Afe Babalola University, Ado - Ekiti (ABUAD)

ABUAD has made an institutional commitment to advancing meaningful education in Nigeria. Through the leadership of the Founder and Chancellor of ABUAD, ABUAD continues to spearhead the reform of university education in Nigeria. Babalola is the most vocal advocate of sustainable and technology-driven education in Nigeria. For his life time commitment to education reform in Africa’s most populous country, Babalola is already in the folklore across Africa, as ‘a single tree that has made a forest’ (Tribune Online, October 02, 2019) and a ‘champion of education who has made a real difference to the world’ (University of London, 2020).

ABUAD, a self-funded private university, which has now been described by the Association of Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities (AVCNU) as“the most successful private university in Nigeria” is a remarkable life-long contribution to Nigeria and Africa’s education landscape. Prior to ABUAD, there were private universities in Nigeria, but none redefined and prioritized all-round reformatory education, agricultural entrepreneurship, and healthcare and ICT innovation as ABUAD has done.

Reformatory Education: Since 2010, ABUAD has graduated over 6,500 students, trained over 700 staff, sponsored over 500 researchers through grants and awards, and has awarded annual scholarships to over 2000 indigent beneficiaries, all of who now combine academic excellence with virtues of honesty, discipline, integrity, dignity and selfless service to the society.  An international society called the Afe Babalola Beneficiaries Worldwide (ABBW) has since 2015 held annual events in celebration of Babalola’s impact on education and society.  The reformatory approach to education pioneered by Babalola is now resulting in a new generation of talented and disciplined graduates who have been carting home national and international awards, laurels, commendations and encomiums. An Alumnus of the University, Engr. Olamide Popoola, led “Team Nigeria” to win 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 London (UK). Furthermore, law graduates of the University won 24 of the 36 available prizes at the 2018 Bar Examination of the Nigerian Law School.

Agricultural entrepreneurship and education

In line with SDG 2 on zero hunger, Babalola is actively tackling hunger and poverty in Nigeria through sustainable agricultural education. In order to incentivize the study and practice of commercial agriculture in Nigeria, Babalola introduced an Agricultural Science course in his University with a 50 percent tuition waiver for all enrolled students, in addition to giving them a venture seed grant upon graduation.

ABUAD Farm is the largest private employer of labour in Ekiti State.  The University has in the last five years organized an Annual Agriculture Festival in Ado-Ekiti called ABAEX [Afe Babalola Agric Expo] with the Best overall farmer in the state goes home with N1,000,000 (approx. USD$5,000). As a major player in the Agricultural Sector of the nation’s economy, Babalola has received various Awards in appreciation of his contributions, which include but are not limited to the following: President, Forestry Association of Nigeria; Patron, Agbekoya Farmers Association of Nigeria; Patron, Fadama Association of Nigeria; Member, AfricaRice amongst others.

ABUAD’s leadership in agriculture and food security has attracted interest from the  International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD), the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and AfricaRice who have provided a $2,000,000 (Two million US dollars) grant to ABUAD to train 1,000 youths from across Africa in agricultural techniques. This Youth Empowerment in Agri-business & Sustainable Agriculture (YEASA) scheme, which will run between February 2019 and January 2022, has already graduated 3 cohorts of young, technically smart and well trained agri-entrepreneurs who have received significant financial donations from Babalola, which has enabled them to start their own agricultural ventures.

In 2019, the General Assembly of the African Union (AU ECOSOCC) recognized ABUAD with the “African Role Model and AU Agenda 2063 Ambassadorial Award.” Also, ABUAD is a member of the UN Academic Impact, a group of elite universities that are committed to all of the UN SDGs. Education for Sustainable Development: ABUAD has been recognized by the United Nations through two UNESCO Chairs: The UNESCO Chair in Entrepreneurship Education and Sustainable Development and the UNESCO Chair in Peace and Citizenship. Established through significant endowments provided by Babalola, the UNESCO Chair in Entrepreneurship Education and Sustainable Development aims to promote free entrepreneurial culture, capacity building, training and empowerment within and outside ABUAD. Participants in the free agri-business and agri-preneurship training programs offered by the Chair are provided seedlings and venture seed grants to start their own agri-business.


Healthcare and ICT Innovation

In order to stem the tide of high mortality for preventable and treatable diseases, ABUAD decided to establish its own Teaching Hospital, called ABUAD Multi-system Hospital, which is today acknowledged as having state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment for health education. The Hospital, which is built on 60 hectares of land, has entered into partnership with some reputable players in the global Heath Industry such as the world-renowned Abbot Laboratories, Project C.U.R.E., USA, Narula, India, JNC International, Trigenesis, India, Protech Gas, Adler of England, College of Pharmacy, Howard University, USA and Bridge of Life (BOL), USA, as well as Care4You Association of Denmark. In addition to having a Helipad that allows easy air lifting for emergency and accident patients, the hospital is home to world class services in diverse innovative fields.


Partnership with the African Development Bank to Advance Education

Through ABUAD, Babalola is spearheading access to education across the African continent. ABUAD has become the first and only university in the long history of AfDB to secure a $40 Million corporate loan. The loan will finance the expansion program to make the university a Centre of Excellence in tertiary education in Africa and expand access to high quality education to over 10,000 students per year.

Dismantling Discriminatory Education Policies

As a revered lawyer, the Founder of ABUAD has won several landmark cases. However, his biggest battle so far is his push in asking the Nigerian Government to create a level playing field in the distribution of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) a national research fund, which discriminatorily excludes private Universities.

Nigeria is perhaps the only country in the world with such a policy and Babalola will not keep quiet about this. After over 200 research publications, newspaper articles, press interviews and stakeholder meetings convened by Babalola and other senior management of the University over the last decade, finally in July 2020, the Nigerian Government announced a shift. Through the education advocacy of the Founder and Chancellor of ABUAD, the University continues his leadership role in monitoring the complete dismantling of this anti-education, anti-research and anti-people policy. 

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