By; JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
Colonel Sani Bello (rtd) has said that Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria has no cause to complain of insufficient funding given its strong and influential alumni working in public and private establishments in Nigeria and in the diaspora, saying the university should have more than enough by now for its sustainability.
A statement by the Director, Public Affairs Directorate, Malam Auwalu Umar said Col. Sani Bello stated this when he received a delegation from the university, led by the Vice Chancellor, Professor Kabir Bala in his residence in Kaduna.
This is just as the Vice Chancellor, Prof Kabiru Bala lamented that the institution spends over one billion Naira on electricity bills annually.
He said as part of his support to the Institution, the business mogul announced a N50 million donation to the citadel of learning in addition to pledges to intervene in the institution’s electricity challenges with a view to tackling the problem.
According to him, Ahmadu Bello University over the years earned for itself great values because of its known academic excellence and that such cherished glory should not be allowed to diminished.
Col. Bello, a one-time Military Governor of old Kano State between 1975 and 1978, noted that the premier institution still remain the flagship of universities in the North.
The former military officer turned successful businessman stressed that the institution must be supported to sustain its traditional mandate of teaching, research and community service.
The visit to the elder statesman by the Vice-Chancellor and his entourage was part of sustained efforts towards reaching out to key stakeholders for the sustainability of the university.
The former military governor, who said he felt honoured for the visit, appreciated the huge number of the university alumni spread all over the country and beyond.
Earlier his remarks, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Kabiru Bala told the former military governor that ABU has undoubtedly attained an enviable status and it was still growing.
Prof. Bala said, the University had nurtured, and still nurturing several public and private Universities within and outside Nigeria, stressing the need for long-term plans, with clearly defined objectives, the central focus of which should be its sustainability.
The Vice-Chancellor also explained that the university must pursue excellence in its primary businesses of teaching, research and community service to be able to become a leader in innovation and be among the top 100 universities in the world in line with its vision.
On the electric power challenges, the Vice-Chancellor stated that the university has been faced with perennial acute shortage of power supply from the national grid at ever-increasing tariff cost, which is forcefully augmented with diesel-powered generators in the face of dwindling funding of overhead allocation from government.
“With the average of N120 million annual budgetary allocation for overhead over the past years, yet the university spends nearly one billion Naira (N1 billion) per annum to pay electricity tariff only in addition to annual consumption of over 500,000 litres of diesel”, he said.
The delegation led by the Vice-Chancellor comprised the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Administration, Prof. Ahmed Doko Ibrahim; the Registrar, Malam Rabiu Samaila; the Director, Distance Learning Centre, Prof. Ibrahim Sule; and the Director, Directorate of University Advancement, Prof. Sani Abba Aliyu.
Others on the delegation were Director, Physical Planning and Municipal Services, Prof. Abdullahi Abubakar, and Director, Public Affairs Directorate, Malam Auwalu Umar