By Ali Sabo
In January 4, 1964 a rare gem was born in a village called Song of the present day Adamawa state, unknown to many then the young Umaru would rise to become one of the best communication scholars not only in Nigeria but in Africa. Professor Pate as he is popularly called rose and reached the pinacle of his career – communication at a younger age.
UMARU Pate started his early education in 1971 at Nassarawo Jereng LEA Primary School in the old Adamawa Division where he completed in 1976 and proceeded to Government College Maiduguri. Professor Pate at the year of his graduation in 1981 emerged as the best graduating student in WAEC GCE O’ level examinations in Arts. This made Umaru in 1982 to join the IJMB program at the College of Preliminary Studies, Yola, which qualified him for direct entry into the University of Maiduguri to read Mass Communication in 1984. In 1987 Professor Pate graduated as the best student and was retained by the Department for the mandatory one year National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).
In October, 1988 the university offered the young Umaru an appointment as a Graduate Assistant in the Department of Mass Communication. After his appointment as Graduate Assistant, Umaru left for the University of Ghana, Legon, on fellowship for a Master of Philosophy (M.Phil) Degree in Communication Studies which he completed in 1990. On his coming back from Ghana, the young Pate continued lecturing in the department and in 1993 he proceeded for a PhD at the University of Maiduguri and graduated in February 1997 at the age of 33. In 2002 Pate became an Associate Professor and attained full professorship in 2007 that is exactly 10 years after completing his PhD Program.
During his stay at the University of Maiduguri, Professor Pate held the position of Head of Department (HOD) for 7 years in the Department of Mass Communication where he transformed the department into a modern one. To expand his horizon and contribute his quota in other universities, Prof. Pate transferred his service to then Department of Mass Communication, Bayero University Kano. During his stay at the department before his appointment as the Vice Chancellor, Federal University Kashere he transformed and revamped the it from its old ways into new and modern one. Pate was the man that spearheaded the project that transformed the department to a faculty and served as its pioneer Dean. His tenure as the Dean of the faculty gave him the opportunity to establish a modern radio station, set the pace for modern television station and secured the department a huge grant from the MacArthur Foundation for the smooth running of the radio station. Other position held by prof. Pate at BUK includes the Dean, Postgraduate Studies, which he was appointed owing to his hard work, resilience, focus and transformational mind.
Professor Pate is an academic per excellent, orator and well recognized scholar globally. In terms of teaching, Pate has a gift of simplifying every course he took with his jovial smile. He always regarded his students as friends and removed fear and anxiety from their minds unlike other lecturers. Everyone of his students will remember his most used phrase during lectures “Do not impact me with your ignorance,” which he normally made when he asked a student a question and the student failed to answer.
Regarding the positions he held, Pate served on many national and international committees. Presently he is the National President, Association of Communication Scholars and Professionals of Nigeria, he was at one time the Ag Chairman, Committee of Deans and Directors, Vice Chairman of TETFund Advisory Group and headed many programs at UNESCO.
Pate’s academic papers featured in both local and International journals and he has been to many conferences both at home and abroad.
On Thursday, the 17th of December, 2020 Professor Pate was announced as the next Vice Chancellor of the Federal University kashere, Gombe State to take over from Prof. Alhassan Mohammed Gani. His announcement as the next VC is not a mere coincidence looking at his track records, intellect, ingenuity, creativity and transformational mind. I can’t imagine anyone more suitable for this job than the scholarly Pate. One of his students, Hamza Idris has once said this about him “a rare gentleman from northern Nigeria who has impacted positively on the development of the media and the grooming of media teachers and practitioners.” There are many good things said about him by his students, colleagues and friends which clearly showed how good and kind Malam Pate is.
Congratulations Federal University Kashere!!!
Allah ya taya riko Sir!!!
Jaumirawo njogge, barkama!!!!
Ali Sabo is the Communication officer of the Centre for information technology and Development and can be reached either by his email: [email protected] or twitter handle: @a_sabo12