By Chidimma C. Okeke
Founder of the American University of Nigeria Schools and presidential candidate of the People Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, says he has never made money from his investment in the AUN Schools system.
He said, instead, he always requested that any surplus funds be reinvested in the expansion and improvement of the schools to maintain their world-class status.
Atiku Abubakar stated this at weekend during a School Improvement Project presentation and Alumni fund dinner hosted by the American University of Nigeria Academy in Abuja as part of activities marking the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Schools.
The AUN Schools presently comprise the Academy (Nigerian and British track), the Charter School (American track), and the Elementary and Early Learning Center (pre-school cadres).
The Schools’ alumni, their parents, business elites and entrepreneurs, and Atiku’s political associates joined him and his wife, Dr. Mrs. Amina Titi Abubakar, at the dinner to raise funds for the Schools’ three-phase infrastructure and ICT upgrade.
A plaque was also presented to Atiku Abubakar by the Schools’ administration and alumni to recognize his vision in establishing the AUN Schools 20 years ago and his unwavering commitment to developing education in Nigeria.
The former Vice President of Nigeria and frontrunner for the presidency in 2023 explained that he founded the schools, which now include a university with undergraduate and graduate programs, to provide young people with access to quality education and to give back to society what it had given him.
“I have always held the unwavering conviction that education is the key to success in life and must be accorded top priority at all levels.”
He described the alumni, their parents, and the community as collaborators in making education accessible to all members of society. He congratulated them for their hard work in transforming themselves into successful role models in society and for their contributions to their institution’s growth and continued improvement.
“We have reached a point in our lives where we feel obliged to contribute to the field of education. You can always count on me to make education accessible and available to every child in Nigeria. This is my promise,” he said.
In her opening remarks, the Deputy Director of AUN Schools, Hajia Asma’u Atiku Abubakar, expressed gratitude to the Founder for his selflessness and generosity, which have made the prestigious institution’s 20 year journey possible.
While noting that students have received from the Schools excellent foundation in knowledge, character, she said, the AUN Schools have produced and nurtured some of the country’s most brilliant and successful human resources.
She urged the graduates to sustain the passion for education instilled in them by their alma mater and to continue contributing to national development.
“Without education, none of us would be here, and none of us would be successful in today’s society. Our thoughts should always be with the more than 20 million out-of-school children in Nigeria, who represent a staggering 20 percent of the world’s children whose future is bleak because they lack access to education”.
Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Senator Philip Tanimu Aduda, former Governor of Imo State, His Excellency Rt. Hon. Sir Emeka Ihedioha, Senators Ben Bruce-Murray, Dino Melaye, and former Registrar and Vice President for Administration of the American University of Nigeria, Dr. Andy Okolie, were among the dignitaries in attendance.