By Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has said he is satisfied that his burning desire to set up an American-styled university in Nigeria has been realised.
Atiku who was guest of honour atÂ convocation ceremony at American University of Nigeria (AUN) in Yola, Adamawa State, said the effort that saw to the establishmentÂ 15 years ago was aÂ dream he once held close to his heart.Â
Atiku spoke at the weekend during inauguration of a solar project and an administration building complex as part of ceremonies marking the 2017 convocation at the AUN in Yola.Â
He recalled how his wife, Dr. Jemila Abubakar, aided the modelling of the institution after the American University in Washington D. C.
â€œFor those of you who donâ€™t know the role of Dr. Jemila Abubakar in the concept and planning of this university, I think I need to go a few years back when I decided to have an American-styled university in Nigeria.Â
â€œAt that time, Jamila was a PhD student at the American University inÂ Washington, and her main project supervisor was Jim Goodman. Then, I told her and said look, I want to set up an American-styled university in Nigeria, how can you help,â€ he said.
Narrating further the role of his wife in the actualisation of the university dream, Atiku said Jemilaâ€™s thesis supervisor, Jim Goodman, played a significant role in convincing the authorities of the American University to accept toÂ send a team to Yola for the citing of the institution in 2004.Â
â€œThen she invited Jim Goodman to a dinner in our home in Washington, we had the dinner where we introduced the project to him and he was excited and took it up with the authorities of The American University, Washington. Thereafter, a committee was set up to visit Yola, under the leadership of the then Vice President of the American University of International Affairs, late Robert Pastor.
â€œThe team paid their first visit to Yola, I remember while visiting Yola for the first time, he asked: â€œWhere is the university?,â€™ and I pointed to the bush. And he asked, â€˜how will you do this?â€™ And I said:, â€˜this is why I brought you here.â€™Â
â€œFrom there, we started work and here we are today, itÂ is a reality, it is a dream I dreamtÂ about 15 years ago and it continues to unfold and continues to make history not only in Nigeria but also in Africa,â€ he said.
The former vice president noted that one of the unique features of the curriculum of the AUN is its emphasis on studentsâ€™ participation and excellence in community service which has endeared the institution to the local populace. Â
Over the years, AUN has had an array of notable Ike Chioke of Afrinvest West Africa Limited, who stood in as the new keynote speaker for its graduation ceremony, however, thrilled the audience at the Lamido Aliyu Musdafa Commencement Hall with his brilliant presentation of his life story as a professional with many backgrounds.
A first-class Civil Engineering graduate of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, and a trustee member of the AUN board, Mr. Chioke, spoke of the revolutionary and transformational role AUN has played in the life of the people of Adamawa State
Over 100 students graduated from the school in the 2017 academic session with many of them wining awards in various categories.Â