An Encounter With Nigeria’s Education Philanthropist, Prof. Adamu Gwarzo

By Gidado Shuaib

“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” – Desmond Tutu

My curiosity shot up after receiving a call from Adnan Mukhtar, an assistant to Professor Adamu Abubakar Gwarzo, requesting me and other media practitioners to visit Kano, specifically Maryam Abacha American University of Nigeria (MAAUN) founded and funded by the academic.

The feeling was inspired by the amazing stories I read about Prof. Gwarzo’s unflinching commitment towards education and development in Northern Nigeria. The invitation gave me an opportunity for an on-the-spot assessment of the university’s structures and an encounter with the philanthropist.

Licensed to operate in Kano, MAAUN has since reached over 80 per cent completion – infrastructure and manpower. Located in Hotoro GRA in Nasarawa Local Government Area of Kano, the institution has brought life to the entire area. Its presence has raised the value of real estate. For instance, a property initially valued at N70million is now N150million or more.

Many are investing in private student hostels, business centres and restaurants in anticipation for the take-off of the magnificent project which will turn around the fortunes of tertiary education in the North and the country in general.

On arrival at MAAUN, we observed the great edifice, the attention to details and the readiness to positively impact on humanity. The facilities can rival those of other top ranked universities in Nigeria. The graduates will no doubt make a difference in the real world in terms of employability and relevance.

Prof. Gwarzo is a veritable case study of humility. Despite his elitist personality, he personally received us. The act gave me flashbacks of stories I read about his magnanimity and love for people. Interestingly, despite towering achievements, the Professor of French Linguistics is in his early forties.

During the tour, our host never spoke about himself like self-effacing individuals. Prof. Gwarzo focused on his quest to leave behind a footprint of service. To him, building more schools in Northern Nigeria will help to reduce crime and unemployment. He disclosed that another project, Franco-British University in Kaduna, is ongoing.

Prof. Gwarzo explained that his vision was to see every northerner attend tertiary institutions by 2040. This vision struck us due to how passionately he spoke about the well-being of others. A private university is often an investment and the investor looks forward to financial return. But the reverse is the case with MAAUN.

I deduced that the founder’s intention is not profit-making. It is pertinent to add that hundreds of students are offered scholarships to study any course of their choice. This is in addition to Prof. Gwarzo’s full scholarship to over 500 students studying Nursing, Medical Laboratory Science and Mass Communication in the Niger Republic campus of the institution.

Many universities in Nigeria have also benefited from the patriotic citizen’s philanthropic gestures. He donated 30-seater luxury buses to select places of learning in Kano, Kaduna and Katsina states. Little wonder the Federal University, Dutsinma, in Katsina, named a clinic after him.

Advancing the course of an egalitarian society, Prof. Gwarzo has a foundation in his name where he sends less-privileged children to school, provides buses, learning materials, among others. I also heard that he built a secondary school in the area MAAUN is situated as part of corporate social responsibility.

My visit will remain memorable and I cannot wait to see Prof. Gwarzo plans come to fruition. Even though he does not like his trumpet blown, I believe history will forever be kind to a man promoting quality education and devoting resources to the ordinary people. “The ultimate goal is to help Nigeria grow”, he said.

Gidado Shuaib, a media practitioner, can be reached on


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