Empowerment Enablers: Between Gwarzo and Agaka


By Yushau A. Shuaib

They are apolitical, non-partisan and yet contribute to socio-economic developments through the facilitation of worthy projects, empowerment programmes and scholarships.

As unassuming philanthropists, Professor Abubakar Adamu Gwarzo and Engineer Kale Kawu Agaka have demonstrated that beyond political office, one can make positive impacts by enabling developments in one’s respective communities and the nation in general.

At different times and for different events, I have encountered the two personalities of the Generation X and observed the enormous energies and resources they deployed in ensuring community development.

Gwarzo, an international businessman, a professor of Modern European Languages (French), and founder of Maryam Abacha University of Nigeria (MAAUN), invests heavily in tertiary institutions to ensure the affordability of high-quality education in the country.

Agaka, an electrical engineer and a director at the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), ensures and supervises the provision of quality electricity facilities in various communities across Nigeria.

Less than a year after the National Universities Commission (NUC) issued a licence for the operation of Maryam Abacha American University of Nigeria (MAAUN) on its Kano campus, precisely on Monday, February 15, 2021, Professor Gwarzo has constructed a network of well-tarred roads around the area, a pedestrian walkway, alongside lush greenery and a luxuriantly pleasant layout of flowers. By March this year, he has already completed magnificent structures, such as faculty buildings, lecture theatres, laboratories, staff quarters, a cafeteria, and playground, among other facilities, in a highbrow district of Kano State.

Despite being one of the finest and best equipped private universities in northern Nigeria today, the founder still managed to peg the tuition fees for students pursuing degree programmes at less than N1,000,000 per session. The academic programmes that have been approved for commencement in the University are under the Schools of Management, Computing and Law. There is also the School of Allied Health Sciences, in which students can study Nursing, Medical Laboratory Science and Physiotherapy.

In addition to the first-class facilities in the university, through his philanthropist initiative, the AAG-Foundation, Professor Gwarzo has donated vehicles and ambulances to select higher institutions of learning in Northwest Nigeria. The Foundation also champions campaigns towards improving access to quality education, strengthening healthcare systems, inspiring women and youths for development and promoting gender equity.

The businessman, who operates another American-styled university in the Niger Republic, has promised to establish a Franco British International University in Kaduna and a Canadian University in Abuja soon.

While many business people would rather invest in real estate and other high yielding lucrative enterprises, it is indeed commendable that Professor Gwarzo is investing heavily in education to address the educational deficit and challenges we are facing in the country, especially in Northern Nigeria.

Meanwhile, Engineer Kawu Agaka, a prince of Ilorin Emirate, on behalf of the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) where he is the Director of Projects, facilitates and supervises the provision of high-quality electricity transformers, dedicated solar lights and mini-grid injection substations, in the effort at boosting and ensuring the steady and stable supply of electricity in various communities across the country.

Apart from facilitating infrastructural developments through the lengths and breadths of Nigeria, Kawu Agaka, who was recently turbaned as the Dan-Iyan of Ilorin Emirate by Emir Zulu Gambari, enables the provision of scholarships to indigent students and skill acquisitions programmes for youth empowerment and self-reliance, while equally supporting widows and orphans with free medications through his family’s foundation.

It was therefore not surprising that an unprecedented crowd of people, from far and near, thronged the emir’s palace in Ilorin during his turbaning ceremony as the Dan-Iya. In fact, several beneficiaries of his philanthropic and other support gestures played major roles in that traditional chieftaincy ceremony by contributing a huge volume of resources towards the hosting of the event.

The title of Dan-Iya is usually bestowed on a prince with a high sense of integrity, a strong vision and strong participation in community service. Agaka was also deemed as highly befitting of this title, which had been held before him by his father, Late Alhaji Ibrahim Kawu Agaka, a royal prince and successful businessman, who was the first titleholder.

Engineer Agaka has proven the veracity in the fact that public office, as the highest point of service, should essentially be used for the public good, towards community and national development, and not for ulterior or selfish interests. Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara attested to this when he described the new Dan Iyan as the pride of the Ilorin Emirate.

AbdulRazaq said the traditional honour was truly well-deserved because of the quintessential good nature of the recipient, his love for the Ilorin culture and his selfless form of philanthropy.

“His choice as the holder of this prestigious cultural rank attests to his huge contributions to the growth of our community, his support for our cultural heritage, and his open-door policy and support, especially for young people. We are indeed proud of him. I thank His Royal Highness, the Emir of Ilorin, Dr Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari, and the Emirate Council for the excellent choice of the fine gentleman as Dan Iyan Geri (Ilorin),” the governor said.

In our constructive engagements and criticisms, we should also endeavour to always celebrate those that are contributing to the wellbeing of society. Professor Adamu Gwarzo and Engr Kale Agaka, among a host of others, are models whose contributions should inspire others to do the same, if not more for humanity, through selfless service, sacrifice, and a dogged commitment to the attainment of a much more better society, anchored to the need for greater human development.

While I strongly advise the proprietor of the American University in Kano, Professor Gwarzo to ensure the recruitment of highly qualified and experienced scholars for the academic programmes, I will equally urge Engr Agaka to maintain his apolitical stance, while ensuring equity and fairness in discharging his duties and carrying on with the enviable roles he plays in the society. May both of these gentlemen continue to find fruition, fulfillment and the motivation to do more, as they keep modelling the best that human nature has to offer.

Yushau A. Shuaib



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