republic, Malaysia, Turkey, Ethiopia, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Ivory Coast etc. He will bring his wide travel experiences and exposure to bear on the administration of Kogi State once given the opportunity. Many foreign investors have already promised him to bring huge investments that will transform the economy of the State and ensure the prosperity of the people.
Dr. Ahmed A. Zik-Rullahi