The vice-chancellor, Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, Professor Abdullahi Mustapha, has said that all necessary arrangements are in place to commence the celebration of the institution’s 50th anniversary on October 4, 2012.
In a press statement signed by the ABU AT 50 Organising Committee, the vice-chancellor said that he wished to inform all alumni, stakeholders, friends of the university and the general public that the university will be 50 come October 4, 2012.
“To celebrate these years of academic excellence and contribution to national development, this true Nigerian university has set aside October 4 – November 24, 2012, to make the event unique and successful.
“Key among activities lined up for the event is presentation of Sir Ahmadu Bello Golden award to prominent and distinguished alumni whose unparalleled contributions deserve appreciation,” he said.
Professor Mustapha called on the alumni, friends and stakeholders to make necessary sacrifice and contribute in cash or otherwise to enable the institution make the momentous occasion worthwhile.
“Having kept faith with the dreams, vision and mission of its founding fathers, ABU will be celebrating its 50th anniversary worthy of its status from Thursday, October 4, 2012.”
The vice chancellor noted that when the university was opened formally on October 4, 1962, it started with 426 students on four faculties and 15 departments.
“Since then, the university has been developing its capacity in both teaching and research by expanding and redefining its programmes and upgrading its infrastructure in tandem with the national and international market demands.
“Presently, it has about 50,000 students in 12 faculties, 96 departments, 12 research institutes and centres, one veterinary teaching hospital. The university centres and institutes have outreach stations located in almost every part of Nigeria.
“Today, the university has blossomed into the largest university south of the Sahara in terms of physical facilities and student enrolment.
“ABU is the most cosmopolitan tertiary institution in Nigeria both in terms of staff and student profiles on the grounds that every local government area has student(s) in the institution. Besides, all states of the federation had a representative in the staff profile of the university.
“It is putatively the only truly federal university in the country. It has thus carved a niche for itself as the country’s symbol of national unity and integration.”
Professor Mustapha noted that ABU produced the first university graduate in the history of Nigeria to serve as the president, commander-in-chief of the armed forces in the person of the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.
“The celebration of ABU at 50, therefore, ought to be an occasion not only for celebration but also for stocktaking and sober reflection of the journey so far.
“It calls for an assessment of the university’s strengths and weaknesses with a view to consolidating the strength and marshalling and transforming the weaknesses into core competences and opportunities,” he stated.