Daily Trust (Abuja)

1 July 2013

Nigeria: My Father Jailed for Refusing to Let Me Attend School - Atiku

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar stunned his audience in far away Geneva, Switzerland when he recalled how his late father was jailed for refusing to let him attend school in his hometown of Jada, Adamawa State.

The former Vice President made the startling revelation yesterday in remarks he made on the occasion of the conferment of an honorary doctorate degree on him by the Geneva School of Diplomacy and International Relations.

"When my father was put in jail by local authorities because he needed my assistance with herding the livestock, it seemed like a harsh punishment," Atiku reminisced.

In a statement from Atiku's media office in Abuja yesterday the former vice president noted that "were he to be alive to witness this day (yesterday) and the last 30 or so years of my life I am sure that he would exclaim 'wow! Education pays after all.'"

The founder of the American University of Nigeria (AUN), Yola recalled that as a young lad growing up in his rustic village of Jada, he had dreams, but that it was education that made his dreams come true. According to him, "education is what brought me in contact with members of the United States of America's Peace Corps when I was still a little boy; a contact and interaction that would have profound impact on my life, especially my love for education and service."

While underscoring the imperative of education to personal growth and development, the former Vice President said it gave him the friends he made across Nigeria as he attended high school and university; gave him a job in the Nigerian civil service; and provided him with opportunities to meet and form more life-long friendships from across the world.

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