The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello has said there is need for more active participation of ex-students in the funding of universities in the country in order to improve the overall standard of these schools
The Minister who made this disclosure while receiving the Alumni Association of the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria led by the President, Prof. Ahmed Tijani Mora, that paid him a courtesy visit, said reliance on Federal Government funding alone for tertiary institutions is no longer sustainable as there are too many issues competing for the lean resources of government.
Malam Bello said Alumni associations have to take a lot of initiatives and drive as is the case in other intentionally renowned universities around the world, to ensure that universities in the country continue to function and play their roles in the society.
According to the Minister, “We do know that many of the internationally renowned universities in the world basically, are now being run by funds from investments and more importantly also, funds from their Alumni associations. Usually, it is these funds that were used to provide the initial investments that keep the universities running. Any country, especially in the western world that you speak of, you will be able to identify one or two universities where the alumni associations are very strong.”
Bello stated that the country could benefit from the huge remittances that Nigerians make to Alumni associations of foreign universities, stressing that it would not be out of place if Nigerians also showed concern for the welfare of schools in this country as government is no longer able to fund these schools the way it did in the past due to dwindling resources.
The FCT Minister, however, praised the resourcefulness of the current ABU Alumni Association for the numerous capital intensive projects it has embarked upon to improve the overall welfare of the school, saying this would not have been possible without a strong leadership and highly motivated administrative officials at its secretariat.
Bello while acknowledging the huge challenge in accomplishing these tasks, said the most important thing is not really the amount raised, but the ability to sustain it on a long term basis, no matter how little it is.
“That sustainability will not be possible if we don’t have an Executive Council (EXCO) that is very strong like your own and probably also, in addition to the exco, having a crop of full time highly paid, highly dedicated staff to run the administration of the secretariat. There is no doubt that the current exco of the Alumni association will be able to build on the great work done by the previous exco as well as the other previous leadership of the Alumni association,” the Minister stressed.
Bello who stated that the ABU has the advantage of having most of its alumni in various institutions of the Federal Government in the FCT, most notably the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), advised the current exco to reach out to these individuals, including those that are now retired to encourage them to participate in its activities.
He assured that the FCT Administration will provide the association with all the needed support through the FCT branch, especially on some of the requests it has made to the FCT Minister.
Earlier in his remarks, the President, Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Alumni Association, Prof. Ahmed Tijani Mora, said the ABU is the largest University in Nigeria, West Africa and sub-Saharan Africa, and by extension, the Alumni Association is the largest with over 800,000 students having graduated from the university.
He listed four major projects that the current NEC of the association is carrying out, including an overhead pedestrian bridge at the North Gate, ABU, across the busy Zaria-Sokoto Highway, which would cost N80 million.
Other projects he said, include a laptop computer loan scheme for students, post graduate students’ hostel as well as the intra-city-bus shuttle service for students to begin initially with five number, 33-seater buses.
Prof. Mora said the members of the Association in the FCT and anywhere in Nigeria and the diaspora were ready and would be willing to bring their skills, expertise and competences in the services of the FCT to make it great and most beautiful and safe place to live.
Special Assistant (Media) to FCT Minister
Monday 3rd July, 2017