AYODELE ABERE and EMMANUEL ONWUSORO who were among the selected journalists who took a guided tour of the bourgeoning private university in Ado Ekiti, south west Nigeria, write:
Trees they say don’t make a forest, but sometimes certain things happen in life that you want to disagree with this maxim. God has used some people, individuals like Aare Afe Babalola, founder and Chancellor of the Afe Babalola University, Ekiti State to change the narrative.
Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD), located directly opposite the famous Federal Polytechnic, Ado-Ekiti, was founded in 2009. It has continued to be a burgeoning ivory tower among other tertiary institutions in Nigeria and beyond as evidenced by the physical structures and well mapped out road networks as well as other beautifications that dot the expansive environment.
From the main gate, a first time visitor may be taken aback by the security architecture, which may not be the same scenario in other privately owned tertiary institutions in the country, but one would quickly add that such stringent security measure undoubtedly has nipped in the bud what could engender untoward experience.
Aside this, one could also see and feel the aesthetic splendour of the uniqueness of the institution through the magnificent edifices and the spacious sporting ground, which could be likened to a paradise on earth. Both the administrative buildings and Faculty buildings as the case might be, are another striking structures that pose cynosure of attention to everyone.
The storey-building classrooms in ABUAD are exquisitely furnished and well equipped with good learning facilities and more spaces for students to sit comfortably. Afe Babalola University has kept to the pace of Harvard University in all its operations. This has made ABUAD one of the leading citadels of learning in Nigeria and Africa at large where students are encouraged to read and pass because of exclusive access to conducive learning environment.
This must have been the reason why foreigners and some Nigerians abroad prefer sending their wards/children to Nigeria to study at the University. Education remains the bedrock of success. That’s why most parents are striving to push their wards/children through standard institution where quality education is offered.
In this part of the world, Afe Babalola has done immensely well in the reformation of education from disfunctionality, which is the bane of Nigeria education. He has continued to distinguish his own University amazingly. When a king has good counsellors, he will definitely have a peaceful reign. The management of the university carefully appointed an esteemed team of professionals who have distinguished themselves in their various line of profession for efficient and effective service delivery.
Another building that marks itself out of the crowd considering the site, colour, coupled with other architectural designs is Afe Babalola University Multi System Hospital. A guided facility tour by some journalists during the 2018 Press Week in Ekiti State revealed a place that can boast of as a state- of- the-art equipment comparable to what can be found in famous hospitals outside the shores of Nigeria which in words of the founder, Aare Babalola while inaugurating the hospital, will reduce the rate at which people travel abroad for the treatment of certain ailments.
It is a place where digitised and automated processes have displaced manual ways of carrying out functions in all the sections and departments of the hospital for examination and treatment of patients suffering from all manner of sickness or disease. Every staff has apparently embraced the wind of change ushered in by technology compared to what is obtainable in many government and private hospitals in Nigeria where Luddites still hold sway.
It will not amount to speaking in superlatives if one says that only a few of such privately-owned universities in Africa can measure up to ABUAD in view of its exponential growth in every aspect of human endeavour where the renowned legal luminary-cum-educationist has spread his tentacles to agriculture on a very large scale and engaging in diverse areas of the field where at the end of the day the markets are readily available for the products.
Apart from what is known as ABUAD farms located on an expanse of land close to the university, the tour took the team of journalists to another ABUAD farm sited at Ajebamdele, Off Ado/Ikere Expressway, Ado-Ekiti, the state capital. These farms are manned by professionals in different fields of agriculture and of course supported by an avalanche of unskilled labour, a scenario that is not out of place in organisational entities.
The road leading to the farm adjoining the institution has a signpost with the inscription ‘ Industrial Diversification’ where multiplicity of items are produced and marketed at wholesale and retail levels within and outside the school, such as assorted soap, cream, undiluted honey, juice, bananas, plantains, yams, flour, fish, oranges, mangos, moringa, feedmill, various fish ponds, fish roasting and drying components, different gardens and factories. Despite the fact that we are in the dry season period, fresh vegetables and mushrooms among others are not far-fetched in ABUAD farms all through the year.
The coming on board of this world-class institution has opened the window of job opportunities for thousands of both indigenes and non-indigenes thereby contributing to the reduction of ever-growing unemployment in the country. Afe Babalola’s achievements have gone far beyond masquerading falsehood as truth to the public. Seeing they say is believing.
For those that have never visited ABUAD before, it would be nice to make a jaunt to the university for a proof of the claims made about the institution here. The radiant and youthful looking Afe remains a sung icon. Afe Babalola could be best described as a jack-of-all-trades and Master of all. All he gives a Midas touch, and things turn to gold. He is a pride of Africa that should be celebrated always for raising the leaders of leaders at all levels of every sector.