Monday, October 15, 2007

Donate To Nigerian Schools And Institutions

Donate To Nigerian Schools And Institutions
Monday, 14 November 2005

$100 Million dollars was donated by an American last week.

I read the story about an anonymous donor who donated the one hundred million dollars to Yale University, the donor instructed that the money be disbursed entirely to Yale University music programs, this, means that the donor only intended to benefit the music department and faculty, of Yale University. And not to, say, Yale University Law School or Medical School etc

Before the Yale University’s Music Faculty sudden fortune, there were, other news from the home front, Nigeria that is. More specifically, I read a story about one Aimiuwu who had started a website and a major drive geared towards raising funds, materials and sundry resources for schools and centers of learning in Edo state Nigeria, this I think is a very commendable efforts that everyone should applaud.

This must be repeated in and replicated for all the states of Nigeria. This is important.

Much earlier in the year, there was also a news item that I read in The Guardian Newspapers editorial and opinion page, which was written by Mr. Sonala Olumhense.

Mr. Olumhense through a confluence of efforts by several individuals and organizations, had thrown a challenge that required University of Ibadan alumni and well-wishers, to match an earmarked fund, to which the original donor will multiply or something to that effect, and if I recollect correctly, the challenge was met and surpassed.

The real gist of what I am driving at here, is the wonders of private efforts at funding public and private schools and institutions world wide, more particularly, in the United States where major league universities, institutions of higher learning rely heavily on the goodwill of generous donors, members of the public, and former students who are happy to fund endowments for universities, law schools, colleges of medicine, and music schools or department as in the case of Yale University above mentioned.

Nigerians can do the same for Nigerian institutions!

Universities, Colleges and other institutions of higher learning in America compete for endowment dollars yearly, these institutions engage in direct solicitations from former students or graduates of such institutions, as well as direct solicitations through fundraisers that are very frequently undertaken.

These sources of funds for these American institutions enable them engage in expansion projects, the availability of funds enable them to fund grants for research and development, it enable these institutions to enhance physical infrastructures and wealth of knowledge. Enable them to offer scholarships to the underprivileged of society.

Funding for education in America is not solely from school fees and government funding.

Funding for the Arts, partly comes from a US government funded National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities. And private citizens and corporations contribute generously to the advancement of Arts and Humanities in America. Advancement in science and technology, are also a cooperative joint efforts by individual persons, corporations and governments at all level in the United States. And creative energies are unleashed.

Again, these beneficial models can be replicated in Nigeria as well. It will take all Nigerians, individuals, corporations, private and public efforts to make Nigeria great.

Many Nigerians have heard or even benefited from Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, Carnegie Foundation etc, perhaps we should begin to hear more of Ahmadu Bello Foundation, Nnamdi Azikiwe Foundation, Obafemi Awolowo Foundation, Aminu Kano Foundation, Awojobi Foundation, Tai Solarin Foundation, Dr. Bala Usman Foundation etc, we got the idea? Nigerians should use the names of prominent Nigerians to establish foundations for public service and public good, such Nigerians must be our citizens who epitomize all that is good for all Nigerians.

Whether such Nigerians are or were public office holders, private citizen entrepreneurs and philanthropists etc. Nigerians for these purposes should be Nigerians who excelled in their lifetimes or brought honor and glory to Nigeria and Nigerians who led exemplary lives.

And through such foundations as I contemplate here, Nigerians through private efforts that would complements government’s efforts. We will build a decent society that advances to an outstanding and great society. We all have a stake in the outcome of Nigeria.

In the past, and even now, in the majority of cases, the ownership and funding of universities and institutions of higher learning in Nigeria have solely been the responsibility of government in Nigeria. Now, however, that trend is shifting somewhat.

I am not advocating here that government abandon, or abdicate its responsibilities in the funding and management of government owned and managed universities, colleges of education, polytechnics etc

Ownership and funding of private universities are steadily multiplying in Nigeria, and more and more priorities of government now compete for funding, and of course, resources are not limitless. Hence the need to begin to look into innovative and brand new means of funding our universities and other institutions of higher learning, both public and privately owned.

Fund raisers are recommended, but additionally, graduates of Nigerian universities, medical schools and law schools and the many universities in Nigeria should make it a point of duty to donate books, money, equipment, technologies, innovations and ideation to the schools and institutions where we earned our academic laurels, schools, from primary schools to secondary schools to universities and professional schools where we in essence learned the tricks of our various professions.

We should not forget the schools and institutions where our callings and professions were mould, and nurtured, where our formative professional training began. We should take sabbaticals to teach, volunteer and serve in all levels of Nigerian education sector. I am aware that some Nigerian professionals already engage in voluntary medical services and other professional services from their various overseas locations, as they embark on trips to Nigeria on a regular basis.

My American experience has awakened me to the responsibility that the average American College graduate or professional or career person shoulders for alma maters and alumni. The schools regularly solicit monetary and material donations from graduates of such institutions, as well as solicitations from members of the general public.

Then also, there are generous members of public who as individuals or corporate bodies, donate to universities, colleges, and donate to public institutions, public libraries, hospitals etc. Donations have helped establish universities, colleges and other institutions of learning into center of excellence. Well meaning Nigerian individual citizens and corporations can do these things.

No donated money amounts are too large or too small, and other resources are equally important as well, such materials and resources, equipments, books whether new or used, computers, whether new or used. In the past, I had written “Where Are The Nigerian Volunteers� and I wish to repeat that call now. Nigerians should volunteer more in efforts to create a great Nigeria.

Nigerians should volunteer more time, money and materials. Nigerians should donate.

Nigerians need to actively engage and participate in making public and private institutions in Nigeria serve all Nigerians for our common good.

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