Born in July 1960, Prof. Abdulai Salifu Asuro came from humble beginnings. He was born to a peasant farmer father, and a petty trader mother, in Tamale. The section of Tamale known as “Agric” in the 60’s and 70’s was cosmopolitan in character, and had nearly all ethnic groups in Ghana represented here. This was an area where many ex-servicemen settled. It was a place where one found all manner of characters, thieves and ladies of the night. Pick-pocketing was very common in the area. Children were generally not in school. Our role models were the adolescents who graduated from pushing hand carts to become drivers’ mates or labourers at the once booming ministry of Agriculture. Then, it was only lazy, dull folk who went to school. School was not fun; fun abounded in playing in the streets, hunting rodents, stealing fruits from orchards, and attending film shows at Rivoli, or Victory Cinemas. The fuel service station, Agip Gas, which was at the heart of Tamale town, was where the life was! Salifu Nakɔha and Abiba Jahima strove hard to give this son of theirs the formal education they were not privileged enough to get, and thus sent he and his older sister to Gumbihini RC Primary School, Tamale, in September 1968.
After six years’ primary education, Abdulai continued to Bishop’s Continuation Middle School, Tamale, in 1974. Elementary school played a huge role in shaping the life of this would-be Rector. It was the clinic that molded his character. Friends he had in plenty, and still keeps them. School was in session from 7:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. for the morning session and 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. for the afternoon session. The lunch break was the most interesting time, where pupils played, and excursed the neighbourhood in search of fruits, and secondary school students’ dining hall leftovers (popularly called “gɔŋ”). All this while Abdulai never really knew what it meant to be in college. It was during the second term of Middle Form 1 that some of his friends talked of registering for the Common Entrance Exams. He also came home and told his father, who willingly paid for both the registration, and extra classes to prepare his boy for the task ahead. Abdulai sat and passed the Common Entrance Examination, and proceeded to Ghana Secondary School, Tamale in September 1975. This was the first time he ever left home, and upon arriving on Ghanasco campus he prayed to God to let him be housed in the upper floors of the storey blocks which housed the students. This first prayer was answered, for he was sent to Purser House.
After his General Certificate of Education Ordinary (GCE O’) level examinations, he continued to Bagabaga Teacher Training College, Tamale, where he trained as a Certificate ‘A’ 3-Year Post-Secondary teacher. After teaching at Sakasaka Primary B’ School, also in Tamale, for three years he proceeded to the Advanced Teacher Training College, Winneba, and acquired an advanced teacher’s Diploma in English.
Prof. Salifu Asuro spent two years in Bolgatanga on National Service and taught at Bolgatanga Secondary School. His thirst for Academic laurels saw him twice go to the University of Ghana, Legon, first between 1991 and 1994 where he was awarded a Bachelor of Arts Honours Degree in a Second Class Uppers Division (Drama & Theatre Studies and Linguistics); and from 1997 to 2000, where he got a Master of Philosophy degree in Linguistics. In between the two epochs he was at Bagabaga Training College as a teacher of English Language (1994-1997), Teaching Methodology, Staff Secretary and Housemaster.
Tamale Polytechnic has been Prof. Salifu’s place of work since 2000, where he has variously taught English Language to Intermediate, and Advanced craft students; Business Communication, and Communication Studies to DBS, and HND students respectively. He served as Ag. Dean, School of Business & Management Studies, June 10, 2002 to August 31, 2004, Vice Principal, from September 2002 to August 31, 2004, and Examinations Officer from 2009 to February 2012. In August 2004 Prof. Salifu left for the United States of America where he studied at Indiana University, Bloomington and returned in 2008 with a PhD in Folklore, with a double minor in Linguistics and African Studies.
Several public Ghanaian universities have benefited from the services of Prof. Salifu Asuro, where he has taught part-time courses, and supervised student dissertations, including Doctoral theses. Notable among these are: the University of Education, Winneba, the University of Ghana, Legon, the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology, and the University for Development Studies. Prof. Salifu has thus, virtually taught at every level (primary through tertiary) in Ghana, and has mentored thousands of pupils/students.
He is a member of the American Folklore Society. Additionally, he has served on the boards of the Centre for National Council, Tamale, and others, notable among them being:
1. National Vice President, Old Ghanascans (Alumni)
2. Executive Board Member, Ghana Hockey
Association. 2010 –
3. Governing Council Member, E.P. College of
Education, Bimbilla. 2010 –
4. Chairman, Education Committee of Anbariya Muslim
Community, and a Member Executive Committee, June 2009.
5. Member of Northern Regional Hockey Association, 2009.
Prof. Abdulai Salifu Asuro is a Senior Lecturer and has a number of publications, and book reviews, including the following:
Prof. Salifu is a sportsman, who has played hockey, a little basketball, and Taekwondo. He played hockey for Ghana Secondary School, Tamale, Bagabaga Training College, Tamale, the Northern Region, The University of Ghana, Golden Sticks of The Ghana Commercial Bank, Accra, and Citizens Hockey Club, Accra. As an executive member of the Ghana Hockey Association, he recently represented the Nation at the African Club Championship Competition (2011) in Lusaka Zambia. Sports shaped his temperament, widened his horizons and knowledge of faraway places, and college education gave him his retinue of friends, and his socialization.
Abdulai is one of six siblings, has a wife and four children. His parents, who crossed over to eternity in October 2009, have been his role models. If he has a “flaw”, it is that he is workaholic, and seeks to build bridges all the time.