Wole Balogun, Ado Ekiti
Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), and founder of the Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti, (ABUAD), Aare Afe Babalola, has told the Federal government to urgently look for funds to settle the striking lecturers of universities under the aegis of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
Babalola, who was former Chancellor of the University of Lagos, said ASUU was justified over its ongoing nationwide strike and agitations for proper funding of universities among other demands made by the union. He, therefore, urged the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal government to source money to ensure proper funding of university education and meet some of the demands of ASUU.
Babalola stated that his university, ABUAD, had attained enviable height within nine years it began operations, warning that any staff, either academic or administrative, who constitute a clog that can bring down the standard would be sanctioned.
He spoke on Friday during a ceremony marking the 9th anniversary of the establishment of the university, with the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Michael Ajisafe, and other principal staff of the university present.
Babalola commended the staff for their commitment that had contributed to ABUAD becoming a leading university in Nigeria, warning that the management would wield the big stick against staff who is not supporting the vision of the institution, which is to bring a paradigm shift to university education.
He said it sounded disgusting that the FG would earmark seven per cent budgetary allocation to fund education, when the United Nations Educational and Socio Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) recommended 26 per cent.
“I have been Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council, University of Lagos (UNILAG) and I know that universities lack facilities and equipment to be of high standard.
“In our universities, students are not resident in schools, some stay outside the lecture theatres to receive lecture, some even use the forest as toilets. Lecturers are not paid as and when due; all these are intolerable.
“So, ASUU’s case is strong this time and I support them in spite of the fact that I have been criticising them in recent past, but I stand with them this time.
“FG must look for funds to make our universities be of high standard.
“UNESCO recommended 26 percent, but FG still allots as low as seven percent to education. FG must increase allocations to universities and monitor how the monies are appropriated, because accountability has always been our problem.
“ASUU alleged that over 70 percent of the projects in our universities are uncompleted for lack of funds and corruption, this is wrong.
“In ABUAD, we complete our projects in time. We built our auditorium within six months; some federal universities started theirs 10 years ago and they have not completed them,” he said.
Babalola said ABUAD had become one of the best universities in Nigeria within nine years because the management works extra hard to monitor the lecturers and students to be able to embrace the schools’ vision.
“In the Law school examinations conducted in 2018, 12 ABUAD students got First Class with one emerging overall best. They presented 36 prizes and our students carted away 24 of them. This showed that keeping the students here under monitoring is working.
“We shall continue to celebrate those staff who are working to keep the standard we set and have achieved for ourselves. But whoever wants to bring it down among the students and teachers shall be sanctioned; those who don’t want to share our vision must go away.
“From next week Monday, we will begin teachers’ annual assessment to be able to know those who are working for our glory here and they shall get their rewards,” he promised.