Zaria — Two elaborate ceremonies were organized within the span of two years to commission one project that was christened Ahmadu Bello University Centre of Excellence built by the Central Bank of Nigeria. Daily Trust reports
When the news filtered into the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) that President Muhammadu Buhari was billed to commission the university's Business School built and donated to the institution two years ago by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), shock and amazement rented the air.
The anxiety stemmed from the fact that the same project was commissioned by the bank and ABU on Friday, December 8, 2017. Therefore, the second commissioning came as a surprise to many.
The first commissioning ceremony was performed by the Deputy Governor of the CBN, Alhaji Suleiman Barau.
He said at that time that the idea of the project was conceived in order to provide postgraduate students of the university who are studying Economics, Accounting, Banking and Finance, Business Administration and Statistics a serene and ambient environment with a view to building human capacity for the financial services sub-sector.
He added: "We appreciate the pivotal role that education is playing in driving the economy of the country hence the construction of this centre. CBN's development function was to support the educational sector in Nigeria through the provision of physical structures."
Barau said the Business School, which was christened ABU's Centre of Excellence, was conceived in April 2009 and the construction contract was awarded in October of the same year to Messrs AFDIN Nigeria Limited.
He identified other universities where similar project was executed to include; University of Ibadan (UI) and University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN).
Barau added that the bank would also embark on similar project in Bayero University, Kano (BUK), University of Port Harcout, University of Jos and University of Maiduguri.
However, the second commissioning, which took place on Thursday, August 22, 2019, was supervised by the governor of the CBN, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, under the chairmanship of President Muhammadu Buhari.
While addressing dignitaries, including the president, on the importance of the edifice to ABU and the education sector in general, Emefiele almost re-echoed what Alhaji Barau said in 2017.
Emefiele explained that CBN involves in funding and supporting infrastructural development in the education sector, because of its conviction that an educated workforce play a critical role in the advancement of economies of nations and Nigeria is not an exception.
While performing the second commissioning, President Buhari, who, perhaps, did not know that he was not the first person to commission the CBN/ABU Centre of Excellence, commended the CBN for supporting the federal government's investments in the education sector and other key areas of the economy.
President Buhari urged the CBN to sustain such funding support for research and overall economic development, saying that his administration has invested close to N1.3 trillion in education. This amount, he said, does not include overhead cost given to various institutions.
Daily Trust's correspondent observed that in an attempt to give the President and other dignitaries present that the edifice was being unveiled for the first time, a commemorative plaque was constructed at the entrance of the building, which was unveiled by the President.
During the unveiling, Buhari said the ABU's Centre of Excellence, and others of its kind in other parts of the country, is a testimony of his administration's effort at improving teaching and learning in various levels of education.
He explained that during his second term, education would be accorded priority by ensuring adequate funding.
During the first commissioning, the ABU Vice Chancellor, Professor Ibrahim Garba, who was then represented by Deputy Vice Chancellor (Administration), Professor Kabiru Bala, lauded the efforts of CBN for what he described as a gigantic move toward advancing education in Nigeria, saying that the magnificent edifice would be largely dedicated for post graduate programmes.
He added: "Certainly, the vision of the university in reforming business education would have taken a long time to be realised without this postgraduate structure offered by CBN. It is a structure that matches any business school complex in the world in terms of functionality as well as currency.
"The ABU Business School is where Accounting, Business Administration and Economics would co-habit. Business Administration and Accounting were in the Kongo campus before, but they would now move to the main campus to join Economics and form the Business School. This would decongest the Kongo campus, because the place has been in existence for more than 70 years."
Similarly, during the second commissioning, Professor Garba disclosed that ABU has gotten the National Universities Commission (NUC) approval to run a full time Business School in Abuja, making it the first of its kind owned by the federal government.
Daily Trust reports that many members of the ABU's community and other onlookers are yet to come to terms with the rationale behind commissioning a single project twice.