Professor E. Smaranda Olarinde  FCArb., FCAI. 
Ag. Vice Chancellor
Professor E. Smaranda Olarinde FCArb., FCAI.
Ag. Vice Chancellor

Exploring ancestral wisdom to combat Covid-19

It is no longer news that the ravaging Covid-19 has changed the educational, political, and economic as well as the medical equations of the world. What will be the heart-warming news is that someone or some institutions have at last found a cure for the pandemic that has rocked the world to its very foundation since February 2020 and the entire universe is gingerly waiting for that to happen!

However, that will not happen like a bolt from the blues. It will certainly be the result of some painstaking efforts of one man, a combination of men, an institution or a league of institutions. And this is where our universities come into play in these critical and challenging times when circumstances have forcibly restricted the people of the world to their homes, against their personal wishes and desires.

Traditionally, the functions of universities all over in the world are teaching, research and imparting the community where they are located. While most universities score very high in teaching, it can be said without much fear of contradiction that it is only some of the universities in Europe, America and Asia that have scored high in research and impartation on their immediate communities.

But the story is different with Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti, ABUAD, the increasingly popular university which was founded by the Legal luminary and Educationist, Aare Afe Babalola, CON, SAN, after his seven-year stint as the Pro Chancellor and Chairman of Council of the University of Lagos, UNILAG, between 2000 and 2007.

Drawing from his rich experience as a former Pro Chancellor during which he was able to see the frustration, corruption and infrastructural decay as well as other ills that daily afflict the nation’s public institutions, Aare Afe Babalola,SAN made it abundantly clear from the beginning that his university will be different from the extant ones in many and diverse ways. Indeed, he has not been pretentious about the fact that he is determined, through his university, to teach Nigerians how a university should be run and how it would not be run.

The university has since been living to billing of leading others in quality, functional and transformational education. And now that the advent of the deadly Covid-19 has changed many equations in the world – educational, political, economic, medical and even sports, the time has come for universities all over the world to put on their Research gauntlet with the overall aim of finding a lasting solution to solving and preventing the ravaging Covid-19 now and in future.

It was in pursuit of this that Afe Babalola University, a Centre of Research and Innovation, is poised to take the bull by the horn by proffering solutions to solve contemporary problems like Covid-19, once again, through the exploration of the acclaimed Yoruba traditional wisdom.

As a world class institution of higher learning, ABUAD is poised to deploy its world class human intelligence, world class facilities and institutional support to explore the Yoruba Traditional wisdom of using indigenous African herbs to combat the menace of Covid-19.

In his usual persona of thinking ahead and looking for solutions to nagging issues, Aare Afe Babalola,SAN, upon hearing of the outbreak of the pandemic in Nigeria, as a result of which all schools in the country had been shut since Monday, March 23, 2020, immediately set up a committee of Researchers from the University’s College of Sciences, College of Medicine and College of Engineering to find a solution to Covid-19 by developing vaccines and medications from Nigeria’s indigenous herbs that abound all over the place.

By coming out with workable solutions, the Founder reasoned that Researchers and Scientists in his 10-year old university will show and demonstrate that they are globally relevant in the scheme of things.

It was at this stage that the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, the arrow head of Yoruba ancestral wisdom, came visiting the Founder on April 30, 2020 with the same burning zeal and passion to join hands with ABUAD to show the world that the solutions to the ravaging Covid-19 may not be far-fetched after all, but could indeed be found on the African Continent, in Nigeria.

Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi’s interest is in addition to the donation of special Motorized Fumigation machines to all the 36 states of the Federation.

While not undermining the place and import of orthodox medicine, the real cure for Covid-19 could be in our ancestral heritage, the fruits of our land, our people, their rich cultural practices, and their tradition.

The collaborative efforts of the ancestral wisdom and guided modern research pursuits may lead to the long-awaited solution of the age-long herbal use of our medicinal plants to solve societal, ravaging problems such as those caused by the COVID -19 pandemic.