President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday used the occasion of the golden jubilee of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) to pay glowing tributes to the late Sardauna of Sokoto and Premier of Northern Nigeria, Sir Ahmadu Bello, for his vision in setting up the institution.
President Jonathan said the vision of the late Sardauna for the university when it was founded was not only for the northerners but for all Nigerians and foreigners.
He said the quality of the products of the university, had attested to the vision of its great founder.
"The university has produced the president of this country in the person of the late President Umar Musa Yar'Adua and my Vice President, Architect Mohammed Namadi Sambo and other notable distinguished personalities in this country.
"As a country, we will continue to remember his (Sardauna) contributions to the development of this country," he stated.
At inception, Sardauna's vision for the famous university 50 years ago, was that it should be "a world class citadel of learning comparable to prime universities anywhere in the world, by imparting contemporary knowledge, using high quality facilities and multi-disciplinary approaches, to men and women of all races, as well as generating new ideas and intellectual practices relevant to the needs of its immediate community, Nigeria and the world at large."
Its mission, according to Sardauna, "is to advance the frontiers of learning and break new grounds, through teaching, research and the dissemination of knowledge of the highest quality; to establish and foster national and international integration, development and the promotion of African traditions and cultures; to produce high level human power and enhance capacity building through retraining in order to meet the needs and challenges of the catchment area, Nigeria and the rest of the world."
President Jonathan said the university after 50 years had lived up to Sardauna's vision and mission and therefore worthy of commending its founding father for a well-thought vision.
Meanwhile, LEADERSHIP Man of the Year, Gen. Theophilus Danjuma, who was among eminent persons selected by the university for awards, yesterday asked the authorities to defer the award. He said because of his esteemed regard for the institution, he would want to personally receive the award at a later date.
Danjuma sent a letter of acceptance to the university's authorities and indicated that he would receive the award personally at a later date.
His letter of acceptance as read by the ABU's vice chancellor, Prof. Abdullahi Mustapha. It reads in parts: "I write to accept and thank you very much for the respect and for the offer of Honorary Doctorate of Science (Hon. D.Sc) by the Governing Council of the Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, but unfortunately for exigencies and unavoidable reasons, I cannot be present at the convocation to receive the award in person, and because of the respect for the university, I will not want to be represented, I will want to receive the award at any convenient occasion in person."
Former Military President, Gen. Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida alongside Alhaja (Chief) Abibatu Mogaji and the Emir of Kuwait, Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah were conferred with the honorary doctorate degrees by the school as part of the activities marking the golden jubilee special convocation ceremony.
Babangida was conferred with the award of honorary doctorate degree of law (Hon. LL.D), while Alhaja Chief Abibatu Mogaji was conferred with the honorary doctorate of Humane Letters (Hon. D.HL), and Al-Sabah was also awarded the honorary doctorate of law (Hon. LL.D).
Babangida, who spoke on behalf of other recipients, lamented that universities and other institutions in the country are faced with difficulties.
According to him, "the university and other institutions in Nigeria are undoubtedly going through some difficult times. Beside dwindling finance and grants from government, the entire revenue system of the citizenry has been turned upside down.
Former Lagos state governor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who received the award of Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters on behalf of Alhaja Abibatu Mogaji (his mother) expressed gratitude to the institution for honouring her during her lifetime.
Prominent Nigerians and organisations yesterday sent congratulatory messages to Babangida, Danjuma and Mogaji on their recognition by the university.
Those, who greeted Babangida, included former head of state, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, AMG Petroleum Limited, Mallam Rufai Jumar Jose Nuhu Sani, Mallam Munir Jafaru (Yarima Zazzau), Hon. Abubakar Bawa Bwari, Hon. Abdullahi Musa, Hon. Shehu Ibrahim Kagara and Mr. Richard Alao.
Others are Governor of Niger State, Muazu Babangida Aliyu, Falalu Bello and Family, and the management and staff of Heritage Press Ltd.
Also, AMG Petroleum Ltd, Governor Babangida Aliyu, Dr. Joseph Odumodu, and Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar sent goodwill messages to Danjuma on the event.
Alhaja Mogaji received goodwill messages from Alhaji Aminu Idris Yaro (Sarkin Hausawa of Lagos), Lagos State Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Mr.Ademorin Kuye, Lagos State Council of Obas and Chiefs, Conference '57 Local Government of Lagos State, Abiodun Oki, Senator Gbenga Ashafa, Mutiu Lawal Are, Hakeem Muri-Okunola, 'Demola Azeez, Rotimi Oyekan, Obafemi Kadri Hamzat, Fuad Oki, and Tayo Ayinde.