Thursday, November 17, 2016 8:32 pm
By Gbenro Adesina/Ibadan
As part of effort to improve the status of Nigeria’s Premier University, today, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, the President and Chief Executive, Dangote Group, donated the sum of N250million to the University of Ibadan, UI.
Dangote made this donation as the institution conferred honorary degrees on him and two others: an erudite Professor of English and international poet, Professor Niyi Osundare and a business mogul, Chief Jacob Olabode Amao during its 68th founder’s day.
Dangote, in his acceptance speech, said that UI deserves special attention not just because of its status as Nigeria’s oldest university, but also because of its invaluable contribution to the transformation of society through creativity and innovation.
Noting that with adequate funding, the university would compete favourably with the best universities in the world, he enjoined the Federal Government to consider allocating special funds to UI to enable it improve on its research and upgrade its infrastructure.
The industrialist also strongly believes that the private sector must go beyond the payment of the two percent education levy but join hands with the Senate and Federal Government in funding tertiary education in Nigeria adding, “We do acknowledge that the Federal Government alone cannot shoulder the entire burden of funding tertiary education due to competing needs of other sectors that also demand priority attention. This is where Public Private Partnership, PPP, comes in. This will ensure that our institutions of higher learning are positioned to produce graduates that we can all be proud of. In this regard, as part of our support to the university, we want to start by making a small donation of N250 million as a contribution. We hope that this token will go some way in assisting the university towards the completion of some of the ongoing project”.
He continued: “If there are two things that I am passionate about, they are education and entrepreneurship. I believe they go hand in hand. Some years ago as chairman of the National Committee on job creation, my committee tried to fashion out strategies for integrating entrepreneurship into our national educational curriculum, in line with what obtains in the western world. We believe Nigerians universities should produce self-employable graduates able to fend for themselves and contribute meaningfully to national economic growth, rather than waiting endlessly for white-collar jobs. That is why we took the decision to set up our Dangote Academy in 2010 to train young graduates on technical and vocational skills, to enhance their competitiveness in the employment market. We have so trained close to a thousand graduates and have absorbed more than 80 percent of them in our various subsidiaries, whilst we have given the rest the opportunity to use the skills that they have acquired in our Academy, in other organizations”.
He said that over the next three years, Dangote Group would invest about $20 billion in the petroleum industry and agriculture with the aim of generating over 250,000 jobs which he hoped would provide foreign exchange earnings, savings of $16 billion for the country and the nation becoming an exporter of fertilizer and other meaningful products as well as producing enough gas to generate 12,000 megawatts of power.