What can you offer?

“The highest use of resources is not to make more money but to make money to do more for the betterment of life” – Henry Ford.

Philanthropy is charity and giving voluntarily and freely. This virtue is well entrenched in all African traditions; yet African countries with their vast natural resources, coupled with their religious inclinations, have enjoyed much from the Western world. Yet, more grant is required to liberate Africa from the bonds of poverty, hunger and underdevelopment.

It is true that in our quest to making our generation better, we may not have the know-how to change history tremendously, but every one of us should work to change a small portion of events that culminate into history. We must not be government workers, legislators, captains of industries, deans nor directors to do this; all human beings have the capacity to alter the course of history positively or negatively. More so, it is not all about donating cash every time, it could also be in form of providing social services to your Alma Mater in kind, towards propagating goodwill.

In his widely applauded autobiography Long Walk to Freedom, Nelson Mandela, one of the world’s greatest heroes writes that as a child, his parents offered him nothing but a name. However today, history can never forget his immense contributions towards the fight for liberation of the Blacks, and his service for humanity.

Considering the overdependence of institutions in Nigeria on government for funding, knowing fully well the inadequacy of such funds being allocated to education by government, it is pertinent for public institutions to source alternatives to fund raising, to compliment government.

Institutions in Nigeria today require helps from philanthropists, corporate organizations, alumni and friends for them to attain educational development.

Most great institutions around the world, especially in developed countries, have full supports of their alumni and friends. For instance, institutions relied heavily on donations from charity trust, foundations and philanthropic giving from their Alma Mater.

In the diary of philanthropic giving in parts of the world and Nigeria, some stories stand out. For instance in year 2013, Lord Irvine Laidlaw, an alumnus of University of Leeds, who graduated in the 1960’s donated 9 million pounds for a library complex, being a committed supporter of Leeds University. Laidlaw Library Project becomes a permanent reminder of Laidlaw’s generosity to his Alma Mater.

In Nigeria, General TY Danjuma, sometimes last year pledged to sponsor the construction of a new Faculty of Science in the Phase II development site of Ahmadu Bello University. This was part of his philanthropic giving to promote educational cause. More so recently, an alumnus of Ahmadu Bello University has facilitated the dredging of the ABU Dam by the Ecological Fund from the federal government. The dredging work, when completed, will enable the University to effectively supply water to its community and beyond.

There are numerous collaborations between Ahmadu Bello University and other institutions around the world. The recent was the partnership that the University formed with Robert Gordon University (RGU) in the United Kingdom. The two Universities agreed to partner on strengthening their links in the management of oil and gas accounting and energy. This agreement followed the visit made by RGU’s Professor Alex Russell and Dr Labaran Lawal, to investigate how both Universities could benefit from the partnership.

Ahmadu Bello University is currently collaborating with a UK firm, health safety provider known as SHEilds, to establish a Centre of Excellence on Health and Safety in the University. The Vice Chancellor, Professor Abdullahi Mustapha, and Head of Continuous Professional Development Units, Mr. Obumneme Nwafor, met with the management of the firm recently in the United Kingdom to discuss modalities for the partnership. The Centre, when completed, will assist to develop and maintain the health safety and environment for the University.

The ‘Advancement’ of Ahmadu Bello University should be the business of every stakeholder in the University; everybody is required to contribute their quota towards promoting the University to a greater height. The questions are, what then can you contribute to make the University a better place for the future generations? What effort are you putting to compliment government’s inadequate funding? In building ABU to greatness, we need to work together as a team because, ‘united we stand; divided we fall.’

Let us unite to source for funds to ameliorate the inadequate subvention from government. Fundraising is all about being nice to people, not a negotiation; it is a compact between friends. The arm we once believed we should twist up the donor’s back we now realized should be draped around our shoulders in friendships.


Posted by: Ahmed Zakaria, ON Tuesday 27th of January 2015