The Federal Government has revealed that the N1.2 billion hostel donated by the Aliko Dangote Foundation to Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria is the single largest donation by an individual in the history of universities in Nigeria.
“You have done what no other Nigerian has done since 1948 when the first university was founded. This is the single largest intervention by any individual in any university in this country in the 70-year history of our university. So, I congratulate Alhaji Aliko Dangote,” he said.
A visibly elated governor of Kaduna State, Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai, who is also an alumnus of the university, hailed Dangote for the giant project.
He described Dangote’s generosity as unprecedented, especially his support for education.
Speaking, Ibrahim Garba, vice chancellor of the university, said Dangote would forever remain dear to Ahmadu Bello University.
“The student population of ABU is over 50,000, made up of about 35,000 undergraduates and about 15,000 postgraduates. Every year, 11,500 undergraduates and about 6,000 postgraduates are admitted while about 6,000 undergraduates and 3,000 postgraduates respectively graduate. In any one academic year, we are only able to accommodate about 13,000 students on our two campuses,” Garba said.
“We are happy that Dangote has fulfilled the pledge he made in 2016 to build 10 blocks of hostels for Ahmadu Bello University’s students to improve their living condition. We may accommodate six students per room. This will certainly go a long way in ameliorating the accommodation scarcity bedevilling the university,” he said.
He thanked Dangote for his intervention, as well as members of the Aliko Dangote Foundation and the entire Dangote family.
“This is unprecedented for us. We can’t ask for anything more except if he thinks of anything he wants to add on his own volition,” Garba said.
Dangote, who also bagged an Honorary Doctorate Degree, said about his motivation, “If there are two things that I am passionate about, they are education and entrepreneurship. I believe they go hand-in-hand.”
He said it was this philosophy that led to the creation of the Dangote Academy in 2010 where about 1,000 graduates have been absorbed after their training.
He said he hopes students who stay in the Aliko Dangote Hall will follow his entrepreneurial footsteps and become future Aliko Dangote.
“When I came here as a guest speaker in 2016, the vice-chancellor told me that they have needs for accommodation; in fact, the last accommodation they had was 37 years ago as at then,” he said.
“It is not good for us to leave a university like this without accommodation. Really, our intention was to accommodate the female students, not boys. However, I still plead with the vice-chancellor to leave it for the female folk,” he added.
Muhammad Aminu Sambo, director, physical planning and municipal services of the university, said, “This is a big relief because the university has limited accommodation in relation to the numbers of students admitted every year. Accommodation is one of our nightmares.”
Speaking to newsmen, Sambo said of the over 50,000 students admitted yearly, the university could only provide accommodation for about 13,000.
He commended Dangote and urged all able Nigerians to emulate him and intervene in the educational sector.
Yabani Abubakar, chief architect of the university, described the hostel as a monumental intervention, urging others to emulate Dangote.
The 57-year-old ivory tower is sitting on 7,000 hectares with 82 academic departments, 13 faculties, and 12 research institutes