The Federal Government has revealed that the N1.2billion hostel donated by the Aliko Dangote Foundation to Ahmadu Bello University Zaria is the single largest donation by an individual in the history of Universities in Nigeria.
Executive Secretary of the National University Commission (NUC) Professor Abubakar Adamu Rasheed who represented President Muhammadu Buhari at the commissioning 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.”
A visibly elated Governor of Kaduna State Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai who is also an alumnus of the university hailed Alhaji Aliko Dangote for the giant project.
He described Dangote’s generosity as unprecedented, especially his support for education.
Speaking the Vice Chancellor of the University Professor Ibrahim Garba said Mr. 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. Every year, 11,500 undergraduates 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.”
Mr. Dangote also bagged an Honorary Doctorate Degree.
Speaking about his motivation, Mr. Dangote 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.”
Director Physical Planning and Municipal Services of the University, Engineer Muhammad Aminu Sambo, said: “This is a big relief because the university has limited accommodation in relation to the numbers of students admitted every year. Accommodation is one of our nightmares.”
Speaking to newsmen, Engr Sambo said of the over 50,000 students admitted yearly, the university could only provide accommodation for only about 13,000.
He commended the President of the Dangote Group Aliko Dangote and urged all able Nigerians to emulate him and intervene in the educational sector.
In his reaction, the Chief Architect of the University Arch. Yabani Abubakar described the hostel as a monumental intervention, urging others to emulate him.
The 57-year-old ivory tower is sitting on 7,000 hectares with 82 academic departments, 13 faculties, 12 research institutes, and thereby making it the largest in sub Saharan Africa.