A Tribute To A Distinguish Alumnus And One- Time President Of ABU Alumni Association: Late Alhaji Abubakar Gimba
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE ABU ALUMNI ASSOCIATION
The ABU Alumni Association began in the late sixties in Lagos, through the pioneering efforts of some early graduates of the University, among them, Arc. (Chief) Fola Alade, late Arc. Lai Balogun and late Professor Ayodele Awojobi. At this stage, it functioned as a social interactive meeting of a few graduates in and around Lagos. In 1975, the first attempt to give the Association a National outlook began when the first Caretaker Committee was established. Immediately after, a Midwest Branch was born in Benin City in addition to the existing group in Lagos. Subsequently, Branches were established in such cities as Warri, Jos, Port Harcourt and Kaduna. This was the first era.
The second Era
In the early years, the Lagos Branch also functioned as the National Body. During these years, an attempt was made to give the Association a constitution and to separate the National Organ from the Lagos State Branch. This attempt did not quite succeed, partly because the prime movers were all based in Lagos. A National Constitution could not be agreed and leadership revolved around the willing and available. Nevertheless, this second era witnessed the laying of a solid foundation and the involvement of more graduates occupying key government positions in the affairs of the Association. This era witnessed the leadership of Chief (Arc.) Fola Alade, late Dr. Dalhatu Araf, late Alhaji S.A. Mohammed, Alhaji Mohammed Kari, who at various times served as National President.
The Third Era
Arch. Mohammed Dewu as National President and the late Barrister Mohammed Adamu as National Secretary who succeeded the Alhaji Mohammed Kari Executive gave so much in laying the modern foundation for the Association. This third era (1998-2002) witnessed the following:
During this era, awareness about the Association increased across the country. Branches began to demand to play a greater role in the affairs of the Association and for some formal relationship with the National Body. As there was no working constitution and discernable structure, the feeling of alienation continued unabated.
The Fourth Era
In March 2000, the Rivers/Bayelsa Branch of the Association under the Chairmanship of Mr. A.T.C. Edebiri invited the National Body for consultation on how to evolve a strong National Association. This was followed by the convocation of a Stakeholders meeting at the Presidential Hotel, Port Harcourt at which far-reaching decisions were taken. The Edo, Delta, Zaria and Lagos Branches were represented. The Jos Branch joined the group subsequently. In time, a Stakeholders Co-ordination Committee led by Mr. Edebiri began to challenge the state of affairs and gave birth to several committees, foremost among them, the Constitution Drafting Committee and the Contact Committee. In October 2001, the first draft of the Constitution was formally adopted. At this meeting, the former President and Secretary General, who were the only remnant of the old Executive Committee, were asked to step down from office. A Caretaker Committee under the chairmanship of Alhaji Aliyu Mohammed Shika, Wakilin Makaranta Zazzau was put in place. It was this Committee that worked so hard to organize the July 2002 National Assembly, which brought in the Executive Committee led by Alhaji Abubakar Gimba, OFR.
The Role of the University Administration
From the mid 1980's the University Administration had shown interest in the development of the Association. The University offered facilities for a temporary Secretariat; set up an Alumni Coordination Committee made up of prominent academics and high-ranking members of the University Community, and appointed an Alumni Officer in the Vice-Chancellor's Office. Also, the Alumni National President was given an automatic seat on the University's Governing Council. This made it possible for the Association to make direct input into policy matters in the University, in addition to other forms of intervention like raising funds for developmental projects and contributing to uplifting standards in their Alma matter through donations.
This symbiotic relationship got a boost during the tenure of the Sole Administrator, Major General Mamman Kontagora (Rtd.), who revitalized the Alumni Office and interacted regularly with members and leadership of the Association. The Administration that came after him continued with this process and put up a sizeable amount of resources to ensure that the Alumni Body achieved its full potential and participated fully in the activities of the University. The Vice Chancellor, Professor Abdullahi Mahadi visited all active Branches of the Association and ensured that the Alumni Body was fully kept abreast of developments in the university. He placed emphasis on the focal role of the Alumni Association in resource mobilization for the University. This yielded a rich dividend for ABU with some contributions coming to it as grants, donations, endowments and gifts in cash and kind. Today, the current Vice Chancellor, Professor Shehu U. Abdullahi also kept pace with this tradition of working in partnership with the Alumni Association.
Today, there are 28 State Branches, 12 Faculty Chapters and 2 emerging Foreign Branches of the Association. Efforts are currently on to establish a Branch in every State of the Federation. The Association also currently has a full complement of National Officers (17) and a Board of Trustees made-up of Alhaji Yahaya Gusau (Shettiman, Sokoto), Major General Mamman Kontagora (Rtd), (Chief) Fola Alade, Engr. Dr. Ujaaman, Alhaji (Dr) Yayale Mahmud Ahmed, Chief Barnabas Gemade and Engr. Nze Nwankwo. All the organs of the Association are currently functional in accordance with the provisions of the constitution. This gives hope for a very bright future.
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