Welcome Address by Aare Afe Babalola
(OFR, CON, SAN, LL.D, D.Litt, FCIArb, FNIALS),
The President & Founder, Afe Babalola University Ado-Ekiti
on the occasion of the special visit by the Representatives of the AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK
Afe Babalola University Ado-Ekiti, 13th October, 2014
The Country Director of African Development Bank, Dr. Ousmane Dore
The Country Chief Program Officer, Mr. Andoh Mensah
The Country Principal Private Sector Specialist, Mr. Emmanuel Akinwumi
The Ag. Vice Chancellor,
The Chairman BOT
The Provosts of Colleges
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is with great joy that I welcome you to Afe Babalola University at last. This is so because all previous appointments were canceled at eleventh hour. Indeed, it is a long lane that has no turning.
THE FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT EMERITUS
Afe Babalola University is founded by Aare Afe Babalola, B.Sc (Econs) Lond; LL.B (Hons) Lond; FFPA, FNAILS, FCIArb, LL.D; Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN); Doctor of Letters (LL.D); Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR), and Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON), former Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council of the University of Lagos, Nigeria; Chairman of the Committee of Pro-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities, winner of the Best Pro-Chancellor award in 2005 and 2006, winner of Queens Victoria Commemorative Award at Socrates Award of European Business Assembly in Oxford, UK; member of the Rector of Europe, October, 2007. African man of the year award in Education, All African Students Union, 2012; Philanthropist per Excellence Award, Nigeria Union of Journalist; Senior Teachers Award by Nigeria Union of Teachers; Best Forester Award by Forestry Association of Nigeria.
I attended Emmanuel Primary School, Ado-Ekiti, but I had tostudy at home for GCE and all my university degrees due to lack of access to finance.
ABOUT THE UNIVERSITY
As you are very well aware, Afe Babalola University is a non-profit (profits plough back) Federal Government licensed private University in Nigeria. Its vision is to reform education in Nigeria by example, following the models of world clas s universities like Harvard.
The University has continued to make positive impacts within and outside Nigeria. Currently, the University employs 1,250 academic and administrative staff, and has employed over 256 as contractors, sub-contractors, consultants and created over 10,000 indirect jobs since inception. The university offers scholarships and other forms of financial assistance to indigent students and offer annual merit awards to qualified teachers and students to promote ethics and academic excellence. ABUAD is gender sensitive. The first University Vice-Chancellor was a woman. Women accounted for more than 50% of the total workforce, excluding contractors. In addition to the multi-faceted agricultural projects that will be explained later in this address and physically on the ground to be seen, the University has to its credit a modern Guest House/Conference Centre, Bakery, Laundry Facility, Bottling Plant, Printing Press, Staff and Students Restaurant, Staff Quarters and arrays of Cottage industries that you will see in the course of your tour of the University Campus and Ventures. Modern Sporting and Recreation Facilities have been constructed and the development is still ongoing.
Following its giant strides since its inception on 4th January 2010, the University has won several national and international awards, including “Socrates Award for the Best Enterprise in Africa” by the European Business Assembly, in Oxford on the 21st of March, 2012 at Pall Mall, London. The university has been acknowledged by All African Students Union with headquarters in Ghana, as the fastest growing private university in Africa, the present and former president and Heads of State of Nigeria, the Universities Commission (NUC) (the Regulatory Body for Education in Nigeria), and numerous stakeholders as, “a model, benchmark and reference point; the most dynamic, progressive and fastest growing university in Africa”.
It recently secured 100% accreditation in all the twenty-six Programmes presented to NUC for accreditation in 2013 and 2014 including Medical and Health Sciences. The Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN) has also accredited all the seven engineering programmes. Similarly the Computer Professionals Registration Council of Nigeria (CPN) also granted full accreditation for its Computer Programmes. Recently on the 9th of September, 2014 UNESCO acknowledged ABUAD in the following words: “ABUAD is a model HED which we are proud of and happy to be connected with for a long time. This campus is in the league of some big universities I have seen in developed world in terms of facilities”.
In addition, the Regulatory Body for Computer Science and IT Professions in Nigeria (CPN) has recently designated the University as the only Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Science and Research in Nigeria.
Since its inception 4½ years ago, ABUAD has embarked on several capital projects geared towards expanding its educational programmes in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), as well as in arts and social science, information technology, agriculture, entrepreneurship and vocational studies. In doing so, the University has managed to widen access and provide more academic courses that mirror the interests of not just STEM-minded students, but also many more non-STEM-oriented students from all over the continent of Africa and beyond.
ABUAD has also collaborated with other national and international universities, supranational organisations, as well as overseas research institutions in a bid to seek new ideas and new ways of understanding the world around it. UNESCO is partnering with ABUAD in the establishment on the campus, UNESCO Category II Centre; UNESCO Chair in Entrepreneurship & Agriculture for Eradication of Poverty; and, UNESCO Chair in Peace and Citizenship Education.
The Construction giant, Julius Berger, has also instituted a professorial chair in engineering. The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) has also designated ABUAD as a centre for research in high-yielding varieties of seeds and crop management practices.
MEDICAL AND HEALTH CARE
In the areas of delivery of high quality medical and healthcare services, ABUAD has recently formed collaboration with Johns Hopkins University and Howard University (both in the United States). Specifically, Johns Hopkins will be supporting the ABUAD College of Health Sciences with teaching staff and modern equipment to further enable its teaching hospital provide specialised care for patients, research and development for innovation, and graduate medical education for residents. Howard University, on the other hand, intends to establish pharmaceutical factory with a view to making use of our tropical herbs, as well as developing diagnostic centre, to make ABUAD a leader and a point of reference in diagnosis and treatment of diseases.
WATER AND ELECTRICITY
Energy plays a critical role in achieving sustainable development. In this respect, ABUAD is building a dam on Elemi River in the university to provide water as well as electricity for the University community, as well as the local community utility. The University campus has a capacity to take tens of thousands of students in the five colleges and, an arrangement is in the pipeline to build more hostels, particularly for post-graduate students.
JUSTIFICATION FOR SMALL-SCALE HYDRO POWER PROJECT
Concerns over global climate change have multiplied and criticisms over traditional fossil fuel based energy supplies have grown, interest in developing domestic renewable energy supplies has increased. Regrettably, no single technology has proven itself to be at the panacea to any nation’s energy problems, and so, efforts continue along the path of renewable energy. SHP is distinct from traditional hydropower in that it is defined by generation capacities of 30MW or less, per site. This is important because SHP facilities have very few of the negative riverine impacts to that of larger, more conventional hydro power plant. The resource estimate for SHP in Nigeria is about 734.2 MW while that of conventional hydro power is 10,000 MW.
In 2013, ABUAD contested for, won a US$100,000 and become one of the beneficiary of the Power Africa as part of the United States (US) government, interagency (The United States African Development Foundation (USADF) / General Electric Africa (GE) and the United State Agency for International Development (USAID)), presidential initiative to accelerate and diversify the economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa through increased power generation and distribution of reliable, affordable and sustainable power. In the case of ABUAD, the remit was to develop a Detailed Project Report (DPR) or a Bankable Document) of the proposed SHP site(s) in order to determine the costs of and technical feasibility of its implementation.
ABUAD is currently discussing with potential financial and technical global partners and would like to welcome reputable organisation such as the African Development Bank (AfDB) in transforming Nigerian education system for a better tomorrow. The following key features are worth noting from the just concluded DPR exercise. Given the topography of ABUAD and the proposed growth forecast, three (3) SHP sites (schemes) were evaluated as opposed to single site originally envisaged which undoubtedly impacted on the cost of developing the DPR on ABUAD. The proposed installed capacity of each of the schemes (A, B, C) is expected to be 240.1kW; 369.5kW and 539kW. Year on year revenue growth is projected at 4% while the life expectancy of the project is assumed at 50 years. However, financial projections and analysis is restricted to 25 years at which time the scrap value of the project is assumed to be zero.
Using the exchange rate of N164 to a US Dollar, the Dollar equivalent of the Gross Initial Investment Cost is estimated to be US$4,238,496.43 (N695,113,414.74) for Scheme A, US$3,987,843.85 (N654,006,391.58) for Scheme B and US$3,666,073.21 (N601,236,006.82) for Scheme C, and will be expended on civil engineering and electro-mechanical work procurement, initial operating & maintenance (O & M) expenditure and supervision costs. Using ABUAD previous experience on efficient infrastructure cost strategies, a step-down of the initial proposed construction cost down to about 70% during the construction stage could be achieved. Although, each of the schemes is mutually exclusive and can be undertaken separately, however, subject to sufficient fund availability, all the schemes may be undertaken.
The average cost of developing SHP site is around $5,000 per kW; undoubtedly, this is comparatively higher than that of fossil fuels. Current estimates are that renewable need to be closer or less than $2,000 per kW to be cost competitive. As concerns regarding climate change increases, potential of SHP would increase. Given that many of the components of SHP facility depend on variety of parameters, calculating the costs of developing any particular site is often difficult. Conventional wisdom and industry experience has it that only 25% of the construction costs of any small scale hydropower site can be estimated in a generic fashion based on global industry aggregates, and as much as 75% of the costs are dependent upon site-specific local parameters.
ABUAD take cognisant of AfDB policy objective in supporting its Regional Member Countries (RMCs) in their efforts to provide access to modern, affordable and reliable energy services inclusive of their energy sector in a socially, economically and environmentally sustainable manner.
ENTREPRENEUR & AGRICULTURE
In the areas of entrepreneurship such as agricultural programmes, ABUAD has achieved relative success in making agriculture attractive to the students and, in turn, impacting positively on the community at large. For example, the university already acquired over a thousand hectares of land and it has the following on the farm: 110,000 mango trees; over 500,000 teak trees; over 500,000 gmelina trees; 500,000 moringa trees; and several hectares of cassava, maize, yam, soya-bean. The University also has over 800 fish ponds, feed-mill, moringa factory producing seven products (capsule, leaf powder, body butter, hair cream, tea, seed and oil), piggery, snailry, mushroom, guinea-fowl, turkey, quail, and honey. The Hon. Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina visited the farm in September, 2014 and remarked as follows: “The most impressive part of my visit was the university farm. There is no university in Nigeria with this kind of commercial farm! I was also equally impressed to see your law centre a beautify edifice that matches your sterling scholarly and erudite contributions as one of Africa’s foremost legal luminary”.
INDUSTRIAL RESEARCH PARK – ABUAD RESEARCH PARK
The University is designed on the concept of a producing total man, which will not only be able to identify problems (the major character of many Nigerian graduates) but offer sound, efficient and pragmatic solutions using available resources.
To facilitate Industrial Development which is critical to Nigeria development, the University established probably the best funded Faculty of Engineering in Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa. The university runs 7 Engineering programmes namely, Mechatronics, Civil, Electrical/ Electronic, Petroleum, Chemical, Computer and Mechanical Engineering. To complement these objectives, the University recruited the brightest of brains from top rated University around the world and initiated exchange programme with Universities in America, France and Germany.
Thus with the first sets of thoroughly bred graduates produced, the University is poised for the second phase of her implementation framework, which is to conduct undergraduate and postgraduate research works that is primarily focused on Industrial application.
To this, the University seek to establish with credible industries operation within and outside Nigeria, the ABUAD Industrial Research Park. The Park which will be located on a 50Ha land area is to offer the best research environment ever seen in Africa. The park will be designed to link the University, business and commercial uses physically and programmatically. The ABUAD Research Park will be a technology-focused park offering research for Electrical, Mechatronics, Computer, Telecommunication, Biomedical, pharmaceutical, structural designs and agricultural based industries within and outside Nigeria. It will be expanded in future to offer top level military hardware research. The park will complement the Talent Incubation Center already established by the University.
Our success in all these educational projects has so far relied solely on our ability to provide high quality, socially accountable education for sustainable development. Yet most of these projects are inchoate and they will require enormous recourses to complete them. Even so, the unit costs for running the University itself are rising faster than ever imagined. This calls for external co-operation in the areas of investment and implementation of some of the University capital projects.
Therefore, to help move these projects forward and hence sustain our institutional excellence in creating both STEM-oriented and sustainable education, the University needs both the financial and technical assistance of the African Development Bank in the forms of either loans, technical assistance Grants, equity investments, or guarantee. We also invite the AfDB to consider making this University an implementation agency for promoting Centre of Excellence in SMEs and Entrepreneurial development in Nigeria so that this model of academic cum skills development curricula can be replicated in other institutions of higher learning in Africa to improve internally generated revenue of under-funded universities, promote jobs creation, self-employment, taxes to the Government through workers, private sector development, general poverty reduction and national development.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I believe excellence is not a destination but a journey. Although it is a great honor for me to have founded this University, I also know it is a huge responsibility and challenge. My goal for ABUAD is to achieve excellence in learning, research and positive development impact on the national, regional and international scenes without compromising quality, equity and equality of access. I am optimistic that, with the support of African Development Bank, ABUAD will continue to sustain its place as an icon of academic excellence in Nigeria and beyond through technical assistance grants and financial support for infrastructural development.
Thank you all for listening to my speech.
AARE AFE BABALOLA,
OFR, CON, SAN, LL.D, D.Litt, FCIArb, FNIALS