Atiku delivers first speech since leaving APC (FULL DETAILS)

Former Vice-President of Nigeria and Founder of the American University of Nigeria (AUN), His Excellency Atiku Abubakar during the 12th Founder's Day of the AUN. [Photo credit: AUN]
Former Vice-President of Nigeria and Founder of the American University of Nigeria (AUN), His Excellency Atiku Abubakar during the 12th Founder's Day of the AUN. [Photo credit: AUN]

A former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar, has delivered his first speech since quitting the country’s ruling party, APC.

PREMIUM TIMES reported how Mr. Abubakar on Friday announced via a public letter that he was leaving the party.

A day later, the Waziri Adamawa delivered a speech at the 2017 Founder’s Day Celebration of the American University of Nigeria, AUN; an institution he founded.

In his speech, Mr. Abubakar, who has not stated what party he is joining, lamented the high number of Nigeria’s out of school children. He said while Boko Haram insurgency may have been a contributory factor, it was not the reason for the high number of high of school children.

“A great majority of our out-of-school children are not in this situation because of insurgency, even though that contributed to it most significantly in a certain percentage of the population.

“Poverty and the struggle for daily leaving has been the guiltiest contributor to the countless number of school drop-outs in our country,” the Adamawa politician said.

Read Mr. Abubakar’s full speech below.

Remarks by the founder of the American University of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar, former Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria at the 2017 Founder’s Day Celebration held at the Main Campus of the American University of Nigeria Yola, on Saturday, November 25, 2017.

Protocol

It is that time of the year, every year since the establishment of the American University of Nigeria that I go into this emotional trance while listening to the sonorous voices and fabulous rendition of Happy Birthday songs for me by the pupils of the AUN Elementary School. I have struggled, quite a bit, to hold back tears of joy, as I get tremendously humbled by the wonderful gesture of love and appreciation from these children. I cannot thank you enough for such profound display of gratitude with demonstrable talents and skills.

Every time I step into the campus of the American University of Nigeria to attend this and other functions, I tend to have a different and more optimistic view about the future of our country. When I encounter our very creative students demonstrating their knowledge, skills and talents, my confidence soar and my faith in the future of Nigeria becomes a lot stronger.

Let me therefore take this opportunity to commend the parents of these children, for trusting us with the task of shaping them, in character and in learning, for the enormous task ahead of their generation.

I will also commend the teachers of these little children in particular, and the general body of staff and faculty of the American University of Nigeria for the selfless services they render, while doing their daily jobs here, for the future of our country and that of humanity in general. The performances of these young pupils of our elementary school and the various exploits and achievements recorded by the alums of the American University of Nigeria across various industries worldwide are some of the reasons for the establishment of these institutions.

We may have made substantial impact on our students, which spreads widely into our community in Yola and the wider global spheres, but there is a lot more to be achieved and conquered. Our overall impact on our immediate environment is still a very tiny sparkle in a great sea of darkness. Our penetration rate is still a fraction of a percentage of the actual need. It is here that our challenges as well as our opportunities reside.

It is quite challenging moving around Yola every day and seeing so many children out of the school system.

Even those that managed to be captured in the educational system tend to be poorly served and at the risk of dropping out the next moment. The overall enrolment figures for our schools, impressive as it looks, pales into insignificance when compared against the army of school drop outs in our community.

This challenge is also paradoxically an opportunity for our educational community to dig deep into our knowledge boxes and come up with strategies to capture all these out of school children back to the classrooms. Your effort with the Feed and Read program is impressive but not enough. It merely illuminates the way forward and highlights part of the reason for the huge number of school dropouts in our region. A great majority of our out-of-school children are not in this situation because of insurgency, even though that contributed to it most significantly in a certain percentage of the population. Poverty and the struggle for daily leaving has been the guiltiest contributor to the countless number of school drop-outs in our country.

Perhaps the solution to all of this might be found in addressing the deplorable level of poverty in our society. While we battle to conquer poverty, one good point to start is NOT to make access to education a function of the economic standing of a child’s parentage. That was our cases in the beginning. That was how and why members of my generation with appetite to study were educated to their highest possible levels regardless of the economic fortunes of their families.

Our task as a development University is to shred this record and find creative ways of working with our community and governments to root out this terrible situation. As you take on this important responsibility, let me assure you, Madam President, and the entire AUN educational community, that I will intensify my support to the University and its educational mission.

Let me take this moment to thank, most profoundly, Mr. Joe Parkinson, our Keynote Speaker, who delivered a wonderful and thought provoking speech this afternoon. We appreciate your swift acceptance of our invitation to come over to Yola to deliver this speech for us at a very short notice. We will forever remain most grateful to you.

Once again, Madam President, Mr. Chairman and members of the AUN Board of Trustees, Ladies and Gentlemen, I thank you very much for being so generous with your birthday greetings and for listening to me.


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  • Inieke Akpan Ekuma

    If Atiku really sympathizes with Nigerian, can the poor afford to send their children to this university, Or how many Nigerian are on scholarship?

    • Jon

      And, that’s why there are public Colleges and Universities. He offered scholarship to girls released by Boko Haram. How many of these girls have been offered admission to Nigeria’s own public Universities?

      • Bassey Frank

        Intelligent response.

  • Truth Hurts

    Below is the full text of what the politician said in 2014 before embracing the APC.
    Press Statement by Atiku Abubakar, GCON, Turaki Adamawa and former Vice President, Federal Republic of Nigeria on his Resignation from the PDP and his Joining the APC.
    In 2006, as a result of my firm stand in defence of our constitution and our democracy, my supporters and I were pushed out of our party, the Peoples Democratic Party, a party that we worked tirelessly with other compatriots to build as a vehicle to restore democracy to our country.
    We later returned to that party in 2009 when a new leadership of the party and the country promised a new direction, a direction of inclusiveness, of internal democracy, of an end to impunity, adherence to the rule of law and respect for the dignity of members and Nigerians.
    Sadly, however, those promises have not been kept. In addition, the PDP continues to be beset with many crises, mostly leadership-induced crises. It has since lost touch with Nigerians and efforts made by many well-meaning members and stakeholders to bring it back to the vision of the founders have been rebuffed.
    To demonstrate the seriousness of the challenges and bring public attention to it I and some other leaders and stakeholders staged a walkout during the party’s last convention in Abuja.
    As I speak, most of the issues that led to that walk-out are yet to be addressed. Many founding members of the PDP, I included, continue to be marginalized and excluded from the affairs of the party. For instance as a former Vice President, I am by virtue of the PDP constitution, a member of the party’s Board of Trustees and its National Executive Committee. However, I am not invited to the meetings of those organs nor consulted on their decisions, apparently because I dared to exercise my right to contest in the party’s primary election for a chance to be its flag-bearer in the 2011 elections. We have, therefore, concluded that that party cannot be redeemed. In short the PDP has abandoned Nigerians, the very people who gave it life and many electoral victories.
    More worrisome though is the danger posed to the continued existence of this country by this culture of impunity and arbitrariness. We continue to have threats from officially protected political extremists. Increasingly our people are recklessly being divided along the lines of religion, ethnicity and region for political gains. Our history and that of many other countries in Africa and Eastern Europe ought to teach us that this is very dangerous and must stop.
    We can and we must do better. Our people deserve better.
    It is against this background that we should understand the visit by the leaders of the APC and their invitation to me to join hands with them to save the country. Consequently, I have been consulting my supporters and associates, my family and friends for the past few weeks. My decision may not satisfy some of my friends and associates. In the end, however, I have to put the interest of our country first. This country has done so much for me personally and it deserves all that we can do to help rebuild it and serve our people better.
    Following this extensive consultative process, I have, therefore, decided to cast my lot with the APC, a party of change committed to the improvement of the lives of our people and to the continued existence and development of Nigeria as one indivisible country. My resignation letter as a member of the PDP will be delivered to the party tomorrow.
    This is the right decision. As in 2006 it is the struggle for democracy and constitutionalism and service to my country and my people that are driving my choice and my decision. Let me emphasize that this is not about me. We have to have a country before people can aspire to lead it, but as it is today we may be losing this country. That is not acceptable.
    I encourage my political associates and friends to register andjoin the APC once the registration exercise commences, so that together we can change this country for the better.
    The process of building a nation, of securing and deepening democracy is indeed difficult. And it is not a lineal process. There would be alignment and realignment of political forces. There would be ups and downs and zig-zags, triumphs and challenges. Amidst all that, patriots must remain focused and do what has to be done to save and build the country and serve our people better.
    That is what I have decided to do. I will do all within my God-given powers to help the APC win elections all over Nigeria and bring true change to our country and its long-suffering people.
    Thank you and God bless Nigeria.
    Atiku Abubakar, GCON
    (Turaki Adamawa)

  • Mentus

    Assuming Atiku is genuine, he should just give up politics because, to borrow a phrase from Caesar, The fault is not in the parties, it is in the individuals who make up the party. Curruption, impunity tribalism run in the veins of 90% of Nigerians and these sooner or later will manifest in which ever party you form or join.

    • Bassey Frank

      If someone without a secondary school certificate is rejected by Nigerians three times and he still buldozed his way to the Presidency at 78, why should Atiku give up politics?