• Saturday, May 25, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Rabiu Africa Initiative launches N250m sports complex project in UNIJOS

4DBDB54E-599E-450C-938B-4277099F4DD5

Abdul Samad Rabiu Africa Initiative (ASR Africa), the philanthropic initiative of the Chairman of BUA Group, Abdul Samad Rabiu, has kicked off the construction of the N250 million sports complex for the University of Jos (UNIJOS), Plateau State.

The sporting facility, which is sited at the Naraguta Campus of the University, is set to consolidate the preparedness of the University in hosting the Nigerian Universities Games Association (NUGA).

The facility will feature a 300-seater spectator stand, changing rooms, a lawn tennis court, and a basketball court, among other sporting facilities.

Speaking at the event, Tanko Ishaya, Vice Chancellor of UNIJOS, praised the Chairman of ASR Africa, Abdul Samad Rabiu, for the critical facility intervention.

He noted that at the time of the Institution’s nomination by ASR Africa for this laudable project, the University Management was concerned about sourcing for funds to meet up with its nomination as the host University for the NUGA games, adding that with the ASR Africa TEGS grant, the University is positioned to host more games during the tournament.

He noted that the University signed an MoU with the International Sports University in South Korea to develop a comprehensive sports programme to harness the talents that abound across the country in the various fields of sports and “this complex would be a business boost to implement the agreement”.

Ubong Udoh, the Managing Director of ASR Africa, applauded the management of the University of Jos for being an outstanding institution. He added that all of the Universities that are beneficiaries of the ASR Africa Tertiary Education Grant Scheme, were selected based on some stringent criteria which included the quality of leadership, the academic excellence at the University, among others.

“I want to start by commending the vice chancellor and the management of the university. He was very right when he said the criteria for qualification for this grant was very, very stringent. It was tight. But the University of Jos was very proactive. They actually sent us an application even before we opened to receive proposals. So they were one of the first universities to send the proposal and of course that put them high on the priority list.

“I congratulate you all for proactive and visionary governance. I want to talk also about another aspect of the criteria for qualifying for this grant, which is the vision and leadership of the university in question. The vice chancellor has proven beyond reasonable doubt. He’s a man of vision, he has created a lot of solutions. He has attracted a lot of development and infrastructure to the university. And I can only say that it was very easy for us to agree to partner with him and to partner with this institution to add value to where the gaps are.

“The choice of a sport complex is also very heartwarming to me. Like the VC said, I’m a sports lover. I’m a product of the university Games system, a proud winner of gold medals at Nigeria University Games Association in basketball. So when we saw the sports complex as a project, I mean, it was very heartwarming for me, because I believe we don’t just provide kids with a place to exercise and get healthy. When we build a sports complex or sports facility, we create a platform for social cohesion, for building unity, for building character. A place where kids can go and build their self esteem and become great citizens. This is a special and unique project and we’re very pleased that University of Jos is embarking on this.

“ASR Africa is the brainchild of Alhaji Abdul Samad Rabiu. It’s a hundred million dollar annual fund for renewal and social development. Samad Rabiu has committed $100 million every year to intervening and creating solutions in the areas of health, education and social development.

“He is passionate about giving. He’s always been a giver. His family has always been a giving family. But he’s also passionate about Africans and Nigerians taking responsibility to solve their own problems, looking inwards and creating our own solutions. This is why he created ASR Africa as a platform where we can look inwards and create solutions to our own problems”, he said.