Former Vice President of Nigeria and Founder of American University of Nigeria (AUN), Atiku Abubakar, has approved a staff pay raise of up to 26%, amounting to 91 million Naira, aimed at cushioning the impact of the current economic recession.
President of the institution, Margee Ensignthis revealed this at the institution’s 12th year anniversary celebration.
Addressing the gathering, she urged the institution’s workforce to continue to re-dedicate themselves to hard work in reciprocating the kind gesture.
The event brought together AUN school children from the academy as well as the University students, staff and friends of the institution, to equally honour Abubakar, who recently turned 70.
Also, on hand to add colour to the occasion, were friends, associates and well wishers of the celebrant, who was Nigeria’s vice president between 1999 and 2007.
Ensign, said the occasion is a reflection of the founding principles of the institution, which is generally believed to be the first development university in Africa.
She told the gathering that “Just as the prices go up, our prices go up too for the same thing that you are purchasing.
“We are a developing university and that means first and foremost, we take care of people here who have been working so hard for the university.
“Of course we could not do this without the support of the AUN board and especially our founder,” Ms Ensign emphasized.
The institution founded on the principles of excellence, integrity and service according to her, has evoked series of community projects, which are contributing enormously to the development of the host community.
She stated that the school had also introduced several programs that have helped in peace initiatives within the troubled area, as well as assist the out-of-school children displaced by the Boko Haram insurgence.
The Executive Director of the school, Nkem Uzowulu said, “The institution has to honour him because he is our founder that is if you know the history of this school.”
“He founded this school as it was formally known as ABTI academy and then later it became American University of Nigeria.
“So he is our father, he is our founder, but most importantly he is our role model, he inspires us and I wish that his dreams will come true and by God’s grace they will,” Nkem prayed.
The celebrant, Abubakar, said he had earlier directed that anyone willing to sponsor a congratulatory message for his 70th birthday, should channel the money towards the improvement of the lives of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the north east.
“This historic event is a surprise to me and I want to thank the AUN community, both the students of the University and the academy for organizing the events.
“Particularly the children who have come here to demonstrate their learning capabilities, and their teachers for doing a great job by impacting qualitative knowledge to the school children,” Atiku stated
The events also featured series of activities as friends and well wishes of the institution converged in Yola the Adamawa state capital, to take stock of how it has fared since its existence.
Activities lined up for the celebration included the commissioning of the faculty of law edifice, which signified the take-off of the course in the institution as well as a book exhibition expected to re-equip the central library in Genye town which was burnt by the Boko Haram militants.
Others included: an arts exhibition, showcasing historic handwork of students and the ‘WizKids’ program, designed to inspire children in local secondary schools.
It also aimed at building foundational knowledge and mastery of science, technology, engineering and mathematics as an extracurricular activity.
The founder also met with the Emerging Leader Academy (ELA), a group, which seeks to broaden the leadership skills of the students who are future leaders.