August 4, 2021 ushers in another birthday for Nigerian industrialist and philanthropist, Abdul Samad Rabiu. The Chairman/ CEO of BUA Group who is easily one of the richest in the continent has in the last one year carved a niche for himself with his giving.
Hate him or like him, you cannot deny the fact that he played a major role in ensuring that many states were able to contain the onslaught of Coronavirus in 2020 and his post 2020- activities have helped in reinforcing the position that at times the rich can be humane. Curiously, it was the same year of the pandemic that he clocked 60, and decided to open a new vista in giving.
If there was one thing that shook the country’s health and indeed social fibre especially early in 2020, it was the outbreak of Coronavirus pandemic.
Nigerians can at least heave a sigh of relief that the disease’s first and second waves were contained thanks to the various measures adopted by the various state governments as well as the Federal Government’s Presidential Task Force.
In a lot of ways Nigerians, especially the health workers as well as the other organizations directly involved in monitoring, containing the spread of the disease also worked round the clock to ensure that the prediction originating from America that Africa would be filled with corpses arising from Coronavirus deaths did not materialize.
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If anything, the statement by Bill Gates’ wife, Belinda pushed Africans, especially Nigerians to look inwards. Many rose to the occasion and happily the events and figures today have shown that, pushed to the wall, Nigerians can rise up to avert crisis of huge dimensions.
While many corporate organisations made pledges and were willing and able to stand out and be counted, Abdul Samad Rabiu’s BUA Group stood head and shoulders above many others in its response to the spread of the disease in Nigeria. The BUA Group reached out to many States, providing the needed financial support as well as material so that the level of readiness to combat the scourge would be raised. Not less than ten States benefited from this largess. This is apart from the billions that the organisation donated through the Organised Private sector initiative which also reached out through palliatives to all the states of the Federation.
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Abdul Samad Rabiu didn’t stop there. His face and voice was always on CNN and other media telling Nigerians that they could pull it off and successfully fight the pandemic. It was indeed a voice of wisdom and encouragement at a time when there was so much despair and it helped.
As the pandemic receded, he again came up with the Abdul Samad Rabiu Initiative for Africa which promised to help in developing Africa by funding projects education, health and social sector
In his speech at the launch Abdul Samad Rabiu, the CEO of BUA Group, stated that, ‘ I announce the launch of the Abdul Samad Rabiu Initiative, with an Africa Fund endowment of USD100million every year starting from this year, 2021; USD$50million to Nigeria and USD$50million to the rest of our beloved continent’.
With seven month of the year gone, ASR has touched Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Universities of Maiduguri, Benin, Ibadan, Ilorin with each of the Universities given 1Billion Naira each. Not only that some states have also become beneficiaries of his largess. Kwara, Akwa Ibom, Ogun, FCT have had grants running into billions of Naira while another 4 states are expected to benefit.
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Meanwhile outside of Nigeria, Ghana was recently given 3 Million dollars towards improving education, a gift that the West African nation received with open arms.
The BUA Chairman has set himself a daunting task of spending 100million Dollars Annually for the development of the continent. The ASR, his vehicle for pursuing this gargantuan dream has been working every week to show that this is achievable. Posterity will always remember men and women who saw challenges to mankind and took steps to turn around these challenges.
As the BUA Chairman marks his 61st birthday, we wish well and urge him not to relent. Africa has only a few leaders who give out at the level in which he is giving. Most leaders take away from the society and leave the people poorer. And for this he will always be remembered
——by Bamidele Ogundana