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UNIMAID and the giant strides in alumni mobilisation

23 October 2014, 12:11 EA Felix

The University of Maiduguri was established in 1975. Its forerunner, North-East College of Arts and Science, was established as an institution engaged in tutoring students of that age in preparation for the General Certificate of Education (GCE) Advanced Level examinations and the Interim Joint Matriculation Board Examinations (IJMB).  The College, NECAS, as it was then known, metamorphosed into a University, or better still, NECAS was subsumed in the emerging and fledgling University, thus assuming the status of the most popular institution in northern Nigeria, surpassed only by the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.  This new-found status of UNIMAID under the leadership of Professor (now Senator) Jibril Aminu, a medical practitioner of no mean stamina, popularized the university and enlarged its coast to the extent that membership of the university faculties were attracted from far and near.  The University of Maiduguri of the early 1980s witnessed the pedagogical acumen of highly acclaimed academics from Egypt, United Kingdom, United States of America, India, Pakistan, Canada, The Philippines, Gabon, Ghana, South Africa and Latin America.   The dominance of international character in the emergence of the new University fetched the institution its well-known national and international fame which have, today, become a thing of pride to everyone associated in one way or the other with the University.

Today, one is quick to observe that among the universities north of the Niger, UNIMAID stands tall and famous over and above its second generation peers. Mention any state in Nigeria, graduates of the university abound in great numbers.  On the African continent, countries like South Africa, Ghana, Gabon, Cameroun, Congo Brazzaville and Egypt have graduates of the University of Maiduguri in large numbers and these graduates still boast with nostalgia, their exciting days on the campus of the University while they sojourned there. In Asia, medical doctors who are products of the University of Maiduguri have continued to blaze trails in their various fields of endeavour. Besides, the mention of UNIMAID all over Nigeria attracts nostalgic expressions of joy and excitement, the reason many of the graduates have their unwritten motto and code as: “IF YOU WANT TO BE MADE, COME TO UNIMAID.” Needless to say, graduates of the University abounding all over the country and beyond are presently in the business of contributing their quota to the positive making and shaping of our world towards achieving peace, progress, togetherness and world brotherhood.

The University of Maiduguri has continued to play its role as a true national university where all Nigerians and other nationals feel free to work and study without let or hindrance.  Here, all states of the Nigerian federation are represented in every department, faculty, division and units.  Among members of staff are individuals of diverse ethnic backgrounds, creed and convictions. Harmonious relationship among the staff and students remains the university’s main achievement and oiling tool.  The principle of fairness and justice has continued to be the watch-word of successive leadership of the institution.  From the days of Professor (Senator) Jibril Aminu, Professor Mohammad Nur Alkali (of blessed memory), Professor Umaru Shehu, Professor N. M. Gadzama, Professor Abubakar Mustapha, Professor J. D. Amin, Professor M. M. Daura to the present Vice-Chancellor Professor I. A. Njodi, one phenomenon that has remained cardinal and consistent in all decisions and initiatives of the various administrations of the University is the principle of fairness and fairplay, thus indisputably confirming the university as the most attractive citadel of learning in the whole of northern Nigeria, not just the north-east. To date, UNIMAID remains the home of all Nigerians irrespective of their persuasions, political, ethnic or creed.

The foregoing notwithstanding, however, one needful but missing link has been the involvement of the alumni of the University in its affairs. With the foregoing elaborately stated landmarks, one would have expected that the great number of graduates of the University across the globe would have attracted some quality quantum of alumni support to the university, now that the university system in Nigeria is undoubtedly experiencing trying times.  Even if the university system is in the best of times, well thought-out alumni support and initiatives are still not out of place in order to further popularize the good image of the university and contribute to its physical and infrastructural development.  In the present age of electronic and virtual education, internet and computer based education dissemination environment has become prevalent to the extent that nothing worthwhile is really done without it. The involvement of the University of Maiduguri Alumni Association in the development of educational and infrastructural facilities in the university is not only needed but also very germane to the rapid overall development of the university. 

In its effort to attract and harness the efforts of the University of Maiduguri Alumni Association, the University Management recently sent to various states of the federation, a good number of senior staff of the university to either encourage the establishment of the University Alumni Association, where they exist, invigorate the existing ones, where they have gone comatose, or establish the Association where they do not exist.  Various reports and feedback reaching the Management of the University appear to lay credence at the fact that there is a definite light at the end of the tunnel.  It is thus gratifying to note that the tenacious efforts of the immediate past Vice-Chancellor of the university, Professor M.M. Daura and the present Vice-Chancellor, Professor A. I. Njodi are yielding the desired results, as the University of Maiduguri Alumni Association in various states and cities are now waking up to their responsibilities with the focus and determination to get involved in the affairs of the University. Today, the National Secretariat of the University of Maiduguri Alumni Association has been reconstituted, under the leadership of Barrister Imamudeen Talba.  Many chapters of the alumni association in many states of the federation have been established and the weak and comatose ones have been inaugurated.  New chapters of the Association are springing up. Within UNIMAID itself, a whole unit has been created and dedicated to the maintenance of graduate records and alumni matters of the university under Vice-Chancellor’s direct supervision. The office, Graduate Records and Alumni Relations Unit, with the encouragement and direction of the Vice-Chancellor, has continued to actively participate in the activities of the Conference of Alumni Associations of Nigerian Universities (CAANU) and the Graduate Records and Data Bank Managers of Nigerian Universities. The office is well-equipped with facilities capable of round-the-clock real time communication with all alumni of the University worldwide. The Management of the University of Maiduguri has never hesitated in making necessary investments towards attracting all alumni of the university in freely relating and giving back to their alma mater.  In justifying these efforts, alumni of the University like Barrister Joe Kyari Gadzama and a host of other alumni of the University have continued to visit the university with donations both in cash and in kind.

The University has also created an effective alumni link on its official website: www.unimaid.edu.ng that enables any alumni interested in registering membership of the Alumni Association online at no cost whatsoever.  Forms are also available for interested alumni members to fill and return to the office for prompt upload and formal registration.  The data submitted by the alumni enables the office to keep track members of the Alumni Association for possible contact and regular interaction towards mutually beneficial relationship.  Competent hands have also been engaged by the University Administration strictly for this purpose and the office is open to visitors and interested alumni daily.  For easy communication, the office also has an active email account: alumnioffice@unimaid.edu.ng.

The campus of UNIMAID today is a beautiful spectacle to behold.  Many ultra-modern and well furnished structures have erupted. Great efforts have been made in the areas of environmental beautification and general academic development, thus making the campus organization better and getting more and more structured in line with its original masterplan.  All alumni of the University are therefore invited to visit the university and see for themselves how their alma mater has fared over the years.  The university is still matching on, as the Management has realized that it is not yet uhuru.  The management of the university is poised to affirming the university as the best in terms of quality of teaching, beneficial research aimed at addressing the needs of the immediate society and the entire nation and quality service to the community to which it belongs within the well-oiled ambit of town and gown relationship.


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