The Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial Foundation Launching: Matters Arising

2 Comments » November 5th, 2009 posted by // Categories: General Articles



The Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial Foundation Launching: Matters Arising

 

On Saturday, 17 October 2009 at the Murtala Muhammad Square Kaduna, Nigerians of all walks of life and representatives of the international community witnessed the historic and august formal launching of the long awaited “Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial Foundation (ABMF)”. Some public commentators have described the launch, which was coordinated by the Northern Governors’ Forum (NGF), “represented one of the most important gatherings of Northern leaders and some Southern political associates in recent times.” This quoted statement is the ultimate truth to say the least.

Moreover, coming almost 43 years after his callous and cowardly assassination by a bunch of some retrogressive elements within the Nigerian Army, it is better late than never. At my own age myself, I never set my eyes on the legendary first ever Premier of Northern Nigeria, the very influential Sarduana of Sokoto.

He has continued to be described as a very descent, simple and visionary leader by all those who have known him from very far and very close distances. He left enduring legacies (NOT private Mansions, fat local and foreign bank accounts and other worldly possessions) that need no introduction to the old, the new generation and yet unborn Nigerians – his laudable and enviable footprints are all over the northern landscape to date.

Furthermore, his contributions to the development of modern Nigeria go beyond the northern region, which served as his main constituency during his life time. For example, he played major roles in the match to Nigeria’s independence in the early 1950s and post-independence political and economic consolidation of Nigeria up to the time of his untimely death.

His contributions have been well chronicled; documented and preserved for posterity in academic studies that can be found in libraries and documentation centres all over the world (including The Arewa House – his Kaduna official residence). He was a truly, foresighted, humanistic and democratic nation builder.

I therefore highly commend the wisdom of those who decided after 43 years since his death and remembered (though belatedly) to: “Render to Caesar what is Caesar’s;” in memory of the excellent deeds of this legendary giant and colossus of a true leader of the people.

The NGF, under indefatigable leadership of the Chief Servant of Niger State, Governor Dr. Muazu Babangida Aliyu and the powerful Steering Committee of the Foundation, under the credible and charming Chairmanship of retired Justice Mamman Nasir did an excellent job. They all deserve warm commendations. However, the arduous task of translating the laudable aims and objectives, visions and mission of the Foundation has just began.

Speaking from the perspectives of the past experiences regarding this type of noble initiatives (for example, the Kano Foundation or Gidauniyyar Kano and the likes) and my recent personal experience with the Shehu Shagari World Institute for Leadership and Good Governance (SSWI), the promoters and managers of this noble initiative must not rest their oars yet.

There are lots of things to be done to in order consolidate this very wonderful first “groundbreaking ceremony” of a very long journey that just started. For example, raising astounding sums of 5.5 billion naira (out of a projected 20 billion naira target) in a period of national and global recession is by no means a great achievement. For people to make this staggering donation of money in memory of an individual not alive and holding a juicy public office in contemporary Nigeria says a lot about the legendary late first and last Premier of Northern Nigeria, Sir Ahmadu Bello Sardaunan Sokoto of blessed memory.

There are other challenges that deserve the attention of the promoters and managers of this laudable initiative. These are: First, the issue of recovery or redemption of the numerous pledges made during the launching ceremony. This is the first human challenge that will confront the Steering Committee. It is very easy to pledge large sums of money in public glare but very difficult to get those who pledged them to honour them. It takes a lot of staff time and money to follow-up pledges and to effectively collect them. For example, some times it may cost the organizers close to 50% of the total amount pledged in the process of redeeming that one pledge. The worst case scenario is when the pledge was just a pledge and not meant or intended to be honoured by the person who made it. Under this scenario, the organizers lose money, staff time and risk of travelling on Nigerian bad roads infested with armed robbers!

Second and most fundamental is the issue of stewardship of the financial resources or funds and other resources of the Foundation. Here we are talking about transparency and accountability of management of the financial resources raised thus far. There are no doubts that the promoters and managers of this initiative are persons of impeccable integrity, character, honesty and their credibility are not in doubt whatsoever. However, they must be very extra careful in who they recruit to assist them in running the day-to-day affairs of the Foundation; particularly handling of funds and which banks they select as bankers to the Foundation. These are very tough and difficult areas or issues to handle but with fountains of wisdom amongst the promoters and managers of the Foundation, excellent choices and decisions are highly expected.

Third and very crucial, is the issue of what to do with the funds raised and to be raised continuously by the Foundation. Here we are talking about the aims and objectives of the Foundation in terms of translating them into priority policies, programs and projects. I would caution that the Foundation should not be run like a government – taking too much and delving into areas that are best done and/or handled by governments. The role of the Foundation is to complement what governments do but in a manner within its competencies; financially, technically and human resource wise.

Hence, I would suggest that the Foundation should first start by intervening in the education sector with provision of scholarships to indigent students in order to minimise the problem of illiteracy and begging (i.e. the Almajiri syndrome). State-of-the-art internet-ready libraries and reading/study centres should be facilitated in all primary and secondary schools. Also, promotion of moral rearmament, family and community values and ethics using mass media and schools should be other areas that need immediate attention of the Foundation.

Fourth, because of the need to be financially frugal in this time of financial crunch and austerity, the Foundation should be able to operate for several years from Arewa House Kaduna as its headquarters. If needed, state/local government branches can operate from donated buildings in the respective states/local government areas. That is to say, constructing the proposed state-of-art-head office of the Foundation on the land donated by the Government and good peoples of Kaduna state should take secondary priority at the moment. Once the Foundation starts to show positive impacts in delivering its mandate, then capital projects like building an architectural masterpiece to house the Foundation’s head office can then be considered.

Last, but by no means the least, the Foundation’s administrative, management structure and organization should be very lean but well capacitated. A thought about renaming the Foundation as: “Ahmadu Bello Sarduana – Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Memorial Foundation” should be given consideration. I think it is a good thinking that needs deep reflection. These two great statesmen were like twins when they were alive. Therefore, they should be so treated even in death and memory. For instance, if the large-hearted Ahamdu Bello Sarduana Sokoto were alive today, he would definitely endorse this noble and laudable idea! I join millions in wishing the Foundation an excellent take-off and long life.

 

Abubakar A Nuhu-Koko

Saturday, 24 October 2009

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2 Responses to “The Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial Foundation Launching: Matters Arising”

  1. ABDULHAMID YUSUF says:

    SALAM!
    REALLY THE SCHOLARSHIP FOR AHMADU BELLO SARDAUNA MEMORIAL WOULD HELPS THE STUDENT A LOT AND WE THE STUDENT WE WOULD CONTINUE KEEPING REMEMBERING THE IMPORTANT PERSON,. AND THE SCHOLARSHIP IF GIVEN IT WOULD ENHANCE AND INCREASE THE ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE OF US.SIR WE HOPE THE SCHOLARSHIP WILL BE GIVEN TO THOSE WHO DESERVED IT.MAY HE WHO YOU DID FOR HIM BE REWARDED WITH PARADISE AND STAIN IN WHITE CLOTHES OF JANNATUL FIR`DAUS AMEEN. THANKS LONG LIFE S.A.B.M.F, LONG LIFE NIGERIA…….

  2. aishatu muhammad ibrahim says:

    jazakumullahu khairan. May Allah reward u with jannatul firdaus longlive SABMF

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