Kamarudeen Ogundele, Ado Ekiti
The Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has inaugurated the 400-bed Afe Babalola University Teaching Hospital, Ado Ekiti, saying it will help in stopping Nigerians from seeking medical treatment abroad.
Osinbajo, who was represented on the occasion by the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, said the teaching hospital would enhance health care delivery system in the country.
“This hospital will go a long way in conserving funds being spent by Nigerians on medical trips abroad. With this, Nigerians can now be treated by Nigerians.
“It takes a man with vision and large heart for his nation and people to do this. It will help in addressing the poor heath indicators in our system,” Osinbajo said.
In his remarks, Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State said the hospital could not be compared with any in Nigeria and on the African continent.
“The facilities in this university and the new hospital have no rival. Those medical treatments you go to the United Kingdom, South Africa and America to get can now be given here in Ekiti,” he said.
At the event, a former Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission, Prof. Peter Okebukola, and the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, urged the Federal Government to include private universities on the list of institutions benefitting from grants from the Tertiary Education Trust Fund.
Okebukola stated this while delivering a convocation lecture entitled, “The Place and Continued Relevance of Private Universities Globally,” at ABUAD.
Saying that private universities represented less than 25 per cent of the 23,000 universities that existed globally, Okebukola added that they were doing well in complementing the public universities for human capital development.
“Sixty-eight per cent of scholars that had won Nobel laurels in Physics, Sciences and Medicine were trained in private universities.
“Apart from this, many of the world icons, I mean presidents and prime ministers of great nations, were trained in private universities; so, they are making good contributions to nation-building and their efforts cannot be underestimated.
“Many captains of industries and workers in the multinational organisations were trained by private universities. If you look at their contributions, they pay taxes and, since they do this, they should be given grant-in-aid and access to other sources of funding.
“They foster discipline and maintain standards through stable academic calendars. Giving them financial support will help in reducing their tuition fees adjudged too high now.
“The Federal Government can give them financial support with conditions that there will be staff retention, stable academic calendar, sustained performances and reduction in tuition fees and all these will help in shaping our education sector.”
Okebukola predicted that the future of private universities was bright in Nigeria, adding that no effort should be spared in helping them to rise to stardom so as to boost the country’s ranking globally.