The former Assistant Vice President of the New Foundation School of the American University of Nigeria, on the 18th of March 2021, joined the virtual send forth from New York to bid farewell to AUN’s 4th President. Below is the transcript of his speech.
It is wonderful to see you all, wonderful faces from my family at American University of Nigeria. We are here to honor our great leader, President Dawn Dekle. To President Dekle, thank you for dawning on us, thank you for your presence! We appreciate you so much and we know as the dawn turns to dusk, it will eventually turn into a sunset with you triumphantly riding into the sunset to bigger and better things that you're going to do in life. As you leave, you're going to be leaving us behind, we understand that. As a matter of fact, being left behind is something that gives me a memory of the first time that I met you and interacted with you.
Back on July 1st, 2017, that's when you took over as the president and I was actually on July 21st in Abuja having a meeting with Nigeria’s Minister of Women Affairs, Aisha Alhassan regarding bringing twenty-one girls who had been kidnapped by Boko Haram, and released to AUN to join our New Foundation School program. So after my meeting with Aisha Alhassan and her staff, instead of bringing in twenty-one, they wanted our university to take a hundred and six. I remember calling you, I didn’t even know you. I told you about the situation. Your words to me were: Reg, no Chibok girl would be left behind and those words resonated with me.
Everybody else had been talking about how caring you are, how kind you are, and that was one strong indication of how you knew that these girls needed care. They needed kindness and they needed the opportunity to further their education, and they all needed to be together, and we were gonna do whatever we could to make it happen for them. So we did. So the team came together and from August the 5th is when they said what was going to happen. Then we had six weeks till September 15th to give all of the things correctly set and ready for them, and we only had had twenty-four girls when we went to a hundred and thirty in the last six weeks was all because you said those words that no Chibok girl would be left behind. So, little did we know that when they come live at the campus, that they would actually be living at your residence "Dorm DD". Who would have thought that the Chibok girls would be living in "Dorm DD" or "Dorm Dawn Dekle"?
So your kindness goes without saying, and your leadership goes without saying. You've done so much. For me, professionally, I've learned a lot from you, from your leadership style and how you handled things and manage things. I really appreciate all that you've done for me, all that you've done for the girls, and on behalf of all the Chibok girls that have come and gone and all of the ones who are continuing to further their education, I just want to say thank you.
Even though I am known as Baba B, you are Mama DD because together we really worked to make this happen and helped them to be successful in all the things they hoped to do. I really appreciate everything, and I wish you the best in everything that you're going to do, moving into the future. Your leadership is something that we all marvel at, and we all will in this event today and the accolades will continue to flow about how you care, and how you take care of us and take care of us all. So thank you Dawn, and as it turns to dusk in our sunset on your time at AUN, we wish you the very very best. Thank you!
Reginald Braggs with Nigeria’s Former Minister of Women Affairs, Aisha Alhassan at the New Foundation School