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George: Our goal is to make AAU alumi strong and responsive

Thirty-seven years after its establishment, the alumni of Ambrose Ali University (AAU), Edo State, formerly Bendel State University, is staging an epochal event to connect all chapters of the Association globally...


Thirty-seven years after its establishment, the alumni of Ambrose Ali University (AAU), Edo State, formerly Bendel State University, is staging an epochal event to connect all chapters of the Association globally, to raise funds to improve infrastructure in their alma mater. The event comes up on Saturday 15th September 2018 at Muson Centre, Lagos. Chairman of the media committee, Mr. Richard George reveals details of the plan in this interview.

On Growing The Alumni Community
The incumbent President, Professor Edward Omi Ujuanbi has made this a legacy of his administration and in the last two years alone, grown the Alumni community (chapters and branches) both nationally and internationally; USA and UK respectively. What I have found most appealing is the President and the National Executive Council’s commitment to “one university” approach built on peace, equity, fairness, transparency and accountability. This is what has endeared me and perhaps given me reassurance that the future of the alumni is bright if we continue along this path. My commitment in this regards is therefore non negotiable. While the various branches and chapters operate as autonomous units taking into account local socio-cultural quirks and nuances of their base of operation, there’s a centralized constitution that supersedes as a reference point for conduct, guidelines and boundaries. The key therefore is compliance. Herein lies the point of convergence.

Staging An Awards Ceremony
The relevance of this award programme cannot be overstated. First it presents the Alumni community globally the opportunity to come together for the very first time since the University was formally established in 1981. Second, to recognise those who have contributed and continue to do so in various spheres of human endeavour at various levels of society in the last 37 years is a long overdue exercise.

While some Alumni members may argue legitimately that it is not what we (Alumni and University) need; it however gives energy and focus to the Alumni’s strategy as a stakeholder and draws attention to the University itself – as it creates an enablement for Alumni members, branches and chapters (both home and in the diaspora) to begin to align and synergise their strategies for contributing to the advancement of knowledge that is central to the vision and mission of AAU university (formerly Bendel and Edo State University, Ekpoma, Nigeria).

It remains till date the pioneer State University that has blazed the trail in Nigeria. If anything, the quality of its products that are doing so well in various fields globally serves as a reference point. Indeed its greatest achievement is perhaps one of continued advancement of knowledge through delivery of its accredited academic programmes.

Yes it does. Hence we are embarking on this bold move. AAU Alumni or indeed the University is not in competition with any institution. However, where we feel there are shared values and best practices of benefit, we would adopt same as a way of repositioning our strategic outlook. Note however that as a State funded university we must work within the State’s budgetary constraints. This is an accepted reality we cannot shy away from.

My source of joy is in the fact that so many pioneer alumni members of this great university are now working together and collaboratively to build strong, virile Alumni with robust processes and systems in place. This is testament to the quality of the Undergraduate and Postgraduate programmes that most of us were schooled in during the formative years of the university. Late Professor Ambrose Alli of blessed memory certainly wanted the best, attracted the best brains to Ekpoma to build a world-class institution. Our lawyers for example represent a cohort of the finest brains in the legal profession.

Funding The Programme
We have been very fortunate in this regard. Our primary sponsor is Keystone Bank (Nigeria) Plc. whose MD/CEO is an alumnus. We have also identified one or two other sponsors but have yet to receive any feedback.

We remain hopeful and positive. Further, we are exploring other ways to raise funds besides individual contributions from members and branches. I would like to use this opportunity to encourage any organisation or high net worth individual(s) that considers partnering or sponsoring this event to please get in touch via our website: www.aaualumni.org. Nothing is too small and we will in turn create a mutually beneficial working platform for such organisations and corporations as part of corporate social responsibility.