AFE BABALOLA UNIVERSITY, ADO-EKITI (ABUAD) – BEYOND PEOPLE’S DREAM

When sometime in October 2008, Chief Afe Babalola, SAN, eminent Ekiti son, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Africa role model, legal luminary and internationally acclaimed philanthropist at the official turning of the sod of the first private university in Ekiti State, Afe Babalola University, said that the University would in no distant time, become one of the best universities in the world, not many people took him seriously perhaps, because Nigerians generally do not match their words with actions.

However, those who had known the stuff this great achiever made of knew that he had never been a day dreamer.  Fortified with his record-breaking feats at the Universities of Lagos, Ibadan and Ado-Ekiti they were certain that he would not rest for one day unitl the dream is fully actualized.

A distinguished Ekiti son, Chief Ojo Falegan told the magazine that he knew that Afe Babalola would turn the Afe Babalola University into a grain of mustard seed that would become a gigantic tree and a living monument that all and sundry would be proud of.

Chief Afe Babalola himself told the magazine in an exclusive interview that the proprietor is not only dreaming of making the University the bet rated among private Universities, but one of the best among all the Universities in the world.  The master plan, Chief Afe Babalola said envisages modern and beautiful buildings which can only be compared with those in the advanced countries.

No sooner than construction works started in the University, the unique aesthetic layout became the talk of the nation.  People who have an eye for beauty and who visited the University lately sincerely appreciated the efforts of this great Nigerian.  Professor E. Kayode Adesogan, a former Head of Chemistry of the University of Ibadan and Professor of Organic Chemistry, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye told the magazine that he has seen on ground would make Afe Babalola University the best thing to happen to education in Ekiti State, Nigeria, and the African continents.

When the National Universities Commission (NUC) verification team visited the University lately, they were astonished by what had already been put in place.  In fact, the team leader, Prof. Amin described the pace of development as a “miracle”.  He noted that Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti, is one of the best things to happen to education in this part of the world and added that when the buildings are completed, it will not only be the best in Africa, but one of the best in the world.

Having served as the Pro-Chancellor of the University of Lagos where he implemented far reaching reforms and made the University the best in Nigeria consecutively for two years 2005 and 2006 with himself emerging the best Pro-Chancellor for the two years, Chief Afe Babalola was already well-equipped to make Afe Babalola University the beacon of light for the derailed tertiary education in this part of the world.

Against the background that the best Universities in the world such as Havard, Yale, Cambridge and Oxford were established by private bodies, Chief Afe Babalola, in the past one year has devoted his money, energy and time to building the University that can stand the test of time.

Essentially, because the Proprietor wants a world class educational institution of excellence in academics, characters, sports and vocational development in order to produce sound and able professionals, leaders behaving like sports men and achievers who would self reliant, kind and generous, no energy was spared from October to date.

And in his avowed commitment to the set objective, just within the last one year, Chief Afe Babalola has deployed his vast contacts in business and professional circles to muster support for the University.

That the University did not take off from a rented apartment or temporary site is a great credit to the promoter.  The infrastructures that have been put in place include huge buildings which can accommodate 3 colleges for the take off of the university.  Each of the buildings consist of four wings and sixteen huge halls, 76 classrooms, 64 lecturers offices and rooms for administration, Provosts and Vice Chancellor.  The hotels, which can accommodate students comfortably have been in place.

Other infrastructural requirements that are already in place include good water network, road network electricity which is being complemented by heavy generators and solar energy as well as the cafeteria, staff quarters, medical centers and play grounds/sports arena.

Chief Afe Babalola told the magazine that though the University will take degree courses in the sciences and technology, management and development, law, health sciences and engineering, the University will take off with three colleges namely: science and technology, management and development and law.

Chief Afe Babalola said that the first batch of students into the University will be made in September and all arrangements have been put in place to ensure that there are no hitches.

On recruitment of the staff, Chief Afe Babalola told the magazine that because of the reputation that the University has built within this short period, highly rated Nigerian professors have written on their own to the authority to work with the University, while friends from across the globe are daily receiving applications from outside Nigeria.

Chief Afe Babalola said that some expatriate teachers would come in to complement those on ground.  Essentially, he said that the University would conform with the NUC regulation on the number of teachers.

While elaborating on the amount that has gone to the University till date, Chief Afe Babalola told the magazine that the construction works have been done by direct labour and as such heavy amount have been saved.  Specifically, he said the value of the assets of the University should be about seven billion naira.  Chief Afe Babalola also said that the Acting Vice Chancellor of the University would soon be announced, while the Provosts of the three colleges would also be appointed.

Speaking with the magazine in an interview, Professor J.K. Adeyoju, Professor emeritus of Forestry said that Afe Babalola University, even without the completion of the construction work has already put the name of Ekiti on the world map.

On school fees, Chief Afe Babalola said that arrangements are being made to accommodate children from the rich and the poor.  School fess will be graduated.  Children of the rich who send their children to private secondary school where they pays over one million naira would pay higher fees.  There would be scholarships for brilliant students no matter their background.  There would be loans and bursary for the needy while the University would provide work for the needy.

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