By Franklin Onwubiko
The Abdul Samad Rabiu Africa Initiative, ASR Africa, a non-profit organization, and brainchild of industrialist, philanthropist and Founder of BUA Group, Alhaji Abdul Samad Rabiu, on Friday announced the construction of a gigantic Students’ Centre in Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka.
The centre will be built with a One billion naira ASR Africa Tertiary Health Systems Infrastructure initial grant.
The grant was awarded to UNIZIK by ASR Africa from its annual $100 million Africa Fund for Social Development and Renewal.
Receiving the delegation alongside the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Professor Charles Esimome, the visibly elated Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the University’s Governing Council, Professor Sulyman Kuranga said the project would serve as a reward to students who according to him have maintained peace and harmony in the campus.
While commending the Foundation’s concerns for the future of the students even in a period of harsh economy, the Pro Chancellor posited that the project would rate as the first and best among in universities in Africa.
Prof Kuranga who emphasised the University’s rich core values of uniqueness, stressed that the project would be accessible to the University community irrespective of gender and would stimulate a solid learning environment.
The Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Esimone while receiving the grant letter and structural plan, expressed gratitude to the donor of the reiterating that the mega Students Center in the institution when completed, would be the first and best of its kind in Nigeria in particular and Africa at large.
The Vice-Chancellor averred that the students’ complex would house the Students Affairs unit, International Students centre, Centre for Council and Career Development, Amphi theatre, the SUG secretariat including their respective arms, among other features.
Prof Esimone reiterated that the institution is blessed, having been found worthy to receive the award grant for the construction of the wonderful edifice.
Commending the Vice-Chancellor for the choice of project in need of intervention, the ASR Africa Founder, Alhaji Rabiu said the project was borne out of aspiration to contribute his quarter to the growth and development of the country and Africa.
According to the Founder who was represented by a former Minister of Health, Dr. Aliyu Idi Hung, “We have a commitment of setting aside One Hundred Million Dollars annually of which Fifty Million Dollars is set aside specifically for Nigeria and the remaining $50m for the rest of Africa.
“As part of what we have done so far, this is the last lap of the University intervention of N1billion development grant to one institution in each geographical zone of the country.”
“It is our belief at the ASR Africa Initiative that this support will go a long way in bridging the infrastructure deficit in Education within Nigeria and other African Countries. We are excited about the endless possibilities that lie ahead of Africa and because The Time for Nigeria and Africa is now, and business development is nothing without citizens’ development.”
“On behalf of the ASR Africa Initiative, we look forward to commencing the work to build for the benefit of Africa’s children and her future”.
In his remarks, the Project Managing Director, Mr. Ubon Udoh revealed that the project would take off as soon as the UNIZIK management can constitute a team that would allow for interaction to fine tune the design to achieve the desired goal.
Mr. Udoh explained that the NUC ranking, the global universities’ ranking as well as developmental strides played a major role in the annual selection of the benefitting universities across the country.
In a remark, the Unizik Students Union President, Comrade Ani Chukwuemeka said the initiative, when completed, would be a plus to the students of the University.
Also speaking, one of the Departmental presidents, Miss Onyinye Ojukwu was full of thanks to the ASR Africa for deeming it necessary to invest in the lives of UNIZIK students.
Present at the meeting were principal officers of the University.