• His Intervention First In ABU’S History – VC
  • Bags Doctorate Degree, Sunmonu Too

By Waziri Isa Adam and Muhammad M. Isa

 The Executive Secretary of National Universities Commission (NUC), Professor Adamu Abubakar Rasheed has commended the Chairman of Dangote Group of Companies, Alhaji Aliko Dangote for being a pioneer philanthropists in Northern Nigeria to build students’ hostel in a Federal Government University worth N1.2 billion.

The Executive Secretary who represented President Buhari at the 41st Convocation Ceremony of the University and the commission of the Aliko Dangote Hall extended the Federal Government’s appreciation to the President of the Dangote Group.

The President Said: “You have done what no other Nigerian has done since 1948 when the first university was founded. This is the single largest intervention by any individual in any university in this country in the 70 years history of our university. So I congratulate Alhaji Aliko Dangote.”

Speaking, Vice Chancellor of the University Professor Ibrahim Garba said Dangote will forever remain dearly to the Ahmadu Bello University.

He added: “The student population of ABU is over 50,000 made up of about 35,000 undergraduates and about 15,000 postgraduates and about 6,000 postgraduates are admitted while about 6,000 undergraduates and 3,000 postgraduates respectively graduate. In any one academic year, we are only able to accommodate about 13,000 students on our two campuses.”

The Vice Chancellor said: “We are happy that Alhaji Aliko Dangote has fulfilled the pledge he made in 2016 to build 10 blocks of hostels for Ahmadu Bello University’s student to improve their living condition.

“We may accommodate six students per room. This will certainly go a long way in ameliorating the accommodation scarcity bedeviling the university.

“We thank Alhaji Aliko Dangote for his intervention, we thank member of the Aliko Dangote Foundation and the entire Dangote Family. This is unprecedented for us we can’t ask for anything more except if he thinks of anything he wants to add on his own volition.”

Speaking on what prompted his construction of the hall for ABU, Dangote who, alongside with Alh. Hassan Sunmonu, one-time NLC strongman in Nigeria, bagged the institution’s Honorary Doctorate Degree said, “If there are two things that I am passionate about, they are education and entrepreneurship. I believe they go hand-in-hand.”

He said it was this philosophy that led to the creation of the Dangote Academy in 2010 where about One thousand graduates have been absorbed after their training.

He said he hopes students who stay in the Aliko Dangote Hall will follow his entrepreneurial footsteps and become future Aliko Dangote.

He added: “When I came here as a Guest Speaker in 2016, the Vice Chancellor told me that they have needs for accommodation, in fact the last accommodation they had was 37 years ago as at then.

“It is not good for us to leave a university like this without accommodation, really our intention was to accommodate the female students not boys, however, I still plead with the Vice-Chancellor to leave it for the female folk.”

Commenting on Dangote’s commendable gesture for giving back to the society what he had made out of it, the National President of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) Professor Biodun Ogunyemi who was at the convocation ceremony said, “what Dangote has done for Nigerian universities, particularly ABU, has proven his love and passion for education and commitment towards general development of the nation, catalyst of which is education.”

He regretted that successive governments have refused to take education seriously and as a matter of priority in their traditional rhetoric to move the country forward, thereby compelling University administrators to resort to begging for intervention from philanthropists, like Dangote.

Professor Ogunyemi who berated present administration in the country for not only its indifference towards education, but for its anti-education policies, chief among which is reducing the grossly inadequate 11 percent which previous governments used to allocate to education to 7% percent.

He said when it comes to the issue of funding education, Nigerian leaders always claim that Nigeria does not have the kind or quantum of money ASUU always asks government to invest in education, however, they always hide under conduct of elections and other pseudo projects to steal billions and after their real or rigged victories, they go ahead to further loot the nation’s treasury silly and use such monies to send their children to expensive schools abroad or establish their private universities to make more money at the expense of our public universities.

When government does not promote education, it shows that it is not really ready to develop the nation, such government is rather interested in promoting ignorance, illiteracy and will eventually generate endless circle of illiterate leaders.

Professor Ogunyemi stated that it is only an educated and well informed society that can produce informed, productive, efficient and enlightened leaders.

In their comments, a cross section of students that spoke to Education Monitor, all hail Dangote for his interest in promoting education and for providing shelter to university students.

They described him as a philanthropist of the century who deserves to be prayed for so that God Almighty should continue to bless, protect and sustain his life to continue to help humanity.

“In any case,” they said, “students constitute significant percentage or population of the people that consume Dangote’s products, so what he has done is simply giving back to the students what they have given him.”

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