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I WILL FOCUS ON MEMBERSHIP DRIVE AS A PRIORITY" Dr. Ahmed Tijjani Mora, The New Alumni President

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The Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Alumni Association has elected her new Executive Members who will govern the Association for a period of two years. The election, which saw the emergence of the former Deputy National President, Dr. Ahmed Tijjani Mora, as the new President of the Association was unopposed. It has been noted that the Alumni of any University play vital roles in the advancement of their Alma Mater in the areas of making positive impacts which would translate to various developmental projects for the benefit of the institution. In this interview, the Advancement Newsletter has the privilege of chatting with the newly elected President of ABU Alumni Association on his vision for the Association among other issues:

Sir, you have been an active Alumni Executive for a long time, now you have been elected the ABU Alumni President, what is the vision of the new National Executive Committee (NEC) of the Alumni Association?

It is true that I have been associated with ABU Alumni Association at Township, Chapter and Branch levels for more than thirty years. I was the Assistant Secretary of the Zaria Branch around 1984 when we had late Mr. Adejumo as our Zaria Branch Chairman. I started the first friendly-based Chapter of the ABU Alumni Association with some colleagues in the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences in 1994 and was given the privilege and honour of being the interim National Chairman, later National Chairman and now Chairman Board of Trustees of the ABU Pharmacy Alumni Association (ABUPAA). I was an active Member of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Branch when I was the Registrar/CEO of the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria for two full terms totaling eight years from 2003 to 2012. I was elected Deputy National President in 2010, a position I held till 15th August, 2015, when I was unanimously elected, unopposed, as the National President of the Association for a two year term in the first instance, which is renewable. From the foregoing, it is evident that I am not a 'newcomer' in the politics of ABU Alumni Association whether at the Township, State, Chapter or National level. My vision for this Association is not different from the vision of the Association as provided in the Constitution. Hence, to answer your question, my vision for the Association is one with full compliments of branches in all the states of the Federation, Zaria and the FCT as well as in all the twelve faculties of the University as chapters. In other words, my vision is to establish or revive the State/Township/Faculty chapters and chapters wherever they might be. I want to see our members in all these branches or chapters participating as fully registered and active members in the affairs of the Association for the improvement of learning, teaching, research and community service in the University. I am embarking on membership drive throughout the Country at both branches and chapters levels. Sometimes in October 2015, the new National Executive Committee organised a workshop for Deans, Deputy Deans, Assistant Deans, Heads of Departments and Faculty Officers of the University with the objective of sensitising them to establish or revive their respective faculty-based chapters as provided by the Constitution. I delivered the Keynote Address to kick-start the Workshop which topic was "Establishment and Revival of Faculty-based Chapters as Instrument for a Dynamic ABU Alumni Association". It was a very successful workshop which the Vice Chancellor, Professor Ibrahim Garba, chaired, with many Deans, their Deputies, Assistants, Heads of Departments, Faculty Officers and Directors from all nooks and crannies of the University in attendance. As fate will have it, on 2nd November, 2015, the Faculty of Agriculture hosted its first Homecoming and meeting to inaugurate the ABU Agriculture Alumni Association. We will want all the faculties to do the same. The Ahmadu Bello University Pharmacy Alumni Association has set the pace in 1994 and we have seen what the Faculty benefited from the intervention of the Pharmacy graduates of the old School of Pharmacy, Zaria; Department of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, Faculty of Science; and from the present Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Sir, what are the success stories which you would want to share with the Advancement Newsletter, for all the years of your service in the leadership of ABU Alumni Association?

There are many success stories I would like to share in terms of my intervention to ABU, Zaria, as an Executive Member of the ABU Alumni Association whether at the Township, ABUPAA, FCT and Kaduna levels or the National Executive Committee. They are many and I refer you to my book with the title: The Contributions of Students and Alumni Associations in Promoting Pharmacy Education and Practice in Nigeria (2014), which I presented to the public on 17th May, 2015. Also, some of the success stories are captured in the paper I referred to earlier which I presented during the Workshop of Friday, 30th October, 2015, at the Assembly Hall of the Main Campus, Samaru, Zaria. However, on specifics, I will mention the building of the three twin 250-seat capacity Gabriel Osuide Lecture Theatre by the Taraba State Government under the auspices of the ABUPAA which I am leading. It cost the Taraba State Government, under the leadership of Governor (Pharmacist) Danbaba Danfulani Suntai, a 1984 Pharmacy graduate, a whopping sum of N300 million naira to build the Lecture Theatre and was commissioned on 15th October, 2011, by the then Taraba State Governor himself. We had, through the ABUPAA, improved the water flow into the laboratories of the Faculty through sinking of boreholes; provision of pumping machines and integrated pipes. A brand new car was brought and presented to the Dean for his official duties in 2008, among other things.

Sir, Alumni of every university are supposed to act as the driving-force for bringing development to their Alma Mater. What plans do you have as the ABU Alumni President towards mobilising supports?

Like I said previously I will focus on membership drive as a priority. This is due to the fact that we would encourage and motivate all Alumni members wherever they are, to cultivate the habit of "giving" or payback to the University to augment the Universitys meager resources. Resources mobilisation from amongst the many high net-worth members of the Association to advance learning, teaching, research and community service remains paramount among our key objectives and to also begin with, members of the NEC must show good example in this refund. Every member of NEC is encouraged to intervene at the Branch and/or Chapter levels. This way, s/he could ask other Alumni members to do the same. Mark you, the NEC members make sacrifices with their time, energy, intellect and finance, to advance the cause of the Association. What is needed is full commitment to the cause of ABU Alumni and the University itself. Whatever we do, it is payback to our own great Institution. We are what we are now for having graduated from the University. We must therefore be good ambassadors of the University wherever we are.

Mr. President, on a final note, what is your advice to all ABU Alumni, both at home and in diaspora, toward reviving the past glories of ABU?/p> My advice is nothing other than for all Alumni members to contribute to the University through projects or finance as payback. We have derived tremendous knowledge from this great University; let us join hands and build an even greater ABU. We have the biggest, the widest and fair representation among students and staff list in terms of individuals from every Local Government Area of the Country. All graduates of ABU should be worthy ambassadors that should, at all times, be proud of their University and come together at branches and chapters levels. The predicament of the University at present needs a total rescue and among the many stakeholders to do so is the Alumni Association.