Professor Temitope Oluwagbenga Alonge MD, FRCS, FWACS

The Pearl in the Pack

Convocation Lecture presented by: Professor Temitope Oluwagbenga Alonge MD, FRCS, FWACS  On The Occasion Of  The 10th Anniversary of the Founding of Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti (ABUAD) and 7th Convocation Lecture on Saturday, 19th October 2019.

Your Excellencies
Your Royal Highnesses
Your Lordships
Honourable Ministers
Distinguished Senators of the Federal Republic
Honourable Members of the Federal House of Representatives
Honourable Members of Ekiti State House of Assembly
Captains of Industries
Diplomats of Various Nations
Members of the Board of Trustees, ABUAD
Members of the Governing Council, ABUAD
Vice Chancellor of ABUAD
Vice Chancellors of Various Universities
The Deputy Vice Chancellors of ABUAD
The Senate/Provosts of Colleges of ABUAD
Distinguished Invitees
Gentlemen of the Press
Ladies and Gentlemen
The Jewel and Chancellor of ABUAD, Aare Afe Babalola SAN

For those who have related closely with Aare Afe Babalola SAN, you know that when you receive a phone call from daddy as I fondly call him, you must pay attention because daddy is economic with words and he is very direct. I had to repeat the question that he posed to me ‘where will you be on 19th October 2019’ to which I responded ‘Sir, I was planning to attend a programme in Canada’. Then the invitation came through ‘I would like you to deliver the 10th Anniversary Lecture of ABUAD’ on 19th October 2019 and I will send you a letter chronicling the previous lecturers’. I was selectively deaf for a few seconds and when I regained my auditory functions, I muttered a faint ‘Yes sir’ before the ‘thank you my son’ came through to end the conversation. My wife noticed that I sank into my favourite chair and gazed into the ceiling with a deep sigh. She got worried and moved closer to peep at my phone to inquire the caller and before she could stroll through my phone, I told her what had transpired and my heart was racing with sweats rolling down my forehead. I began a deep search to ascertain why daddy asked me to take on this task knowing my limitation with the use of English and my limited oratory prowess since I express myself better with the surgical knife as my companion.

When it finally sunk in that I was in for a huge task, I called daddy to ask if there was a particular topic that he would want me to prepare for so I could search the literature, thanks to goggle and the other search engines. His answer was even more scary ‘No, you have to choose a topic for your presentation’. Whilst pondering on a topic, I recalled my days in the University of Ibadan as a young man struggling to ensure that I did not only pass through the university but making sure that the university passed through me! I quickly recalled my visits to ABUAD, my tour of the purpose built magnificent buildings, the innovation park, the farm and the feed mills and Moringa ‘factory’ and more recently, the Multi-System hospital with the capsular delivery system of laboratory request. Thrilled by the modular operating theatre suites and the Cardiac Catheterization laboratory, I was divinely inspired to come up with only one choice, ‘The Pearl in the Pack’

I believe that the history of this great institution is intimidating but what will be a blessing for the future will be a comprehensive history of ABUAD to fully document the monumental achievements in one decade. This lecture will surely fall short of the many ‘firsts’ of ABUAD and not being an insider I will attempt to prove beyond any reasonable doubt that truly ABUAD is the Pearl in the Pack.

The History of Higher Education in the Colonies.
Between 1922 and 1946, Southern Nigeria was governed by a constitution that established a Legislative Council as the official structure. This council had about ten unofficial African members who were by no means the mouthpiece of the ‘government’ and these natives had no real power nor a great deal of influence. In 1947, the ‘Richards Constitution’ so named after the then governor Sir Arthur Richards (who later became Lord Milverton) came into force.

This constitution was characterized with the establishment of the Regional Houses of Assembly in the three regions (Northern, Eastern and Southern). Although the Regional Houses of Assembly had considerable powers and membership was by nomination because of difficulties in devising an electoral machinery, they were still responsible to the central Legislative Council for the whole country which was stationed in Lagos. Still unhappy with the workings of the 1946 and 1947 constitutions and fearing that it might not last for long, tactical political maneuvering was made by the colonial masters to make far reaching changes in the constitution from 1948 and these changes were introduced in 1951. However, these proposed constitutional changes did not dampen the agitation for self-government which began to gain grounds from 1956.

It was in the middle of all these political uncertainties that Dr. Kenneth Mellanby was directed in 1947 to come to Nigeria as ‘Principal-Designate’ of the University College in Nigeria without any staff, no governing council, no student but a ‘tenuous advisory body’ stationed in London. He (Dr. Mellanby) was upbeat all the same and in his words ‘I always felt that a University College which could grow into a University with the highest standards was a prime necessity for Nigeria’. The subsequent reports of the committees set up to make plans for Higher Education in the colonies were instructive even though some of their contents were put together to impress colonial officials and they conveyed palpable apathy with no enthusiasm about University education for Nigerians.

Despite his upbeat mood on arrival in 1947, Dr. Kenneth Mellanby was well aware of the enormous task ahead of him. In his book, he wrote ‘Planning University development anywhere is difficult’ and going further he advised that ‘I hope that this account may be of some value to those who have the task of planning the development of higher education in Nigeria in the future. They have a difficult task’. Going back in history, in 1938, Britain had a university student population of 50,000 out of a population of about 51 million and the universities received a grant of approximately 2 million pound sterling. In 1945, the British government decided to increase the student numbers to 80,000 with an estimated treasury grant of 4 million pound sterling.

The British government was prepared to fund the education of their youths from the treasury because of the assured revenue flow and such students were to be prepared to take over vital roles in the expanding empire. However, in 1956, the student population had increased to 85,000 but the government estimate for funding of 6 million pound sterling was a far cry from the actual educational funding cost of 27 million pounds sterling! In the same year, i.e. 1956, 1,500 Nigerian students were enrolled in overseas universities but of this number, 563 were enrolled in universities scattered in the British empire. The expenditure incurred by this small number of students constituted 2% of the revenue of the Nigeria nation compared to the 85,000 British students whose total expenditure for higher education was only 0.5% of the revenue of the British government. 563 students spending 2% of the revenue for 30,000,000 people!

Although the revenue of the budding Nigeria nation witnessed substantial increase in 1954-5 and this was primarily from exports of farm produce including cocoa, the real wealth of the nation did not increase because the perceived revenue increase was due to the improvement in the grade of the products (packaging) rather than volume. Unmindful of the source of increase of the revenue, the government of Nigeria began to make ambitious plans for development in various fields including education and other social services not knowing that these services would be difficult to finance unless the resources of the country ‘are substantially extended’ and by extension, I mean diversified. We only seem to be waking up from our slumber almost 65 years of playing the ostrich by focusing on the ‘naturally occurring’ crude oil that we did not create.

However, in line with the principles of self preservation by our leaders working with their colonial master associates engaged in capital investments, industries, agriculture and other economic potentials and despite the deficiencies in both primary and secondary education, engaged in talks of a university in Nigeria as far back as the 1920’s. Taking a cue from North America where some of our leaders had studied, many secondary schools in Nigeria were called ‘college’ with the hope that they will upgrade to become universities and a good example is King’s College in Lagos. It was not until the tail end of the second World War in 1943 that the British government embraced the idea of higher education for the colonies.

Two commissions were set up by the Secretary of State for the Colonies in connection with university education. The first commission that was to examine the entire Higher Education needs in the Colonies was chaired by Mr. Justice Asquith and the mandate or terms of reference of the committee included:
• To consider the principles which should guide the promotion of higher education, learning and research and the development of universities in the Colonies.
• To explore means whereby universities and other appropriate bodies in the United Kingdom may be able to co-operate with institutions of higher education in the Colonies in order to give effect to these principles.
The second commission under the chairmanship of Colonel Walter Elliot was specifically set up to address higher education in the British West Africa and the terms of reference were;
 To report on the organization and facilities of the existing centers of higher education in British West Africa and
 To make recommendations regarding future university development in that area.
The Terms of Reference of these commissions were bereft of concrete ideologies of university or higher education and it is a far cry from the focus from the Morrill Act of 1862 in the United States of America.

The Birth of University Education in Nigeria.
The report of these two commissions were complementary and although the Elliots commission had a majority and a minority report regarding the number of universities to be approved, the consensus was that; all colonial territories that are able to fund and support university education should be given permission to do so but that the educational standards should be equitable to what obtains in universities in the United Kingdom and the establishment of the Inter-University Council was set up to safeguard those standards.

However, adjustments had to be made taking into cognizance the standards of secondary education in the colonies and such adjustments included elongation of study periods to ensure that the required standards would have been met before graduation from the universities. Interestingly, one of the core recommendations that was quietly ignored by the colonies over the years was that from the outset, these universities must be autonomous institutions free from the encumbrances of the government in power.

‘At 5:30 p.m. on 28th December 1946, Sir William Hamilton Fyfe, Vice Chancellor of the University of Aberdeen and leader of a delegation sent by the Inter-University Council for Higher Education in the Colonies, pushed his way through the undergrowth into the ‘bush’ a few miles north of the town of Ibadan in Nigeria until he reached a clearing where it was possible to see a few yards ahead. He planted his walking-stick firmly into the ground and said: ‘Here shall be the University of Nigeria’’. It was not until July 1947 that the first Principal of the University of Ibadan, Dr. Kenneth Mellanby stepped into Ibadan to begin the arduous task of implementing the report of the joint commission by initiating the building of the first University in Nigeria, the University College Ibadan, now the University of Ibadan.

University Education System in Nigeria.
Following the establishment of the first university in Nigeria in 1948 and with subsequent birthing of other universities, the Nigerian government instituted a regulatory body the ‘National Universities Commission’ (NUC) which was established in 1962 first as an advisory agency to the Federal Government but in 1974, it became a statutory body and a parastatal under the Federal Ministry of Education (FME). Over the years, the NUC has transformed into an important arm of government in the area of development and management of university education in Nigeria.

The main functions of the National University Commission are as outlined:
1. Granting approval for all academic programs run in Nigerian universities;
2. Granting approval for the establishment of all higher educational institutions offering degree programs in Nigerian universities;
3. Ensure quality assurance of all academic programs offered in Nigerian universities;
4. Act as a channel for all external support to the Nigerian universities
The facts before us;
• Between 1948 and 2019, the Federal Government of Nigeria has 43 (Forty-three) Universities under her care with three of them coming on board within a space of about one year.
• Between 1979 and 2019, the State Governments in Nigeria have established a total of 52 (Fifty-two) Universities dotted all over the 36 states of the Federation
• Between 1999 and 2019, Private Universities have grown to 79 (Seventy-nine) and effectively, the Private Universities are in the ascendancy in the past 20 (Twenty) years.

The terms of reference of the NUC is unambiguous and they exposed the deficits inherent in the perception of the educational needs of the country and although this has been blamed on the foundational education but I beg to disagree. Whilst some of the elites lay blames at the feet of General Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for rejuvenating Universal Free Primary Education in Nigeria in 1976, I think they should consider what would have been the fate of people in my category that benefited immensely from the ‘Awolowo’ free education program using cardboard slates darkened with leave extracts.

The explosion in the number of secondary school leavers seeking admission into the relatively few slots in the few universities witnessed ‘restricted’ admission spaces for the teeming applicants. Concessional examination by the universities were overruled by the Joint Admission Matriculation Board examination without recourse to the needs of the nation. For those who are well informed, the Morrill Act of 1862 in the United States of America also known as the Land Grant College Act proposed by a congressman Justin Smith Morrill from Vermont (a part of the New England region) did not address funding of the colleges or universities alone but it created a shift in the landmark of education from the colonial ‘classical studies’ to the more practicable ‘applied professional studies’ that will prepare the university graduates for the real world that we live in.

This laudable proposition which was entrenched in the higher education system in the United States of America is now reported to be wavering and there are complaints from several quarters that there is a steady deviation from Justin Smith Morrill ideology.
As with the tremors in the foundational principles in higher university education in the United States of America, the blatant deviation from the directive of our own British colonial masters that ‘from the outset, these universities (in Nigeria) must be autonomous institutions free from the encumbrances of the government in power’ has been politicized by the government, university unions and associations. Why then is the society perturbed by the abysmal performance and challenges facing many Federal and State owned universities today?

In the Federal and State education space, the sing song about the challenges facing the universities in Nigeria range from poor funding, infrastructural decay, inadequate skilled faculties, misplaced relationship between the industries and the universities, poor research outputs and inappropriate workforce among other issues.

The Challenges and the Rot.
The core funding needs of Federal and State universities include salaries and other remunerations, capital projects and overheads for maintenance of the institutions. Additional funding for research and teaching are erratic and dependent on many factors. It is always amusing when various unions and associations insist that the Federal government should and must fully fund university education because such demands is not only wishful thinking but unrealistic.

Of the submissions made by the Dr. Wale Babalakin’s committee including more scholarships and student loan scheme premised on the availability of jobs on graduation, my take is that we revert to the the directive of our colonial masters to ensure that ‘universities must be autonomous’. My earnest prayer is that with the clamour by the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria that the Federal government should offload some burdensome luggage’s, I hope the universities will fall into that category.

In his paper presented at the dinner on the eve of the 2019 Convocation of the Nigerian Academy of Letters (NAL), the Pro-Chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, Dr. Yemi Ogunbiyi, opined that ‘without question, adequate funding is key to university education’ and I agree wholeheartedly with his submission that ‘…no government of Nigeria now or in the future can adequately fund higher education..’ He further suggested that universities should embrace the American model of endowment along with other creative alternatives that will secure sustainable streams of income. I submit that full and not partial university autonomy is long overdue and these institutions should create environments for learning, teaching and research that will endear the alumni to seek to be part of the growth of their institutions. Alumni bodies may not be full ‘automated teller machines’ but they should not be seen as exclusive clubs because a graduate of linguistics is equally as influential as his compatriots who is a biomedical engineer.

For the records, poor funding does not stop at the level of payment of salaries and remunerations, but includes capital funding for infrastructure which may include laboratories, libraries, research centers amongst others. The fallout of dilapidated lecture theatres and offices include poor motivation of staff and students and an inappropriate learning environment.

Poor research and academic outputs are intertwined and this facet of university education leaves a sour taste demands attention because it is the nucleus for development. It is rather pathetic that most research activities emanating from our universities are often tailored towards accumulation of publications for promotion with little or no translational element.

This approach opens the floodgate for plagiarism, substandard research findings that restrict our academics to local conferences and meetings. The time has come for our universities to engage in research activities that are not only translational but quantitatively and qualitatively relevant for the industries who in turn will utilize the research findings to expand or advance the activities of the companies. This may translate to increase competitiveness and revenue for the industries, discovery of new products or techniques with benefits accruing to both researchers and industries. I do sincerely hope that when the proposed National Research and Innovation Foundation is established, that this body will be the needed link between the ‘town and gown’ with emphasis on the needs of the industries as a guide to some research activities which in turn may be funded by the industries thereby relieving the universities by shifting the financial burden of the research to the industries.

From my limited exposure in the academia, some advances in societal needs in many nations are met through well structured and well guided focused translational research activities. Why should Nigeria believe in a lie that some research activities can not be translated? This one for the road, many inaugural lectures delivered by academics who should be professing a unique and laudable research findings often end up reeling out well rehearsed literature review!

The Pearl Revealed.
The rot was so deep that the odour was perceived beyond the shores of Nigeria. False prophets tagged ‘educational experts’ were hired from within and without and they tried every which way to force us to swallow Panadol for someone else’s headache and for their efforts were rewarded with handsome payments. Their wailings as in the book of Lamentations chapter 2 verse 14 were reminiscent of what the blindfolded people of old swallowed.

However, whilst providing adulterated colonial templates, we were conned into deleting civics from our syllabus, discountenanced history as an important educational tool for our nation although American history is compulsory in Washington and so is the history of the British empire mandatory in London and we were left in a limbo. On the pages of the newspapers, on television programs some of which were paid adverts, expensive workshops and symposia were paraded to encourage university education. The undercurrent was not very obvious but for the informed, the education ministries, both federal and state were searching frantically for co-pilots to lay the blames on for the failure of the educational sector.

Leveraging on the Nigerian factor and mentality of monopoly of wealth and status, many players laced their boots and went on the field although most of the playing area looked like uncut fairway on the golf course. With the drama unfolding from the North, East, West and the Southern zones of Nigeria, somewhere in the quiet city of Ado Ekiti, passion brought out the tears rolling down the heart of a man who though did not enjoy the privilege of formative formal education but was persuaded that education operated through ‘the palms of your hands’ remain your best friend decided to lace his boots too. The jeers were loud and clear ‘we know that every village and hamlet in Ekiti is littered with Professors citing Professor Aluko and they even coined Professor ‘Atioro’ but what was a legal luminary doing with higher education in such a presumably saturated environment.

The learned, noble, wise and highly revered diplomat and technocrat was undeterred as he approached the academic educational lordships with his pleas. ‘Order, order’ screamed the umpire as the Aare stepped forward and the inner tears did flow out in his presentation and with an untainted credibility, his deposition was duly considered and unconditional approval given taking cognizance of his genuine lamentation.

Unlike Sir William Hamilton Fyfe, Vice Chancellor of the University of Aberdeen who planted his walking-stick in the soil to symbolize the location of the now University of Ibadan, Aare Afe Babalola took a more noble and ‘African’ approach. With his convincing appeal to his extended family of the Adubiaro Adelusi clan of Idolofin in Ado Ekiti, and applying one of the enviable principle of David insisting of making payment for the expanse of land that is to house the newly approved university in 2009, he got his wishes approved for a fee. Unlike the walking-stick of Sir William Fyfe, he took possession where the soles of his feet had trodden in line with the book of Deuteronomy chapter 11 verse 24.

Reading through piles of legal reports and truly learning from global history and experiences, garnered as a two term winner of the best Pro-Chancellor in Nigeria during his very loyal and inspiring service at the University of Lagos. This new player was coming with a wealth of knowledge and the new orientation encompassed the theory of biphasic approach to qualitative and quantitative education.

Formal education as taught and developed by the technocrats in the 80’s and 90’s brought shame to the education sector in Nigeria and it was commonplace for intrusion of parents and guardians into the scheme, syllabus and functionality of tertiary institutions. The formal education sector that was driven by the type and not the quality of the certificate issued resorted to the proliferation of first class graduates who are not only unemployable but some openly relayed how much was paid for their unearned qualifications.

It is germane here to point out this particular affliction of the education system, where credits are awarded to undeserving students which is currently playing out at the University of Lagos with the grade for sex scandal unearthed by the BBC. The rot which was traceable to the nursery, primary and secondary education rose to a crescendo with the registration of educational outfits without due processes. What is more, all forms of informal education were considered inferior and were deleted from the courses in many tertiary institutions. Even our Wednesday half day sports activities at the University of Ibadan was gradually erased by lecturers who were either ignorant or in denial of the age old concept that exercise is medicine not only for the soul but for learning.

Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti simply known as ABUAD exposed the inadequacies of the Nigerian tertiary education sector as practiced and decided to integrate formal and informal education into the fabrics of the institution rather than decorate the campus with ‘Entrepreneurship Centres’ probably as part of the accreditation exercises required by the National University Commission, the NUC. My first visit to ABUAD was memorable and I was captivated by the design of the campus, the mien and attitude of the students who displayed uncommon character by greeting our team with courtesies reminiscent of our cultural heritage. The tour around the innovation stands and ultimately the innovation park was to follow, then the various farms, mango juice factory, dried mango slices, the ‘Moringa’ multipurpose factory with soap, body cream, animal feeds and lots more.

I thought I had seen it all until I received an invitation to visit the ultramodern Multi-System hospital under construction and now fully functioning with equipment and facilities that are found only in advanced hospitals in Europe and America. My initial thoughts (pause) disbelief and elation that such a laudable venture was in the land of my birth. I took a tour round this magnificent edifice over a period of three hours bewildered by the sophisticated equipment and the novel capsule delivery system for laboratory services in Nigeria.

The Aare was fully aware of my subtle appeal for an invitation to the official commissioning of the hospital to which he gladly gave his approval with a directive to ‘tell it on the mountains’ and I did promise to invite my colleagues from various specialties to visit the next destination for their sabbatical. The commissioning was glamourous with the Honourable Minister of Health leading the way to the various departments fully loaded with modern equipment including top class radiological equipment that were not even available in my prestigious University College Hospital, Ibadan. What caught my attention as a surgeon was the Modular Operating Theaters, the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory and the Emergency Department.

My Humble Submission.
I will only attempt to provide a summary of the scorecard of Afe Babalola University Ado Ekiti (ABUAD) under ten (10) subheadings, but this can never cover the outstanding performance and the positive impact of ABUAD in all sectors of the Nigerian life as a nation. After all, ‘To destroy any country does not require a nuclear bomb. It requires only the destruction of the country's education system.’ a famous at inscription at the gate of a University in s South Africa and how true.
1. Administrative and Unique Organizational Structure Of ABUAD
Full accreditation of all the 28 programs presented to National Universities Commission (NUC) in 2013 with the endorsement by the regulatory bodies.
• Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN)
• Computer Professionals Registration Council of Nigeria (CPN)
• Council for Legal Education accredited the Law Program
• National Institute of Marketing
• Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN)
• Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN)
• Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria – within five years

2. Entrepreneurial Deliverables
ABUAD is the first University to own a commercial farm on 1,000 hectares of land consisting of;
110,000 Mango Trees; 500,000 Teak Trees; 500,000 Melina Trees; 600,000 Moringa Trees; 52 Fish Lakes containing a minimum of 50,000 fishes each; 3 Buildings consisting of 30 Hatcheries each; Moringa Factory producing Moringa (Oil, Tea, Seed, Soap, Cream, Leaf, Capsule and Leaf Powder). Other features of the farm include;
Feed mill producing floating fish feeds; Mango Chips; Plantain Chips; Snailry, Piggery, Mushroom farm, Quail farm, Guinea Fowl farm and Turkey farm.
Wood processing and export of pre-finished (semi processed) wood, processed wood, wood chips.

On Aare Afe Babalola and ABUAD, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina the Director of African Development Bank has this to say, ‘but I am not surprised because anybody that knows Aare Afe Babalola would know what he stands for excellence’ and he further expressed delight in the combination of academic training and entrepreneurship by the university, saying ‘products of the University, no doubt receive total education that would make them self-sufficient and employers of labour’.

3. National and International Recognitions of Excellence
• Designated ‘Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Science and Research in Nigeria’ by the Computer Professionals Registration Council of Nigeria (CPN)
• Designated ‘Research Centre in Agriculture’ by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA)
• Hitachi Centre for Virtual Education in the South West geopolitical zone, Nigeria

4. Contributions To Tertiary Healthcare Services in Nigeria
• Part funded the Federal Medical Centre Ido Ekiti now upgraded to a full-fledge Federal Teaching Hospital.
• The Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) program was established within seven years of establishing ABUAD recording 100% in her first set of Medical Doctors.
• ABUAD has gone ahead to establish a 400-bed ultra-modern Multi-System Hospital which commenced operations in 2017 and it is now the fastest growing and most advanced tertiary health care institution in Nigeria.
• The Multi-System Hospital has made giant strides in different specialties of medicine, performing cutting edge surgical and medical procedures such as: Open Heart Surgeries including Coronary Artery Bypass Grafts; Cardiac Interventional Procedures; Spine surgeries; Brain surgeries; Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeries; Hip and Knee Joint Replacement Surgeries; Major Ophthalmic Surgeries; Acute Renal Dialysis Services; Interventional Radiological Procedures, apart from daily medical consultations in different specialties of medicine

5. Linkages – National and International
 Mentor to the College of Industrial Development (UID), Accra, Ghana
 Mentor to the 24-year old Benue State University,
 Julius Berger internship program for Engineering Students of ABUAD
 The United Kingdom-based UCIE Professors Network
 The University of Oxford Business School, Oxford
 The African Development Bank (AfDB)
 FESTO Automation and Mechatronics Laboratory Equipment of Germany
 The CES Industries of America with the Mechanical Engineering workshop
 Hitachi Centre for Virtual Education in South Western Nigeria
 The Channels Television
 International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)
 Visit the University Website for more information on Linkages

6. Unique Academic Feathers
o UNESCO Endowed Chairs
o Julius Berger Endowed Chair
o Approved Course in Mechatronics

7. Institutional and Individual Honours/Awards
• At the 2014 Oxford Summit of Leaders held in Oxford, United Kingdom between October 12 and 15, The European Business Assembly awarded ABUAD the “Best University” insignia for its leading position in the educational sphere. Along with this award came the honouring of Aare Afe Babalola (Founder/President of ABUAD) with the medal of the “International Socrates Award” He was also decorated with a medallion with the inscription “Primus Inter Pares”
• Ten (10) students of ABUAD were in 2013 awarded the Agbami Medical and Engineering Professional Scholarship by Chevron Star Deep Water Petroleum Limited and Partners
• In June 2015, the Nigeria Society of Engineers (NSE) declared ABUAD’s Engineering program as “a Template for Engineering Education in Nigeria”, sooner after which its students started carting home national and international Awards and laurels.
• In July 2015, four students of the University, dubbed ‘Team LifeWatch’ under the mentorship of the Director ICT, Mr. Adebayo Ogundipe, featured and excelled in the year’s edition of the Microsoft Imagine Cup finals which took place in Seattle, United Sates of America on account of their inventing AsthmaVisor, a device for a more effective and efficient way of managing Asthma, particularly among children.
• In April 2016, an Alumnus of the University, Engr. Olamide Popoola, led “Team Nigeria” to win the 2016 edition of the Unilever Idea Trophy in Category Number 1 Award for “Authentically on Brand, Relevant to target Audience and Drives Talkability and Shareability (A.R.T)” in the United Kingdom.
• Later in June 2016, Oluwaseye Bolaji Oguntuase, a 500 Level Mechanical Engineering student won the 1st National Engineering Students’ Competition in Abuja with his project, titled “Autonomous Pipeline leakage in the Niger Delta Area of Nigeria” beating 36 other contestants from the country’s six geo-political zones in a competition organized by the Committee of Deans of Engineering and Technology of Nigerian Universities (CODET).
• The 21st Century Global Icon in Education & Human Development Award by the Adekunle Ajasin University Alumni Association in October 2015 was awarded to ABUAD.
• The Yorkshire, United Kingdom-based Commonwealth Students’ Parliament (CSP) voted ABUAD as one of the five most outstanding institutions of Higher Education in Commonwealth Countries.
• ABUAD won the Hatman Hospitality & Tourism Management Association of Nigeria award in November 2015
• 2016 Recipient of Africa Innovative and Academic Excellence Award in Johannesburg, South Africa.
• The first and only university in the long history of the African Development Bank (AfDB) to secure a $40 million Corporate loan to “finance part of its expansion program to make the university a Centre of Excellence in tertiary education in Africa and expanding access to high quality education to over 10,000 students per year”.
• Winner of the 6th Africa Education Leadership Award for surpassing several levels of its excellence and setting an example of being a role model and exemplary leadership in Mauritius, December 2016.
• Winner Europe Business Assembly (EBA’s) “Best Regional University Award” and the “Best Manager of the Year in Science and Education sphere” in Oxford, UK on December 20, 2016
• ABUAD recorded 100% Pass Rate in the 2018 Bar Examination conducted by the Council of Legal Education and the Overall Best Student came from ABUAD.
• In addition to these uncommon accomplishments, Law graduates from ABUAD won 24 of the 36 available Prizes at the 2018 Bar Examination
8. Scholarship Awards
 Outside of research grants to faculties and lecturers, the management of ABUAD offers Annual Scholarship to outstanding students totaling
In 2011 N7.5million was awarded
In 2012 N17.5million was awarded
In 2013 N32 million was awarded
In 2014 N35million was awarded
In 2015 N87.8 million was awarded
In 2016 N90 million was awarded
In 2017 N100 million was awarded
In 2018 N135 million was awarded
 Dragnet Solutions Limited offered 24 scholarships to ABUAD students in 2012
 Pan Ocean, an Indigenous Oil Company, Offers Scholarships for ten (10) ABUAD students every year
 The Government of China offered one-year training and scholarships for two students: Queen Ada Modestus and Elizabeth Belema Sumiari at Zhejiang Normal Universities.

9. Alumni News
• Mr. Adewale Ashimolowo an alumnus won the “Best Worker of the Year 2015” for outstanding performance in PKF Professional Services, Lagos.
• Mr. Money Oghenekoko, our Best Graduating Student in 2015, became a Chartered Accountant shortly after her graduation.
• Oghenetejiri Odjighoro, a 2015 First Class graduate of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, was in November 2016 employed as an Assistant Engineer by the Lagos-based Huawei Technologies Limited, a leading multinational Networking and Telecommunications Equipment and Services company on account of her ability to speak Chinese, a compulsory subject for every ABUAD student.

10. Notable Quotes
‘A model to emulate’ – Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, GCFR
‘Notably one of the most outstanding individual contributions towards government educational project’ – Former President Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR
‘A reference point, model and benchmark for private universities’ - NUC, 2009.
‘One of the best in West Africa’ - Prof Julius Okojie, Former Executive Secretary, NUC
‘The setting is superlative and impressive with nothing of its kind that I have seen so far in this country or anywhere’ – Former President Gen. Yakubu Gowon (Retired)
‘ABUAD is number 2 among Universities of First Choice’ - JAMB
‘Yet to see a University in Africa that can match ABUAD’ – Dr. Tunde Odusina (Former Minister of Energy)
‘ABUAD has set a standard for other institutions’ - Dr. Tahir Mamman, Former DG, Nigerian Law School
‘It is an outstanding university without comparison’ - Prof Wil Goodheer, Resident European Business Assembly and President, Rectors of Europe
‘The fastest growing private university in Nigeria. Compares with great universities such as Havard, Yale and Oxford, Afe Babalola deserves the highest honour of this country’ - The Late Hon. Justice Kayode Eso, JSC (Retired)
‘ABUAD is a world class University’ - Prof Hassana Alidou Director, UNESCO Regional Office, Abuja.
‘The University is simply a model and should be a veritable benchmark for universities in Nigeria’ - Prof Chinedu O. Nebo, OON (Former Vice Chancellor, Federal University, Oye-Ekiti and Federal Minister for Energy).
‘ABUAD is a pacesetter. It raises the benchmark for quality education in Nigeria’… There is no doubt that the shaping of the direction of education in Nigeria has started. ABUAD is and will remain the leader in this direction’ - The ICPC boss, Honourable Justice Yinka Ayoola leading a 14-man team of ICPC Officers to ABUAD on 28th July, 2010.
‘The pride of university system in Nigeria’ - Prof. Abubakar Adamu Rasheed, mni, Executive Secretary of NUC in October 2016

My Conclusions
In attempting to address the rot in Higher Education in Nigeria, by this I mean University education, we can adopt some of the values shared by the founder of ABUAD;
• Private universities account for a little over 45% of the universities in Nigeria whilst the Federal Government owned institutions account for about 25%. In addition, the graduates of these institutions are all contributing to the economy of this great nation yet only the Federal universities receive grants and subvention from the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), a fund that has a sovereign source. In the spirit of fairness, I join the campaign in advocating for a share of TETFund for performing private universities based on criteria that can be drawn up by the government so we do not toe the line of INEC funding for registered apolitical political parties

• Now that the Federal Ministry of Health is advocating for a central placement or ‘matching’ program for newly graduated doctors from our medical schools in an attempt to eradicate the slogan of ‘inadequate’ slots, maybe the time has come for the ministry to adopt the concept of conducting a screening examination for these graduates to rank and make ‘appropriate’ placements. The modalities of this suggestion need not incur the wrath of my professional body because this is not alien to some cultures.

• I will not end without asking the million-naira question ‘when will university autonomy be realized in Nigeria?’ The Federal government no doubt is carrying a lot of baggage which can be off-loaded to a private sector driven enterprise and why not? The current move by the Obafemi Awolowo University for self sufficiency in agriculture and food security, energy production and true entrepreneurship programs are encouraging and this may be a solid preparation of the institution for ‘full university autonomy’ in the not too distant future. I hope!

• The exemplary but successful relationship and linkages that ABUAD has established with the industries truly confirms the feasibility of the town and gown symbiosis which is much talked about but our policy makers often sound like car carburetors laden with dirt because we hear a ‘lot of noise but little action’.

In concluding this presentation, there is no doubt that our own Aare Afe Babalola shares the values of Mr. Harvard, the mastermind of Harvard University and it is not too early to dream and declare that the second Harvard University has been borne and it is situated in Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State, Nigeria, the most populous black nation in the world and unarguably the giant of Africa. Welcome to ABUAD where greatness is a virtue rightly earned by dint of hard work and meticulous planning. Thank you for your attention.