Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt
The Faculty of Management Sciences, Rivers State University, has unveiled a 500-capacity library built in honour of Augustina Alaere Alaibe, the late wife of prominent Bayelsa State politician and former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Timi Alaibe.
The facility located inside the newly built faculty building, was unveiled exactly on the ninth anniversary of the death Mrs. Alaibe, an alumnus of the faculty, who graduated from the Department of Banking and Finance.
The Dean, Faculty of Management Sciences, Prof. Donald Hamilton said the project was in recognition of the legacies of Mrs. Alaibe, demonstrated through “her selfless efforts to touch lives through her non-governmental organisation, the Family Reorientation, Education and Empowerment (FREE) programme.”
In his remarks, Timi said he was humbled by the decision of the university to honour his late wife, adding that touching humanity and the society is what man was made for.
“I believe that if we can all impact on our own part in minimal ways, the society will be better for it. The honour is something we never expected for if this honour was bestowed on me or a politician or somebody in corporate service, people would have said, oh they bought it. But this is somebody who is late. So when I got the letter, to be honest I was quite humbled and I pray that those who thought it wise to do this would also be celebrated at their own times.”
He said he and his late wife consider the university, particularly the Faculty of Management Sciences, a home of sorts, adding that it was the institution that brought both of them together.
“I am eternally grateful to this university and particularly the faculty for letting my path and that of the phenomenal Alaere Augustina Alaibe cross”, he stated adding that her brief stay on earth was eventful and truly unforgettable.
He said he, the children and thousands of other people, especially of the Niger Delta region whom she touched miss her sorely but are consoled by the fact that her legacy lives on.
“I speak of a legacy that continues to inspire positive change in series of life-long pursuit especially helping women in the Niger Delta resolve some of the developmental dilemma through the double-edged weapon of literacy and empowerment.”
He thanked the management of the university and dean of the faculty for their kindness and thoughtfulness in electing to name the library after her, describing it as a huge surprise and one for which he is deeply touched.
“She deployed all her energies to drive her pet project and she truly became unstoppable in her quest to change the sordid narrative of the thoroughly deprived youths in the poverty stricken communities of Niger Delta. She might have gone physically, but her legacy lives on.”
He urged all Nigerians, especially the students of the university and particularly members of the faculty to try and impact their immediate environments positively.
“I counsel that you imbibe the spirit of selflessness as Alaere did. We must think beyond ourselves. What are we doing for others?”
He also called on some of his friends to support the university.
One of them, the Managing Director, Heritage Bank, Ifie Sekibo, who is also an alumnus of the faculty and classmate of Alaibe, immediately took up the challenge announcing that the bank would henceforth support the faculty.
He said the bank would provide the library with 500 computer sets, a 200 KVA diesel powered generator, all the shelves for the library, as well as make the library fully and adequately air conditioned.
Sekibo added the bank would assist the faculty to meet the challenges of e-commerce by providing it with the bank’s research materials on e-commerce and related fields.