Yola, the capital city of Adamawa State and its environs, was in a festive mood to celebrate the 77th birthday of its illustrious son, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, who was being honored by the American University of Nigeria (AUN), the institution that he established to advance the course of education in Nigeria, on its founder’s ceremony.
Special Assistant (Broadcast Media) to Atiku, AbdulRasheed Shehu stated this in a statement on Saturday.
In the welcome address at the event attended by many dignitaries from across the country, the Chairman of the Governing Council of the university, Senator Ben Obi welcomed the guests while wishing Atiku Abubakar a happy birthday.
He explained that the purpose of the occasion was to celebrate the founder and the former vice president of the country (1999-2007) and to inaugurate the new president of the university.
Speaking at the occasion, the keynote speaker, Dr. Steven Titus, who is a veteran college administrator and the President Emeritus of the Iowa Wesleyan University, hinted on the importance of the occasion.
He praised the founder for his commitment to education and the vision of establishing the university.
The renowned college administrator praised Atiku for his commitment to education and for the vision of establishing the AUN.
And while presenting a birthday gift to Atiku on behalf of his family, he said that he was moved by the founder’s passion and love for education, describing Atiku as a gift to the world of education.
In his own speech, Professor De Wayne Frazier who is installed as the 6th President of the University thanked Atiku for his vision, generosity for establishing the University, and the opportunity given to him to be part of that vision.
He also thanked the chairman of the governing council for the support, stating that his inauguration marks the beginning of a new era in the history of the university.
He promised to uphold the values of excellence and integrity as enshrined in the foundation of the university, pledging to build on the already laid foundation to move the institution to greater heights.
In his address, Atiku did a critical appraisal of the performance of the university in its 19 years of existence.
He noted that 19 years is the age of accountability, stating that it is time for stock-taking.
Quoting Socrates, the legendary Greek philosopher, he said that: “unexamined life is not worth living.”
The 2023 PDP presidential candidate raised some fundamental questions about whether the school has followed the vision of its founder in providing American-styled educational system that focuses on leadership development, critical thinking and problem solving and skills, noting that even if the school is not established for profit making purposes, it should generate enough revenue for self-sustenance and to plough back for future development.
Atiku declared that part of his vision was to make the university grow and serve humanity and not to make money for him, stating that he has never collected any money from the school in the 19 years of its establishment.
He said the school is a gift from him to the society and humanity to provide world-class educational platform to develop future leaders.
Atiku therefore enjoined the university administration to be more dynamic and align more proactively to the changing economic and technological world.
He charged them to re-examine their strategies, define their priorities and look for new ways and tools to generate revenue to be self-sustaining.
The high point of the occasion was the commissioning of the Law Faculty of the university by the founder.