From Wole Balogun, Ado-Ekiti
At the recent convocation of the Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD), Ekiti State, 83 graduates bagged first class degree. They are made up of 56 females and 27 males. Thus, the female awardees displayed greater intellectual prowess than their male counterparts.
The occasion was a three-fold affair of eighth Founder’s Day, fifth convocation and formal commissioning of a new 400-bed teaching hospital of the university.
The event featured also free comprehensive healthcare services, surgery operations and other comprehensive treatments.
Represented by the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who commissioned the teaching hospital, eulogised Aare Afe Babalola for his vision and love for humanity:
“This hospital will go a long way in conserving funds being spent by Nigerians on medical trips abroad. With this, Nigerians can now be treated by Nigerians. It takes a man with vision and large heart for his nation and people to do this. It will help in addressing the poor heath indicators in our system.”
Governor Ayodele Fayose, Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi and Pro-Chancellor and Council Chairman, Crawford University, Ogun State, Prof. Peter Okebukola advised the Federal Government to set up a special fund to drive the development of private universities in Nigeria, noting that an upwardly mobile private university such as ABUAD deserves government’s huge support.
Okebukola, in his lecture, entitled: “The place and continued relevance of private universities,” said out of the 23,000 universities that exist globally, private universities represented less than 25 per cent:
“They are doing excellently well in human security by way of complementing the public universities for human capital development. Sixty-eight per cent of scholars that had won Nobel laurels in Physics, Sciences and Medicine were trained in private universities. Apart from this, many of the world icons, I mean presidents and prime ministers of great nations were trained in private universities.”
He said it was wrong for government to restrict the TETFUND solely to public schools: “Many captains of industries and workers in the multinational organisations were trained by private universities. If you look at their contributions, they pay taxes and since they do this, they should be given grant-in-aid and access to other sources of funding.
“They are good competitors for private universities. They fostered discipline and maintain standards through stable academic calendars. Giving them financial support will help in reducing their tuition fees, which were adjudged too high now.
“The FG can give them those financial supports with conditions that there will be staff retention, stable academic calendar, sustained performances and reduction in tuition fees and all these will help in shaping our education sector.”
Fayose confessed: “It would have been disastrous to Ekiti if this university is built elsewhere. The facilities in this university and the new hospital have no rival. Those medical treatments you go to London, South Africa and America to do can now be done here in Ekiti.”
He told the graduates: “It will be wrong for you to think that people only go to university to acquire certificates, no it goes beyond that. What university education means is the training of a complete being. One who can be good in both character and learning. One, who can think of his nation and how to make it better and one, who will be ready to join forces to make society better at all times, this is what we call education.”
Babalola told his audience: “We started this university with about 250 students seven years ago. But today, we have 8,000 students here. We were able to achieve this because we deviated from the norm of just going to university to get certificates, ours is learning and character.
“We also exposed our students to skills acquisition in baking, farming, Internet expertise, and other entrepreneurial skills that can make them cope under the present Nigeria’s economy, so what you are seeing are thorough-bred graduates who can effectively stand on their own.”
Oba Adeyemi said: “With what Chief Babalola has done in this university, nothing is too big for the Federal Government to do for a private university of this stature. This university is an example in learning and character. It is moulding Nigeria’s future leaders in the best fashion and I believe it won’t be out of place for FG to give special intervention funds for private universities.”
Ahwin Kevin Akporode, 21, emerged the overall best student among the 869 graduates. From the Department of Mechanical Engineering, he scored Cumulative Grade Point Average of 5.00. He said: “I owe this achievement to my parents. My father’s strict military background and my mother’s guide as a teacher helped me a lot.
“My experience in Afe Babalola University has been illuminating. Under the influence and leadership of the Founder and Chancellor, I have come to understand a lot of things. I have particularly imbibed the culture of Afeism, which embodies such virtues as integrity, discipline, dedication and excellence. This culture has been my portfolio as an individual and formed my existence.
“The secret behind my success as a student of this university has been God’s grace, engaging in prayers and studying hard. One needs to be focused, work hard and be prayerful to achieve a success such as this. My biggest dream in life is to launch a programme that would benefit billions of people all over the world. I am a technologist and I love programming. I want to leave a dent in the world, Steve John said that if you don’t leave a dent in the world then what are actually here to do, so I want to leave a dent in the world and write my name in gold.”
…Babalola lauded over ABUADTH
The recently commissioned ultra-modern 400-bed Afe Babalola University Ado Ekiti Teaching Hospital (ABUADTH), has continued to attract more commendations. An estate agent, Chief Teslim Adeola Almaroof eulogised Chief Afe Babalola (SAN), founder of ABUAD for his vision and love for humanity, describing the achievement as a milestone in the health care sector.
He said only people with hearts of human kindness, such as Babalola could embark on such projects.
He expressed the confidence that the hospital would go a long way in helping to tackle critical medical conditions.
He stated that the teaching hospital would boost Nigeria’s poor health care delivery pace and the people of Ekiti State are proud to have the legal luminary as their illustrious humble son.
He called on other wealthy Nigerians to emulate Babalola, describing him as being one of the few Nigerians that domiciled his investments in his hometown and not outside the shores of Nigeria.
Almaroof also applauded the founder of the hospital for the free medical care for over 2,000 people from various parts of the country for five days ahead of the commissioning, as part of the activities marking the 5th convocation ceremonies of the University.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, while commissioning the hospital last week, said the facility would halt medical tourism to other countries. He was represented at the occasion by the Minister of Health, Prof Isaac Adewole.
The hospital built on 60 hectares of land consists nine blocks. To add international flavour to health care delivery, teaching, training and research, the state-of-the-art hospital equipment, the management entered into partnership with reputable players in the global Heath Industry.
The hospital is to bring quality health care of international standard to Nigerians at affordable cost and make ABUTH the Mecca of quality health care delivery, thereby reducing the quantum of foreign exchange Nigerians expend on medicare abroad both in the short and long run.