PROF. GOODHEER SPEECH AT THE 3RD FOUNDER’S WEEK CELEBRATION
Your Excellency, the Founder and President Emeritus of this great University, Aare Afe Babalola,
Wife of the Founder, Yeye Aare (Mrs.) Babalola,
The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Sidi Osho
Top Management Staff of the University,
Distinguished guests, Parents and Students,
It is indeed a great privilege and honour for me to be with you during this Third Founders Day Celebration.
I am greatly impressed with what has been called the miracle of Afe Babalola University and what has been accomplished within its few years of existence.
I applaud your vision and mission as well as your desire for superior academic endeavours. I also visited your site on the internet to learn more about this University. One cannot really appreciate what has been accomplished here by mere hearing or reading about it until one visits and see for oneself, firsthand to really appreciate all what has been achieved in this campus. The commitment of Aare Afe Babalola towards the realisation of his goal of qualitative tertiary education in Nigeria has surely enhanced the success of the institution which today ranked among the best in the nation. My observation since I arrived two days ago showed that the quality of lecturers is second to none.
The evolution of Universities started almost 1000 years ago. In the 5th century, precisely during the Gupa period, there existed Nalanda University in India; which, during its peak, had some 10,000 students and 1,500 professors. They taught religion, medicine, grammar, logic, etc., and it began as a religious institution.
In Europe, their universities also began as schools for the clergy. For example, Bologna University, in Italy began in 1088, Oxford, in England, where I first met Aare Afe Babalola, was established in 1167 and Cambridge in 1209. In the United States, Harvard started in 1636 and Yale, 1701.
These universities were established primarily to assure youths, the possibility of obtaining an excellent education, including Christian values and standards. In fact, there are hundreds of such Christian Private universities in the U.S. established for the same purpose. Today many Institutions of learning are totally secular.
While Nigeria is one of the great countries in Africa, endowed with tremendous natural and human resources, yet she is still groping with poverty. The establishment of ABUAD which focuses on skill acquisition curriculum will produce students who are job providers rather than job seekers, hence a substantial reduction in the level of poverty afflicting the nation.
To fulfill Nigeria’s potentials, universities must accept their responsibilities of preparing youths for leadership and entrepreneurship programmes.
As President of The Club of Rectors of Europe; I have the opportunity to visit many universities worldwide. What I see as I visit some older universities would not appeal to you: Sloghthful approach to teaching and learning; unethical behavior among faculty as well as students, lack of dedication by lecturers resulting in poor academic standard.
Here in ABUAD, the Founder is a God-sent. He is an exception to the rule. He has dedicated his whole life into bequeathing a worthy legacy for generations unborn. With what I have seen so far in terms of facilities and the quality of the academic staff available here, I am convinced that Afe Babalola University can compete with the best in the world and surpass most.
I have noted with regret that there are no Nigerian universities in the list of 5,000 top universities in the world. The question is why? The Answers are not far-fetched.
Students requirement in the 21st century are not met in most Universities. Infrastructural facilities are inadequate, environments are not conducive for teaching and learning, lack or inadequate modern teaching equipment like electronic interactive Boards, overhead projectors, power point capabilities, computers e.t.c. My research revealed that many Nigerian Universities have less than ideal standards of operation; some admit students who are not fully qualified, some accreditation processes are not based on merit, incessant strikes by Academic Staff, lack of adequate fund and indiscipline on the part of students are reasons militating against academic excellence. It is no surprise therefore that university graduates in Nigeria are not competing successfully in the international market. The resultant effect is Brain Drain of the most capable youths. Thank God all these problems are alien to Afe Babalola University.
Please do not misunderstand me. A lot has been accomplished in Nigerian Tertiary Education system but there is still more to do. In the academic world of today, Transparency and Excellence are important. It must start from home. The Federal Government must strive for higher standards at all levels of education while reforming the Act establishing it must be a priority.
Afe Babalola University is an exception. It is a world class institution. A pace setter and a breath of fresh air. Why schooling abroad with the added expenses when you can readily receive the same quality education right here at ABUAD. Please avail yourself of the unique opportunity being offered.
The University is known to be a forerunner in transformatory university education where integrity, labour and service remain the hallmark. I say with all sincerity of purpose that this university will soon rank among the very best in the world.
As educationist, we must embrace reliability and accountability in the discharge of our duties as practiced in this university.
At this juncture, permit me to mention the European Business Assembly and its impact on education. Each year, we host Conferences in leading cities where outstanding universities are located. We had successfully hosted two conferences in Oxford with the Club of Rectors. Although our activities began there and have expanded throughout Europe; we are now at the point of holding such conferences in Africa. With the giant strides recorded by ABUAD and with Aare Afe Babalola as one of our Vice Presidents of the Club of Rectors, we will be able to assist many universities in Nigeria as well. We would welcome more Rectors into the Club of Rectors and the European Business Assembly.
HOW COULD WE ASSIST NIGERIA?
By hosting our workshops, seminars and conferences here, we will assist through exchange of programees, provision of scholarships and prompt release of fund towards research and breakthroughs in Science. We will also turn our search light on myriads of problems hindering educational development in Africa as a whole.
If, indeed, Nigeria will rise above its current challenges in education, Federal Government must borrow a leaf from the ABUAD Educational Transformation Project which is determined to produce future leaders who are full of integrity. They must support this unique initiative.
Thank you very much and God bless the Founder as you continue to provide exciting and qualitative education for Nigerian youths.