AN ADDRESS PRESENTED BY THE PROPRIETOR, AFE BABALOLA UNIVERSITY, ADO-EKITI (ABUAD) AT A JOINT SESSION OF THE STUDENTS, PARENTS AND STAFF OF THE UNIVERSITY ON WEDNESDAY 13TH OCTOBER 2010 AT THE UNIVERSITY’S PERMANENT SITE

It is with great delight that I welcome all of you to this important meeting of all players in this institution.

I consider this forum very necessary in that it offers all of us the opportunity to meet one another in person. It offers a platform for students, both old and new to meet and interact with one another and at the same time have the opportunity of meeting their teachers and parents as well.

By such a meeting as this, we want to demystify and remove the awesome barrier between teachers and students. It is also aimed at providing all of us the opportunity to discuss and exchange ideas and views, make suggestions based on observations any of us might have made and proffer solution on how the University could achieve its goal.

PIONEER STUDENTS
I congratulate the pioneer students of this University. I know what it takes to be a pioneer student. But the joy is that no other student would share this great honour with you. Thank you for your endurance and sacrifice. You are born to  be great and great you shall be.

ACHIEVEMENTS OF PIONEER STUDENTS

In the last year, we recorded significant achievements which are good omen for the future.
Leadership and Character
(i)    BabayemiTumbi and Onabule Omoniyi found N6,000 and returned it.
Sport
(ii)    ABUAD Basket Ball team defeated the Ekiti State Sports Council team in a friendly match.
(iii)    The Inter-College Football competition ended with the College winning the first prize.

Social Activities
(iv)    Olubajo Funminiyi (a.k.a “Biggy”) designed a social network known as “talk to amebo”.
(v)    Drama Group already on Location shooting an evangelical film.
(vi)    A musical group has already emerged with a track known as “History”.
(vii)    A formidable choir that have been publicly acknowledged during special accessions like: The Matriculation and the Endowment Fund Launch.
(viii)    Formation of various clubs: Press Club, Drama Club, Sport Club, Literacy club.
(ix)    Educational Tour of students to Idanre Hills and Ikogosi Warm Springs.
Conferences
(x)    We hosted the 1st National Association of Nigeria Law Students Conference.

Essay Competitions
(xi)    “I am 21st Century ABUAD student” – Essay competition. Overall winners (i) Opasina Eniola Omolabake (ii) Ade-Ojo Olayombo (iii) Aderiye Adedoyin Sekemi.

BREACH OF UNIVERSITY RULES
As expected, we had a few cases of breaches of law and regulations.
These include the following:

(i)    Indecent and improper dressing, for example girls exposing chests and some wearing jeans to lecture rooms or boys not tucking-in their shirts and wearing slippers to lecture rooms especially on Saturdays.
(ii)    Alleged immoral acts between students of opposite sex.
(iii)    Sneaking out of campus without exit permit through illegal routes.
(iv)    Stealing of University property and those of the fellow students like laptops, cell-phones, shoes etc.
(v)    Drinking of alcohol on campus or at night in the hostels.
(vi)    Fighting with weapons.
(vii)    Absence from class without cogent reasons.
(viii)    Bringing laptops to view obscene photos during lecture times or free periods.
(ix)    Insubordination by students to student leaders or staff.

Those involved are happily very few. The vast majority frown at such practices. We do hope that you would continue to frown at such practices and report the few bad eggs to the authority. I hereby warn that anybody caught in any of the nefarious acts would be dealt with severely.

WHAT IS ABUAD?

ABUAD, as you must have known is a University with a difference. It is unique in many ways. It is established purposely to bring about the much desired change which the Nigerian educational sector needs. The core vision of ABUAD is to lead education reform by example and break off from the ugly decadent and inglorious past whereby academic calendars of our Universities have become unpredictable and Nigerian graduates are rejected by employers of labour due to their poor quality.

It is for the reason of ensuring a distinctive standard that I insisted, unlike other universities, that this University must take off on its permanent site even when the regulations allow us a moratorium of five years within which we could operate from a temporary site.

There was also the problem of choice of appropriate place to site the University. There is need to avoid the distraction and holus bolus of noisy cities. This informed my choice of establishing the University in Ado-Ekiti in spite of the free offers of land and other facilities and infrastructure in more developed cities. The fact which most of you do not know is that Ado-Ekiti has the rare advantage of temperate climate as a result of its high altitude.

For the same reason of ensuring unequalled standard, I have put in place state-of-the-art learning facilities and equipment with excellent aesthetic set-up so that once you enter the gate, you immediately feel a compelling academic ambience. These and other consideration led to the establishment of ABUAD which made NUC and others to describe the University in the following words;

“I can only say that it is a miracle. This is one of the best things to have happened to University education in this part of the world. … They have set a benchmark for other Universities on the e-learning facility, which link the university’s classrooms with other universities across the globe for transfer of knowledge. …. The only challenge is that they have  raised the bar for others seeking to establish private universities.”

“The University, billed to take off in September this year, would be a model for anyone or group wishing to establish private university in terms of the state-of-the-art facilities needed in such institutions”
–    Prof. J.D. Amin (Chairman, Special Committee on Private Universities (SCOPU) of the National Universities Commission)

“Happy to be able to see at first hand, a unique sample of private university with fitness, purpose, commitment, and self sacrifice by the proprietor. More like this will change the panorama of tertiary institution and education in Nigeria. It is a model to emulate”
–    Chief Olusegun Obasanjo GCFR

“ABUAD is our Harvard University in Africa. ABUAD is a citadel of knowledge in Africa …”
–    AkogunFatai Oluwatayo (Law Student, University of Ado-Ekiti)

“ABUAD is established to reform education in Nigeria. I congratulate the students as the agents of that reformation. I urge you to see yourself as an agent of the change.”
–    Hon. Justice Yinka Ayoola (ICPC Chairman)

WHAT IS EXPECTED OF STUDENTS

As the University structures, planning, teaching aids are different from other Universities, my wish to make ABUAD students different from other students in character, learning and achievement. To this end, we have produced a well-articulated students’ handbook which you can call if you like, the students bible. The handbook contains the rules and regulations of the University as to what a student should do and he must not do. For purpose of emphasis, I want to address you on some of the important points contained in the students’ handbook.

DRESSING
To us in ABUAD for instance, dressing is extremely important. Accordingly, anybody flouting the University’s dress code will be walked out of class.

The regulation on proper and decent dressing also applies to teachers and other members of staff. It is mandatory for teachers to dress corporate. They must wear clean shaves. This because we believe that a teacher teaches best by example and the personality of the teacher goes a long way in influencing his students. See Chapter V of Students’ Handbook.

PUNCTUALITY
This university attaches the greatest importance to punctuality. Punctuality is regarded as the sole of business. My first dinner lecture was on utilization of time. If you want to attain excellence in life, you must make punctuality a serious business. There is no African time in ABUAD whether in classes, at examination or any occasion in the university. Anybody who is late to class without reasonable exceuse will be sanctioned.

CLEANLINESS
We take cleanliness and decency of students and teachers and the environment very seriously. And this applies across board. We have taken numerous measures to make the premises of the University clean and decent and everybody must maintain the standard. It is therefore an offence for anybody to throw or leave piece of paper or can etc littered in the premises or fail to dispose them properly into the refuse bins placed in several locations on campus.

RESPECT AND HUMILITY
One of the cherished values of years past was respect for constituted authorities, respect for parents, respect for elders, respect for colleagues, respect for strangers and respect for humanity generally. The more respectful you are, the more others respect you. Empty drums makes the loudest noise. Therefore, respect for fellow students and staff members is enforced very strictly.

HARDWORK AND DETERMINATION

Hard work, industry and determination are the virtues for which the founder of the University is known. Almost on daily basis, people ask me how I made it in spite of frustrating hardship in my early life. My answer is hardwork, industry, determination and service. It is for this reason that the philosophy of industry, determination and service is made the corner stone of the University anthem.

TEACHERS

We have carefully chosen our teachers. We make sure that the people we employ as teachers are not only the best in their fields but very importantly also, we make sure that they are highly responsible and disciplined people. We go for people who do not teach for the sake of money they would earn but because of the passion and interest in the teaching profession and their desire to build leaders of tomorrow.

PARENTS

We expect maximum cooperation from your parents. When you are with us on campus, we are your parents. Your well being is ours. Your safety is ours and your educational advancement is ours.

Parents must not send strangers or distant relations to bring food to you in this school. This we say because we have had an unpleasant experience of a step mother who packaged poisoned food and brought it for a step child. Thanks to God this was discovered by the University authorities before it got to the student.

When the students are home on holidays, parents must monitor them, and ensure that they remain of good behavior. They must be given all the encouragement they need to realize their full potentials.

Parents must not invite children out of campus without informing the authorities of the University because it is an offence for a student to go out of the University without permission.

USE OF GSM PHONES ON CAMPUS

Henceforth, use of GSM phones by students anywhere on campus between the hours of 8.00am to 5pm is prohibited. Some parents do not want their children to use GSM phones at all.

The authorities recognize, however, the need for communication and contact between students and their parents, other relations and friends. For this reason, we are working on telephone booths where students can make or receive calls from identified persons or destinations. Meanwhile, no student would be allowed to use phones between 8am and 5pm.

CELEBRATION OF EXCELLENCE

At the appropriate time and soonest, the University will announce the names of students who in the last session deserve to be celebrated.

The awards will go to the following categories of students and staff:

(i)    Students who in the last session maintained highest standard of neatness and cleanliness in their rooms.
(ii)    Students who maintained the highest standard of neatness and cleanliness in hostel bathroom.
(iii)    Students who have exhibited leadership quality on campus.
(iv)    Students whose academic performances are meritorious an outstanding.
(v)    Teachers and staff who have been most dutiful, punctual, well dressed, passionate and dedicated to making ABUAD centre of excellence.

The awards are intended to encourage hardwork, industry, neatness, dedication, commitment and cleanliness.

The award will range from N10,000 to N500,000.

CONCLUSION

I thank my wife who has been supportive always. I thank my staff of Emmanuel Chambers for their commitment and support for excellence. I thank all teachers and other members of staff of ABUAD for your belief in our mission to make ABUAD the greatest and the positive participation in making our dream come true.

Our dream is to change the face of education by example. So far, we are succeeding. If the rating and commendations by parents and those who have visited this university is anything to go by, then the goal of becoming the best in this country will be achieved sooner than later. Then we can proudly say that we are truly the agents of change chosen by the Almighty God to bring about the much needed reformation in education in Nigeria.

Proud of ABUAD we are!
Thank you.

AARE AFE BABALOLA, OFR,CON,SAN,LL.D,FNIALS, FCI.ARB

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