The former vice president was honoured for his democratic credentials.
Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, has been given an honorary Doctor of International Relations by a Swiss institution.
The Geneva School of Diplomacy and International Relations at its commencement ceremony in Geneva on June 30, through its president, Colum Murphy, cited Mr. Abubakar’s exemplary leadership as Vice President of Nigeria as reason for the honour.
“His (Mr. Abubakar’s) democratic and courageous resistance to the militarization of national politics and his rightful insistence that
political opposition not be treated as enemies of the state but rather, respected for needed loyal opposition,” the citation read.
The citation also made mention of Mr. Abubakar’s altruistic nature, noting that he exuded stellar qualities “not only at the highest
political levels but as an entrepreneur and a role model in the business arena.”
It applauded his dedication to fostering the development of education as evidenced in his visionary and historic founding of the American University of Nigeria, AUN.
Mr. Murphy pointed out that the award to Mr. Abubakar took cognisance of “his deep-seated understanding of democracy, its spirit and its principals, as well as his exemplary statesmanship – of benefit to Nigeria and indeed, to Africa as a whole.”
After thanking Ms. Murphy and the GSD Community, Mr. Abubakar, in his remarks spoke about his life-long commitment to education.
“As a little boy growing up in a small village in North East Nigeria, I could not have imagined myself standing before you today to receive an honorary doctorate degree from this prestigious school, in this city of diplomacy, in this prestigious country. I never dreamed of a day like this.
“Education is what has helped me to make the modest achievements that I have made in business and politics and the contributions that I have made in improving the lives of others. And education is what has informed my determination to give back to society, especially through education.
Education’s centrality in the improvement of the human condition is one reason why public policy must seek to always improve the quality of and access to public education everywhere in the world, especially in the developing countries such as mine, Nigeria.”
Mr. Abubakar’s daughter, Maryam Abubakar, a 2010 AUN graduate received her MA in International Relations from GSD during the same commencement ceremony.