ATIKU ABUBAKAR’S Speech At 5th ZIK Lecture.
Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar was conferred with the honor of being the Chairman of the 5th ZIK Annual lecture series held today at the Auditorium of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka. Read His full remarks Below:
THEME: Crisis, Education and Africa’s Recovery
Being Chairman’s Remarks at the 2016 Zik Lecture Series, at the University Auditorium,
Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State.
16 November, 2016.
I heartily welcome today’s Zik Lecturer, Mr Raila Odinga, to Awka and Nigeria. Please enjoy the warm hospitality of Nigeria and especially the great people of Awka and the South East.
I am told that the Igbo, as an ethnic and cultural group, originated or first settled around this area of Igboland, the Nri-Awka axis. The man in whose name we have gathered here today, the late Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, is without a doubt the greatest Igbo man to come out of Nigeria.
It is fitting, therefore, that the Zik Lecture series is endowed in the federal university that bears the name of this remarkable African of Igbo extraction, a university that is located in the area where the Igbo are said to have originated. Like Oliver Twist I call for more of such endowments and support for this university and others across the country. I hope that more lectures and chairs are endowed in this and other universities across Nigeria and indeed Africa. We must not forget that in words and deeds Dr Azikiwe transcended Igboland and Nigeria. He was the Zik of Africa.
I sincerely thank my friend, and long-time political associate, Senator Ben Obi, for endowing the Zik Lecture series in the Faculty of Social Sciences of this young and dynamic university. Ben is reminding us that the evidence of good living is more than just binging on isi ewu, nkwobi and beer. It is more than driving the most expensive cars or living in the most elegant mansions. It should include support for others and our institutions. It should include actions that ensure that we are remembered for something meaningful, productive and enduring.
I understand that our Guest Lecturer, Mr Odinga, will speak on the Crisis of the Nation State in Africa. So permit me to steer clear of that topic in my remarks. As you know, I like to stay out of trouble. Instead, let me say a few things about the kind of philanthropy that brought us together at this event and why it is so important for the revival of education in Nigeria.
You may recall that public education began as a private and voluntary endeavour in our country. Christian missionaries built the first schools. As more and more of our people embraced Western education and as the need for trained labour force grew, the colonial government stepped in and expanded educational opportunities. This was continued in the post-colonial period by our regional and local governments. A few public spirited Nigerians also established primary and secondary schools to further expand educational opportunities for our people.